In Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, they discuss the importance of energizing, supporting, and embracing online conversation through social media.
Energizing: Focuses on getting a customer’s evangelists to promote a product (peer recommendations are viewed as more credible than paid advertising). It’s also self-reinforcing and self-sustaining.
Supporting: Facilitating support between customers in a community to solve one another’s problems.
Embracing: Integrating the customers into the business model, getting their help on designing and improving processes.
Now, if there was some sort of e-marketing fairy dust that brands could sprinkle onto their campaigns to make them above and beyond, Adidas must have stocked up on it for their “The Return of D. Rose” campaign.
This actually happened two months ago, but was mentioned in a recent article about Nate Robinson on mashable. For those who aren’t basketball fans, Rose, voted 2011 NBA MVP, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the first game of last season’s playoffs. A star sneaker endorser for Adidas, this injury received overwhelming attention in the community as the D. Rose fans showered him with support.
That’s when Ryan Morlan, Adidas’ director of marketing for basketball, launched a series of web videos to tell the behind-the-scenes story of his recovery. Utilizing Adidas’ Youtube channel as a platform to distribute this six-part mini-documentary (shuffled with some promotional spots), Adidas was able to achieve over 3.3 million views. Beyond this, each video was carefully edited to showcase the perspiration-filled inspiration Adidas is known for. With dramatic music that pushes almost as hard as D. Rose in his recovery process, Adidas tagged the end of each video with the Twitter Hashtag “#thereturn” as well as tweets from real fans voicing their support for their fallen hero. These tweets are located for their use of the Hashtag provided and fans are encouraged to give D. Rose a shout through their Twitter profiles.
And there’s the beauty of it.
The reason behind the success of this campaign is quite simple: it provided an outlet for the community. When their star endorser took a hit, Adidas didn’t pull his sneakers off the shelf, or relocate his line to some obscure, dimly-lit corner of the store. They stood by him. And what’s more, they knew his hoards of fans wanted to show their support as well.
So Adidas showed their supporting and embracing side to help the guy out (and help themselves out as a brand). They took a crisis and they made it a great marketing opportunity. They knew fans wanted to cheer D. Rose on and they made it possible through Twitter. If we consider community levers (awareness, exploration/expansion, commitment, dissolution), Adidas facilitated commitment by recognizing individuals’ contribution and participation by simply showing their Tweets at the end of the video. They made fans feel heard.
Even if you don’t care about basketball or Adidas, you might care about inspiration, you might care about a guy who perseveres after a serious injury, or you might just be easily swayed by dramatic music. Either way, Adidas hits it home with this one