There’s quite a few bad words used in business and marketing. Words which quantify, extract and segment. They dehumanise business. I’d like to see them removed from our vernacular. Here’s two examples worth sharing.
Target & Consumer. I prefer Audience and People and here’s why:
A Target is something we aim for, shoot at, maybe even kill. An Audience is something we try to impress. An audience gives us a chance to prove our worth, they invest their time in us and we must respect it by trying to over deliver to their expectations. In the hope that, they throw flowers on the stage, cheer and ask for an encore. But we enter the stage knowing we may get rotten tomatoes thrown at us, if that’s what we deserve. The onus is on us.
A Consumer is someone who buys stuff. Their primary purpose is to devour whatever we provide. They are faceless, nameless and irrelevant. We want as many of them as possible to fulfill our financial needs. A Person however, is someone we know. A person has emotions, ambitions and meaning in their life. They have opinions which we must value, and a life which we need to enhance. A person is someone we hope to relate to on a human level. A consumer is machine like and undervalued.
The best startups and brands, know that they need to perform for their audience. They know that audiences are made up of people.
We all want to build a web and or brand community. But we forget the most important fact. We need individuals first.
Only we please one individual can we please two. Only when we please two, can we please three….
There will never be a community unless we love our orginal individuals unconditionally. It’s the love we give someone that makes what we do worth talking about. There is never a community unless love is shared at the most personal level. One to one. It’s something we should remember in startup land.
Greenpeace recently launched a public awareness advertising campaign. The campaign was fairly hard hitting, but it wasn’t generic, it was brand targeted. The campaign aimed at Nestle, who they claim makes their chocolate with Palm Oil. The issue with Palm Oil is that much of it is produced in areas which risk local orangutan populations. The advertisement is below – it comes with a warning for those with queezy stomachs.
It’s interesting not because the advertisement is so hard hitting, but rather that Nestle got it removed from youtube based on a ‘brand copy right’ infringement. They said it infringed the kitkat brand trademark. The beauty of the internet is that nothing can truly be banned. It will just bubble up somewhere else, like Vimeo in this case. In addition Nestles corporate strategy of removing it, only fueled the fire and cause it to be shared around and had the opposite of the desired effect.
Big companies will have to realize that they can’t hide stuff anymore. That we will pay more for ethical products. Now that we all have access to information distribution we have as much power as they do on important issues.
What does this mean for startups? Well it means we can play against the big guys. We have a palce for our voice if our dialogue is important enough. If our startup wants to create positive change. Maybe our launch strategy (gourment fair trade local chocolate company?) can spread the truth on the large corporate evil (enemy competitor) to grow their more earth friendly brand?
I was asked to answer a few questions at a talk I gave last week at the Nationwide Networking Event. It was aimed at Small businesses with the topic about new media and the advantages of being small. I thought it was a nice snippet of ideas worth sharing here.
Q: What type of changes can we expect from media in 2010 and how do we need to prepare for it as business professionals?
A: Media will fragment further, it’s increasingly like fashion with new ideas appearing daily. The art of value, like with fashion is by going with the classics and choosing the right style for the brand you want to build. Match your environment, by being involved in the right channels.
Q: Where do you see the role of the blog in the future?
A: Increasingly important. Blogs are a trusted source, because bloggers become, or are an expert on their topic of choice. This is because all good blogs are topic specific. And people want to deal with experts.
Q: What can we expect from the evolution of twitter and our capacity to use it as a marketing medium?
A: If we use it as a marketing medium we’ve already lost. It’s a conversation…. Conversation can turn into business, but it is primarily a conversation. First we need to be a resource. A resource to others, from which we can build trust and valued relationships. These may eventually lead a business relationship.
Q: What trends are coming from America that we need to be aware of?
A: Trends are global now. We don’t have to look overseas to see it. Things arrive simultaneously. It’s not like it was 20 years ago where our friends return from sojourns overseas to tell us all about the cool things they saw, and we have to wait for them to appear in our market a few years later. Now it’s on our desktop the day it happens. This is been further facilitated by web tools such as Springwise, Twitter and Youtube.
Q: How do we (small business people) benefit from the changes in the media landscape?
A: Barriers to entry have been removed so anyone can play. But it requires a long term consistent effort. New media requires a low financial investment, and large human capital input. Where as old media requires a large financial investment with little human effort. At least now we have to choice. In addition large companies have been (so far) pretty bad at using new media. It creates an advantage for us.
Q: How can we better utilize technology tor reduce our costs and increase our profits?
A: Shift from being doers, to becoming project managers. Outsource where ever possible. It’s easier now with all the tools we have at our disposal like elance and skype. Why do we even need an office? Is it because we need to, or because we don’t trust the people we work with?
Q: Your blog has 50,000 readers a month, how did you do that?
Q: What is the meaning of micro brand building and how would it be relevant to soloprenuers?
A: Build your personal brand first. That’s the first part of micro branding, becoming known for something. Having a skill you can share with others. Then eventually cross fertilize to your business brand.
Q: What are the simplest things we can do to build a micro brand?
A: Have a tight focus area of interest. Share our lessons honestly and openly. Frequency of output.
Q: How do we protect our brands?
A: Not with IP and legal stuff…. Most of that is a simple waste of money. We protect it with customers, innovation and reliability.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to those of us that need clients and need them quickly?
A: Cold call. Not on the phone, but turn up and talk.
Q: What books have influenced you?
Q: What marketers / speakers have influenced you?
A: Steven Wright (comedian) he taught me how to flip my perspective for alternative solutions.