Ideahaus answered the call of a wireless company CEO trying to establish a social media strategy for seniors.
Jitterbug, a simplistic, reliable, and easy to use cell phone was a hit. The Jitterbug concept resonated with seniors, and the dependable customer service—a button press away, staffed by friendly and caring US-based support—kept Jitterbug users happy and loyal. Profits grew. The company grew. The New York Times honored it on the Top 10 Brilliant Ideas of 2006, an award that Reader’s Digest echoed in 2007. And Jitterbug won Andrew Seybold’s 2007 Choice Wireless Technology Award for “Best New Company.” Jitterbug was officially a market force.
David Inns was promoted to CEO of Jitterbug in 2006, making him the captain of a very successful ship. Jitterbug seemed guaranteed to do great things, and Inns knew that he had to maintain momentum. He had to plan and execute his next move.
Customer loyalty was strong, but sales of new phones slowed when Jitterbug established dominance of the senior market. Worse yet, Inns discovered that the more Jitterbug became “the cell phone for old people,” the less inclined late adopters were to purchase the phone. The elderly did not want to think of themselves as elderly, and other audiences that stood to benefit from a simplistic, reliable cell phone were hesitant to adopt Jitterbug for the same reason. The very thing that had made Jitterbug successful was now working against the brand.
Inns, after reading half a dozen books on social media marketing, decided that social media could be the solution that the company needed. Through social media, they could potentially expose new audiences to the benefits of Jitterbug, and by using a new technology that primarily connected with young people, they could revitalize the Jitterbug image. Unfortunately, the books he read that championed the power of social media and waxed poetically about its potential to change the direction of business did not provide a process. They offered no practical tools or guidance for a business looking to adopt social media for the first time.
Not long after Inns realized that he needed a concrete, practical process for incorporating social media into the Jitterbug brand, he found himself standing in front of a banana cream yellow building with towering glass windows: the Pacific Athletic Club in San Diego, California. He entered and took his seat in a semi-private workshop on Satellite Marketing, the social media marketing process that I had developed and successfully field-tested with dozens of Ideahaus clients.
The process provided a detailed, step-by-step plan for planning, launching, and maintaining a social media presence. Inns agreed that Satellite Marketing was the solution that he was looking for, but he did not have the right personnel with the right skills to implement Satellite Marketing. Social media represented strange waters, and he did not want to risk the stability of the company by sailing blindly into unknown territory. I told them that Ideahaus could manage every aspect of the process, but more than that, we could train and teach him and his staff to do what we did, so that Jitterbug could eventually maintain its social media independently.
Inns said that he would think about it, and he courted the idea over the course of a year. He knew that social media could help his company, but he could not decide on the right timing. I argued that seniors were already adopting social media, pointing to 2009 numbers reported by eMarketer Reports and by Pew Internet surveys. Inns remained reluctant.
Ideahaus met with the Jitterbug team, and we picked up where we had left off in the Satellite Marketing workshop. We walked through the planning process, identifying every marketing asset that they had in play as we designed and developed their social media platform, which would span across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. We developed each asset, or Satellite, and collaborated with their branding agency to make sure that the Jitterbug personality remained consistent as we repurposed their content from television spots, advertisements, events, and promotions to bring their social media to life.
We taught Inns how to use Twitter and how to use the platform effectively. By putting Inns into the spotlight, Ideahaus put a face on the young wireless company that was breaking new ground in its use of cell phones to promote health and wellness.
“Kevin really helped Jitterbug and GreatCall get a social media strategy established and took the reigns in the first steps of implementation. His passion, energy, and knowledge of the space is compelling.” - David Inns, CEO, GreatCall
As the Jitterbug social media grew, it began to reflect the culture of the company. Existing Jitterbug fans used the platforms to connect with Jitterbug experts for help with billing and technology support. At the same time, the Jitterbug social media exposed the brand to the ever-growing presence of seniors in social media as well as new, younger audiences. Even if members of the younger audiences were not interested in purchasing a Jitterbug phone for themselves, they were influencers that encouraged their parents and grandparents to purchase from Jitterbug.
When Jitterbug rebranded itself as GreatCall, a wireless company that produced Jitterbug phones, Ideahaus was able to smoothly adjust the social media assets. GreatCall was moving forward, which made it easier to capitalize on perfect timing and to safely navigate unfortunate timing.
Satellite Marketing improved business , and the Ideahaus team, over the course of a year, transferred their knowledge to key staff at GreatCall. We taught them how to manage every aspect of their social media, from events to crises. By the time Ideahaus handed full responsibility for Jitterbug social media to internal Jitterbug staff, they knew exactly how to pilot their ship. They knew what waters were safe and what rocks to avoid. They could take their 1,000 Twitter followers and 5,000 Facebook fans and continue to grow their audience and their business independently.
Category: Client Stories