Social media can be challenging with its many channels and niche audiences. Where does a brand start? And how do brands tie their efforts together? VIZIO, the nation’s largest seller of flat panel televisions, answered these questions by creating its own social network, called Fandemonium.

By leveraging a sponsorship begun in 2010, VIZIO first launched Fandemonium at the 2013 Rose Bowl game; encouraging fans to cheer and jeer plays for a chance have their pictures displayed on the stadium jumbotron.  Fandemonium participation – including store check-ins as well as viewing and writing product reviews – is rewarded with points that members can redeem from VIZIO, or one of its Fandemonium partners, which include Hulu, Netflix, and ESPN.

The genius behind Fandemonium is that, while VIZIO used college football as a platform to launch the program, it’s not about sports. It’s about being a fan of media and entertainment generally. And by creating this broad, participatory audience, VIZIO has been able to tap into this audience for subsequent promotions related to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other holidays.

The Way I See It

  • I see that brand loyalty is about lifestyle. Regardless of the medium brands are using – web, social, or traditional advertising – establishing brand loyalty is all about connecting with what’s important to consumers, whether it’s college football or consumer’s favorite things about Mom or Dad.
  • Once you’ve established a reason to connect, it’s about meeting the customers where they are. While VIZIO created its own social network, it acts as hub for the brand’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube postings, so customer can engage with VIZIO where and when they want to.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Lily Knowles, Vice President of Product Marketing from VIZIO to discuss Fandemonium and social media marketing.

 

You had great success with the “BCS Fan Throwdown” and now with your “Win it For Mom” and “This One’s for Dad” promotions. What’s the connection between this kind of social media story-telling and watching TV?

We are always looking for ways to continue to engage our fans across our social media channels and we feel it’s important to reward our fans who go above and beyond in one way or another. For our BCS Fan Throwdown, we saw a natural connection between watching football, along with our sponsorship of the BCS National Championship and sought a clever way to engage with our fans are passionate about not only VIZIO, but also their favorite college football teams. For Mother’s and Father’s Day, we chose to look for the special stories that rewarded parents who have gone above and beyond for their families. These beautifully simple promotions served as goodwill outreach and also gave us the opportunity to work closely with one of our retail partners (Walmart) to award deserving families with the ultimate Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts.

You’re sustaining your VIZIO Fandemonium membership through other non-football related promotions. How do VIZIO Fandemonium members differ from your rank and file Twitter and Facebook followers? What benefits do they get, and how does VIZIO benefit from that depth of participation in the brand?

VIZIO Fandemonium is a way for us to reward our fans who engage with us on a deeper level than simply following our brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. VIZIO Fandemonium members have access to exclusive rewards such as Netflix gift subscriptions, autographed items from VIZIO brand ambassadors and even VIZIO products such as TVs and Sound Bars. In addition, VIZIO Fandemonium members get access to several exclusive VIZIO sweepstakes for being a valued member of our community. We seek to provide the members with the opportunity to win the kind of unique experiences that fans of any type (sports, movies, etc.) will enjoy. VIZIO benefits from this depth of participation, because we have more direct access to our fans through exclusive VIZIO Fandemonium emails. In addition, through VIZIO Fandemonium, we are able to establish relevant connections between Fandem members who share the same passion point – to help accelerate discovery of related social streams that one might not find otherwise. We will be doing this again around college football this fall, and are exploring ways to extend this to other genres.

What other social and mobile media tactics have you tried that you’ve found particularly successful?

Supporting our customers via social media has been a huge priority this year. We know sometimes our customers have questions and need answers about our products. More and more customers are coming to us via social media for those answers. We have a dedicated social support team that makes sure we answer all questions and comments as best and quickly as possible. VIZIO’s primary goal with social media is to serve customers and ensure an outstanding experience with our products. Also, in the past, we have coordinated several Twitter Chats with our app partners and even with our Chief Technology Officer, Matt McRae. We’ve had a lot of successful engagement from fans during these 30 to 60 minute chats. We’ve also set these up with several of our VIZIO TVP award nominated athletes including Giovani Bernard and two-time TVP winner, Russell Wilson. On the mobile side, this year we developed the VIZIO Showroom App, which allows a customer to use their iPad, iPhone or Android device along with a 8.5 x 11 Printed Marker provided by VIZIO to help visualize what a new VIZIO product would look like in a space in their home.

Considering the target market of VIZIO television purchasers, how you use social and mobile media advertising?

While we do not use social media advertising on a regular basis, occasionally, in order to target a certain audience we have found that Facebook ads are helpful due to their highly targeted nature and ability to capture people where they already are on the internet, browsing Facebook.

What is the coolest object in your office?

The coolest object at VIZIO HQ is our 120” Reference Series television, which we had on display at CES earlier this year. We look forward to releasing more information about the Reference series later this year.