The case studies around social listening always fascinate me. Even the tried-and-true customer service saves that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy about social media. But when a company goes beyond the reactive (what I call “monitoring”) use of social listening platforms and applies the technology to inform other business functions, I get excited.

7-11 is one such brand. It launched 7Rewards, a loyalty app, in 2015 and knew going in there were a couple of challenges ahead. First, they had to take advantage of the opportunity to launch the app on July 11 (7-11 Day) since that was the high-traffic day of the year for the convenience store chain. On that day, everyone gets a free Slurpee to celebrate 7-11. But that also meant it needed the messaging for the new app to stand out so consumers weren’t confused by the two messages (enjoy 7-11 Day with a Slurpee AND download our new loyalty app).

7RewardsAppSo the brand dove into online conversations to find out more about app users, what they talk about and how they talk about certain things.  7-11 isolated around 100,000 online users who it could identify as app users. They either talked about downloading apps, using apps, how they liked apps, etc. What they were saying about apps wasn’t important though. Identifying the audience of app users was. This wasn’t keyword-centric research. It was focused on that audience.

Once identified, the brand analyzed Twitter conversations to understand what app users talked about, how they talked about it and more to inform the creative process for the 7Rewards launch. It discovered that app users talked about coffee and breakfast with more frequency than other Internet users, comparatively, they are interested in promotions and giveaways — especially when there’s a chance to win something, and when talking about the apps they do use, they use superlative emotions — love, great, awesome, etc.

There were more specific insights, but you get the point.

The 7-11 consumer insights team was then able to relay important nuggets of information to the creative teams executing on the launch plan. These tidbits of information informed the creative brief that evolved to become the 7Rewards launch, which featured a free beverage for every 7th purchase.

And, oh by the way, 7Rewards launched to millions of downloads, still gets thousands of uses per month and is now baked into the brand’s overall loyalty and rewards program and app.

For your brand’s creatives to understand how customers — current and prospective — talk about a product or service in real-time unlocks even more potential that the messaging recommended will be spot-on. Wouldn’t it then seem imperative that social listening be baked into the creative process as a relevant input? I think so. What about you?

The comments, as always, are yours.

Note: 7-11 used NetBase, a social listening platform that is a client of mine and that I use in my work at Elasticity.

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