Kids at McDonald’s protesting to raise wages.
On Mother’s Day 2015 my 9 year old son and his group from the Workman’s Circle brought cards to the moms working the weekend shift at McDonald’s. The message was to wish these workers a $15 minimum wage to help them support their families. Armed with a package of pennies my child ordered a cone and began to count them one by one. That’s when the corporate machine jumped into action and gave out free ice cream to all the kids. None of them refused and it became difficult to chant “Justice for workers.”
Foiled at McDonald’s the group moved on to Wendy’s where the manager yelled at them and threatened to call the police. There they stayed fueled from the free ice cream and continued their calls for fair wages for moms.
The kids have a history with Wendy’s because the company has refused to pay an additional penny a pound for tomatoes grown by Florida farm workers. Looks like Wendy’s should think about a number of their policies.
You may be wondering what this has to do with social media and mobile marketing. Social issues diffuse more quickly through the population than ever before and customers, when united, can alter long held corporate policies. Social media can also shed light on issues if people widely share them. Change.org has had some big successes in altering corporate policies. I wish it would start to work for global warming…
Here is a link to the article in the Daily News.
Last night when I was suffering from the stomach flu, I searched Google using the desperate and relatively long tail key word phrase “how to stop throwing up.” Clearly I was in pretty bad shape, but somehow still thinking of my blog. I remembered an article I had read a while back that explained how the CDC, The Center for Disease Control in the US tracks social media for illness to determine outbreaks. My memory was correct in that the CDC not only tracks flu outbreaks via social media they have even launched a contest to encourage citizens to predict the 2013-2014 flu season. Here is the beginning of the press release from the CDC:
CDC Competition Encourages Use of Social Media to Predict Flu
November 25, 2013 — CDC has launched the “Predict the Influenza Season Challenge,” a competition designed to foster innovation in flu activity modeling and prediction. The registrant who most successfully predicts the timing, peak and intensity of the 2013-2014 flu season using social media data (e.g., Twitter, internet search data, web surveys) will receive an award of $75,000 and CDC recognition. Full details of the contest requirements – including eligibility rules, how to enter the contest, and scoring – are available via the official contest announcement at https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-28198.
Aside from the CDC there is an app called Sickweather that uses social media to track outbreaks of a variety of illnesses scanning Twitter and Facebook. The result is an interactive map showing the areas around the country for infections and other health issues. I thought this was interesting, but not particularly useful for me. I was quite aware that the stomach flu was going around. At least three kids in my child’s class had the flu and on Wednesday, my child got it. It was passed to me in spite of extra hand washing.
Unfortunately even knowing that the illness was present did not make it possible for me to avoid getting ill. The sickweather app might provide some interesting information, but can’t make up for the realities of parenthood. One area where it may be helpful is in cases of food poisoning. Sickweather could track names of restaurants that made people sick. However, publicly posting this information without clear evidence may have its own issues.
The amount of knowledge and potentially predictive behavior is fascinating, though my illness would not have shown up on Twitter or Facebook. Google likely has the stronger data set given that it includes search information and also social media.
Here is to avoiding illness and keeping up the fluids…
Click here for: The article on Sickweather from the Star Tribune
Marion Poetz and Martin Schreier examined ideas for new baby products developed by average customers and compared them to products designed by a world renowned team of in-house product developers for a large multinational corporation.
The researchers chose the Austrian company BamedMam (www.mambaby.com) to participate in the study. BamedMam sells 40 million products in over 30 countries and employs 400 people globally. The firm has won global design prizes and it known for their innovative products.
Seventy customers submitted their product ideas on the company website with the opportunity to earn free products in a raffle.
The BamedMam CEO and Director of R&D assessed all the ideas using set criteria for evaluation purposes. The ideas were grouped by topic and then randomly ordered so the evaluators did not know who had developed the idea, a customer or an in-house employee. Each idea was evaluated based on a five point scale for 1) novelty 2) problem solving ability and 3) feasibility.
The study found that the customer ideas were more novel and more effective in solving customer problems. The professionals scored higher on feasibility, but lower than customers on the overall quality measure (Poetz & Schreier, 2012). The bottom line is that customers may have better knowledge of their needs and how to solve them than professional developers.
Something for companies to think about huh?