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Skittles Transparency Pays Off

April 9, 2009

What is Transparency?

As the first to post on our J412 Strategic Social Media blog, I think its necessary to write about one of the core components to all social media – Transparency. Throughout Kelli Matthews’ Social Media course, I have begun to grasp the concept of transparency far better than I ever had. Now holding a deeper meaning than simply the lucidity of a piece of glass or plastic, the term can be used to describe the operations of people and businesses and their legitimacy in Social Media.

Tech savvy individuals and companies have used various tactics to ensure that skeletons do not live in their closets. By projecting authenticity, the public will respect the product and character of that person or organization much more. According to Shel Holtz and John C. Havens, the authors of our class textbook, Tactical Transparency, a business must posse293706 cover.inddss four characteristics in order to be transparent.

1. Objectivity
2. Purpose
3. Esteem
4. Navigation

The characteristics of this “OPEN” acronym are crucial for a business or individual who is eager to be taken seriously and to succeed with high esteem from their consumer market.

Skittles Goes Transparent

For this reason, Skittles, a largely known candy brand, has chosen to take their transparency to the next level. Throwing out their previous marketing campaign, Skittles just recently revamped their web content to speak candidly and directly with the fans of their product. With YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages all directly implanted onto their website, viewers are now required to submit their age before entering the site in order to prevent young viewers from seeing the page’s uncensored content. As with any campaign, this new type of advertising offers both pros and cons to the Skittles brand.
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Pros

Although other companies have used Facebook and Twitter pages to market their products, Skittles had taken this idea to the next level by replacing all other forms of marketing with this unconventional form of marketing. The new Skittles campaign has blown up the blogosphere, and has sparked curious conversation among many groups of social media users. Subsequently, Skittles sales have increased as web users are constantly being reminded of their product.

Cons

It is obvious that people will be talking positively from a nontraditional campaign like this one, but we must keep their primary demographic in mind. If Skittles is requiring that web users must be at least 18 to visit their site, they are ostracizing all of their young candy lovers and depriving them from viewing their website. Though the new campaign has increased sales, it might be a good idea to consider an additional form of nontraditional advertising that will incorporate all the young tots that love the Skittles product.

Pay Day for Skittles!

Transparency, the root of all Social Media success, has been taken to a new level by the Skittles campaign as viewers can now see all the inner workings of the company, and correspond with other Skittles lovers. Being transparent has endless benefits, and in the case of Skittles, this risk in Social Media has already turned out to be a success. Their overwhelming transparency has made it possible for all fans to see through the Skittles rainbow and enjoy the product’s delicious taste at the same time.

Post Written by: Regin Daniels

http://twitter.com/ReginDaniels

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. pdxsx permalink
    April 10, 2009 10:16 am

    Great post, Regin. Exceptionally well written! A pleasure to read.

  2. April 12, 2009 7:05 pm

    First off, you guys are all so lucky for having such a great professor. I’m graduating myself in two weeks and could have only hoped for a class like this. I had to teach myself.
    Now, I think you are right on track with your analysis of Skittles and the importance of transparency in today’s consumer market. However, did you hear about all the horrible things people were tweeting using the #Skittles? Luckily, these responses (clearly meant just for shock value), have since stopped, but by opening up, Skittles effectively lost all control of monitoring what people were saying.

    So, what do you think of transparency that results in a brand’s inability to monitor communication, even though it is not based on fact and simply used to exploit a well-intended marketing effort?

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