Zippyz by Little Trendyz

zippys by little trendyzZippyz by Little Trendyz is a company that was created by a mom who was frustrated with the onesies and footed pajamas on the market. Lisa Youngelson came up with the idea when she was tired of dealing with late night changes that left her baby boy Ryan with a cold and exposed chest during changes. Lisa realized that she was not pleased with either kind of newborn pajama on the market; the snaps were hard to line up, the zipper was leaving his chest cold, there just had to be an easier way! And then there was.. Lisa created the Zippyz in 2010 as a combination of both pajama styles. With three snaps on top, and a zipper from foot to belly, babies stay warm while getting changed. Zippyz are made from a combination of organic cotton and bamboo making the pajama soft for babies and eco-friendly. Take a look at how Zippyz work below.

This product is geared towards new parents and new babies. With its easy to use changing abilities, it cuts the changing process in half, and with the soft material, parents don’t have to worry about the material that they are dressing their babies in. The product is the company’s biggest strength. Since there is no other product like this on the market, Zippyz can capitalize on this opportunity to become a household name. At this time there is a lack of product awareness and brand recognition which can be changed through an integrated marketing campaign (IMC). In order to truly build awareness and recognition, creating an IMC strategy that integrates the same branding and messaging through different channels will help Zippyz be seen on a larger scale. At this time, the biggest threat to Zippyz would be a more established company creating a similar product for a lower price point. At $25 a pair it is a product that is geared towards middle class families.

Due to the  potential for growth that Zippyz is exhibiting, I would suggest a major overhaul of all social media channels in order to create consistent brand imagery. I would implement a #zippyz hashtag in order to be found easier across all channels, as well as start using channels more frequently. By posting more consistently Zippyz will be found much quicker and with a higher search ranking. Including a blog in the campaign will be especially important, with a blog that is consistently being updated more keywords and tagged words will boost rankings and being found. In order to not have to wonder about what to post about, I would take the approach of a “parent” blog. Reaching out to other parents who have good baby products that aren’t being recognized and having them guest write, as well as offer tips and advice for new parents. A nice mix of advice and product referrals will really help the brand Little Trendyz become much more recognized as a go-to source for parents. Another great way to increase awareness would be to hold contests and promotions where people can win one of the products. This would increase shares and likes depending on the contest.

In order to make the process of posting on various platforms easier, I would implement a tool like Hootsuite. By using Hootsuite for posting could be planned in advance on a weekly basis in order to save time. It would also allow one place to check and track interaction with followers instead of jumping from platform to platform. Using an IMC will help take a great product farther, faster. By integrating the brand through the various platforms, Zippyz can quickly become a household name.

Reputation Management as a Social Media Manager

This post is a school assignment. The images below were provided and the responses below were created by me, as if I was the social media manager at each hotel. 

Complaint #1

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Dear Travelwith3kiddos,

Thank you so much for your feedback. It is wonderful hearing from guests so that we can always strive to provide better service. While we have recently undergone a transition into the Hyatt Regency Orlando, customer service has been, and always will be our number one priority.

I am so glad your children enjoyed our pool, and due to your feedback we have created a new system for cleaning and timeliness to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We have also implemented free valet parking for 5 days for one car due to your feedback.

I am sorry to hear that your experience at the Cappriccio, now the Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, was less than satisfactory. I do know that they get busy, but I apologize for your wait since you did have a reservation. I would like to invite you back to the hotel and offer you a dinner on us. Thank you again for your information, we can better provide customer service through feedback like yours. I hope we will be in touch soon.

Best wishes,

Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh

Social Media Manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando

Complaint #2

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Dear LUV2TRAVELWITHHUBBY,

Thank you so much for providing us with your feedback. I am sorry that you were disappointed with your stay here. I would like to reassure you that at The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina we take customer satisfaction very seriously. I know that we were busy with many people for the reunion, but that is not an excuse for less than satisfactory service, or for not having your room ready for you.

I appreciate the multitude of feedback and would like you to know we have heard your answers loud and clear. We have now implemented a shield over our parking lot gate box, that was a great suggestion. We have also hired more pool maintenance to ensure that the pool is better kept. Also, we have added 2 more bath towels in the room automatically, so as to reduce customers need for more towels.

