Pottery Barn: Consistent Brand Personality (and fabulous decor)

Pottery Barn does an exceptional job of delivering a consistent brand image across multiple platforms, including but not limited to: mobile devices, iPads and tablets, laptops and desktops and even print mediums such as their magazines and even their store displays. Not only does this remain consistent on various devices and marketing materials, but also on their social media channels where they maintain a clean, consistent (and even seasonal) look across the board. By implementing “message integration across all marketing channels” and maintaining a consistent brand personality, Pottery Barn is successful at creating both ubiquity and synergy, as discussed in lecture (Young, 2010).

Pottery Barn Magazine

Pottery Barn Magazine (mentioned above) – Notice image consistency in other media channel shown throughout this post.

Pottery Barns multimedia communications success begins with their immediate prompt to sign up for email newsletters and discounts upon visiting their website. In addition to asking users to opt-in for their newsletters, deals and decor advice, they also leverage the use of multiple social media platforms to spread consistent content among many user. Pottery Barn’s Tumblr account is just one of the mediums they utilize.

Pottery Barn's prompt to sign-up for emails upon entering their website.

Pottery Barn’s prompt to sign-up for emails upon entering their website.

Pottery Barn also offers multiple other platforms for engagement, all of which seem fitting for a home decor brand. Pottery Barn participates in both Pinterest and Instagram, both social sites that allow for image sharing. While I believe Pottery Barn’s Pinterest is more conducive with their products than their Instagram account, I believe both produce a clean look and have a strong number of followers (over 115,000 on Instagram and almost twice as many on Pinterest – over 231,000). Not only are the posts on Pinterest more consistent with their brand, but it appears to contain more beneficial links to home decor advice articles, some of which come directly from the Pottery Barn website and/or blog.

Pottery Barn on Pinterest

Pottery Barn on Pinterest

Pottery Barn maintains two blogs: “Inside & Out” which is geared more toward home decor, as well as “Have and Hold” which includes posts related to weddings and gift registry. While the tie to weddings and home decor didn’t hit me initially, being a former Pottery Barn wedding registrant and creating a “home” with my now husband, I fully understand why they would produce such content.

Like many businesses that are active on social media, Pottery Barn has an exceptional Facebook presence with over 1.4 million likes. The images and messaging Pottery Barn produces are of the same clean imagery and polite voice as their other outlets. Although many users have used Facebook as an outlet for their complaints, Pottery Barn has done an exceptional job of replying  in a timely fashion and converting them from unsatisfied customers to satisfied shoppers and social media enthusiasts. In fact, the Social Media team at Pottery Barn has been so successful that some customers, such as Dennis Jenders, have taken the time to write a full blog post about their sour experience turned sweet. Mashable.com also shared a Pottery Barn customer’s experience as one of their top 3 Examples of Stellar Social Media Customer Service.

Pottery Barn on Facebook - Example of how quickly and politely they respond

Pottery Barn on Facebook – Example of how timely (3 minutes), poised and politely they respond.

While Pottery Barn has a significant Twitter presence with over 51,600 followers, they appear to be less engaged with their customers than they are through Facebook and tend to converse more with businesses (i.e. @SherwinWilliams). They do however maintain the same brand image and are active, but I would not consider this their most beneficial social media channel (from a consumer standpoint).

Pottery Barn's Twitter Profile

Pottery Barn’s Twitter Profile

Again Pottery Barn maintains their consistency on Google+ in regards to brand image and posts similar content to what they share on Facebook. While the amount and quality of content being generated is similar, I believe that Pottery Barn is not at fault for the lack of engagement, but is simply feeling the same results as many other companies, in that Google+ does not have as many active users as Facebook currently does and therefore has less opportunity to engage.

Pottery Barn on Google+

Pottery Barn on Google+

Lastly, Pottery Barn uses YouTube to it’s fullest potential and appears to have been doing so for quite some time. With over 7 million video views since the channels creation in June of 2006, Pottery Barn appears to have got it right by offering tons of professional design advice in well put together, concise videos – so great, I spent more time watching them for this project than I intended.

Pottery Barn’s integrated marketing and brand consistency strengthens the audience’s level of brand recall, sets them apart from competitors by eliminating any level of confusion with other home decor brands while also maintaining their individual identity and professionalism as a top-notch brand (Garafola, 2014). In conclusion, Pottery Barn’s social media success can be attributed to the fact that they are almost everywhere, they maintain brand personality, produce fresh content and most importantly, engage with their customers.

 

Resources:

Young, A. (2010). A Shift From Media Planning to Communications Planning. Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era (pp.49-64). Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/ibooks/.

Garafola, C. (2014). Importance of Brand Consistency in Social Media. Retrieved on May 30, 2014 from http://mittcom.com/importanceof-brandconsistencyinsocialmedia/.

