The recommendation is to revamp the Facebook initiative over a period of three months with ongoing monitors and checkpoints. The projected cost of this recommendation is $75,500 initially, with recurrent annual costs of $36,000 per year. The advantage of this recommendation is that it can be easily expanded to include other types of social media, such as micro blogging, video sharing, photo sharing and online forums if the response to this project is positive. 2 I. Key Issues Molson Canada faces four key issues moving forward from November 2007. The first issue is related to brand image.
Brand image is the most important and urgent issue (see Chart 1) because of the negative feedback Molson received as a result of the Cold Shot Campus Challenge Facebook initiative. Molson is seen as promoting irresponsible drinking behaviour. In order to rectify the situation, Molson build and increase corporate social responsibility and continue to engage the community in a positive way. Another key issue is customer loyalty. There many negative responses to the Cold Shot Campus Challenge. These responses revolved around the issue of privacy issues of Facebook users.
Moreover, because of these unethical practices, customer loyalty to Molson brand may have been negatively affected. Customer loyalty is ranked as an issue of low importance and high urgency because Molson Canada has customer loyalty currently, having been around since 1796. It is ranked as urgent, because new consumers may be affected by the bad press Molson is getting as a result of the Cold Shot Campus Challenge. Thirdly, competition is an important issue for Molson. Molson faces high completion both on the domestic and international level.
At the domestic level, Molson’s main competitor is Labatt bear. At the international level, Molson competes against InBev NV, Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller. Molson has a strong market position domestically, so the issue of competition is rated as high importance, but low urgency. If Molson is able to successfully use social media marketing, they may see an increase in market share, domestically and internationally. Competition is ranked as high importance, but low urgency because it is an issue that can be dealt with in the long term. 3
Finally, profitability is ranked as low importance and low urgency in the issues matrix in Chart 3. Molson faces fluctuating costs of input material, such as barley, wheat and aluminium. In 2007 saw the price of barley fluctuate widely (see Graph 1). If Molson is able to successfully market their product online, then they will be able to increase sales, thereby offsetting these fluctuations in profit margins. Chart 1: Ranking of Issues Urgency Importance Low Low Profitability High Customer Loyalty High Competition Brand Image II. Analysis SWOT Analysis Strength Strong Market Share
Strong Brand Image Strong Revenue Brand Loyalty Opportunities International markets (Asia, SE Asia) Diversifying products/brands Social media marketing still relatively new Weakness Rely on a few product names Cannibalism Threats Strong Competition Fluctuation commodity prices (barley, wheat, aluminium) Molson’s strength is that it has a strong domestic market share, currently at 41% by volume in 2006. They also have strong revenue, generating $3. 61 billion in 2006 (Molson Coors 2006 annual report, 165). Internationally, Molson has 3. 8% market share, the fourth largest.
Molson also has a strong brand image because of corporate social responsibility initiatives and community involvement. Community involvement includes the responsible drinking program, charitable initiatives and sports and entertainment sponsorships. Molson has brand loyalty because they have been established in Canada for more than 200 years. A weakness is that 4 Molson has few differentiated products and, therefore, may face cannibalism of their product lines. Currently, Molson’s strongest markets are North America and Europe. An opportunity for Molson is to branch into Asian markets.
Another opportunity would be for Molson to diversify their product brand to include beverages other than alcoholic drinks. A marketing opportunity for Molson is to further develop their social media marketing strategy because their competitors have not yet successfully integrated social media into their marketing strategy. Some threats that Molson faces are fluctuating prices of barley, wheat and aluminium. Furthermore, they face high competition in the industry level. Porter’s Five Forces Analysis Threat of New Entrants (Low) Bargining Power of Suppliers (Medium) Competitive Rivalry within
Industry (High) Bargining Power of Buyers (Medium) Threat of Substitute Products (Medium) Molson Canada faces high competition within the industry. Although they are currently leading with 41% of market share in Canada, Labatt is trailing closely behind. Internationally, Molson ranks in fourth place. The threat of new entrants is low because of high capital costs and the 5 existence of established brands. The threat of substitute products is medium because alcohol is composed of readily available products, competition is high in the industry and there is little differentiation between products.
