Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Customer Connection: Terms of Understanding

it is inevitable that as we move further into social media and leverage it for customer engagement that new approaches and terminology will come out to help define the strategy and experience.  Yet, it can require more than just creating a term and putting it out there.  I’ve come across this problem in a business perspective when associations and vendors come up with terms to describe technology and practices and it is interpreted incorrectly.  It causes confusion between what the customer needs and what the vendor has to offer.  It is not that different in a consumer setting.  I got to witness this in action.

I sat in the theater waiting patiently for Star Trek to start.  A gang of boys that looked to be in high school sat next to me and my husband.  The typical banter ensued: young, immature, crude, hilarious!  As the lights dimmed and the advertisements and movie trailers began, they began the annotations and comments of what they saw.  It was the perfect focus group test if you wanted to get into the minds of teenage boys.

Not having been in a theater in over a year, I took the experience in as a marketer analyzing the ads/commercials, and the reactions from the audience – particularly the teenage boys.  What caught me by surprise was the way the boys reacted to a new interactive experience for movie trailers – the hyper-trailer.  Now, I didn’t really get why I should care about it and it came across more like a video game than a movie trailer.  I didn’t really understand how ‘hyper’ was really better.  Besides, they way the announcer said the term I burst out laughing.  It just seemed frenetic and loud.  I chalked it up immediately to a generation gap.  Afterall, I’m GenX and advertising is almost never aimed at my market segment.  So, the fascinating thing is how the teenage boys next to me took it in.  They verbally abused it!

It seems that instead of ‘hyper’ meaning a positive and improved experience for a movie trailer, they associated it with a negative connotation.  Their discussion went back and forth over what ‘hyper’ really meant and how ridiculous it was.  Then, the word association game began all showing how ‘hyper’ was anything but positive.

  • hyper-active
  • hyper-sensitive
  • hyper-thyroid
  • hyper-tension
  • hyper-chondriac – so they didn’t really get this one right, but it was funny.

The point of all this is that creating new terms is an art form.  It requires more than introducing words within a concept.  It requires an understanding of initial perceptions and translation of the term by your audience.  Marketing has a knack for creating new terminology and acronyms to help generate buzz and gain mindshare.  However, it can also backfire if there isn’t concensus around the meaning or it provides an opposite reaction than anticipated within your customer base and market.  It could be a hyper-flop.

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Filed under: communication, social media, , , , , ,

Brand Identity – What Should You Care About?

A while back I got to thinking about shortened URLs and how that diminished an entities ability to brand and extend their identity.  Afterall, companies will spend a lot of money to buy back parked URLs to maintain their brand footprint.  It’s why people bought them up in the first place.  Well, it seems like I wasn’t the only one thinking about this as SEO experts criticize Digg and other website/blog aggregators, and even URL shortening services for hijacking website brands and traffic.  

logo-knowemWhat’s the next thing to worry about, who is using your username?  KnowEm is a service that helps you protect your user name and vanity URL across 120 popular social media sites.  Type in the user name you want to use and see where it is already being used.  If it is available, the service allows you to buy up the user name across the social media sites.

I know all the brand managers out there are going to be up in arms about this, but I don’t really see the point.  I’m not losing viewership because my blog is tweeted in a shortened URL nor am I losing followers.  In fact, I’m gaining readers and followers.  My user names across my social media properties don’t matter much because I offer up my real name when commenting or posting.  My sites are embedded in the profile name.  And, on social networks, it’s there in plain view my full profile for those that care. People will know who I am.  Besides, that’s what profiles are for, it’s not about the user name.  

Talking to a friend of mine on this, his opinion is that the social networks will shut this this down.  

[Paraphrase] Like Facebook policing its masses and kicking out spammers, parked user names aren’t contributing to the social network experience and will suffer the same fate.  Some may allow it initially to beef up their numbers.  Although, in the end it will be treated like spam.

The point of social media and social networking is building trust and interacting.  Brand isn’t about a logo or a name – those can change and do.  Brand is about an experience, trust, and connection.  Look at Twitter, it’s name has been stretched and morphed across a variety of tools that have hooked into its lead.  Twitter gets that these surrounding applications add to its brand equity and fosters it.  

Let’s focus on what matters, building relationships.

Filed under: networking, social media, , , , , , , , ,

Online Personality: Who Am I Really?

For all of you that love finding out more about yourself through tests like Myers-Briggs, now you can see your online personality.  A new tool from HubSpot, Personality Grader, allows you to enter in your name and it will pop-up an overall personality score plus scores across 4 areas.  It is as easy as putting in your name and getting a result. Scores come with why you were scored in such a manner and how to improve.

Frequency – Online usage
Sentiment – demeanor in online interactions
Reach – overall network
Intelligence – how smart you come across

HubSpot Blog:  Personality Grader Makes Marketing Less Manic

I tried it out.  I plugged in my name and I watched the program as it told me it was sifting through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook wall, Flickr, Blogs.  Then it spit out my score.  Some of my ratings I saw some validity in, others I would argue against.  

So, I wondered how did it know one Michele Goetz from any other Michele Goetz online.  If you search my name on Google I find at least 3 including myself with presence.  Going back to the HubSpot Blog  the answer to this from Dharmesh Shah:

“This was a difficult one to solve.   What we ended up doing is putting in some Javascript code so we could watch each character of the name as it is being typed.  Based on the typing speed, the application determines which of the “candidate” profiles that match the name have the highest probability of being a match.  For example, if you type really slowly, it is unlikely that yours is the account with 17,000 twitter updates.  It’s not perfect, but we’ve found that this is close enough for our purposes. We’ll continue to refine this part of the software.”

