You Are Pretty Easy to Pick Out

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.
Check out:
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!
Social Steve



Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, Facebook, marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Twitter, Uncategorized

10 responses to “You Are Pretty Easy to Pick Out

  1. Steve – Great info! And I like other blogs you wrote. I am just now venturing into social media/marketing as I had time this summer to take a class at U of California, San Diego called Marketing and New Media. I knew that many things had changed since getting my Masters in Marketing in 2006, just did not realize how much. Look forward to your next blog.

    • Thanks Shirley – new channels have changed (and will continue to do so). Many traditional marketing concepts (brand position, connecting with an audience, etc) still exist.

      Social Steve

  2. great work on this one Steve!

  3. Hi Steve –

    Following up on your Old Spice reference, it looks like they’ve been reading all your posts — and what’s more important, applying what you’ve been saying. Talk about well executed!


  4. steve, thanks for pointing out that BASICS are critical for any marketing work and that it really doesn’t matter which medium one uses. I agree with your basics and want to add that the most critical foundation is understanding the needs and wants of your potential customers. And to make a CHOICE which customers you want to serve because not everybody wants the same in a given category. Like the Old Spice campaign — the brand team clearly made a choice which customer to target and deliberately accepted that some other potential customers would be alienated by their approach.

    • Hi Ute –

      Choosing which medium to use IS very important. Going through the basics points you in the right direction based upon what you want to communicate and who the target audience is.

      Social Steve

  5. Crowded Manahattan lobby sounds nice, as opposed to screaming about social media and constantly being ignored, Maybe I am just not a business person. I know they will all be doing what I advise in a few years time though.

    Always good to read your posts and share.


    • Mark,

      You may be a few steps ahead of your audience, BUT you need to understand your audience behavior now – even if they are slow. You need to make sure you cater to their needs.

      Social Steve

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