If the buzz word of marketing in 2008 was PARTICIPATION, the new area marketers need to subscribe to is INFLUENCE communications. Influence communications is marketing to not only the individual, but their network of peers that surround and influnce them across social platforms. We now know that for youth, decision making is a team sport, they use web 2.0 technologies to completely dictate most of their brand interactions..from what shows to wear, what brands to engage with, what parties, clubs to go to..they are constantly seeking the influence of their mates for tribal belonging.
In the process of trying to INFLUENCE collectives of youth, marketers need to do the following things:
Monitoring of customer conversations with each other online – all about measuring the buzz around your brand
Stimulating conversations in culture and participating in them, so the brand community has something to talk about..via forums and communities. If there’s nothing to talk about, you’re dead
Make it possible for brand enthusiasts to help spread the word via ratings.reviews, social media apps they can pass on to friends
Enable customers to support each other via customer support communities..eg: Nike Bootcamp
Help people work with each other to develop ideas to improve products, brand experiences. Invite consumers in to help co-create the brand, think of it like Open Source Branding.
So overall, marketing to the community, not the individual, ensure you’re listening to what’s happening culturally around your brand, then stimulate interesting conversations for people to get involved with…then ensure you foster those conversations and make it easy for the conversation to live beyong your marketing spend. Lastly, you need to understand that Open Source Branding – letting consumers to help co-create your brand assets leads to deeper levels of influence within the brand community.