News Flash: Big Brands Can Be Social Too

Companies and brands of all sizes can leverage social technologies to interact one on one with customers. Every interaction is a chance to foster community, build advocacy and change opinions. Many Web2.0 and technology companies are of course eating their own dog food doing this, but can a big, dinosaur, established, brand adapt? The folks at Proctor and Gamble are showing it’s possible – in this case with a brand that’s been around since 1946. Here’s an example of how a large, established consumer brand can be just as nimble as startups and smaller companies.

Awhile ago, I shared my thanks to the inventor of the Tide To Go Pen, who created a product that happened to save me from a serious coffee stain right before a client meeting. I even managed to include a misspelling to make it seem authentic (ok, it was really authentic, I made the typo).

tidetweetI started to receive several replies from other enthusiasts for the product. If you look at the Twitter stream of “Tide pen” mentions people are talking about this product. It’s a useful, customer-centric, problem solving product. But I didn’t think I would garner an individual response from the Tide team at P&G.

Have you met Deb Schultz? I first met Deb at the Forrester Consumer Forum in Dallas last year. She is a talented consultant and social media practioner who recently joined a talented crew at Altimeter Group. Case in point, her recent presentation at the Web2.0 expo entitled, “It’s the People, Stupid” about designing social experiences. Deb has been working with P&G for some time, and contacted me to say thanks for my tweet, and encouraged me to go to to share my praise there. I did.

Too often as consumers we pipe up when we have a bad experience with a product or service, I thought I may as well share some praise.  Via DM, the Tide team also asked for my address.  A week or so later I received a small package from the Tide team, including a sample of the new Tide to Go Mini pen, with a note that read:

tidetogo“Dear Adam,
Thanks for complimenting Tide to Go. We appreciate it! Here is a small thank you gift from the Tide Brand.
– The Tide Team”

Want to talk about designing a social experience? The Tide team gets it – every one of these interactions has the potential to build advocacy, good will and influence more customers than just me. I for one felt compelled to tell a few people about my experience via Twitter at the time and this blog post later one. When was the last time you had that kind of interaction with a big brand?

Kudos to the Tide Team, P&G and Deb – I look forward to seeing more from them. And until there are 100% spillproof cups I’ll keep the Tide to Go pen as a staple in my laptop bag.  Have you had a similar positive experience with a big brand?  Please share your experiences in the comments.

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