Sharpie Blog Puts Newell Rubbermaid’s Social Media Strategy into “Sharper” Focus
- Companies must grapple with both their corporate and consumer brands, which are often served by different social media strategies.
- Each product may differ in emphasis and focus, but they all should fit into one overall marketing strategy.
- Social media is one part of that strategy; traditional marketing efforts still dominate.
Companies have multiple brand identities. There is the corporate brand relevant for investors, regulators, and job applicants. And then there are individual product brands, which customers care about. Unless you need to highlight your corporate agenda, your social media strategy will typically support your brands.
Take Atlanta based Newell Rubbermaid. I venture to say that few have heard of the Newell Rubbermaid corporate entity even if they know many of its products including Sharpie pens, Graco baby seats and Rubbermaid containers.
Bert mentioned that Newell Rubbermaid had just launched a product blog for its Sharpie pens. Along with its Graco and Rubbermaid blogs, Newell Rubbermaid now has three blogs. There is no Newell Rubbermaid corporate blog.
Its blogging strategy is consistent with a company that is successfully shifting from a B2B to B2C marketing strategy that highlights individual product brands.
So how do these blogs reach their users?
- For the Rubbermaid blog, its purpose is not brand awareness. Most people have heard of Rubbermaid. The goal is to increase awareness of its products. Most people don’t know the extent of the product line. The blog therefore targets influencers, like professional organizers to help validate the products and spread the word.
- For the Graco Baby blog, the issue was brand awareness. The goal is to “humanize” the brand by targeting mommy bloggers and highlighting the real people behind what was perceived as a corporate brand. The blog has helped increase Graco’s positive awareness from 65 percent to 83 percent.
- Sharpie has a hugely loyal user base. The purpose of this blog is to create a platform that opens the brand to conversation and what Newell Rubbermaid believes is a pent up desire to engage with them. It is intended to play up the cool factor and will feature artists and creative outlets for Sharpie pens.
Three brands, three blogs, three approaches but one overall strategy. Blogs managed individually by different brand managers. Newell Rubbermaid’s Dumas understands that conversations are critical to a brand’s future, but that they take a long time to develop. That is why their focus is on cultivating relationships and slowly reaching out to their respective communities.
While Bert is pleased with the success of the blogs, they don’t draw the same amount of traffic as the Graco, Rubbermaid and Sharpie websites. As Bert freely admits, they aren’t meant to draw the same number of visitors. They are intended to complement, not compete. They are vehicles to engage their biggest fans. They are part of an overall social media strategy based on long-term conversations and not hard sell traditional advertising.
And herein lies Newell Rubbermaid’s success. Their social media strategy reflects the unique nature of their individual users, even while adhering to a consistent broader marketing strategy. It is a delicate balance, but based on customer feedback, it appears to be a formula that is working.