The original live blog post is on the Blogwell blog. This is my more narrative version of the session. If you've never attended Blogwell, the sessions are tight, 20-minute case studies with 10 minutes for questions after.
The company Deluxe is the largest check printer in the country but wants to be known as "the easy, affordable brand that helps small business grow."
The project That desired shift from being perceived as a printer of checks to being known for small business support was the inspiration for Project REV, a year-long marketing lab that took place from summer 2010 to summer 2011. Fourteen hundred initial applicants were pruned to nine winners, who each received $5,000 worth of marketing products and services from Deluxe. REV project goals included generating brand awareness for Deluxe as a small business expert and gaining insights and feedback on the product line.
The social media strategy Initially, Deluxe simply made Twitter and Facebook notifications for the launch, both on their own pages and through their partners’ social media accounts (SCORE, Ink Magazine, etc.) The original strategy involved using a spokesperson to be the face of the REV social media presence, which was geared toward sharing general stories and tips about small business.
Turning strategy to stories The spokesperson and generic business knowledge strategy fell flat. What Deluxe discovered was that by far the most compelling and popular postings were the personal challenges, struggles and stories of the nine contest winners themselves. The REVers' personal business challenges became the story, and the spokesperson was phased out. One REVer even ended up on the Martha Stewart Show!
Result 1: Speedy product innovation In one instance, the REVers shared a problem with one particular product offering, so Deluxe solicited additional opinions about that product on their Facebook page. Instead of going through a lengthy internal process, Deluxe was able to crowdsource instant feedback on the troublesome product and deliver a speedy change back to engaged users.
Result 2: New business offerings After the project, the REVers were invited to a post-project brain dump. In two days, they came up with four new high-value business offerings for Deluxe. The result? Deluxe improved their product line.
For the Deluxe review of the project, the blog post is here. Interestingly, Stephanie Chandler points out in that post that statistically, at least one of the businesses should have gone out of business. But rather, in a down economy, they all thrived.
Run a small business and interested in Project REV? Currently, Deluxe is taking applications through the end of September for this year’s REV, which is giving away an increased $15,000 in services to each winner.