11: 55 AM Tuesday, July 20, 2010. David Witt from General Mills speaks on How to Work with Bloggers and Influencers. They use Consumer Engagement Networks. This gives direct relationships with consumers. My Blog Spark (bloggers, online), Pssst! (influential consumers, a screening panel) and My Get Together (in home get togethers). Two of three are off line, non public.
Learn *who are your influencers* -- in the consumer segment this can be bloggers, tweeters, people who have developed a following.
Have Clear Objectives up front:
Listen & learn
Approach consumer relationships as a friendship. Be respectful, supportive. Stay in touch. Say THANK YOU. Share behind the scenes and special information. Ask for their opinions, feedback, ideas. Listen to their advice.
GM offered their influencers the opportunity to buy goods at the company store. An example of "behind the scenes" access.
Listening is the most difficult, and the most important.
In the conversation: be authentic. Do not spam (one size does not fit all). Be conversational in tone. Ask, don't tell. Realize that you cannot control the conversation.
Add value: relevant, interesting content. Experiences, exclusivity,a look inside. Offer clear intent of relationship. Follow FTC & WOMMA Ethics guidelines.
Disclosure: be overtly transparent, authentic. Identify as working for the brand.
The Key Learning from General Millss process and experience:
The Bottom Line: to have remarkable results, the brand must be remarkable.