A great deal of marketing success depends on standing out from the crowd. Sometimes to do that requires a contrarian approach. When everyone is going this way, brands can stand out by going a different way.
Emerging digital media like Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz are the rage among marketers these days and are quickly on their way to becoming prerequisites for any good campaign. Meanwhile, “real world” engagement – in-store promotions, POS displays, product sampling, etc. – seems to be out-of-fashion. It’s unclear whether it’s due to lack of consumer response or the perceived costs of establishing a physical presence and the relatively smaller audience that can be reached when compared to what the Web might allow.
But there is an opportunity for brands who go their own way. With thousands of brands trying to make their case through social media, a well-constructed and engaging face-to-face interaction with a brand can cut through the noise. In fact, if that physical presence is unique enough and it can actually reach a broader audience by compelling those you meet in person to reach out to their networks through social media.
Two small recent examples of this strategy. Emerald City Improv recently organized a goofy promotion by organizing a human choo choo train through downtown Seattle. The effort was covered by the Seattle P-I and caused a number of folks to tweet about their effort.
Second is my own personal experience. After attending a recent panel session on leveraging digital media, not only did I swap business cards and Twitter handles with those that I met but I also mailed each of them a note highlighting what I remembered about our conversation. I got replies from all of them including a few invites to follow-up meetings. In the past, I’ve performed the perfunctory “follow/follow back” dance on Twitter after these events and those engagements have never led to anything more.
Only by going against the grain did my “brand” stand out.
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