Putting On The Brits: Why Brands Rode The Gravy-Train Last Night

Brits and Brands

Looks like Damien Hirst may have used some of our favourites on the #BRITs2013 award! twitpic.com/c5f6nr

— Dulux (@duluxuk) February 20, 2013

If you've been anywhere near Facebook or Twitter in the past 24 hours, you'll have seen lots of this: brands casually mentioning The Brit Awards, or posting pictures of their products dressed up as pop stars, awards or anything 'Britsy'. And it wasn't just last night that this kind of thing went on. There were similar tidal waves of products arranged into heart shapes for Valentine's Day, brands 'celebrating' the DVD release of 'Skyfall' (though they had Sweet MI6 to do with the movie) and endless random Superbowl posts - often saying something along the lines of "We don't understand it either, but... yay! Exciting!"

These posts are arguably there for two reasons. Ostensibly, they form an association between the product and an event everyone's talking about (official sponsorship seems so superfluous in the social age) - but, when all your rival brands are playing the same game then... meh, not so much. No, the real reason behind posts like these is that they garner lots of 'Likes', shares and comments on Facebook and retweets, replies and

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Five ways social commerce can make YOUR online community profitable

Five ways to monetise YOUR online community with social commerce

For years, monetisation has been the elephant in the room for online communities. On the one hand, all that moderation, content creation, love and - let's face it - server capacity doesn't pay for itself. On the other hand, you didn't set this community up to make money, and no one joined to make you rich.

The brilliant writer Patrick O'Keefe went a huge way towards smashing that taboo with his latest book, Monetizing Online Forums (he's from North Carolina so we'll forgive him the spelling). But what about social commerce? Can you tap into the latest tools and trends to make money out of your community without alienating your members?

We think so. And here's five tried and tested ways we've helped communities from Mumsnet to Robbie Williams's gigantic fanbase do just that.

1. Quite simply, brands pay to run Co-buys. We've helped set up thousands of Co-buys with partners ranging from The Mirror to the motorcycling mecca, Visordown - and brands have been queueing up to get on board... at a cost.

2. Co-buys can be sold either as one-off marketing events, or as entire Co-buying channels. Brands can either take over those channels - supplying and promoting

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Turf war! Retail VS Publishing.

Turf war! Retail v publishing

The French word for shop is 'magasin'. We reckon they're onto something, the French (beyond the nice art and the poodles and stuff), because magazines and retail go together like snails and garlic butter.

Except it's the wrong way round. Instead of publishers exerting their incredible influence and ready-made audiences to do something magical with retail, they've let the shopkeepers jump them gun on them and launch their own magazines.

And now, guess what? Tesco Magazine is the most read publication in the UK. Bigger than The Daily Mail. Bigger than The Sun. Bigger than Cage And Aviary Birds. Amazing.

It's time for the publishers to fight back, but making pennies from a cruddy bolt-on affiliate store is not the answer. Social commerce is the answer. Here's five big reasons why:

1) Social Commerce is a form of e-commerce that editors can get behind; it allows editorial teams to curate a product roster and add real value to an e-commerce offering.

2) At the same time, social commerce empowers readers rather than exploiting them. It helps grow community by rewarding readers instead of scaring them off with hard sales.

3) Rather than making a slim margin from sales (or an

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Gamification: here's how to make it work

Gamification: It's What Makes Social Soar

We've noticed quite a few people talking about "gamification" recently - some of it (perhaps wilfully) reductive, some of it a little too inclusive (are road signs _really _"gamification at its finest", Mashable?). But the common thread seems to be an agreement that an interactive layer of incentives, goals and rewards is the hot new thing in social marketing. And, if your company's not playing its customers off against each other to ratchet up the buzz, you'll be going out of business quicker than you can pass go (without collecting £200).

No wonder a recent report by Gartner said that by 2014, "a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon," adding that "more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application."

By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon.

We're on the "damn straight" side of the fence here at buyapowa - but we believe that bolting on a gaming element is at best redundant, often patronising and, at times, disastrous. That's why our products feature carefully woven gaming elements throughout the user experience cycle.

To take our Price-Drop Co-buy model as an example, the gaming begins right at the start - when users request products then compete to make their dream Co-buys happen. The gamification continues once the Price-drop goes live, as users group together and share the deal to access unique pricing. And gamification provides a satisfying ending to every Price-drop, with a winner being declared (and rewarded) for having shared the most.

Having run thousands of Co-buys like this, we jabbed our scientists in the arm and asked them to prove that gamification works*. They hit us with one, knockout stat which absolutely proved what we suspected: just over 50% of all co-buyers are referred in by other Co-buyers. That's true gamification in action, and it's why it matters. 

* We'll stop bullying them the moment they stop lining up so many pens in their shirt pockets.

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We're reinventing the reader offer with The Mirror

Bargain Power for the Mirror

We're delighted to be working with Trinity Mirror on a new *co-buying service *which we believe is set to reinvent the notion of the 'reader offer'. The Mirror Bargain Power channel will launch next week, providing an interactive way for Mirror readers to request, share and enjoy unique deals. It will simultaneously enable some of the UK's most innovative brands to engage with a whole new audience, earning new and influential social advocates. Exciting stuff! Here's the press release in full...

*Daily Mirror Launches Social Commerce Campaigns *

Shoeaholics, Maxitone and Fiorelli will launch the Mirror’s new social advertising channel

The Daily Mirror has partnered with social commerce experts buyapowa to offer advertisers “co-buying” flash sales opportunities.

The first of the co-buy campaigns will launch next week. Each co-buy will last between 24 to 36 hours. Brands taking part in November include Kurt Geiger's Shoeaholics, female nutrition brand Maxitone, and Fiorelli to promote their handbags and accessories.

To start each flash sale an announcement will be made simultaneously on the Daily Mirror’s Facebook and Twitter pages where followers will be encouraged to spread the word of the deal – the more co-buyers who join the flash sale the lower the

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