General Electric, GE, is an American corporation headquartered in New York City, and a B2B brand.
GE’s business activities stretch across the power, water, oil and gas industries but also deals with software development, financial services, automotives and more.
As a brand that does not usually engage directly with the average consumer when it comes to business, GE has done remarkably well for itself in establishing a global presence on social media.
Dubbed “The Most Exciting Brand on Social Media” by Beta21, let us distill the ways in which GE humanises its brand, and keeps itself social.
1. The ‘GE Works’ Equation
GE has a strong brand vision that underpins all its marketing efforts.
With expertise in many fields of industry, what brings all these diverse businesses together is GE’s focus on championing science and innovation in general, with the hopes of creating “a world that works better”.
Marketing efforts by GE are thus geared towards building a brand image of “thought-leaders in advanced technology.”
Resultant social media campaigns and marketing material are thus focused on putting together inspirational and thought-provoking content that build off from this underlying theme.
Word-of-mouth tip: Having a strong brand vision is of extreme importance in putting together a coherent and impactful marketing strategy. GE’s vision of creating a world that works better is simple, yet effective — one that buyers can identify with and feel good about.
2. YouTube – Stories that Humanise the Brand
GE’s Youtube feed is a treasure trove of amazing content.
At the heart of every video is the message that GE’s new innovations and state-of-the-art technology has created a revolutionary impact on industry and helped make human lives better.
The 2014 video “Childlike Imagination – What My Mom Does at GE” is a particularly successful example of GE’s use of storytelling to humanise the brand:
The video features a little girl describing what her mother does at GE, from a whimsical child-like perspective. The video ends with the little girl saying, “My mom works at GE,” driving home the important message that GE does great things.
The video was a huge success, garnering more than 2 million views on Youtube.
GE’s executive director of global digital marketing Linda Boff has said, “We’ve found when we’re able to tell relevant stories — both about our challenges as well as our successes — in always-on channels, people reach out to us and share their experiences as well. That’s allowed us to build relationships over time.”
Word-of-mouth tip: Youtube is a great platform for putting out visual content. GE’s unique approach of letting people see what goes on behind the scenes and by showcasing the technologies that have changed the world goes a long way in humanising the work done at GE and increasing brand reputation.
3. Snapchat — Celebrating Past Achievements through Storytelling
GE launched its Snapchat account in style, choosing to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first moon landing.
The boots that Armstrong wore when he landed on the moon were purportedly designed with GE silicone rubber.
In celebration of this fact, GE turned to Snapchat to announce the release of a custom edition moon boot known as “The Missions”, produced in collaboration with retailer JackThreads.
To generate further hype over the new product launch, GE invited Buzz Aldrin, the second man to reach the moon, to take over the Snapchat account for a couple of hours.
Following up on this campaign using its other social media feeds, GE launched a second phase of the campaign on Vine and Instagram, asking fans to submit their own reenactments of the “first steps on the moon”.
GE’s use of Snapchat as a social media marketing tool is a strategic one.
Although most users of Snapchat are young millennials who do not represent GE’s core group of consumers, GE’s head of social media and global brand marketing Sydney Williams has said, “For us the focus on this audience is because they represent the next generation of customers, investors, and employees.”
Word-of-mouth tip: GE’s constant drive to seek out new platforms to experiment with has been one of its greatest successes. For brands that do not engage in conventional B2C approaches, this forward-looking strategy of using the most popular social media platforms to increase brand awareness amongst the next generation of consumers and leaders is crucial.
4. Vine – #6SecondScience
GE’s approach towards Vine, the six second video sharing app, has been highly fun and interactive, but also incredibly educational.
GE’s viral campaign, #6SecondScience, is an online fair where people can share cool science stuff with a global audience.
GE’s most popular #6SecondScience Vine post is one that shows what happens when milk, food colouring and dish soap are combined.
The resulting reaction produces a visual ephemera of vibrant colors spreading out from the center. Certainly a sight to behold.
That Vine has gone viral, generating more than 21 million Loops.
GE even created a Tumblr compilation of all the #6SecondScience Vines, providing a one-stop platform for all the science geeks to watch these amazing videos.
GE’s use of Vine is as honest and genuine as it gets. Product placements and advertising are visibly absent. All content produced is carefully curated, and underpinned by its brand ethos of inspiring innovation.
Word-of-mouth tip: GE’s effective and purposeful use of Vine is inspiring. Putting out genuine and down-to-earth content without hard selling is a refreshing change for consumers, and a deeply appreciated one. These short 6 second videos are also great at capturing short attention spans, and driving home the brand message.