Survey Says Social Customer Service is Popular but Messy

There’s nothing like the spirit of competition to make a company jump on a new bandwagon. This time around it’s social media as a customer service channel.

Today we’re looking at the results of a survey by two companies, thinkJar and Sword Ciboodle. First off, we must stop to appreciate how totally cool those names are. Doesn’t everyone want to work for a company named Sword Ciboodle? Amazing.

Okay, now that I’m done fawning, let’s get to the facts. The study is called We Are Social: The State of Social Customer Service and the main takeaway is that companies are diving into social customer service before they know how deep the pool is or if they even know how to swim.

American Icons Top BrandPower List

An icon is a symbol that evokes a visceral feeling when you see it. They’re well-known images that nearly everyone can relate to and generally they represent the very best a category has to offer.

All that may sound very grandiose when talking about advertising, but there are handful of brands that truly are American icons. You’ll find most of them at the top of CoreBrand’s 2011 PowerRanking Report.

To build the list, CoreBrands surveyed 10,000 consumers asking them to rank brand names based on familiarity, reputation, and favorability over other brands. The usual suspects landed on top without too much shuffling in the rankings over the past few years. Harley-Davidson jumped up after a decline but I don’t get why they’re listed in the Hotel & Entertainment industry.

New Theater Policy: Please Do Not Silence Your Cell Phone

Second-screen usage while watching TV is a growing trend. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, more people than ever are chatting with friends, playing games and syncing up for points while they watch their favorite shows. It’s great publicity for the series and it’s an excellent way to get viewers to engage with advertising content. So why not extend this idea to the movie theater?

Movie theater execs discussed this very topic at their recent industry convention in Las Vegas. According to the LA Times, the Chief Exec for Regal Entertainment suggested that allowing people to text during some movies could be good for business.

An exec from a Texas based chain replied, “Over my dead body.”

Google Gets Hit With Fine for Obstructing FCC Investigation

Google’s Street View is a very helpful tool when you’re driving to a place you’ve never visited before. But what are we willing to give up in return for the convenience? No one wants to pay in cash for the service, so how about you turn over your web history and email instead?

More than a year ago, the FCC began an investigation about the data collected by Google’s Street View teams. It was learned that in addition to photographing an area, the happy little cars also scooped up data from unprotected wireless networks.

Google has never denied the data collection, but they have had a variety of explanations. According to a report in the LA Times, Google first went with the theory that an “unauthorized engineer” put the plan in motion without permission from the company. The data was collected but no one did anything with it.

AMC’s The Pitch Makes Advertising Entertaining

If you’ve ever thought of advertising execs as naked, glistening, sword-wielding gladiators, then have I got a show for you.

AMC’s The Pitch is like Mad Men but without the cool clothes. each week, the series follows two real-life agencies as they meet, brainstorm, create and pitch their campaign concept hoping to win the big client.

In the first episode, which airs tonight, April 30, at 9, mid-size agency McKinny goes up against “envelope-pushing” WDCW on a campaign for Subway. The sandwich shop wants to convince millennials to buy their breakfast at Subway and that’s a tall order.

McKinny, smartly, brings in some young guns of their own and invites them to compete against each other. They come up with animated sandwiches and a rap music video.

Study Shows Social Media Marketing Management is Haphazard at Best

A surprising number of people are still confused about social media marketing. They know it’s on trend and that it’s probably good for business but logistically, it’s still a bit of a mystery for most.

EPiServer recently surveyed 250 UK marketing decision makers and their thoughts on social media marketing were all over the board. On the upside, 77% of them said they were running some kind of online community and 35% said they’ve been using social media for more than a year.

Of those with a social media marketing strategy, 30% said it’s increased their customer loyalty, 25% said it increased web traffic and 21% said they saw a direct increase in sales. Bravo. But only 1 in 10 said they had an effective means of measuring the benefits and that’s crazy.

YouTube Gains as Facebook Numbers Continue to Slide

Nielsen just released their Top Web Brands stats for March 2012. The usual suspects made the list, but when you compare the charts to months back, you can see an interesting trend. YouTube’s audience is growing — as it should. Facebook’s audience is on the decline — no comment.

Here’s the newest data:

Compared to August of last year:

Facebook is still easily holding second place and they rule the world when it comes to time per person. YouTube’s growth hasn’t been enough to raise them up out of fifth place, but even a slight gain in audience beats a decline anytime.