Intel iQ – A Social Media Marketing Experiment

Screen shot of Intel iQ web site home pageI’m fascinated by the way companies of all sizes are desperately trying to crack the code on leveraging social media for marketing. The latest example comes from Intel, which knows a thing or two about branding – it ranked seventh on the Interbrand “best global brands” survey last year, and its “Intel Inside” campaign helped define the scope of what’s possible with B2C branding.

According to Bryan Rhoades, a content strategist with Intel, “content is currency and social actions are the transactions in this marketplace for eyeballs and attention. To remain relevant, not only do brands need to produce more interesting, useful and more timely content, they need to adapt to a new ‘social publishing model’ to best feed the social graph and this hungry cycle.”

Intel’s response is a new “social publishing” site, iQ by Intel, currently in beta at http://iq.intel.com/. It’s a digital magazine, providing Intel customers, employees, and channel partners with useful content that they can share via social media, with the intent of focusing readers’ eyeballs and attention on Intel’s chips and the products they power. Much of the content is syndicated from Mashable, TechCrunch, Wired.com, TheNextWeb, Popular Science and other sources, with the remaining content written by Intel. And therein lies the problem.

The iQ site is bright, colorful, and focused on content, but brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s remark to a writer that “Your manuscript is both good and original; but the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good.” Some users will find value in having Intel’s algorithms act as curators to filter interesting stories – grouped into Media, Life, and Planet. But many people will already have been alerted to the good stuff by other filtering mechanisms – like Twitter, Facebook, and even RSS feeds.

As for the Intel-generated content, it tries hard, but for me falls into the uncanny realm where it looks like news but smells like advertising. For instance, a home-page “iQ Original” article, The Technology Behind Dolphin Tale & Other Prosthetics, is a shareable heart-warmer with no direct mention of Intel, but then Intel gets little benefit from the story being shared.

Meanwhile, another home-page story, What Would You Do For An Ultrabook?, is clearly intended to boost recognition and consideration for this new generation of Intel-powered PCs (that compete directly with Apple’s MacBook Air). The underlying marketing campaign is engaging – a series of six funny “temptation” videos showing what people would do to score one of the new ultrabooks. Perfect for sharing. And at a time when we’re all drowning in content, there’s real value in having customers organically share content that’s aligned with your company’s marketing messages. But after two weeks, the page has only 17 tweets, 11 Facebook Likes, and four Google +1s, not an overwhelming response.

I applaud the experimentation that Intel’s doing here, and will be interested to see how effectively this site can generate sharing that builds favorable awareness, interest, and consideration of their products. I’ll check back in with the iQ site in a few months to see what we can learn.

 

You can read Bryan Rhoades blog post, iQ – A New Social Publishing Model, here: http://iq.intel.com/story/8513442/iq-a-new-publishing-model-1

Bryan published another perspective here, on the blog of Altimeter Research analyst Brian Solis: http://www.briansolis.com/2012/07/a-social-publishing-model-from-intel-iq/

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