What has the Internet done to Us? Part II

Well, as you can see it has been a while since I last wrote.  This will get more frequent, but the post will definitely be shorter.

As I said in my last post, consumers no longer want to be pushed into products by marketers.  So how do we market with this in mind?

Well, the key in the new media age is that people now respect people and companies who are confident in who they are, and act with a consistent voice, personality, ie brand.  This brand must be cohesive and in the retail world believed in by the CEO to the sales people.  This must be the true image and brand of the company however, if it is not all is lost because people will quickly discover who you truly are.

Be careful to not confuse what I am saying here with the old world term of branding. An old world brand would be a polished representation of the company that is not unique and does not have any quirks, or personality. Instead it was a brand with no personality. Today’s brands must have personality, just like any interesting person does. Don’t the people you love to be around the most, have unique traits that make them fun? So do great companies. No one wants to be surrounded with insecure people who act as if they are acting all the time and are too polished, same goes with companies.

Take Apple and Ikea, they are both very polished brands but also have unique quirks that make them stand out from the crowd. They have done a great job of getting everyone in the company to believe in the brand and it’s quirks.

This consistency does alienate some people, but it also develops rabid fans of others. You can no longer appeal to everyone.  You cannot change the brand based on what you heard in some focus group. Apple and Ikea live and breathe their brands from the top down, and everyone in the company knows what they stand for and they reflect that in all their work. Actually by doing this, you attract employees who have the same image the company has. Every creative geek wants to work for Apple, and many younger people would love to work at Ikea.

Overall, if you do not know the brand or personality of your company, you better start looking for it. You can normally find it in the CEO (just pray he/you has/have some personality) those quirks he/you has/have could be what sets your company apart. After you find it, you better start living it and make sure the people you have working for you believe it as well. If they don’t get someone who does. Then once this brand is consistent from top to bottom you need to start marketing this brand. A group of people will then associate and relate with your brand, and become rabid fans. These key consumers will then convert legions of consumers who are indifferent or have little knowledge of your product category.

You can choose not to do this, but you will continue have just a few dedicated customers, instead a legion of dedicated followers. Please don’t forget, people want to hear the truth, be real, and do not try to be everything to all people. The last thing we need in the world is another poser, we see enough of those at bars on the weekend.

  • http://123socialmedia.com Brian Crouch

    Well said. You hit the key point.

    The public face should not be a false face– the original meaning of hypocrisy.

    And since the title of this essay references the internet, I’ll add another $0.02 : clearly the marketing message presented by a company via traditional media (TV, radio, collateral) can in many cases be invalidated by an internet search. If the online reputation of a well-advertised business causes internet users to completely discard the former message, credibility is gone.

    For example, suppose XYZremodeling.com presents a very sharp, memorable, professional image and a warm fuzzy glow about it in TV spots. Then the sales person arrives and is high-pressure and insensitive. Well, the chagrined lost-customer uses the “new media” social tools to become a town crier: their voice is amplified louder than the $1MM campaign. The social proof of their self-represented claims is now out of their hands.

    Most companies are failing to close this back door. They do not make sure their positive customer experiences are optimized to bring in direct web traffic, instead allowing distaff sites to besmirch with “negative press” sometimes even when unjustified. Pacesetter Windows went out business because of this neglect. They had good marketing, and the attacks on them were unfairly overemphasized in light of their long-term history, however, pacesettersucks.com became the primary search result for “pacesetter” due to the depth of the web presence of the attack site.

    Too many businesses are going to complaint sites and having staff add positive reviews to counter the negative, forgetting that makes the search engines look at those critique sites even more… judysbook and angieslist come to mind. Not only do negative results abort marketing efforts, they can also lead to cancelled orders, cancelled appointments… increasing marketing costs.

    If marketing firms want to give comprehensive service they should monitor search engine results for their clients and use social media tools (eg, more site content, optimized press releases, search engine promotion) to overcome the negative results. It takes work, but the ROI is huge. It is also a hedge against losing the value of previous expenditures.

  • http://www.club-penguin.org/ Club Penguin Cheats

    So do great companies. No one wants to be surrounded with insecure people who act as if they are acting all the time and are too polished, same goes with companies.