Proctor & Gamble’s BeingGirl site is a textbook example of using Web 2.0 software to build a community around a product. Aimed at introducing its Always and Tampax brands of feminine care products to young girls, the site provides a forum to learn about and discuss the issues that occupy adolescent female minds, such as beauty tips, relationships and periods. It includes its own agony aunt, ‘Ask Iris’, as well as user-led discussion forums.
By creating an environment where the target audience feels safe discussing these issues, Procter & Gamble has built itself a medium through which it can introduce its brands without causing the kind of embarrassment that might be created by a TV advertisement shown during family viewing hours.
The site attracts more than two million visitors a month. Forrester analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff estimate than the site costs $3 million a year to run, a fraction of P&G’s $8 billion worldwide advertising spend. But far better than mere eyeballs, BeingGirl evokes a personal connection to a brand in a business where customer loyalty is everything.
Indeed, according to Forrester’s calculations, BeingGirl.com is four times more effective than similarly priced alternative marketing techniques.