“Push Snowboarding was a bold step that used social media to develop the product, generate awareness and engagement, and increase brand and device preference. No other company had blended social and traditional media in this way.” -David Dubois
Nokia released N8, a touch screen smartphone that has connection to apps, on 23 September 2010 at the Nokia Online Store. The company decided to apply social media marketing strategies instead of merely focusing on traditional media platform. At that time, other tech companies in the industry were cautious with their usage of social media. Apple only used social media for sub-brands such as the App Store and iTunes on Twitter. A number of brands had failed in using social media platforms efficiently and some of them even paid a good price for it.
Hyper, the creative agency hired by Nokia, recommended creating a strong online community to help speed up product adoption and development of N8. The community that Hyper found was the aspiring snowboarders. Through a partnership with Burton, who has been the world’s most popular snowboarding brand since 1987, Nokia increased awareness as well as authority in snowboarding community. Nokia sponsored the Burton US Open, where the campaign was broadcasted on Twitter and YouTube. The goal was to use TV ads, Tweets and YouTube videos to direct traffic to the website.
Nokia’s innovative social media strategies yield excellent results. The campaign reached approximately 290 million people across the world through social media platforms. Twitter was one of the most effective platform with a reach of 8.2 million.
I think the key success factor that made this campaign go viral is that Nokia found an effective customer community and the best way to communicate with them. As a result, the N8 Snowboarding campaign led to a drastic increase of product awareness as well as brand engagement.
However, one thing that we need to keep in mind is that it was a risky move. Given the example of Southwest Airlines in the case, a company could lose control of the brand in social media platform. I believe it is necessary for a brand to prepare a contingency resolution plan to maximize the risks.