I would really like to speak to you about your stay more in depth so we can address all of your concerns. I would like to invite you back to rectify the bad experience you had as well as ensure other customers don’t walk away with a bad experience. I hope to talk to you soon.

Best wishes,

Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh

Social Media Manager, The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina

How Biznik Can Help Your Business

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.24.20 PMThis week, we are learning about industry-related social networks. Sound confusing? Yea, I was too. So I did some research and here is what I learned.. An industry-related social network exists to assist people in one industry in communicating and connecting with other professionals or people who are interested in the same thing. There are lots of different kinds of platforms, one for practicing physicians, one for lawyers, one for cyclists, you get the idea.

The one I looked at is called Biznik and it is a site for small business owners. Just looking at the site and the motto, I am beginning to think this is a great idea. How nice would it be for people who are going through the same thing to be able to advise each other and help each other through hard times. Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.28.57 PMHere is just a quarter of the list of all the different options and how many people are a part of each specific category.

I think this is such a great concept, as someone who is beginning my own small business I am thrilled that I can find more people in my field that I can connect with and try to learn from. This platform has lots of different possibilities, however I think that more things could be explored.

I do think that this platform needs to be publicized more, until this class I didn’t even know that this platform existed and as someone who is studying social media I would hope that I would know about innovative ideas like this. I do think that more publicity would help this platform grow extensively. Another part of the platform that could be extended is the fact that at this point only major cities are listed, so I feel like a lot of the community isn’t being reached.

Something that is great about this article is the fact that people are writing articles and reaching out to each other and connecting. For instance, here is a great article about how business owners can react, “When Someone Says They Don’t Have the Money.” This is an article that was reviewed as a 9.1 out of 10, and read 3,564 times. That kind of information is very helpful, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in, if you are a consultant, at some point or another people may try to get out of paying your fees. Articles like this can really help people have the right responses ready to go so that they aren’t fumbling for words, and can maintain their confidence in themselves and their business.

Biznik has been growing in popularity since its inception in 2005. There are various articles talking about how great a platform it is, and how it truly leads to one on one networking with other business owners. Here is one article from Squidoo, one from SmallBizTrends, and one from Meylah, just in case you think I may have had the kool-aid.

The article from SmallBizTrends talks about how by using Biznik, people were able to meet up and connect socially at events in order to network with other people. It is a great idea to help business owners who are local to the same area have the ability to connect and meet up. This could lend itself to business owners meeting new people, being able to get more people on email lists, gain more social media followers, and even possibly work at different relationships with different businesses based on interests. For instance, someone who sells pastries and is looking to expand may be able to drop off items at a store that sells other items in order to gain visibility in the community if the two business owners can work out a reciprocal deal. I see a lot of possibility for growth in this platform as it become more popular and gains notoriety, I for one will be joining today.

Candy, Pets and Martha Stewart- A look at what works..

social-platformIn the past few weeks we have learned a lot about different ways that brands have taken control of their marketing. Some brands focus more on social media, while others integrate social media into their other marketing strategies.

The three companies I looked at are MandM’s, Martha Stewart and Petco. I have had experiences with all three which is why I chose them.

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MandM’s Black MandM Contest

MandM’s does a great job keeping up with the seasons and updating all of their websites to reflect the times as well as have marketing with their products in print and in person. Their YouTube page has lots of views, their Instagram has really funny photos for the fall, and their Twitter is fairly up to date. They consistently use the hashtag #mms which has created enough of a following that people have taken it and begun to use it themselves when they have pictures with various products.

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Ms. Brown MandM’s Twitter Page

Part of the integration method that they are using is combining different contests through various social media channels. For instance, on the left they posted a contest on Twitter that had a picture that linked to Instagram in order to drive traffic to that platform.

The way that this company uses all various forms of marketing between different social media platforms as well as marketing on products, in magazines, and in grocery ads is a well thought out strategy.

The next company I looked at was Martha Stewart. This brand is constantly working in various areas of improvement and updating their various social media platforms consistently. The way Martha Stewart integrates between the magazines she puts out, as well as all of the products she is selling, is a well thought out plan.

