The Swarovski SCVNGR hunt - our impressions


Swarovski SCVNGR hunt LondonThis weekend, FreshNetworks checked out the Swarovski Discover Your Light event, to experience a luxury brand social media campaign using SCVNGR. SCVNGR is a check-in app that sets users tasks or “challenges” to complete at certain locations.

First impressions

On arrival at the London Horticultural Society we were impressed to see hundreds of people queued up amongst dozens of support staff and film crew.

The event space looked fantastic with a light haze of smoke and bright beam lights cutting across the vast hall. Curtains of crystals hung either side of the stage and dazzled participants with shards of light.

Contestants were seriously impressed with the decor, lighting and staging - a great way to build excitement at the start of the event.

Above the line spending to draw the crowd?

500 teams of two participated in the hunt, so we were impressed by the 1000-strong crowd. It seemed like a big pull for a social media only event, so we dug around to find out where people had heard about it.

Answers included The Metro, Grazia, Stylist, London Underground billboards and Facebook as well as word of mouth. One pair heard from a friend in another country via Twitter! Sadly then, a significant ATL and PR spend rather than social media gets credit for pulling the punters.

The in-game experience was enjoyable. Over two hours we had 42 challenges to achieve by racing between different tasks on the Discover Your Light “Trek”. FreshNetworks achieved a worthy, but not winning 69 points, enjoying the walk (and an ice-cream).

Contestant feedback was great: “It was a wonderful way to explore central London. Karen and I spotted interesting landmarks we didn’t know existed before” and “it helped me learn a lot about central London & get my bearings around the city”, said two teams we asked.

Lessons to brands considering SCVNGR

So what did Swarovski get out of this? They’ve positioned themselves as innovators in digital, and they had a positive effect on the audience: “I almost went out to buy myself a Nirvana ring as I was so gutted not to win one” one participant told us.

There were three areas we felt could have been improved:

  1. Swarovski made the good decision to give away low value freebies at their store checkpoints. However, one or two poorly briefed store staff kept freebies from participants who accidentally skipped over the task completion screen they were meant to show. An easy mistake for the participant, but it created a sense of poor customer service for a handful of people. Upset contestants being held up in the store demonstrated the need for staff to better understand the technology being deployed.
  2. The second mistake was purely organisational. An hour and a half wait that resulted from the demand on the invitation for a 12:30 prompt kick off meaning everyone arrived at once. The long wait killed some of the excitement about getting started. This could have been better managed by the SCVNGR team with an open ended start (12:30-13:30) and a hard deadline for kick-off.
  3. Finally, the SCVNGR app itself misses out on an opportunity for social sharing by embedding the share via Twitter & Facebook tools at the task completion stage. Most participants were too busy with the race to bother. It would make more sense for the app to invite you to connect social platforms with your account at sign in, allowing users to opt in to always share achievements. This would garner significantly more online buzz during big events like Swarovski’s Discover Your Light.

20 Social media speakers and experts


Image via Flickr by 160e29c6

Image via Flickr by 160e29c6

We’ve spoken at more social media conferences and events in the last three months than in the first three years of FreshNetworks’ existence. One of the benefits of all the talking has been the opportunity to listen to other social media speakers and experts.

As a social media agency we’re often  asked to recommend a few social media speakers for events (particularly in London and the UK), so I thought it might be useful to note down  some of the people who have recently impressed us and why.

Neville Hobson @jangles - sage advice with a strong PR-slant on social media. I thought Neville was at his best when it came to social media disaster scenarios and social media crisis management.

Gary Veynerchuck - Gary was the highlight of SXSW for me. He’s brimming with passion and energy and has some excellent hands-on social media experience. He spent 10 minutes talking and 45 minutes answering questions. You can easily get a taste of Gary online - just search YouTube. Or submit yourself to the full experience by listening to him read Crush It, his new book

Michelle Goodall @greenwellys - from Econsultancy. Michelle is a great social media trainer. Especially good at educating an audience to give them a common understanding of social media. I’ve heard Michelle speak about social media at a couple of events recently - Technology for Marketing and Advertising and FreshIdeas Events - and both times walked away feeling the learning points were super clear.

Joanne Jacobs @joannejacobs is a force of nature. Guaranteed to wake up any audience, she combines years of  social media experience with a ferocious presenting style. I am certain there is no one more capable of keeping a post-lunch audience stimulated.

James Hart @ASOS_James is eCommerce Director at James (and ASOS) have been among the early adopters in community building and social media marketing in the UK. He’s a wonderfully open and frank speaker (no social hype, just his practical experience). However, I am told he may have recently hung up his speaking boots.

Geoff Quinn, CEO TM Lewin - I was on stage with Geoff at a recent Retail Week e-commerce Conference. I think it’s hard to beat listening to a CEO talk about where they see social media fit in to their broader business goals. In addition to the fact that Geoff is really open and frank about the process, they have been  giving real ROI numbers and developing detailed plans for the future. You can get a sense of his style from this recent Radio4 Bottom Line interview (disclaimer TM Lewin is a client).

