Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SMMP: Staples Inc. 2013 Back to School - Part II

In the first social monitoring blog, I analysed the history, website, talkers, trends, changing and Twitter about Staples back to school. 

For deeper insight, there also should be a reference object. So in this blog, I would like to compare its situation with general "back to school" talks.


On the website of Staples Back to School, we can see that their target audiences are both students and teachers. Students can choose their goods by grades. On the bottom of this website, we can find the social media connections: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and community. 

Who Are The Talkers?

According to the results of addictomatic, there are many people talk about deals and coupons of back to school in groundswell. However, comparing with the general talks of back to school, Staples back to school has no talks on Flickr. On YouTube, the general talks have more original videos than Staples' talks. We can see that most of the Staples back to school video are ads, the can not reflect the feeling of talkers.

How About The Trends?

Every year, the talks of Staples back to school are very popular in the late summers and early falls. 

Comparing with the talks of general back to school, Staples talks of back to school are increasing much faster year by year. It shows that the increasing of the talks of this topic is not a general phenomenon, the talks of Staples beyond the other similar topics.

But there is one thing which the general talks has but Staples talks does not have: in each winter, there was a small peak in the general talks. We can see the next two pictures and know more about it.
Staples Back to School 2005-2013

General Back to School 2005-2013

In the trends in 2013, we can see the small peak clearly. This peak appeared on January. In that time period, the winter holiday was going to end and the spring semester was coming, so people started to talk back to school. Staples did not have this small peak, because it had not the real senses of back to school topics in winter.
Staples Back to School 2013

 General Back to School 2013

I also checked IceRocket, which is also an outstanding tool for trend analysis. IceRocket shows the trends that people talk "Staples back to school" in recent months, the overview result is consistent with the result of google trends.

In addition, when I am comparing it with the general "back to school", I find an interesting law: People would like to write blog on weekdays more than in weekends. In another word, when people are unable to do something in freely, writing blog becomes an available way to publish their thinking. I guess that people would like to know and to share the shopping information in weekdays, then go to shop in weekends. This guess might help Staples to know more about customer behaviors, and to plan better contact points with customers.

Staples Back to School

General Back to School

What Are Changing in Groundswell?

For Staples back to school itself, we can see the left two pictures. They show that after the time period of back to school, the activeness of the talks become lower, but the sentiment become better and better.

When we are comparing the Staples talks with the general talks, we can see that since the time period of back to school is already over, there are less and less people talk about them on groundswell, the passions of them are decreasing consistently. 

          Staples 10-31-2013             Staples 11-5-2013              Staples 11-13-2013

                                     General 11-5-2013                     General 11-13-2013

What are They Talking About?

I separate the 2013 back to school period into three stages: raising stage (June 9th - July 28th), peak stage (July 28th - Aug 24th) and decreasing stage (Aug 24th - Sept 28th). 
I will monitor the talks by Trendistic in each stage, and to know the thinking of talkers in the time period of back to school by this way.

The following analysis comes from my last monitoring project:

In the raising stage, there are many Twitter users were talking about "to buy Staples gift card on Groupon", and the "Staples Back to School Saving Pass for 15% off". Obviously, Staples are attracting customers for this period of sales in this stage. I believe these promotions made customers feel exciting, and they would like to share the promotions with others.

In the peak stage, the talks of gift card and saving pass were disappeared, and Deals of Staples became popular topic in Twitter. In this stage, people started to consider shopping in Staples, and the cheap price become the topics which they were cared about. 

In the decreasing stage, people realized the Period of Back to School is almost done in Staples. In the late of decreasing stage, people started to pay more attentions on the other deals, which has no related with back to school. In the same time, the new deals were becoming the new topics in Twitter.

For the talks of general back to school on Twitter, the natures of topic are abundant, and there are huge number talks about it. People talk about their experiences, feelings and some deals. For the deals, the talks are not limited to the back to school products which Staples is selling. People are talking the other products about back to school too, like a new pair of shoes.

Conclusions and Recommendations

C 1: Staples Back to School are popular in this period in every year, but the relevance between back to school and the following time period is low in groundswell.
R 1: Staples should bring the following new deals forward more, give the customers enough time to keep talking "Back to School" and "New Deals" in the same time period.

C 2: Now, Staples sales many different kinds of products about back to school, like notebook, pencil and school bag. In this period, the major target audiences are student parents or students themselves. But Staples' public image - office supplies, it makes a small gap between the young people and its brand.
R 2: Before the time period of back to school is coming, Staples should keep to mention "back to school" in sometimes, do not let people forget this topic in the whole following year. Let the young people know, they are always the customers of Staples, but not only in the late summer.

C 3: Comparing with the general talks, there are no talks about Staples back to school on Flickr. It also means that the images of this topic (except the ads) is not popular in groundswell.
R 3: Staple should encourage customers to upload their photos about this topic onto Flickr. For example, Staples can add "back to school uploading competition with prize" into camera apps, let more app users get passion to do it.

C 4: On YouTube, there are many staples back to school advertising videos, but less customer original videos about this topic.
R 4: Staples should organize some activities about back to school, which can make customers have special interesting on them. Once they can make some fun videos, they would upload them and share with others.

C 5: Comparing with the general talks, Staples does not have talks of back to school in winter.
R 5: Staples should pay attention on the winter back to school. It can be a part of Staples marketing strategy, and can also be a good topic in groundswell.