Martha Stewart uses various hashtags such as #MarthaStewartCrafts and #MarthasHalloweenHunt. Both of these allow other people to use the content provided as well as insert their own information to answer the riddles and connect back to their own Twitter.

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Martha Stewart’s YouTube

Another platform that they are using incredibly well is YouTube, the way that they connect their TV programming into clips on YouTube.

What Martha Stewart posts in her magazines is also mentioned on the website as well as having the ability to connect to her Apple apps for iPad and iPhones. The brand also allows you to subscribe to emails and receive daily messages on new posts.

The fact that she consistently uses the same themes in her work and stays up to date makes a big difference in her marketing. People know what to expect, they know that if a holiday is coming up there will be new content to look through for ideas on various items.

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Petco’s Facebook

Lastly, I looked at Petco for the ways that they reach out to customers. While you can sign up for emails, they also send you mail and you can sign up to receive coupons and discounts on items in store and online. Petco reaches out to customers and potential customers in different ways, truly showing how they integrate all of their marketing tactics.

Across all of their social media platforms they do keep consistent imagery and various campaigns. For instance, right now they are focusing on their Star Wars Halloween costume collection as well as timing it for their Halloween “Make a Scene” contest. They use their various social media platforms to cross publicize the contest and let people know what is going on. One thing they don’t do is use consistent hashtags. I was a little shocked about this, it seems as though creating a #Petco hashtag would be a simple enough thing for them to follow, but it is the customers who are using that and not the actually company.

Truthfully all of these companies have taken the time to stay up to date with their campaign strategies as well as making sure that they don’t only focus on social media. Something to constantly remember is that the best marketing is still face to face communication and word of mouth. Which is why even though all of these companies focus on social media they also make sure to have outreach to customers in other ways. Through product placement and sales, emails, social media, and mail.

Why I Would Love to Work for Michaels Wedding Section

Mark and Amanda (227 of 1037)When I began planning my wedding, I knew that there were a lot of personal touches I wanted to add to my design and scheme. Due to this, I decided to head over to Pinterest where I created my own Wedding board. This is something I really enjoyed, but what shocked me was that while there were lots of ideas for purchase, there weren’t always great do it yourself ideas.

Knowing I still wanted to add my own flavor to things, I decided to head over to my local Michaels. When I went over there, I was shocked to see there was a wedding section, something I believe is thoroughly under publicized. The picture on the right is something I created myself, from all Michaels products. It was my card box and I saw a similar idea online and went to the store and took it to the next level. While there are project ideas on your wedding page, there is not sufficient information, or instructions, or even ideas.

In order to truly take your marketing to the next level, there needs to be a lot more inspiration when it comes to your social media, and that is where I can come in. Not only am I passionate that every wedding should be every woman’s dream come true no matter how large or small the budget, I have also worked and created a lot of the projects from Michaels products, after being inspired elsewhere.

So what are good examples?

I think that the goal for any wedding inspiration would be to have as much publicity and trust as Martha Stewart’s DIY Weddings. One of the key parts of that, is giving away information for free.

Below Martha Stewart has paired up with Nordstrom to give advice on how to shop for wedding dresses:

This is something that Michaels sorely needs. Not just crafting information, but information on all things wedding if you want to be considered an authority for people to turn to. Another key part of becoming an industry leader is having videos of projects without constantly selling the products to make it. If someone sees the video and heads into a Michaels near them, that’s fabulous, but the truth is, you aren’t everywhere so if you post projects and don’t sell yourself when you do become larger people will be more willing to shop from you. Think of it as building a fan base through your social media presence preemptively. Below are two great videos, one on how to create a centerpiece using painted glass bottles and another on how to color mason jars. Both concepts are huge in the wedding market right now.

Painting glass bottles for centerpieces:

How to color mason jars yourself:

Bringing in other people who have worked on projects is a great way to create a social media presence, get great word of mouth from the people you are promoting and truly come across as more of a company that cares instead of always selling yourself and your products. Customers don’t want to always be sold to, and that is why being helpful and providing information for free is so important. It creates a trust and a bond so that customers reach to you first.

