Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Insights’


More Tales from the Front: Building Products & Social Media in Action

Posted on December 3, 2009 by Nora DePalma

We’ll call this chapter:  “Eliminating the Middleman. All of Them”

Pleasantly surprised one morning to open my email and find a completely unsolicited testimonial about a client’s product:

Hi Nora,

Please comsider this endorsement for the American Standard “speed connect” drain.  If you find it helpful in any way please feel free to modify and use in the promotion of the product.

Thank you,
John Murphy
National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals

American Standard has introduced the “speed connect” drain to many of their faucet lines this year. The company claims that there are fewer moving parts to install, the drains will seal and hold water upon installation and the drains will not need adjustment. These claims are all true.

What American Standard has not stated is that this new cable action pop-up drain assembly is what the plumbing industry has needed for decades. This drain really does what AS claims and more.

Ask any plumber what the most difficult or frustrating part of installing a lavatory faucet is and they will say the drain linkage and adjustment. Well, not after they install this drain. American Standard has removed the linkage and replaced it with a cable not unlike some of the bath drains that are out there.

This new lavatory drain is a problem solver and it is a pleasure to install.”

Obviously, not just any testimonial.  John Murphy is a master plumber in New England, active on Linked In and other social networks and President of the new National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals.  We had met through Linked In and enjoyed an ongoing dialogue.

But I hadn’t sent him anything about Speed Connect.  Who did?

Among the flurry of emails shooting back and forth across American Standard’s servers that day, we tried to solve the mystery.  It was much later in the day when the truth was revealed:

To All

This came about from a discussion that I began with John on Linkedin, another example of the power of social media.


Donald C. Devine
CEO, American Standard Brands

There is much talk about what CEOs should or should not be doing online.   Don Devine does pretty much the same thing he does offline: talks to customers and prospects.  When the door opened with John Murphy, Don asked him to try one of our products.  Talk about eliminating the middlemen … and middlewomen.


Tales from the Front: Building Products & Social Media in Action

Posted on November 28, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Social media isn’t a magical new fad.   It’s simply a new way to communicate, cost-effectively opening up dialogue that didn’t exist in the old marketing communications model.

In the old days (1990s), building professionals such as kitchen & bath designers might give helpful feedback to their rep and it might work its way up the corporate food chain, and something might happen.

Or not.

In October,  kitchen & designer Paul Anater published a blog post, Sears’ Blue Crew Needs Some Work,  detailing his frustrations with the Sears Kenmore built-in appliances his new kitchen remodeling clients had purchased on their own.

The St. Petersburg, Florida designer could not get the necessary  dimensions from the Sears Kenmore website, nor from their hapless customer service reps, kept well-protected from pesky customers by a phone tree from heck.

“If I can’t tell the cabinet maker these dimensions, he can’t build me the cabinet I need. They have to be exact because we’re talking about a several thousand dollar cabinet here and there’s no such thing as a return for custom work,  Paul blogged.

Paul took note that the Sears website spends more digital real estate “touting the virtues of the Blue Crew than it does dispensing information. It’s difficult to navigate and the information I needed was buried. There was no pro section and no dimension guide. Ridiculous.”

He continued: “Why not take some of the serious cash you’re spending on the Blue Crew TV and print spots and spend it instead on updated spec books and some training for your trained professionals? This doesn’t bode well and you can rest assured that you have a kitchen designer in Florida who’s actively pointing his clients as far from your doors as he can.”

A dedicated and prolific communicator, Paul promoted his blog post via his Twitter account, @saintpetepaul.  Talk about hitting a nerve.   “That post set off a firestorm of commiseration in my comments section and on Twitter that lasted throughout the weekend,” Paul says.  “When I first wrote that post I thought that I was the only one who had these frustrations. To say I’m not alone in this is an understatement.”

Paul’s blog post was published on a Saturday.  On Monday morning, Paul had a voice mail message from a Sears executive.  “He was very clear in his e-mail that he wasn’t out to make a Kenmore convert out of me,” Paul noted. “Rather, what he wanted to gain from a conversation with me was a better understanding of the sort of information design professionals need from them.”

The Sears exec asked if Paul would be willing to talk to him and a couple members of his team. Paul upped the ante. He volunteered to solicit feedback from his nationwide network of kitchen & bath designer friends, and got 12 of them to join the call, which almost certainly became the lowest-cost focus group ever.


Paul: “Let me start out by saying that I am beyond impressed with Sears Appliances. I see them in a whole new light. I mean, how many members of the appliance industry would open themselves up to a panel discussion with a group of designers and architects who’d been hand picked by blogger who’d been done wrong? ….You guys showed me a side to your company I never knew existed. Bravo.”

Sears:  Within three weeks of that call, Sears was back in touch with Paul to continue the dialogue, asking if he would be interested in an an ongoing series of conversations.


The Impact of User Generated Reviews

Posted on October 29, 2009 by Nora DePalma


Shared Article: Mike McCready: Social Media — Is it a Fad?

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Mike McCready: Social Media — Is it a Fad?

New must-read book about to publish: Socialnomics.


  • 34% of bloggers (and there are over 200,000,000 blogs) post opinions about products and brands
  • 14% of people trust advertisers, yet…
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.

Should building products marketers spend less brand advertising and more on storytelling?


Shared article: Is your social media expert really an expert? | The Home of Peter Shankman -

Posted on July 13, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Is your social media expert really an expert? | The Home of Peter Shankman -

The best checklist we’ve seen to date. Point #5 is a classic.


I Can Tell Your Age…By Your Social Media Involvement

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Nora DePalma

(as well as your gray roots)

From the Pew Institute:

Median age of Facebook users: 26

Median age of MySpace users: 27

Median age of Twitter users: 31

Median age of LinkedIn users: 40

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network