Brad Little @bradleyjlittle - Brad runs Neilsen Buzzmetrics in Europe. As a result he’s great on social media monitoring content and thinking. He’s also full of energy and enthusiasm, and a great speaker.

Anna Rafferty @raffers from Penguin Books. Anna has a great case study on building a community on a budget that really engaged Penguin’s customers. An engaging speaker who provides good takeaways.  Oh and Anna recently recommended Jon Davie from Zone as a great speaker.

Steve Dunn Steve is a very energetic performer. I spoke alongside him at a CIM event and he did a good job of covering off high-level social media basics. In particular he brought a PR perspective.

Chris Brogan - Chris is one of the handful of truly global social media gurus (although I am sure he’d hate the term). I really enjoyed his combination of a conversational and relaxed style with excellent story telling. Chris is particularly good on B2B and SME social media.

Steve Bridger @stevebridger has years of community management experience working with charities and membership organisations. Steve always brings solid, practical tips to his social media sessions.

Louise White @louisecwhite - I really enjoyed listening to Louise recently. She has a refreshingly honest and open style giving a no-holds barred account of life inside a publisher as digital and social are changing the world around them.

Paul Hopkins, Head of Customer Experience at easyJet - I was on a panel with Paul at the Call Centre and Customer Management Conference. As you’d expect, Paul is particularly knowledgeable speaker on customer service opportunities and issues arising from social media. He is heavily involved on a day-to-day basis with easyJet’s activity.

Martha Lane Fox - @marthalanefox - As Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha is clearly an expert on digital engagement issues. She’s also a captivating speaker, always good at pulling out key facts to get her point across.

Dom Sparkes @DomSparkes - Dom runs the moderation agency, Tempero. He’s especially strong on community management of children’s websites and the processes required to run them in a safe manner.

Thomas Power - I have not heard him speak myself, but heard a rave review from Neville Hobsbon on his podcast. Thomas set up Ecademy and is famous for being one of London’s great connectors. Whilst I don’t agree with all he says e.g. “the most important thing about your network is size, not quality” he’s clearly very enthusiastic and engaging.

Matt Rhodes - OK, so Matt works with me at FreshNetworks. I am biased. But time and again he gets rave reviews from his audiences whenever he’s asked to speak about social media. Matt is one of the foremost thinkers on social media in the UK (he’s the reason why this blog is consistently one of Europe’s Top 3 social marketing blogs). And despite being a Cambridge graduate, he generally has an insightful perspective on all social media topics.

Tim Hwang‘s SXSW talk was one of the most entertaining in Austin. Not because of his speaking style, but purely down to the content: What we learned watching kids with homemade flamethrowers. You can catch a great video here.

Two more speakers

These two don’t fit into the social media speaker bracket, but they are two of my favourite business speakers ever:
Dennis Turner - Dennis is Chief Economist at HSBC. He manages to make macroeconomics both enthrawling and easy to understand. A delight to watch.

BJ Cunningham - BJ tells a fantastic story about Death Cigarettes - a brand he founded 20 years ago. He’s a superb speaker.

Your turn
Have you been struck by an excellent social media speaker? who was it and why were they good?

Media140 - Social Media in London


Media140 Social meetup in London

Media140 Social meetup in London

Almost every event organsier talks about creating an engaged and involved audience. Sadly it rarely happens.

On Thursday I spoke at the Media140, a Social Media Meetup in London. The event was mostly dominated by Social Media agencies and consultants. There was a lively atmosphere, a loud shouty man and most of all, lots of energetic interaction.

I am still trying to work out exactly what the magic formula was. Perhaps because only a hardcore bunch made it through the snow; so they were determined to speak up. Or maybe it was the free drinks that created a positive and friendly Twitter back-channel from the off.

So what can event organisers, searching for elusive interaction, learn from the Media140 event? One factor that definitely made a difference was the style and approach of Guy Stephens (Carphone Warehouse) and Richard Baker (formerly General Manager, Virgin Trains). They kicked things off with an informal open conversation about Social Media. And they brought two key things to the debate:

1. A specific angle, social media for customer service, in which they had clear expertise

2. An openness to debate. Their style was non-lecturing, they didn’t pretend to know all the answers and it was clear they wanted to be challenged and learn from the audience.

Perhaps it’s something about Social Media - we’re all learning together - that makes interaction more likely. But clearly personal style goes a long way. And I suspect it’s especially important to make sure your first speakers have the right tone.

If you’re working in social media in London then I recommend you sign up for the next Media140 Meetup Thanks @andegregson and @KatePickering for organising it and for @Guy1067 and @Richard_Baker for the engaging conversation on Social Media for Customer Service.

Oh and my favourite Social Media takeaway of the event was that Social Media Agencies need organisational change management skills as much as they need marketing, PR or customer service capabilities.

Image courtesy of Iain Weir