Marketing for Nerds: Brand Social Strategy

Which exchange would you rather have:

Marketing person: “Can you set up a company blog for us?”

You, software person: “Sure.”

or

Marketing person: “Can you set up a company blog for us?”

You, software person “I’ll do whatever you guys want, but are you sure you really want that?  There’s a Forrester report out there that says blogs are the least trusted form of communication between a company and its customers unless it’s written a certain way.”

The second one, if delivered in a deferential way so as to not setp on the toes of the marketing person, will show that you’ve been keeping up on trends and get you extra respect when the time comes to have your performance evaluation.  With that in mind, I’m going to try a new category of posts geared towards marketing trends you should be aware of.

This first one examines a post over at Groundswell on brand social strategy.

The question asked of adults and youths was “How interested are you in each of the following from your favorite brand, store, or service provider?” The survey found that adults were more likely to be interested in forums while youths (teenagers, basically) were more likely to be interested in videos or Facebook experiences.

Although I really liked this post, one thing you have to keep in mind with things like this is that it is marketing geared towards getting you to buy the report.  Apply your own level of skepticism as a result.

Another aspect of these reports to keep an eye out for is what the baseline assumptions are and how they differ from your situation.  For example, the graph in this post is most relevant if you segment your customers as adults versus youths.  If you don’t, you can still extrapolate some useful things out of the adult portion of the analysis but it might not be telling you the whole picture of what is happening within key demographics that relate specifically to you.

That said, I really liked the analysis at the end of the article which discussed how “boring” brands can take leverage social media by “borrowing relevance”.   For example:

“Johnson & Johnson built a Facebook page for mothers of ADHD kids – because, as with all medications, its ADHD drug is boring but its sufferers generate interesting problems. Doritos invited its customers to make ads in the 2007 Superbowl, since an ad contest is more exciting – and more social – than a corn chip.”

Besides borrowing relevance, another example of using video to make a boring brand more exciting is the “Will it blend?” series by commercial blender manufacturer Blendtec.  Reminding old school Saturday Night Live fans of Bass-o-matic, placing an iPhone into an awesome blender produces hilarity.

Marketing is largely about getting people to talk about your brand and this post does a nice job of framing how that might differ based on the age of your target audience and some things you can do even if you have what most people would consider a boring product to spark conversation.

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