A recent survey by E-consultancy shows twitter hosts 145million user accounts with a conservative estimate of 15million being in active use each day.
The photo-sharing website Flickr has more than 4billion photographs uploaded and is increasing daily. A relatively new social network, Linked In focusing on professional networks , has more than 50 million users world-wide.
The statistics just hint at the possibilities for digital marketing and integrated social networks and what these relatively new tools can offer brands. But how can it deliver real value for business in practice?
Before Twitter, Facebook and YouTube became the staple of every large corporate brand’s marketing mix, Alex Craven, Matthew Martin and Phil Jeffries set up Bloom Group incorporating Bloom Ltd and Bloom Media Ltd. Crammed into a friend’s small bedroom in 1999, the three school-friends from Leeds were taking advantage the dot com boom offering an on-line booking service for last minute and discounted IT training consultancies via Bloom Ltd.
Bloom Media was the marketing arm of the five-strong group. As the internet began to rise in popularity Bloom Ltd rapidly grew from two full time employees to twenty before being sold in 2004 and becoming part of QAIQ, whilst Alex, Matthew and Phil retained Bloom Media and grew it to become one of Leeds’ leading digital agencies.
“We were just three mates that were fed up of dead-end jobs that didn’t give us any satisfaction,” says Alex. “ We each had skills that complemented each other and wanted to work on projects that we enjoyed, using the internet and emerging forms of marketing to create work that was genuinely engaging and unique rather than the same thing that every other agency was doing at the time. Bloom Media isn’t traditional full service, doing a bit of everything , but rather offering a full service approach to clients looking to engage and interact with their customers using search and social media rather than just promote their products and services via a website.”
A recent campaign for Brita Water Filters highlights the Bloom Media approach. When Brita wanted to develop their CSR policy rather than donate money or work solely with their employees on what could be seen as a PR exercise, Bloom Media suggested that they actively involve their customers on a project that reflected the businesses products and services alongside its ethical interests.
The team worked with the clients PR team to develop a competition encouraging Brita’s customers and employees to pitch for why they should be allowed to join the company on an expedition to Nepal to build a well in some of the poorest parts of the country ensuring a clean water supply. The competition was supported by a blog site with regular updated entries following the progress of the competition and project. The competition was also supported on Facebook with a fan page that now has more than 2,000 members. All on-line activity incorporated an option to donate to the project bringing Brita closer to customers and building a meaningful CSR campaign for the company.
Alex Craven gives a brief introduction to Bloom Media as part of Leeds Digital Festival 2010
Bloom Media, now employs 20 people and recently took 3000 sq ft office space at The Green Sand Foundry in the heart of the Leeds creative and digital quarter at Holbeck Urban Village.
“We were growing fast and continue to win new business meaning that we wanted space for our existing team but also a bit more room for future growth. We’ve been based in Holbeck Urban Village at a few of our previous offices and liked the way that the area was developing with a real creative community starting to take shape in the area. We’ve moved in next door to Leeds Brewery’s flagship pub too which made the move to the area an even more popular one,” says Alex.