Somewhere in our not too distant future Facebook easily broke the 1 billion user barrier.
Although brand involvement remained stable, Facebook acquired some "friends" along the way in the form of shareholders. Mr. Zuckerberg – ever the savvy entrepreneur, felt it time to re-invigorate Facebook’s brand and shareholder relationships with a new and vital product.
Facebook Community – Meet Brand Buddies:
Based on Facebook’s über-rich user data, ads and offers have been served up by brands based on the traditional; such as demographics, age, gender, interests, what “friends” like, and other - all good stuff, but, still in a way general, and, not actually personal, or, based on what you and I really like from the brands we may want to hear from.
Enter Facebook’s potential game-changer: “Brand Buddies.” Brand Buddies takes us a step beyond the brand “Fan” action with its pseudo-personalized ad delivery approach coming along for the ride.
Brand Buddies is much more intimate. It’s all about you – not the brand. You choose the brands (like you pick a friend) you want to be close buddies with, and, in return, Facebook’s Brand Buddies will give you, and only you, all sorts of fantastic reasons why you would like to be their “Buddy.”
The communal demographic, age, gender, interest, and the other usual suspects targeting approach isn’t the staple for Brand Buddies in its serving of “offers;” what you as person specifically like is. With your permission, a Brand Buddy gets to know you – because, your Brand Buddy will ask. You share with your Buddies the products and things that you like, what you’re interested in, (like giving a friend thoughts on what you may want for your birthday) and, when any of your Brand Buddies has a great offer just for you, they’ll let you know first - before anybody else - the minute the offer happens, just for being a Facebook Brand Buddy.
Brand Buddies is an invitation to the biggest Social Marketing party out there with the ultimate reward for attending and making “friends” through special offers, deals, surprises and exclusives only for you.
As a “Buddy” you opt in easy, add or delete Brand Buddies or opt out just as easily. You can invite your Brand Buddies in on special occasions or deals, holidays, seasons, and other if you want. You come, go, change, share as you please – no muss no fuss. Plus, if you’re not yet inclined to jump on your Brand Buddy’s special offer just received, simply click the “Buddy” icon and save it to your Buddy Bin for later. And, don’t worry - Brand Buddies will give you a few friendly reminders on that offer saved in your Buddy Bin. Oh, and you always have the option to just cancel the whole deal… but, with all the great offers from your Brand Buddies - why would you?
Brand Buddies doesn’t want to waste your time on things that aren’t exciting for you, or, you don’t have an interest in – because that just isn’t how a real-life “buddy” would act.
Brand Buddies desire is to treat you very special - VIP special.
A big part of a brand’s Facebook life revolves around the craving of you being a Fan of theirs. Not so with Facebook Brand Buddies - Brand Buddies craves being a fan of you. And, make no mistake, brands can’t wait to prove that they’re worthy of being your “Buddy.”
Facebook’s Brand Buddies mission is to take its “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” soul to a deeper place of “digital connectedness:” “Connect with the brands you love so they can love you back with deals, surprises, values, offers, and more - just for you.”
Optimized for our “mobile” lives, brands, and Facebook shareholders were excited about Brand Buddies’ potential. Ad agencies, well, they’re drooling.
Facebook began rounding up carefully chosen brands and users for “Buddies” beta-testing in both the US and Japan. They had no problem getting testers on either end. Some brands wanted to be a part of the Buddies testing so bad they offered “gratuities.” (But, what can you give a man who has everything.)
Brands are provided a healthy amount of control over their Brand Buddy offer display. For example; a brand could put the text they wanted in the Buy button to make things more fun. Colorization of the offer’s contents or, individual words to match a brand’s logo colors is another option. The Facebook Brand Buddies display and control echoes the mobile experience with the exception of the Buy button, (which just says "Buy" in Mobile) because of the obvious smaller display area.
Brand Buddies sole focus is conversion, and, in more ways than one. And, one of them is presenting brands the opportunity and means to fall more in love with their customers than themselves - with all paths leading to customer conversion, and, a deeper “community” involvement.
Kohl’s, a Buddies beta-tester, was especially captivated by its potential. After all, Kohl’s marketing gurus literally rewrote the book on how to successfully and consistently keep customers coming back for more, which, bordered on its customers becoming Kohl’s “addicts.” So, even at the Brand Buddies beta-testing stage Kohl’s began formulating a plan to incorporate their insanely successful Kohl’s Cash Rewards program along with video into their Brand Buddies marketing strategy.
Yesterday’s marketing masters crafted the “special sauce” template for successful marketing. Now it verged on being reinvented – in "Real-Time Marketing" - the Facebook way.