What does this all mean?

While Michaels does a great job at having wonderful products to make crafts, there needs to be a much better process on how to get the word out about your wedding section. There should be a complete social media overhaul, which I am more than happy to join in and help with! While you are doing a good job on your Michaels Stores Facebook, there isn’t one for weddings and I think you are really missing out.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 11.02.05 PM  Just looking at this infographic, if you multiply $27,000.00 by the 18,000 brides questioned, that is a $486,000,000.00 million dollar market that you need to be a bigger part of. Even if you only look at smaller pieces, this is a big chunk of what happens every year, and Michaels Weddings needs to be a much bigger part of it and have a much larger presence.

In closing, I would love to hear from you regarding my ideas, and it would be wonderful to work together to bring your company more social influence and in the end, a higher profit margin in your wedding and crafts section.

Old Navy Online – What Works and What Doesn’t.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 2.07.04 PMLast week I took a look at Old Navy and what they were doing with their branding online. Old Navy does a great job of constantly updating their website with new promotions. Last week there was a promotion on baby clothes. This week there is a focus on women’s outfits. While Old Navy doesn’t have a blog, they do create new material online under their Shop Our Favorites section. For instance, new this week is a section called Black + White = Chic. This shows different products that they have in black and white to show people new ways to wear their pieces of clothing.

Other features on the site include signing up for emails, having the ability to find something in a store near you, and being able to click on various social media platform links. Such as their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page. This provides customers with the ability to do their own pull marketing if they want to stay connected to the company in other ways.

Another cool feature is the ability to reach out and put your own information in the site and become a part of their database is a great example of pull marketing. Old Navy provides the opportunity to give your information in order to get coupons and discounts, this is a great way to not push customers too much and possibly push them away from wanting to be your customer. As far as push marketing techniques, once someone does sign up for emails or text messaging alerts, Old Navy does send emails quite frequently. In fact, they send an email about three or four times a week.

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No matter what week you go to their site, when you first get there, a coupon pops up to let you know that there is a possible discount depending on what you purchase. This is a great push marketing technique since they are letting the customer know right away that if they weren’t convinced they were going to buy something today, the coupon may be able to change their mind. Another couple of great features are being able to sign up by text message, or shop from a mobile phone. While there is an Old Navy mobile app, I really don’t think it is a great one.

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These three screenshots were from their app, Old Navy Snap Appy. The concept is that when you snap a picture of their logo, anywhere, you get a “snap surprise”.  The photo all the way to the left is the wheel spinning to see what you’ll get. I snapped 8 photos and all I ever got was either a Fabcabulary or a Fabulous Phone-Y Compliment. Either way, it was not impressive. To improve upon this content, I really would suggest including the “Outfits We Love” section in this app. I would also make it easier to use this app for shopping, instead when you click on it, nothing happens. Also, if there is a possibility of a “deal” on the wheel, it should actually happen in a timely manner. Since I didn’t get one when I spun 8 times, I will never bother to do it again. Even though I shop at Old Navy all the time, I will forget about this since I have never gotten anything valuable from it. This app is a way that they could really improve upon their integrated marketing. It does not include the same information that is on their website, but it also does not add anything to my Old Navy experience. The marketing in store and online always seems happy and friendly and helpful, this app is none of those things. The website is fabulous, the only thing that can be improved upon is possibly having a blog. I have noticed a lot of fashion companies have blogs describing outfit choices and give information about accessories. I think this would be a great way to reach out to customers in a non-push format so that they can get some added value without having to purchase anything.

Push and Pull Marketing

After all that we learned this week, I believe that push and pull marketing work together to increase people viewing both social media sites as well as websites. Push marketing is great because it allows a company to do what it is there to do, sell. It allows for honesty in a time where having integrity and believing in a company or product may not always happen. It also is great for a consumer since push marketing sometimes involves an incentive of some kind. Whether it is a free item with purchase, a discount code for a coupon, or early entry into a sale, no matter what the consumer is winning if it is a product they are interested in. Lastly, push marketing is a great way to ensure that the people who are viewing your site and signing up for your emails want to be there. If they don’t they won’t sign up which will save you time rather than have people use fake email addresses and getting bounce backs.

