Posts Tagged 'differentiation'

social media is always about people

eskimon coke

It’s widely known in marketing circles that Coca-Cola’s Facebook page was originally created by two ardent fans who had no official ties to the company.

I was always impressed that Coke brought these fans in to help them run the page, rather than simply taking control of the property and relieving the creators of their legacy.

However, on a chance visit to the brand’s Facebook page yesterday, I noticed that the brand has decided to tell the whole world that story too – and they’ve done a really good job of it too.

Take a look at this fantastic tab:

Apart from the fact that the tab is a great example of how to design a Facebook tab – a simple, appealing layout with a variety of content types – there are a number of things that make this an excellent case study in social marketing.

Firstly, the tab celebrates fans.

This is central to any successful branded community, but Coca-Cola have taken this to a whole new level.

Its real magic is in the message it sends – we celebrate fans who share their love of Coca-Cola.

It’s the perfect incentive for other fans to go out and create pages and communities of their own, furthering the brand’s impact and deepening its social resonance.

It’s even led to the creation of a separate ‘Dusty and Michael’ fanpage.

Secondly, it tells an enduring story.

This tab is not a ‘campaign’; the Creators tab appears to be an on-going project that evolves naturally.

That’s an excellent way to ensure the brand continues to have interesting content for its page that people will actually engage with.

Indeed, the tab already features 13 distinct bits of video content, as well as links to the brand’s YouTube channel:

The story element is tightly interwoven with the tab’s third strength: it’s human.

Good social media marketing is always about the people.

Sure, Dusty and Michael are now social media ‘celebrities’ in their own right, but they’re still people that the average fan can relate to.

The brand makes it very clear that these were just 2 ordinary guys with an extra-ordinary love for the brand:

More importantly, to the page’s other fans, Dusty and Michael are now ‘real’ people with whom they can develop some kind of relationship.

That means there are even more opportunities for people to engage in dialogue with the brand.

In other words, it’s now even more social.

And that’s what changes a page into a community.

What do you think? What else makes it such a strong example of social media marketing?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

awesome or die

There’s been much talk recently about doing ‘awesome’ stuff.

Faris is a particularly strong exponent.

To many, it might seem hyperbolic – an excessive superlative used merely for effect.

But it’s not.

When it comes to advertising, we have two options: death or glory.

Which only leaves us with one appealing option.

Stuff that inspires people’s awe and wonder.

Sadly, a toned-down compromise that appeases a variety of different stakeholders simply isn’t going to work.

‘Good’ just isn’t good enough.

If you’re not looking at the work and thinking, “F**K yeah!”, chances are that the audience is simply going to pass it by.

In advertising terms, that’s death.

So don’t be scared of hyperbole.

Be scared of mediocrity and blandness.

Choose life.

Choose awesomeness.

great to share

It’s been a while since I posted something in the classics series, but I’ve found myself referring to this spot quite a lot recently, so I thought it was probably worth sharing here too.

This ad does a great job of extending the product’s benefit into a compelling new territory.

Up until this, most gum ads talked about ‘freshness’ and alluded to the romantic advantages this could bring.

But this ad reversed the allusion, putting the romance centre stage, and so making the overall benefit much more emotional.

This turns the promise into a more engaging story that people can relate to, and crucially, it makes it much easier to recall (20 years later I still remember it clearly).

I really like the way the final product shot feels like a natural part of the story too.

What about you – what do you think makes it work?

comparing apples with apples

A few weeks back, Seth shared this interesting anecdote on his blog:

“At the farmer’s market the other day, three perfect strangers
asked me what sort of apple to buy…

People are now afraid of apples: afraid of buying the wrong kind;
of making a purchasing mistake or some sort of pie mistake.”

From a certain perspective, I understand what he’s saying: it’s widely accepted that too much choice can actually lead to ‘decision-making paralysis’.

However, there’s an alternative interpretation of Seth’s apple episode that’s equally intriguing:

Maybe the questions weren’t asked in fear.

Perhaps those three strangers struck up conversation because they were excited about this abundance of choice.

In recent years, the apples available in Western supermarkets have become commoditised: the same few varieties, in the same standard sizes, with the same bland taste.

But people who visit farmers markets tend to care deeply about their food: they’re passionate about taste, colour, texture, perfume, and about the gastronomic experience in general.

So, when they’re presented with an exciting array of new apple varieties, it seems natural that they’d want to share their excitement.

Here are some alternative reasons why people might have asked Seth a question:

Questions quickly establish rapport by engaging people in active conversation. They give the respondent a chance to share their own excitement without feeling challenged or inferior, fostering a freer exchange of information and opinions.

Each farmers’ market offers different foods and different varieties, but a good proportion of visitors tend to be regulars. Faced with a wide variety of unknown apples at a new farmers’ market, I’d seek the opinion of those around me too, because foodies love to share their passion and recommend favourites to others. Indeed, this sharing and conversation is a central part of the market experience.

The broader appeal

There’s a more general truth here that offers marketers a fascinating opportunity.

When people are passionate about something, their passion often spills over: they like to share their excitement with other people, and their own enthusiasm often extends into adjacent areas of interest.

