Sunday, June 16, 2013

How Mercedes Turned Pigeon Poop Into Respect for Its Smart Car

By Bob Lord

What’s a brand to do when it literally becomes the butt of a joke about pigeon poop?
That was the problem faced by Smart USA, which takes a lot of ribbing for its small, eco-friendly vehicles. When one Twitter user joked that a bit of pigeon excrement had totaled a smart car, some number crunching led to the calculation that it would actually take 4.5 million pigeon “craps” to do in the Tridion Safety Cell, which provides the main structure of the car. When an infographic with this research was tweeted, everyone from Buzzfeed to Mashable picked up the story. It even hit the top spot on Reddit twice in a 24-hour span. Almost overnight, this “Humor the Haters” social media campaign turned negative comments about the Smart USA (DAI) brand into respect.

Besides being funny and quick, the “poop tweet” was the kind of real-time response that big companies, with their many layers of approval, haven’t been good at. It was made possible by another skill that enterprises haven’t historically mastered: strong collaboration between tech and marketing. Because Smart’s social media and tech teams sit together, the right messaging was rapidly developed and the right infrastructure was put in place to support all the sudden attention. Thus the traffic resulting from an unpredicted 333 percent spike in searches on “tridion safety” didn’t crash the site.

Read full story here.

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