To capture the attention of a younger, technology-savvy consumer and establish relevance for camera manufacturer Nikon with this influential audience, MWW Group created a publicity campaign for the company to reach these consumers where they spend most of their time: the Internet. MWW’s efforts would ensure the company became an active part of the daily Internet conversation by leveraging the power of bloggers to drive coverage, discussion and commentary about Nikon and its products.
When studies and focus groups confirmed that a majority of the younger demographic Nikon was trying to reach spent as much time on the Internet networking, sharing photos and videos, and expressing their opinion on a broad range of issues as they did with “traditional” media, the company was determined to find ways to establish relevance with this hard-to-impress audience.
But to succeed in this ever-changing space, Nikon needed to build a meaningful online presence that transcended banner ads and Internet placements. As Nikon has little budget for advertising, it was imperative that the public relations programming find creative ways to forge meaningful relationships with recommenders and influencers in the blogosphere.
While a relationship with this community did already exist, Nikon recognized the need to better leverage online mediums to reach these key influencers and make Nikon a more consistent part of the Internet conversation.
There were three objectives: to increase the number of positive coverage, discussions, and commentary about Nikon and its products in the blogosphere by 100 percent; to solidify relationships with bloggers at influential gadget sites such as Engadget and Gizmodo to drive positive coverage for Nikon on these key enthusiast sites; and to adopt new communication tools to make it easier for online media and bloggers to access product information 24/7, including high-resolution photography, while increasing Nikon’s relevance on search engines for products and key words.
MWW’s campaign targeted technology-minded consumers between the ages of 18 to 35, who spend a significant portion of their income on consumer electronics purchases and spend a significant amount of time on the Internet. In order to reach this audience and drive third-party endorsement for the brand, Nikon targeted key bloggers.
MWW Group worked with its DialogueMedia new media practice to conduct extensive research.
Primary research included telephone surveys of 20 key “traditional” technology journalists to find out what bloggers they regularly read, what they look for in an online press room and any frustrations they have in their dealings with online press rooms; a comprehensive audit to determine the 100 most influential bloggers for Nikon; and individual meetings with 20 of the most influential bloggers to get their input in the development and functionality of Nikon’s new online press room.
Secondary research included an analysis of blog coverage of consumer electronics companies including coverage of top competitors such as Canon.
As a result of its research, MWW confirmed that approximately 100 bloggers were primarily responsible for shaping the opinions of Nikon’s target consumers through the millions of cumulative visitors to their sites. The research also revealed that these bloggers desperately wanted tools that meet the immediate, real-time needs, such as RSS feeds and 24/7 access to high-resolution photos from online press rooms and that a significant number of bloggers already owned Nikon products and comprised a significant “enthusiast” community that posted pictures to photo-sharing sites like Flickr and could be further tapped to build an online presence for the brand.
As a result, Nikon and MWW recognized that positive blogger coverage was fundamental to establishing a meaningful online presence for Nikon. The PR team reevaluated its existing marketing programming to ensure communication with bloggers was integrated into all marketing activities including new advertising campaigns, marketing partnerships and special programs, as well as within its public relations efforts.
Three key areas of focus were identified to deliver the desired results for Nikon. With so many independent bloggers in the space, Nikon had to identify and communicate with the right bloggers in order to significantly build its share of voice in the blogosphere. In order to be perceived as a high-tech, progressive company, Nikon had to communicate with bloggers on their terms and adopt industry leading communication tools to deliver information in a manner that was as innovative as the products it manufacturers. And most importantly, Nikon had to communicate information that was tailored and relevant to bloggers and the online community, and delivered results against Nikon’s objectives.
Throughout the execution stage of the campaign, MWW Group created programs focused on raising Nikon’s profile in the blogosphere in each of these three key areas. It leveraged established relationships and knowledge base of DialogueMedia to identify the top 100 influential bloggers for Nikon. It embarked on a dedicated effort to establish individual relationships for Nikon with each one of these 100 bloggers through individual product experiences, one-on-one meetings and hosted events and interactions. And based on research, it created a new online press room for Nikon that communicated with bloggers on their terms. Useful features such as RSS feeds, full-text search capabilities, Web-ready image libraries for each product, and permalinks to each press release reduced the work for bloggers as they put their stories together and increased coverage for Nikon products.
RSS feeds now create hundreds of inbound links pointing to the Nikon site, dramatically increasing its standings in key search engines for most Nikon products. MWW Group optimized all press releases for search engines, ensuring each release centers around a keyword phrase that ties to the product or initiative that is being announced and generic descriptions (such as digital SLR) are integrated with the product name.
MWW Group also created new product announcement podcasts to help break through the email clutter and offer bloggers a great way to listen to product details and quickly understand the key features of a new product.
MWW worked with Nikon to create programs that were highly relevant to bloggers. The company
established a partnership with photo sharing website Flickr, and MWW Group communicated this relationship to key bloggers to spur conversations and discussions about this new relationship among enthusiasts.
At MWW Group’s urging, Nikon’s second ad campaign for its new D80 digital SLR camera tapped into the consumer generated content phenomena and recruited real Nikon customers to create the content for its ad. MWW communicated the details of this campaign to key advertising and marketing bloggers to win kudos for Nikon and its campaign
To launch its new D80 digital SLR camera, Nikon created an online teaser campaign that MWW successfully seeded among key gadget bloggers, drawing tremendous attention to the product launch, and generating headlines such as “Nikon D80 DSLR Hits the Streets, Web Goes Wild” (on Gizmodo.com).
Nikon saw a 700 percent increase in the number of mentions it received on blogs over the last six months. With over 106,000 mentions (compared to 15,000 mentions during the same period last year), bloggers were mentioning Nikon on average over 500 times a day. More than 73 percent of blog posts measured were designated as positive and over 61 percent of blogs measured covered Nikon exclusively, with either a product or a campaign as the subject of the posting
Over the past six months, Engadget mentioned Nikon in over 45 separate posts, 16 of which were exclusively about a Nikon product; Gizmodo mentioned Nikon in 31 separate posts, 14 of which were exclusively about a Nikon product. On average Engadget mentioned Nikon once every 4 days and exclusively posted about a Nikon product every 10 days and Gizmodo mentioned Nikon once every 6 days and exclusively posted about a Nikon product every 13 days.
Even more gratifying is the feedback from bloggers on Nikon’s new approach to bloggers: “Nikon did what every major brand should be doing,” said Jaffejuice.com. “I’m a Canon shooter, but I have to confess that Nikon just scored some style points with me,” added Thebrandbuilder.com. “This is a terrific example of consumer generated media with a purpose! It gets consumers involved. It encourages word of mouth. It builds engagement. AND it demonstrates the product,” said Digitalhive.com.
Finally, search engine referrals to the Nikon press site have increased nearly 225 percent from before the new press room opened. Each Nikon RSS feed has hundreds of subscribers and numbers increase every day.