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Brands Face Added Challenges Handling Global Social Media

Among the recent stories discussed not only on Facebook but also on RenRen, China’s popular social media platform: Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S.,  Jeremy Lin’s winning record with the New York Knicks, and Malachy the Pekingese dog’s top prize at the Westminster Dog Show.

Social networks launched outside the U.S. that have caught on in other countries were among the topics covered at a panel hosted by Cohn & Wolfe and moderated by Chad Latz, their digital practice president. The event took place during Social Media Week in New York  on Thursday. Global brands’ social strategies, content sharing, global listening, and cause marketing were also on the agenda.

Click through for a few key takeaways.

 

Strategic success factors include senior support, broad guidelines and local adaptability. Liz Birenbaum, MasterCard Worldwide’s global digital marketing VP, outlined the company’s approach. “First, it’s about C-Suite support and top-down buy-in. Our president is a marketer so he gets it. Second, internal alignment, or setting up guidelines for local markets is critical. The framework is there to inform and influence.”

“Third, we need to be flexible with local plans,” she noted. “What will play in the mature U.S. market won’t necessarily play in China or neighboring regions.”

Devon Eyer, Johnson & Johnson’s social media director, agreed. “Local deployment should belong to each market, but we need guidelines for best practices.”

Customized local content is preferred. “Localized content strategy is difficult and we don’t typically share content across markets,” Birenbaum observed. “We’re an inherently social brand, and that applies to our ‘Priceless’ ad campaign, which has been parodied around the world.”

“Content should be customized locally, and should be socialized everywhere,” Michael Jaindl, chief client officer at Buddy Media, added. “That means across the Web, not just on social networks. Mobile platforms need to be social too, especially in developing countries,” where Internet access is more limited.

No easy answers regarding global listening. “It’s a missed opportunity if you don’t understand the chatter about your brand,” Birenbaum said. MasterCard is “just at the beginning and is putting together a set of tools in a cross-functional effort and will filter down the learning across markets.”

“We’re still at the point where we can figure it out reactively, but we also need a ‘see around the corners’ perspective to know what’s bubbling up globally,” Eyer explained. “For us, the answer is not to have one team centralized in the U.S.”

Involvement in global charities is essential. MasterCard “supports charitable organizations worldwide, especially Stand Up 2 Cancer,” Birenbaum reported. “Cause marketing is a place we’re expected to live in. You need to partner with a brand you believe will have heavy impact, be an important part of your corporate reputation, and drive brand affection.”
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