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Compare and Contrast Communication of Classic Marketing v. Social Media Marketing

Classic marketing is limited by the one-way, closed direction of communication with its customers. Classic marketing provides a message solely from the top (the company) down to the consumer, and disseminates this message to the masses. Classic marketing is often planned in advance and costly. Although the direction of classic marketing is initiated by the company, and may be considered active initially, the communication becomes passive once the message has been consumed and those being marketed to have no way to respond and continue the conversation.

Social media marketing can also begin from with the company, giving it a top down quality at times. Social media marketing can also be planned in advance, whether through scheduled posts or social media campaigns. Additionally, social media campaigns can also have a cost involved and may be disseminated to the masses, if a company chooses to place little to no limitations on the demographics of the individuals targeted by the campaign.

Social media marketing differs from classic marketing in more ways than it is alike. Social media marketing provides companies with the ability to communicate with potential customers, rather than to the masses. A two-way, open system of communication can be established between the company and the individual, allowing for a more personalized 1-on-1 approach. Although communication can be initiated from the top-down in social media marketing, it can also be initiated by the consumer giving it a bottom-up characteristic as well. While social media campaigns can be planned and paid for, social media marketing can also cost little to nothing and, more often than not, occur in real time creating active engagement between the company and the consumer.

Image

The diagram above compares and contrasts classic marketing communication and social media marketing communication, and includes characteristics of both the direction of communication and communication with customers.

 

While social media is not necessarily “better,” it does provide greater benefits in regards to consumer feedback. Not only does social media allow the consumer to have a voice and be heard, it also provides the marketer with useful information and insights to strategically alter future marketing campaigns (both social and classic). While classic marketing is unable to provide these same benefits, it can and often should be (budget permitting), utilized in conjunction with social media to create the most effective marketing campaign. Classic marketing remains powerful in marketing to masses and creating initial awareness through various channels such as television, radio, print, billboards, etc. While classic marketing can still be utilized effectively, it can often be improved upon by listening to the consumer through interactions that take place on social media.

In a May 2014 article about Twitter and television, Bennett discusses the powerful relationship of a traditional media outlet and modern day social media (http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-tv-stats_b57306).  While classic marketing may provide mass awareness, social media enhances this traditional marketing medium by creating conversation among viewers. The Super Bowl is a great example of how advertisers are leveraging television commercials by including social media. In fact, “Hashtags were used in 57% of nationally-run Super Bowl ads” (Sullivan, February 2, 2014).

 

Sullivan, D. (February 2, 2014). “New Record for 2014: Hashtags Mentioned in 57% of Super Bowl Ads. Retrieved from http://marketingland.com/hashtags-super-bowl-2014-72658.

 

About Me

This blog was created for assignment submissions for the University of Florida’s Online Master of Arts in Mass Communication (with a specialization in Social Media). 

I am thrilled to have been accepted into this program and look forward to getting to know my instructors and peers. Although I don’t intend to utilize this blog for personal use, one of the aspects of social media I am most passionate about is the ability to connect with people far and wide. That being said, I find it only fitting to share a little bit about myself.

I am a Florida girl through and through. Originally from Ormond Beach (Daytona Beach area), I am now an official ACR. (Alachua County Resident, for those of you that are unfamiliar with the Gainesville terminology.) After graduating from the University of Florida with my Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks and Tourism (specialization in Recreation and Event Management) I relocated to Jacksonville, Florida to complete a Marketing Internship at the Gator Bowl Association.

It wasn’t long before I was lugging all my stuff back to Gainesville, as many of us Gator grads do (much to everyone’s surprise). Not unlike most 22 year olds, I wasn’t sure what I was truly passionate about but I do know I ended up in an industry I never thought I would…insurance. I know…boring! It’s not the topic I love so much as the people and the way our agency does business. We believe in the power of relationships and I have some of the most amazing co-workers and bosses — so that doesn’t hurt either.

Social media has played a pivotal role in transitioning how we build and maintain relationships. One of the many aspects I love about my job is that I not only maintain and create relationships online, but I also get to do so face-to-face by participating in various organizations and networking within the community. To put it simple and spare you all the details of my professional responsibilities – I love working with people and getting to know them better.

Last but certainly not least… My husband, Logan, and I will celebrate our one year wedding anniversary on May 18, 2014. We met through a mutual friend while in our early years of undergrad and he is a born and raised “Gainesvillian.” We remained friends for a few years before we eventually started dating long distance when he was in Boone, North Carolina finishing his degree in building construction at Appalachian State University. In addition to his kind heart, it was also his Goldendoodle, Bella, that helped win me over (now our “baby”). We purchased our first house together in Gainesville at the start of 2013 and have been making Gainesville home ever since.

Logan, Bella and Kaitlin

Logan, Bella and Kaitlin

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