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RadioShack campaign garners social media award

BY Staff Writer

Fort Worth, Texas — A holiday social media program has earned RadioShack top honors in a national media award event.

The retailer’s 2010 holiday social media program, supported by imc2 as RadioShack’s social media agency, won in its category at the Fifth Annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.

RadioShack’s 2010 holiday social media program, themed "Holiday Heroes," was designed to drive store traffic and support sales while simultaneously building a community and trust in the social media space. Through the program, RadioShack grew its social fan base and saw an increase in positive online conversations and engagement. RadioShack created an integrated platform to inform consumers about its variety of holiday products, suggesting gifts for purchase and rewarding the consumer as a Holiday Hero.

The campaign included the Twitter promoted trend #IfIHadSuperPowers as the main engagement opportunity, inspired by RadioShack’s "Holiday Hero" television spots. This paid promotion landed the second-highest resonance score for a promoted trend in Twitter history at the time. Another promoted hashtag on Twitter, #UNeedANewPhone, resulted in a 38% increase in @RadioShack followers in 12 days. Finally, RadioShack collaborated with Foursquare to create the Holiday Hero badge, which offered exclusive discounts and offers for Foursquare users who "unlocked" the badge. This final component grew RadioShack’s fan base on Foursquare from zero to 19,333 in 60 days.

Due to the success rate and impressive increase in fans and positive sentiment, RadioShack’s 2010 Holiday Campaign was selected from more than 200 entrants for the Forrester Groundswell Awards this year, winning top honors for its category, "Business-to-Consumer North America: Energizing."

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Customer Growth Partners: Holiday sales to rise 6.5%, to $554 billion

BY Marianne Wilson

New Canaan, Conn. — Value-focused but financially healthier American consumers will propel 2011 holiday sales to a record $554 billion, according to retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners’ 10th annual holiday forecast. The forecast, which is significantly more upbeat than other holiday surveys, predicts total retail sales growth of 6.5% for the November-December period over last year, the most rapid growth since 6.9% in 2004 — and over twice consensus forecasts called for lackluster growth of only 2.5%-3%.

“American households — at least the 91% with jobs — have deleveraged dramatically since 2007, while disposable income continues to rise, generating almost $50 billion/month in incremental free cash flow, even with gasoline price hikes,” said Craig Johnson, CEO, Customer Growth Partners, a consulting and research firm focused on consumer service industries, including retail, finance and communications. “And after three years of scrimping and saving, Americans are ready to spend — strategically and smartly, but for the first time in years, very few things will stand between an American consumer and her shopping destination.”

According to the forecast, apparel will lead holiday sales growth, with a year-over-year increase of 7.6%, led by the best burst of fashion excitement and newness in years. E-commerce will continue to be the fastest growing channel, at 12% YOY — a slightly slower pace than last year. Value retailers will also thrive, growing 8% YOY, led by the dollar stores and off-price apparel chains, and department stores will enjoy their best holiday in years.

“But despite the rebound we’re seeing across the retail landscape, the two fastest growing retailers are not traditional merchants at all — but Amazon and Apple, both growing about 40% a year, and both now Top 10 retailers as we enter 2012,” Johnson said.

Click here to read more.

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Toys “R” Us holiday promo plans include retro ads and QR codes

BY Marianne Wilson

Wayne, N.J. — Toys "R" Us holiday plans mix technology — QR — codes and retro ads that speak to the company’s heritage.

As part of its 2011 holiday advertising campaign, the chain will air a series of themed television commercials designed to showcase the company’s toy expertise and its strengths as a specialty retailer. The commercials include two ads from its archives which celebrate the heritage of the brand. Another group of ads feature products exclusive to Toys “R” Us.

"We believe our holiday marketing campaign speaks strongly to our toy authority position today and with the generations of kids who grew up with the Toys "R" Us brand," said Greg Ahearn, chief marketing officer, Toys "R" Us, U.S.

The first retro ad features children singing the iconic "I’m a Toys "R" Us Kid" jingle as they play with perennial toy favorites like trains, bikes, dolls and more. The spot ends with the updated tagline, "Still the World’s Greatest Toy Store.” In the other, Toys “R” Us mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe takes his family – and viewers – on a trip through an animated world of bright holiday lights.

The ads will begin airing on Oct. 30 on major networks and various cable stations.

In its other big holiday salvo, the Toys “R” Us annual holiday catalog will begin arriving in homes across the nation this weekend. The company has expanded the catalog into the digital realm this year with e-mailed bonus pages of holiday-themed deals and discounts that could not fit in the catalog.

Customers equipped with smartphones that can read quick response (QR) codes will find additional multimedia content about select products within the book. As a bonus, starting on Oct. 28, members of the company’s official Facebook fan page at Facebook.com/Toysrus can browse the entire catalog, clicking “like” on items to share their favorite toys with Facebook friends and family.

Customers can also experience a digital version of ultimate toy shopping guide online at Toysrus.com/HolidayBook beginning Oct. 30.

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