This past week, I was walking into work in the crowded lobby of my downtown Manhattan office. All of a sudden I feel a tap on my shoulder and turn around and see my boss. After the usual “hi, how’s it going,” exchange, he says to me “You’re pretty easy to pick out.” I say, “Yeah, my shinny bald head” and not to mention that there are not too many men who have both ears pierced in that lobby. Hey – what can I say, I do like to stand out. What else would you expect from someone who had spiked hair and shaved lines in the back of their head and a long tail dropping down the back in the late ‘80s.
But you know there is a really important takeaway here. Let’s relate the “easy to pick out” nature of a person in a crowded Manhattan high-rise lobby to a brand in today’s age. And let’s turn the subject to social media. (What a surprise 🙂 .)
Today, I no longer find myself convincing anyone they need to play in social media, but rather describing that social media is more than Twitter and Facebook, and how to go about it. So I’ll start by recalling one of the first articles I ever wrote for my blog, “Before You Start with Social Media”. I emphasized the importance of knowing who you are, and knowing your target audience. It is important to go through the very old marketing practice of defining your positioning statement. A strong position statement should consist of the following parameters:
• For ……………………… [target customer]
• Who ……………………. [key qualifier – form]
• Our product is a ……… [product category]
• That provides ………… [key benefit]
• Unlike …………………. [main competitor]
• Our product ………….. [key point of differentiation]
Make sure this is honest and real. I am not suggesting that the positioning statement be explicitly communicated, but everything you do communicate should be tested against the positioning statement to make sure your communication reinforces who you are and speaks to your target audience. (Read “bases for Facebook and Twitter strategy” into this statement.) Spend some time on this … this is the structure for everything you do and gets magnified by the branding activities you do. So if this is weak, you’ll be branding crap and if it is strong, you are at step one of strong product/service brand reputation management.
Once you clearly understand your position in the terms described above, you MUST determine how you will rise above all the noise provided by others in your vertical industry. A great example of this is the recent Old Spice campaign in a highly competitive and saturated deodorant space. Take a lesson here. The elements of this success are: 1) knowing who you are and what you stand for, 2) telling your story in a quirky or standout matter, 3) selecting the best social channels to get your story out, and 4) provoking customer engagement. And the outcome – Old Spice will be “pretty easy to pick out.”
Another example is Ford Fiesta. While some car companies are easy to pick out appearing in front of Congressional meetings, Ford is pretty easy to pick out rallying customers and garnering buzz. Ford has a complete integrated marketing strategy that relies heavily on continuous social media – not a limited time campaign.
You don’t have to be a giant like Procter & Gamble or Ford to stand out. There are numerous examples of small businesses using social media to capture their crowd.
• Follow the food truck using social media,
• Doctor uses social media to promote community, customer relationships, and
• Small businesses learn to use social media to connect with customers
just for starters.
These are just a handful of examples of brands using social media to make themselves “be easy to pick out.” Isn’t this exactly what you want from your brand?
Make It Happen!