The bargaining power of buyers is medium because of availability of substitute products, buyer information and little differential advantage. Finally, bargaining power of suppliers is medium because of fluctuating input costs. The following graph illustrates the constantly changing price for barley. Graph 1: Barley Monthly Prices, October 2006 to December 2007 210 US dollars/metric ton 200 190 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 Oct-06 Jan-07 Apr-07 Aug-07 Nov-07 Feb-08 (Barley Monthly Prices, 2007) Graph 2: Stock Market Prices of Molson (TAP) in 2007 (NYSE; http://www.wikinvest. com/wiki/TAP) 6
Looking at the share prices from October 2007 to December 2007, we can see that when the Cold Shots Campus Challenge was launched in mid-October, there was an increase in the stock price to the mid-50’s, however, throughout the marketing campaign, the stock prices dropped until it was pulled in end of November. Also 2007 saw fluctuating input costs which may also be a result of the fluctuating stock prices. Facebook is a social media opportunity that Molson should take advantage of. In 2007 Facebook had over 50 million active users (Facebook).
Many of these users are part of the demographics that Molson wishes to target (younger generation). III. Alternatives & Recommendations Alternative 1: Revamp Facebook initiative In this initiative, Molson would revamp the Facebook initiative by using the Facebook platform, but use Facebook as a medium to connect with and build relationships with customers, not for competitions. The advantage of this alternative is that Molson can build upon the Facebook group that currently exists. Furthermore, they can target the 18-24 year old demographic.
Finally, if the relationship is maintained well, this direct contact with their customers can foster brand awareness and brand loyalty. The disadvantages of this alternative would be that consumers might associate the new Facebook initiative with the failed Cold Shot Campus Challenge and react negatively. Another disadvantage is that it is difficult to predict the reaction from different parties. Furthermore, the feedback obtained from the Facebook group must be scrutinized as some people may be pranksters. Finally, it is difficult to quantify results of this initiative. Pros of Alternative 1
Utilize current Facebook groups and website Targets 18-24 year old demographic Cons of Alternative 1 Lingering negative feelings Facebook contests from the Cold Shot Campus Challenge. Unknown customers/future customer response 7 Pros of Alternative 1 Create and maintain relationships with customers and future customers Increase brand awareness Increase brand loyalty Cons of Alternative 1 Unknown outcome Cannot trust the feedback Difficult to quantify results Alternative 2: Use static sites, such as blogs or a static website. Molson has already experimented with blogs and static websites.
This advantage of this alternative is that Molson will be able to control the content, and therefore, how they are perceived on the Internet. However, this alternative does not specifically market to their target group of 18-24 year olds. Also, Molson’s competitors will also have websites; therefore it would be hard for Molson to differentiate from the competition. Finally, static websites do not create strong brand loyalty. Pros of Alternative 2 Control content of Internet presence Create an online presence Cons of Alternative 2 Does not build relationship with the client
Competition also have websites Does not specifically market to 18-24 year old demographic Does not build brand loyalty Difficult to quantify results Alternative 3: Pull out of social media and focus on traditional marketing methods In this alternative, Molson Canada would stop using social media marketing in their marketing strategy. Instead, Molson will focus on traditional marketing methods. Pros of Alternative 3 Eliminate the risk of social media campaign failure Eliminate ethical issues around the use of social media Eliminate costs associated with maintaining
social media sites Cons of Alternative 3 Competitors may gain advantage if they successfully incorporate social media in their marketing strategies Does not take advantage of potential advertising in social media 8 Decision Matrix Criteria Brand Image Competition Customer Loyalty Profitability Total Weight Revamp Facebook 0. 4 3 0. 3 3 0. 2 3 0. 1 3 1. 0 2. 3 Static Web Pages 2 2 1 3 1. 9 No Social Media 1 1 1 1 1. 0 IV. Implementation & Action Plan The effectiveness of social media marketing strategies depends on the goals and general direction the company wants to take.