Alright, let’s see what happens when I change the speed of my typing. No change.  

If you think about it, what this tool is really trying to help with is personal brand.  So I tried variations of my profile from user names to email addresses and behold, different scores.  What I wonder is if Michele Goetz accounts for aggregation of the right user names and emails in the aggregation.

One last interesting thing, I figured I’d plug in some well known online brands and check out the results.  I’ve included the links below. Let me know what you think – are they correct?  

Also, try entering these names in lower case letters and watch the difference.  Facebook was hilarious.  For Intelligence it said, “Your evaluation indicates that your intelligence is average; engaging in more meaningful conversations and sharing less about your personal life may improve this grade.”

Filed under: metrics, social media, , , , , , , , ,

Subtle or Bold

What is more effective for social media, subtle or bold?  Is it determined by a brand’s overall personality?  Or, is the opposite use of social media to brand personality just as effective?

Here are several examples of social media use comparing approach to brand personality.

Social Media Guru 1:

ellenlogoEllen DeGeneres has gotten a lot of press on her use of social media marketing and relationship tactics to connect with her audience.  Her personality is far from quiet and this is what really makes her show.  Her audience is just as vibrant and responds extremely well.  Looking at her Facebook page it is active, dynamic, and this morning she had 728,859 fans.  Her Twitter profile has 480,722 followers. There is nothing subtle in her use of social media or the promotion of it to drive engagement.

Social Media Guru 2:

appleIn contrast, another social media powerhouse is Apple.  Not only are they at the center of enabling social media through their products and services, but they are experts in its use.  However, instead of directly connecting on a massive scale, they heavily rely on the mouth’s and loyalty of their fans.  They’ve created a cult that waits on every word they release and it goes viral in nanoseconds.  Yet, no one can dispute that Steve Jobs is charismatic or quiet in his position as both the business leader and evangelist.

Social Media Guru 3:

emcEMC took a bold step in social media with the hiring of personal branding expert Dan Schawble.  Their community consists of blogs, forums, and social media links within their websites.  Their strategy plays into all interested parties: customers, partners, industry analysts, press, and investors.  Their social media vehicles are pervasive across various delivery venues from blogging, micro blogging, video, and photos.  While different from the Ellen show and Apple in the fact that it is a business-to-business marketing effort, the fact is they are more subtle in their brand as a company, and their integration of social media into the marketing mix is mature and seamless reflecting this more understated marketing strategy, though no less effective.

As you begin to shift your marketing mix from traditional to social media, how are you thinking about the connection of your brand personality to your use of social media?

Filed under: brainstorm, social media, , , , , ,

Personal Brand and Sponsorship: Test Against the 4 C’s


Blog sponsorship is a tricky thing for those that have built a livelihood around personal brand.  Forrester sees social media sponsorship as the future.  There has also been much talk about Chris Brogan and his sponsorship of Kmart.

The other thing that got me thinking on this futher is a post from Annie Petite.  She asked this question on LinkedIn.

“What’s worse on brand equity?  Huge market share and everyone hates you, or Teeny tiny market share and everyone loves you?”

Putting this all together makes me wonder if blog sponsorship is really a good idea when you spend a significant effort creating personal brand.  Your personal brand after all is about you and your expertise, capabilities, and ability to stand out from the crowd.  When you decide to leverage that personal brand and sponsor people/products/companies, it has the ability to tarnish that image.  Personal brand can be good, but it can also hurt you.

The success of a personal brand lies in 4 Cs.  Sponsorship should fit into this mix to enhance rather than detract from your brand.

  • competence – in topic area
  • credibility – to believability of brand
  • consistency – to brand definition
  • connectivity –  to your customer’s expectation

A really good use of personal brand is to look at golfer Tiger Woods.  He has built a reputation around sports excellence, golf.  It is not a difficult leap for consumers to recognize that if Tiger Woods sponsors Nike golf attire consumers are going to buy Nike golf attire to feel more like Tiger Woods.  In addition, Nike is all about sports excellence.  This brand partnership is an easy leap because there is continuity.  Later, Tiger sponsored Chrysler.  While this had nothing to do with golf, it did have something to do with pairing a luxury car with accomplishment, which is exactly what Tiger had achieved in life.

Extending your personal brand into sponsorships that conflict or is unrelated to the image and story you have created tarnishes can have a tarnishing effect.  At the very least you don’t help the one you are sponsoring because your pitch is unbelievable.  For you, you can be perceived as selling out and loose credibility.  Your sponsorship can be incongruous with your customer/audience base’s values and belief systems causing customers to re-think your value and integrity.  At a small level, consider the situation when you would be a reference.  You only want to be a reference when you truly believe that a person/company is of value and quality.  Otherwise, it can hurt your reputation in the process.  The same should be true when lending your personal brand to a sponsorship.

The tenet of social media is to change marketing and advertising from being the interrupter to being relational.  Sponsorship done well should also have this quality.  Don’t interrupt your personal brand with sponsorship make it enhance your brand.

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Filed under: social media, , , , , , , , , , ,



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