For example, a love of wine can easily extend into passion for Scotch and Cognac.

And while it’s unlikely that we’ll ever succeed in arousing everyone’s passion for our category, those who do get passionately involved are worth a lot more.

This is because people love to indulge their passions: wine enthusiasts tend to spend a lot more on wine than ‘average’ drinkers, and they often buy a range of expensive accessories too.

Putting it in context

The trick is to understand where your brand sits in people’s world, and how it relates to their passions.

Part of this involves understanding that people can get passionate about things that we’d never expect, and as a result, even seemingly mundane brands can become highly relevant to their lives.

For example, I know many people who are passionate about their homes, and who spend hours researching new ways to make their home cleaner and fresher.

Although these people are unlikely to get excited about bleach as a category, a household cleaning brand that extends its relevance beyond simple product attributes to offer advice and solutions for the houseproud is much more likely to engage them.

As we’ve seen before, the task isn’t necessarily to become their favourite brand ever; rather, it’s about demonstrating how good your brand is in relation to everything else it competes with.

This is more about two-way engagement rather than advertising: finding more immesrsive ways to share things with them, and more importantly, helping them to share things with us and their peers.

UPDATE: Just noticed this wonderful post by Spike over at Brains on Fire – some very wise words that add an important focus to the words above:

“…many [people] are still treating people’s passion as something a company can find and then own. Find? Yes. Own? Never. Passion is not a sales transaction.

Passion is sacred. Passion is a part of a person’s life. Their soul. To find it, you have to clear away everything else. You won’t find it in a focus group that is created to talk about you and your product. You won’t find it when you do all the talking. And you won’t find it wd a tree until it falls for it.

Passion is not a commodity. It is a gift. Treat it like one.”

Go read the rest here.


multisourcing

Crowdsourcing continues to be one of the hottest topics in marketing today, but it receives its fair share of skepticism too.

That skepticism may have merit: to some, crowdsourcing seems like a simple case of repackaged logic.

After all, the marketing concept asserts that the best way to build a successful business is to offer people what they really want; because crowd-sourcing helps us understand what people actually want, it seems like a key ingredient of any successful business.

However, there’s a key difference between crowdsourcing and our previous, research-based approach: collaborative engagement.

The more we involve people in every aspect of developing our products, the greater their subsequent level of engagement, and the deeper their relationship with our brand.

This physical contribution and emotional engagement means people have a vested interest in your brand’s success.

In their minds, it becomes their brand too.

The death of brands?

So if people could always join forces to solve their problems, would brands still exist?

In its ideal form, crowdsourcing would mean we would never need to choose between different brands again, because our co-developed solutions would always satisfy our specific needs.

That Utopian vision seems appealing on many fronts.

There’s just one problem.

Democratic stagnation

The main challenge with crowdsourcing is that it rarely delivers radical innovation.

Indeed, two things lead me to believe that crowdsourcing could actually slow our rate of progress.

Firstly, everyday people tend to imagine the future in relation to their present.

Henry Ford summed this up beautifully:

“If I had asked people what they wanted,
they would have said faster horses.”

Secondly, the democratic process tends to dilute innovations down to a lowest common denominator.

Most people are fearful of change, and reject things that are far removed from their current sphere of familiarity.

As a result, involving too many people in the process risks death by democracy.

Right tool, right job

So, rather than using crowdsourcing to solve all our business problems, we might be better to use it for a more specific purpose.

Here’s my theory.

When we know what people want, we’re better placed to offer it to them in the most effective and efficient ways.

However, if we’re to succeed in adding value, rather than merely delivering it, we need to go one step further.

We need to show people what they could have; not just a better version of what they already know.

As a consequence, I think crowdsourcing’s real potential lies in helping us to identify the core benefits that people seek.

In other words, we need to get people to explain their ideal end, rather than asking them to design a shinier version of the means they currently use to get there.

It’s then our job to create truly innovative solutions that deliver those benefits better than anyone else.

Thanks to Neil for the inspiration.

everything’s relative

ambipur

Most of the time, success isn’t about how good you are; it’s about how good you are relative to everything else.

The toilet cleaner category is dull, but brands that stress an 0.2% improvement in efficiency just make it worse

So, while these may not be the best adverts of all time, they make me smile.

And voilà: they differentiate Ambi Pur from the rest of the category.

Job done.

Thanks to Inspire me, now! for sharing.

the danger of demographics

The clip above is an enlightening talk by novelist Chimamanda Adichie.

Central to her argument is an implicit, yet critical question: what makes people similar?

As Chimamanda illustrates, it’s not ethnicity; nor is it age, or gender, or income, or any of those other ‘statistics’.

So why does almost every brief still include demographics?

It’s ironic: our task is to separate our brands from the masses, but the first thing we do is to group individual people together into a mass.

It makes no sense; we all know that everyone wants to be recognised as an individual.

Do we really expect to form a bond with our audiences if we treat them in the exact opposite way to that which they hope?

I recognise that it’s unrealistic to approach every individual in a unique manner, but it’s high time demographics disappeared from our toolkit.

Because no matter who your audience is, it’s always made up of individual people.

Thanks to Slava for introducing me to the talk.





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