Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Talk about EasyShare…Kodak Leverages Social Media

An interesting article came across Twitter (where else…) about the use of social networking by large brands to put out fires and respond to PR disasters in a timely fashion.

Kodak saw a serious miscommunication go through to press. Apparently, the Wall Street Journal published some financial information that was incorrect and possibly damaging to the company. Kodak and its public-relations firm, Eric Mower & Associates responded by using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and urged bloggers to clarify the issue and clear the air.

I like this story because it shows the day to day application power of social networking and shows that it has become a real vehicle that can be tapped into without over thinking strategies or weighing its value against other, more traditional means. A top Kodak official even recorded a video reply for YouTube as an extra precaution.

My favorite part of the story is that the damage control that was accomplished online through these tools was turned around almost immediately while the company had to wait for the WSJ to issue an official correction. Without the power of social media broadcasting, this company would have required a lot more time and budget to fix the mess.

Major media brands like CNN, Wall Street Journal and Yahoo all have corporate Twitter followings. What makes social media attractive is the super targeting capabilities. Messages can be broadcasted to the most influential groups very quickly.

It’s refreshing to see social media being used for communication other than straight advertising.

A realistic view of how the web is used today and total awareness of the tools within it saved Kodak from serious exposure.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Vertical Directory Goes Green...For Salons At Least

So much for idle gossip and chitchat at the salon…my last haircut brought vertical wisdom and a deeper appreciation for directories tied to social responsibility.

Toronto based GoGreenSalon launched last year as a vertical directory catering to the salons and spas sector in Canada and abroad. I had the unique pleasure of chatting with GoGreenSalon founder Allan Parss as he cut my hair.

Hundreds of salons have signed up to be listed in the new directory and have received the signature sleek looking white bins and 100% recycled plastic disposal bags as part of the deal.

The directory appears to have tapped into a new market of salon owners that are after a stylish approach to going green. The GoGreenSalon program teaches its members about what materials can be recycled or re-used and offers tips on how to create a socially conscious salon or spa.

Interestingly, my whole conversation with Allan started when I noticed the bins and asked about them. So as a consumer, I have to admit that it created a bit of a halo effect to the salon. I learned that foils can be re-used or recycled (a major material used globally at salons), hair can be recycled and that there is a long list of products that are biodegradable in a hot, stylish kind of way...

The business model is simple. Pay $250, get listed for one year and receive a white bin with pick-up service and a starter kit of 25 100% recycled waste bags. Each year after, the price of membership drops to $99. Members signing up on or before Earth Day 2009 will have the $99 renewal fee waived creating a two year listing. Each additional bin costs $20 and the bags are sold in 10 packs for $10. has received great support from municipal services with regards to pick-up terms and options. Recycling is an interesting business in itself and the company seems to be leveraging it.

The company is also currently busy developing an environmentally friendly hair and spa product line. Maintaining its “clean” brand, the line promises to provide salons with products of superior quality, irresistible packaging and (naturally) environmentally friendly ingredients.

Although the bulk of current members are Canadian, Allan plans to penetrate the US and European markets this year.

I really like this idea and all the potential products that can revolve around the central directory offering.

More after my next visit to the "chair"…