In anticipation of our upcoming 2013 Forrester Groundswell awards, I have been reminiscing about our past winners. One of the great benefits of participating in Forrester's Groundswell Awards is that analysts often use the winners' (and finalists') submissions as examples of best practices. Personally, I have included our Groundswell Awards winners and finalists in event presentations, client advisories, and consulting projects. These winners have inspired many marketers who continuously seek innovative ways to incorporate social media in their marketing strategies.

One winner that I have referred to frequently — and is a personal favorite of mine — is L'Oreal.  L'Oreal won a B2B Groundswell Award in 2011 for its National Salon Facebook program. Using the Buddy Media social relationship platform, L'Oreal provided its ecosystem of thousands of salon partners with tools that helped them easily enhance their business Facebook pages with branded content, how-to-videos, and appointment-scheduling applications. I have many reasons for favoriting L'Oreal's program, but my top three are:

  • L'Oreal's campaign reflects an "outside-in" perspective.This was a true B2B2C campaign that proves how important it is to address the needs of the customer. The campaign provided content and applications to end-consumers, helped partners with shrinking marketing budgets promote their services, and helped L'Oreal get its brand in front of a wide audience of consumers. It was a win/win/win!
  • The technology platform facilitated content publication.The heart of any marketing campaign is good content. By enabling its partners to easily create and publish content on their Facebook pages using the Buddy Media platform, L'Oreal essentially planted the seeds for fresh branded content. The program empowered L'Oreal's partners to create content they felt was appropriate for their clients. 
  • The campaign delivered impressive results. Many brands are still trying to figure out how to make Facebook a viable engagement platform. L'Oreal proved that a brand can drive deeper engagement by providing the tools to help partners reach their business goals. More than 6,000 salons participated in the campaign, which reached more than 1.5 million clients.  

I can't wait to see who wins our 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards in the Reach, Depth and Relationship categories. Perhaps your company will be an analyst "favorite" this year. The deadline to submit a 2013 Groundswell Award entry is August 30, 2013. Don't miss an opportunity to promote your creative and innovative social marketing initiatives!