NFPs Must Embrace Technology to Remain Relevant
Wednesday, 29th August 2012 at 11:42 am
SPONSORED: The Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus Conference has been told that Not for Profit organisations must embrace technology and focus on what’s important to stand out from the noise.
Speaking on the power of technology to change lives, CommBank’s chief marketer, Andy Lark said, “Ten years ago, if someone had said there would one day be no more record stores or book stores, you wouldn’t have believed it. We will be the last generation to use a keyboard and a mouse. Technology is the force that changes everything.”
“To go the distance organisations must shift their approach and engage with it. That requires courage,” he said.
Lark said that power had moved to the consumer with brands no longer in control of the message as they were in the past.
“Critically for NFPs, the flipside is consumer information overload. We are becoming overwhelmed by data.
“Brands need to restore intimacy because that’s the only way we can connect with our customers and find out what’s important to them. We have to help people find what they’re looking for when they come to us.”
Lark also offered advice to organisations who may be concerned about how to handle negative conversations about their brand.
“It’s easy to get bogged down in the noise around your brand. You can get focused on a few negative comments when the majority of people aren’t actually listening. The things that shape popular opinion are far more important, so find out what those are and focus on them. Ignore the noise.”
Lark shared his five tips to building a successful social brand with the conference.
1. Transmission is insufficient
Brands can no longer direct the conversation. Successful brands participate in the conversation, and they do this by listening and by providing quality content and stories. “Never underestimate the power of building your community. A few years ago CommBank wouldn’t have thought that small businesses would want to meet us on Facebook, now it’s a really big thing for us.”
2. The place is everywhere
According to Lark, “Social media is going mobile. It’s what you are doing when you are doing what you are doing. 80 per cent of mobile users watch TV with a device in their hands and 40 per cent of these are using that device for social networking. Login activity peaks during television ad breaks. This tells us is that whatever you want the consumer to do, has to be possible within an ad break. Test the things you want your customers to do on your website or Facebook page, obsess over it and learn what works – for example, we’ve learned that blue has a 70 per cent better click rate than grey.”
3. Produce and personalise
Lark says that stories are more important than brands. “Create compelling content and tell your story on YouTube. Stand up for what you stand up for.” Lark also suggests changing the position of your search bar to the middle of the screen and calling it “What are you looking for?”
4. Play! Gamify everything
The next generation entering the workforce are gamers. The average college graduate has spent approximately 10,000 hours playing games. Games are bigger than movies and bigger than books. This means we have to make things fun. Gamifying a process is a powerful way to engage your audience.
5. Pursue your purpose
Good news for NFPs as Lark told the conference, “Purpose matters. Purpose driven companies outperform all companies in the general market. Ask yourself, why are we here? For CommBank, our CAN campaign works well because it resonates with our people. Your external brand message will only ring true if your employees live it. This is so important because people remember how you make them feel. Sometimes you don’t have a ‘brand problem’ you have a ‘way you make people feel’ problem.”
Melinda Cruz, CEO of The Miracle Babies Foundation and a conference participant said, “Just like the leading consumer brands, Not for Profits need to be innovative. It’s so important to stay current and relevant and look for new ways to keep people involved and engaged. The added challenge for NFPs is that they need to balance their ideas so they appeal to the recipients of their programs and to their donors and supporters.”
“Following Andy Lark’s talk, I am intrigued by the concept of gaming and how we could apply it to Miracle Babies. Currently we do a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day competition on Facebook and that works really well for us. It’s a great way for families to celebrate their miracles and gain comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone. Now I want to explore this further,” Cruz said.
“One thing that comes to mind is whether we could involve families in the decision making around where our funds or efforts go. Maybe there’s a gaming idea that could involve siblings and our miracle babies as they grow into toddlers and beyond? Food for thought! I would encourage other NFPs to think about how they can harness the concept of gaming to deepen their engagement with their social media audiences.”