Tim Horton’s: Please Play Again

Last month I blasted McDonald’s for their free coffee giveaway and praised Tim Horton’s for the brand loyalty they’ve developed, in part through their Roll Up the Rim campaign. However, just over a month into Tim Horton’s annual contest, I’m back to acknowledge the shortcomings of my initial comments.

The free flow of communication and information online have allowed consumers to have a much stronger voice when it comes to criticizing brands. No longer can companies hide from their deficiencies without feeling the wrath of harsh consumer feedback through various online channels.

A search for “#TimHortons” on Twitter will quickly highlight the consumer perception of the coffee shop’s Roll Up the Rim campaign today. Many customers are clearly upset with both the success rate they’re experiencing and the quality of the prizes they receive when they do actually win.

Today, companies are forced to be more responsible for their marketing efforts, and while the online space allows for greater interaction with customers, it also comes with an open line for criticism. This is not necessarily a bad thing if brands are able to respond to feedback through positive change; however, companies unwilling to make the effort must tread carefully. If Tim Horton’s is not careful, they’ll quickly find more and more customers refusing to ‘please play again’.


The Social Media Road Less Travelled

As defined by Merriam Webster dictionary, a pathfinder is ‘one that discovers a way; especially: one that explores untraversed regions to mark out a new one’. Paving a path undefined by predecessors, pathfinders are everywhere rethinking unconventional ideas and questions that most people would view as having only one predetermined answer.

Below is an excerpt from a blog I came across today on B2B social marketing:

If your Twitter account is simply a product information broadcast, you won’t have many followers. If you don’t share any helpful, interesting or fun content on your Facebook account, your pages will get little traffic.

On the other hand, if you reject this approach to marketing, and use social media as part of an inbound marketing strategy, it will become a core part of your marketing mix. If you engage with your industry’s community on Twitter, if you share top-notch content on Facebook, and build relationships on LinkedIn, social media will work for you.

“Wait!” you say. “We’re a B2B operation! We don’t have social-savvy customers like B2C companies.”

Lame excuse.

No question, social media grew out of the consumer space, and B2C examples of social media success are easy to find. But take a step back. Look at the value that businesses get out of social media.

If you approach social media without a real strategy because you don’t believe it will work, it won’t. Many companies set out to ‘test’ social media marketing channels, but simply don’t take the time to implement the strategic framework required to achieve real long term results. Nothing is going to happen overnight and marketers have to recognize that, just like any other channel, successful social media activities take significant time and effort.

While it’s obvious that B2C operations have achieved more measurable success through social media marketing, dismissing it as a useful strategy for B2B’s would be foolish. Social media helps people and businesses connect and engage with one another, and its capacity to facilitate conversation does not exclude business to business interaction. Companies don’t make purchasing decisions, the people within them do.

Don’t neglect a path just because it’s never been taken before. Be a pathfinder and make a real difference.