However, people don’t always want the hard sell, and that is why pull marketing is also great. With pull marketing a company has to work for their end game, whether it is for someone to buy a product or just sign up for a newsletter. Pull marketing forces companies to look outside their comfort zone and offer different pieces of information to get what they want. It is a great way for a company to teach a consumer something different about what is going on with their brand, for instance as a social media maven, I post a lot of different blogs and articles on my page so that people can take that knowledge and learn something on their own. Also, it allows consumers to decide if they want to take part in the marketing or not. Consumers make the decisions, and people like to make their own decisions instead of having their email taken unknowingly.

I think the two concepts work together by finding consumers who are interested in your product or company and by allowing consumers to be in charge of their own news feeds or what emails they receive.  Professor Rhoads spoke in her lecture about the drastic difference between how many people visit a Facebook or Twitter page and how many visit a website. I believe that is extremely true since companies that don’t sell on their website don’t always have interesting information on there to grab a consumer’s attention. Integrating website information with social media feeds is essential to direct traffic between the two.

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One company that I think does a great job integrating the two marketing concepts, is J.Crew. They do a fabulous job of not only having an interesting Facebook page, but also of directing their consumers back to their own website. For instance, their Discovered collection shows a bunch of special items that they have selected and when people want to look at them further, they choose to go to the site. This way, even though a consumer may want more information, they have to get it themselves and it isn’t always a hard sell.

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Another thing that J.Crew does is have their own blog. This is a great way for their consumers to follow up with what the women or men in the office believe are the greatest trends. It is also a place for individuals to get free fashion advice from people they want to style themselves after. Once you look at the blog and find an outfit you like, it is up to you to go back to the site and purchase the different pieces to create it.

The second company I looked at is Chanel. Looking at these two companies makes me think that fashion truly lends itself to great push and pull marketing.

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Chanel is considered high fashion or haute couture, yet for someone who wants to stay in touch with what is going on with them, there is a Facebook page filled with videos and information about photo shoots with celebrities as well as images like this one that link to their Chanel News site that gives information about different events happening around the world as well as the ability to subscribe and receive all of this information at your email. Another prime example of using the push and pull marketing method to put information out there in an interesting way and allowing the consumer to decide whether or not they want to take the next step and receive more information.

Why I Think Old Navy is Getting it Right

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Old Navy is a company that I believe is handing social media and brand strategy in a very effective way. When it comes to reaching out to customers, they send emails consistently letting people know about sales and upcoming products, as well as staying on top of different forms of social media. On their website, when you go to their page, there are consistently happy pictures and images while still constantly allocating a section right on the home page that gives a coupon code, or sale information.

Another way they emphasize their branding is by using the picture shown above on both their Facebook page and Twitter page. Using the same pictures across various platforms is a great way to maintain ease of identification for users. This way people know what company they are looking at very quickly.

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Old Navy stays up to date with various information on Twitter by posting anywhere from 1 – 4 times per day. Some Twitter posts, are more well received than others. I screenshot a picture to the right of what is one of their most popular recent tweets. It got 50 retweets and was selected as a favorite, 100 times. It is promoting a sale, while also promoting a new style. This is one of the ways that Old Navy is keeping their customers engaged in their Twitter feed while also letting them know what is going on in their stores.

This week we read an article by Stephanie Schwab that spoke about branding. I think that of the things she speaks about, the branding voice really resonates with Old Navy. The tone that is used by Old Navy is consistently bright and cheery while being informative about products. The character is friendly, warm, and directed to women throughout all of their sites. The purpose is clearly to sell and the language is always simple. I believe that Old Navy uses Stephanie Schwab’s concepts wholeheartedly.

oldnavypinterestThe concept also extends to their Pinterest page. While Old Navy still strives to sell their clothing, on Pinterest they are also reaching out and showing their customers different ways that they can use their clothing in their lifestyle. This shows the company in a different way. Instead of always selling to the consumer, they are now also showcasing their items and other items and how consumers can use them in their life.

All of these different things are why I think Old Navy is doing a great job reaching out to customers. They have a consistent brand and are working on reaching out to customers in various social media platforms.