The goals of social media marketing strategies tend to revolve around increasing brand awareness, visibility, feedback or promoting a lifestyle. The problem with the Cold Shots Campus Challenge was that the idea it promoted was interpreted as on that was about irresponsible drinking behaviour. Instead, the goal of the new Facebook initiative should be about creating a space where consumers can share their experiences with Molson products. This place will consist of primarily user-generated content (photos, questions, stories, etc), but can be monitored by Molson Canada.
It is also a place for Molson Canada to highlight their community involvement activities, new products or other sponsorship initiatives. Also, this Facebook group can direct Facebook users to other social media sites that Molson Canada may have (eg. Youtube channel, Blog content, etc. ). The new Molson Canada Facebook page will be a place where people can share their experiences, opinions and perspectives related to Molson products. The page will be a place of user-generated content, such as photos, anecdotes or links.
Furthermore, this Facebook page will be monitored by the Social Media Marketing Specialist. Any requests, complaints or comments should be addressed by the Specialist. Furthermore, this Facebook page will be a way Molson is able to promote other marketing initiatives such as entries on the current Molson blog 9 (blog. molson. com) or the Molson Canada website (molsoncanadian. ca). Using Facebook analytics and Google analytics, Molson will be able to track the growth and popularity of their brand by the number of times they are mentioned in on the Internet.
The following is an implementation outline that will be further explained in detail. Part I: Re-launch Facebook Initiative (December 2007- March 2008) a) Creation of Social Media Marketing Specialist Position in the Marketing Operations Department and Social Media Marketing Committee b) Define social media marketing strategy c) Create a new Facebook page d) Launch a contest to promote the new Facebook page a. Cheers to College Caption Contest e) Promote Contest using Facebook Ads Part II: Generating Knowledge from Social Media (ongoing)
Part I: Re-launch Facebook Initiative a) Hire a Social Media Marketing Specialist position within the Marketing Operations Department. This individual will report to the director of Marketing Operations and will be responsible for re-launching the Facebook page as well as the Cheers to College Caption Contest. In the future, this position will be the representative of Molson on the Facebook group and will be responsible for responding to Facebook inquiries, generating some content for the Facebook page and for analysing the impact of social media marketing initiatives.
This position will also work with the directors of the public relations department, customer relations department, sales and IT department to ensure the Molson brand is consistently represented across all mediums. This working group will be the Social Media Marketing committee and will be responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. In the future, this position would deal with social media marketing, relationship building and maintenance of social media sites (Facebook, blog, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, etc. ). 10
Define social media marketing strategy The next step is to define a social media strategy. This strategy will be developed by the Social Media Marketing committee and will require approval from the director of Molson Canada. The goal of the strategy is to identify the key values or lifestyle that Molson wishes to achieve through social media marketing. Another part of the strategy is to develop methods in which these goals can be achieved. A goal could be the promotion of responsible drinking habits, specifically target to responsible drinking on college campuses.
Another goal could be the creation of an informal online community where opinions or experiences about Molson products can be shared. Furthermore, suggestions or complaints can be heard by and addressed by a Molson representative (the Social Media Marketing Specialist). Molson can also consider asking the members of the Facebook Group what they want to see in Molson’s social media marketing strategy and taking their suggestions into consideration. c) Creation of a new Molson Canada Facebook page After the Social Media Marketing Strategy has been approved, the Specialist can create the new and official Molson Canada Facebook page.
The reason a new Facebook page should be created rather than using the old page is because of the negative attitudes that have been attached to the old Facebook page. Having a new page will allow Molson Canada more control in terms how Molson is depicted in the information box. The creation of a new Facebook page will also allow Molson Canada to have administrative controls and to view Facebook analytics capabilities, which is essential for tracking the success of the social media marketing campaign.
