A shower company called Grohe came up with a brilliant Social networking strategy that has people talking about their products.
They began by setting themselves up with a Grohe facebook fan page, with a competition. 1000 people would become "shower ambassadors" for the company - sent one of their stylish rainshower icon showerheads as long as they filled in the standard "tell us why you deserve to be a shower ambassador" forms.
I dutifully filled it in - I thought they looked kinda funky, and free stuff is always neat... and then forgot all about it, until yesterday morning when the postie arrived at the door with a shiny new shower head!
So, I've tested it and I think it's good. It's very stylish and would look right at home in most bathrooms - you can pick from a wide range of colours to suit. It's definitely a "rainshower" style head: very gentle; and eco-friendly as it uses less water for a very broad effect. It even has an extra-eco-friendly button that lets you use even less water... and the head comes with this set 'on' straight out of the factory - so they seem like they're serious about being eco-friendly.
Of course the really clever thing about this was the campaign itself. From the information they've posted me, it's clear they intend to get the message spread far and wide. The shower head came with a page of information suggesting that you share "thoughts, pictures and videos on our facebook page... your blog or your Twitter account".
Through the competition, they've made it a fun thing to do and share, and I wouldn't be surprised if they picked people solely on their social-media-integration. Apart from running their competition through facebook I vaguely recall they also had fields for your other social media accounts... which I'm sure is why I got picked.
Clearly these guys are switched on the the power of viral marketing - and aren't afraid to ask people to do it... but it's more than that. They also seem to realise that the best way to get people to spread the message is to put their actual product in the hands of the people most likely to spread the idea.
They've also got the be remarkable idea down pat. They clearly picked a product that was wroth talking about: an iconic, shower-head with a vibrant colour and notable green-credentials. Part of their success here, was making it *personal* to the individual participants. When filling out the competition-form, you got to pick your favourite colour showerhead. This is such a small thing to do - but with great effect as it lets people feel they have the power to choose. I don't think most companies would think of doing this when it comes to items that they are, remember *giving away for free*. But it's such a powerful and brilliant strategy, when you think about it.
Grohe want people to talk about their product - and especially they want them to talk about how much they *love* this product... Letting a person choose their preference (just like they were buying it), means that it isn't just some random item that rocks up at your door, but something that *you chose* and is already personal before it even appears - thus increasing the likelihood of giving it a thumbs up...
All in all, I'm quite impressed by their strategy. Moreso even than the shower-head itself - which is, btw, quite funky.
 I picked their dark-blue - I like blue bathrooms.