When you are with friends or work colleagues, do you hear them sharing stories about brands?
The savvy marketing professional is always listening to hear how information gets communicated from friend to friend. Whether online or in person, there is much to learn by observing what happens right in front of you.
At a gathering of friends a few weeks ago, I heard several brands mentioned with important information passed along. How much did the company or brand contribute to helping make the story easy to spread? Was the message being spread what the brand manager intended?
Spreading the Marketing Message
How are you enabling information about your brand to be spread to others?
- If you serve an audience with a special need, people within the community will tell like-minded consumers (veterans telling other veteran families about services owned by veterans). There are veteran Facebook groups where people share stories about their own fellow veterans. These communities offer powerful opportunities to spread positive stories if you avoid an overly commercialized message. What community exists for your products and services?
- Does the brand behave differently than you would expect from the category? Patagonia encouraging consumers not to buy too much of their product. Imagine a brand running ads that are counterprogramming what you expect. Don’t buy more than you need – that’s a message you rarely here in retail and Patagonia had their message spread millions of times in social media. Can you create counter-category messaging to separate yourself from the pack?
- Posting bite-sized story nuggets that customers can easily share with friends that will entertain or educate them without being overwhelming. Long, complex stories are hard to share. But clever little snippets make it easy to share and digest. Consider sharing the headline – not all the details. Recognize that most people don’t read shared articles, just the headline or a few words in bold. Have you found creative ways to provide non-commercial tastes of what your brand stands for?
- Random surprises that brands offer consumers to help spark information that is worthy of passing along. (free deserts at a restaurant if you can answer three trivia questions). Predictable promotions lose their power but when a brand surprises people with random acts of kindness, the word spreads and people wonder if they could be the next recipient. Have you leveraged surprise as a marketing tool to show thanks and appreciation without it feeling expected?
- Free samples of products that a customer can share with like-minded consumers helping your customer find more customers for you. How can you provide free samples to customers to pass along to their friends and family? Test multiple ideas to find ways to get more people to learn about your brand from word of mouth versus paid messages. A friend recently sent me a free sample they received of a hot sauce I had never tried. But my friend knew I liked hot sauce. What can you give to your current customers to have them share information about your brand, products or services?
- Can you find a way to serve a community and help them prosper, without commercializing every part of the connection? How can you help someone so that they help you build trust in a community? For example, a realtor who doesn’t promote his work with Habitat for Humanity, but just shows up to help. Or, the accountant who volunteers to assist non-profits to complete their taxes. Don’t think you need to constantly create commercial messages. People like to buy from people who are friendly, community-minded and aren’t always asking for a sale.
Current customers are an undervalued marketing network. You need to understand how to activate with new prospects.
Are your customers sharing information about your products, services, and brands? Could you use help unlocking this hidden treasure of marketing opportunity? Call or text me at 919 720 0995 or email me at email@example.com
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