This Facebook page is to be internally maintained to ensure that the Molson brand is consistently represented across all social media platforms (Molson Blog, Facebook groups, Flickr Groups, 11 etc. ) and to integrate the social media strategy with current traditional marketing strategies (social media, traditional methods such as television advertisements, billboards, magazines, etc. ). d) Launch Cheers to College Caption Contest The next step is to launch the Cheers to College Caption Contest on the Facebook group. The goal is to increase awareness of the new Molson Canada Official Facebook group as well as improve Molson’s brand image.
The premise of the contest is to allow Facebook group members to write a caption or a tagline to a photo that illuminates the idea of a positive campus experience in a meaningful and humorous way. This professional advertisement photo will be supplied by the advertisement department of Molson Canada. The winning tagline and photo will be used in Molson’s Responsible Choices program and the winner will receive a monetary prize. This contest will run from January 2008 to March 2008 and the winners will be announced in April 2008.
Promote contest using Facebook Ads and other Molson Facebook groups such as Molson Canadian, Coors Light pages. To generate knowledge and participation in the Cheers to College Caption Contest, the Specialist will promote the group and contest using Facebook Ads and by posting messages on other Molson Facebook groups, such as Coors Light Facebook page. Part II: Generating Knowledge by monitoring Facebook group activity using Facebook analytics and Google alerts. The Social Media Marketing Specialist is responsible for monitoring the progress of the Facebook social media program.
Some tools that the Specialist can use are as follows: response from Facebook users, number of new Facebook group members, participation rate in regards to 12 the Cheers to College Caption Contest and the use of Facebook Insights, Google analytics and Google Alerts. Quantitative measures can be taken from the web-based tools and qualitative measures can be taken from the response from the online community. Figure 2: Google Analytics (www. google. com/analytics) Figure 3: Google Alerts (www. google. com/alerts) 13 Timeline Item Create Social Media Marketing Specialist
Position and Social Media Marketing Committee Define Social Media Marketing Strategy Create New Facebook Page Cheers to College Caption Contest Promote using Facebook Ads Monitor Facebook Page Dec’07 Jan’08 Feb’08 Mar’08 Apr’08 May’08 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Contingency Plan and Measurement of Success One of the disadvantages of using Facebook is the difficulty in anticipating consumer responses. One way to mitigate this issue is to ask for feedback from the members on the Facebook group and to take their suggestions into consideration. Another way is to solicit comments on the Molson Blog.
The Molson Blog comments can be filtered so that the responses only show publically if they are approved. That way, each comment can be monitored. Another way to address negative reactions is to address every concern or attempt to address every concern a consumer may post on the Facebook wall. Another issue is the difficulty to measure quantitatively, the success of the program. The various online analytical tools mentioned above help mitigate that issue. Based on these analytical tools, the Committee and the Specialist can decide on whether to continue on with the implementation plan or to readjust the plan based on consumer suggestions.
Throughout the process, the Social Media Marketing Committee will meet regularly to evaluate the response of the public and to re-evaluate the direction of the Social Media Marketing Campaign. Social media marketing is a fluid and dynamic process. It requires constant monitoring, yet must also adhere to the Molson Brand and corporate strategy, and not be swayed by popular opinion. 14 Cost Initial Cost Social Media Marketing Specialist Contest (photography, monetary awards, legal fees) Facebook Advertisements Recurring Cost Social Media Marketing Specialist
Conclusion In conclusion, Molson Canada has an opportunity to take advantage of the new social media marketing on Facebook to gain a competitive advantage and to build brand loyalty. Although the Cold Shots Campus Challenge had to be ended early, this new initiative will succeed because it is internally managed, possesses various checkpoints to ensure its success and, finally, it takes into account consumer insights and viewpoints.
Furthermore, this plan has room for growth because of the built in structure of the plan (creation of a new position). Molson Canada is also equipped to adopt other social media sites (such as video sharing sites, photo sharing sites, micro blogging and forums) if they wish to expand their online presence and brand image. These applications are also wide-reaching, meaning that they can also reach international customers and can be translated into numerous languages. This has positive implications on Molson’s international profitability as well as domestic profitability. However, those plans are beyond the scope of this recommendation.