Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shout™ is a stain remover, not a brand strategy

Back in the day, selling was all about shouting. Shouting messages via television commercials, radio spots and splashy print ads powered by heavy media buys. Through sheer exposure and merciless repetition, brand messages would seep into the brains of the masses. Trouble is, it's not about mass media anymore. Nor is it about one-way selling. No, marketing isn't about selling, it's about sharing. Sharing information, opinions, important conversations, and tools that let people live more empowered lives.

In his article in Businessweek in 2007, "It's the Conversation Economy, Stupid," David Armano tells us that "one of the engines that is driving '2.0' growth is the fact that communities are forming around popular social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Ning, Twitter---the list goes on and on. These platforms facilitate conversations. Conversation leads to relationships and relationships lead to affinity. Brand affinity, as companies such as Harley-Davidson have proven often drives communities to form around them."

In other words, if your brand isn't a conversation, it's just more noise. Therein lies the problem. Based on what I see in advertising and on various websites, most brands couldn't carry on a conversation with a consumer if their lives depended on it. Just more buzzwords and worn out marketing-eze. Imagine for a minute that these brands were people you met at a cocktail party. You'd probably excuse yourself to the restroom in a matter of minutes.

Further on in his article, David Armano( proposes that all marketers should think of themselves as "conversation architects." A professional whose job it is to know the audience, build empathy and create conversations that can live on their own.

Gary Kopervas, conversation architect.

I like the sound of that. Now you try it next to your own name.

But remember, no shouting.

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