Did Skittles scuttle its brand? Time will tellTweet
So I like Skittles and I think they have some cool advertising. I also applaud their efforts to enter the social media space and I'm philosophically aligned with them (anyone who reads this blog would know that). But I'm not a big fan of what they've done with their website today. If you visit their website, you'll notice that its become widget overlaying their presence on several social platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Here's why I'm not that impressed.
- Users don't expect a Facebook fan page when they visit Skittles.com. It is disorienting. Nor do they expect to be redirected to a twitter search results page or a Wikipedia page.
- Pointing to an unfiltered search results of a twitter keyword is dangerous and if you scan the page you'll see what I mean. Some of the things being said are ugly and alienating. I've had to blur out some of the tweets in my screenshot of the page because they're that bad.
- The Twitter audience is not their customer. Focusing on Twitter can be a distraction. This may not apply to the other social platforms but then they should focus on those more directly and leverage them in a way that's in sync with their ethos. Are their customers' influencers on Twitter? I'm not even sure about that.
- I want to feel enticed when I visit the Skittles. Seeing a Wikipedia page does not create a craving for me. And I can't imagine it does much for the teens who are Skittle's core customers.
- By pointing to a search results stream, Skittles is not encouraging a conversation. Rather they're just telling us that random people mention Skittle in twitter conversations. Twitter's format doesn't allow you to follow an existing conversation easily making the stream appear gimmicky.
- Skittles is fueling voyeurism versus participation. It is a cop out to point me to the conversations. I'd rather the brand and its representatives engage with me and my friends directly maybe through a promotion or something.
- All buzz is not good buzz even for a brand like Skittles. Sure, this is creating a lot of buzz but some of it is negative and with the profanity the brand is being damaged too. Skittles needs to be careful.
I'm glad brands are thinking more seriously about the social web and where their customers are having conversations and discussing them. And it is also important that they're blurring the lines between their own website and the social web. That's something I've been harping on for a while now. However, it is important for the brands to play in a way that is natural to those social platforms. Simply pointing me to places across the social web is not enough. As someone tweeted me on the subject, I wish they had taken advantage of all the social platform APIs to do something special.
Skittles - here's my challenge to you. Engage with my friends and me on my terms and on my social platforms more directly. Don't just point me to other people's conversations. You're just going to get cheap buzz for a short while this way. I want more from Skittles!
Read Emily Steele's "Skittles Cozies Up to Social Media" article in the Wall Street Journal for more on the subject. I'm quoted in it saying that a lot of false conversations are taking place about Skittles on Twitter.
Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.