Shut Up. Be Your Brand.
By: Nikki Little
We’re really excited to feature our first guest post from Lisa Gerber, chief content officer of Spin Sucks Pro. I am a HUGE fan of Lisa, Gini Dietrich and the Spin Sucks blog. Read on for some branding goodness from Lisa…
A past client, a restaurant owner, sat down across from me and declared with frustration, “We want to be perceived as the best place for locals to come hang out. We know this strategy will not only bring the locals, but also, the tourists, because they love to be where the locals hang out.”
My obvious question was, “ARE you the best place to hang out?”
I think I irritated my client with the question. After all, in their opinion, that’s why they are hiring me; to help them be the best local place in which to hang out by putting it in their ads, their taglines and in their Twitter and Facebook feed. It’s as easy as that. If it’s on the Internet it must be true.
The funny thing about branding is that we, as marketers, have little control over the brand. Try as we may. It’s a perception issue. Much like raising a child, you can do everything in your power to create something in your vision by nurturing and supporting it, but the truth of the matter is, once it interacts with society, society will be the one to define it.
Marketing and PR reach far deeper than external and internal communications; far deeper than message development, media outreach and online and offline communications. There is a lot of work that goes into the general infrastructure of the organization to create a culture and existence that communicates the vision of the brand. If you want to be known as the best local restaurant, you have to be one. It’s as easy as that.
If you want people to share their experience with your business, you shouldn’t have to ask them, or give them incentive to, via contests and discounts. They should want to.
I went in to Sephora last month to find a product that would reduce the crazy frizz in my curly hair. The very knowledgeable sales person pointed me in the direction of Alterna Bamboo Moisture Masque and I am in love. This product is so fantastic, I’m reviewing it online and I’m sharing it with my friends. I didn’t buy the product because of an ad – I had NEVER heard of it before. I didn’t share it because they sent me an email asking them to share it and review it.
They earned my loyalty and undying love by providing an excellent product. They figured out their distribution and had their product available at the right place. They made it easy for me to review on their website, to share with my Facebook friends and simply to talk about it like I am here.
Musician and executive producer Jack Endino was interviewed on NPR about the explosion of the Grunge scene. Endino says. “I remember one of the major-label people being quoted. Somebody said, ‘You did a good job of promoting that record.’ And he said, ‘We didn’t promote it — you had to get out of the way and duck.'”
So when you sit down with your creative agency and ask, “ How can I get people to understand we’re a big community philanthropist?” Our answer is simple: Be one. When you ask, “How can we get people to think of us as the go-to such and such widget maker?” Be one.
Lisa Gerber is the chief content officer for Spin Sucks Pro, a professional development site for marketing and PR pros.