Communication Planning vs. Media Planning

Before reading this chapter, I will admit that I thought communications planning and media planning weren’t all that different. However, I was completely wrong. According to Young (2010) “Media planning is focused on reaching as many of the right audience in the right place at the right time and at the right cost as possible, whereas communications planning is less about reaching people than influencing them.” 1 As more social media applications and platforms grow in popularity, influence is a major desire for companies and people. Knowing how you are influencing people has become such a major strategy that platforms have come out solely to measure influence, such as Klout. I have to say that when I plugged in all of my information and saw what my own Klout score was, seeing the impact of my influence was incredible. It was enough to really make me think of what I was doing to see how I could influence the people who follow, like, or friend me even more. I find it very interesting that across all platforms, people may or may not choose to follow a brand. For instance, I have a lot of followers on Pinterest, but not nearly as many on Instagram. This shows that some platforms may showcase my personality and ingenuity better than others. Just because people find me interesting in one aspect, they might not find me interesting at all in another. This holds true for brands and companies as well. Just because I have liked Old Navy on Facebook, does not mean I am interested in seeing what they are doing on Twitter. Influence is a concept that shows how much companies have to prove their brand management across various borders.

Thinking of how to apply the concept of influence to various channels, I took a look at the readings and video and would like to focus on how the tone, purpose, language, and persona can enhance a brand no matter what platform is used.2  By ensuring that what a company or person puts out into the world maintains the same branding as what they do in print and other communication appeals, I believe this is a good way to handle branding and create a communications strategy. For instance, I would like to expand my business in social media, so not only do I strive to show my personality through all of my social media interaction, but I also like to try and help others with ideas when possible. I created a Pinterest board solely about social media which has already helped me get new followers and new people interacting with me. This is a strategy that I am using to help my brand. Whether it will work or not, I will see in the long run. Right now my main focus is creating a brand that I feel best represents me. I think companies need to do the same thing when it comes to their own brand strategies and they need to figure out ways to be on many social media platforms in different ways that represent their own branding strategy.

1 – Young, Antony. “A Shift From Media Planning to Communications Planning.” Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 74. Print.

2 – Schwab, Stephanie. “Finding Your Brand Voice.” Social Media Explorer Finding Your Brand Voice Comments. N.p., 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 05 Sept. 2013. <http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/finding-your-brand-voice/&gt;.

Classic Marketing v. Social Marketing

This week we have been looking at the differences between classic, traditional marketing, and social media marketing. I think that there are strengths to both kinds of marketing but I think that as more people are coming into the digital age, social media marketing is the way of the future. While there are people who still look at magazines and newspapers for their primary sources of information, more and more people are looking online for things such as watching TV or keeping up with what is going on in the world. I think some classic marketing campaigns, such as billboard ads or subway stations have a place but shorter online ads should be incorporated into a marketing campaign as well. Should companies stick to just one way or the other? No, I truly think that companies should maintain both levels of marketing, possibly with an emphasis on social media, since companies are able to gain more traction and react to customers better. Scheduling campaigns is great, and when people can schedule using social media as well as traditional formats I think that is the way to success. I looked at Old Navy since they are a company that is doing well.  They  are running a long range campaign where fans send in pictures in football gear from Old Navy and send it in with the hashtag, #ONSuperFan.

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This campaign is a great way to ask for customer interaction and have customers come back and look for their pictures. While doing that, customers will see new content that has been posted including sales that are going on or new outfit ideas. Old Navy is really doing a good job at interacting with their customers, including responding to complaints.

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Here is a screenshot of customer complaints and how Old Navy customer relations employees respond to different complaints.

I think Old Navy is a company that not only has great campaign ads, but is also handling customer communications amazingly well. They respond to customers quickly and try to handle any and all complaints. I think in the way that Old Navy is handling their marketing, they are more successful with long range ad campaigns, as well as customer communications. I think the transparency of quick interaction that handles customers problems publicly is much better than communication that is done behind closed doors.

All in all, while scheduling ads does well in a classic and traditional format as well as spontaneously through social media, customer communications are really done  better in a fast and public fashion. This way customers know that a company is reliable with immediate interaction.