People have always been the most powerful media asset. It’s just been turbo charged in the social media age. If your brand isn’t social by nature, you’ve got serious issues.
It goes without saying that recommendations from mates are infinitely more powerful than traditional media channels and messages in changing behaviour. Management consulting firm Bain believes that the most recommended brand in any category grows at 2.5x the category average.
So, how do you turn customers into advocates? Advocates who ‘become the media and message carrier’ thereby reducing the brands dependency on ‘paid’ media and playing more in the ‘earned’ media space. Brands today need to think as much about potential ‘earned’ media and how they can amplify ideas as they do about traditional ‘paid media’ and ‘owned media’ channels.
Brands need to interact differently with people if they want to people to become message carriers and amplify their ideas for them.Here are some thoughts on principles brands need to think about when trying to harness the power of people media:
CONVICTION – Be crystal clear as to what your brand stands for, is fighting for or is trying to change. The middle is to be avoided at all costs, as people gravitate to brands with a strong point of view or belief which aligns with their own.
CHANGE CULTURE – Culture wants to change, and people want to be part of that change. Find something in culture worth changing and align your brand to that new culture change.
RESOLVE TENSION – Find a cultural tension or gap worth resolving or passion to be exploited. Where there is tension or passion in culture there is conversation waiting to be unleashed.
LET ME PLAY – Create ideas which are inherently shareable – that can drive participation, be played with, be prodded and of course, be passed on.
Be ENTERTAINING, USEFUL and INNOVATIVE – These three things are the evergreen themes of social ideas. Ideally be all three, but at least be one. Eg: Entertaining (Old Spice ‘ Man’), Useful (Fiat Ecodrive), Innovative (Orange Glastotag).