Street level advertising is the most powerful in the world. When people you know and trust put the word in your ear, you listen. Expert opinions count double, minimum, for the aspiring user of a certain class of product – whether that product is a phone, or a camera, or a surfboard, or a pair of shoes. Wherever there are experts whose use of a type of thing causes others to want to be able to do the same, there is fruitful ground for targeted brand advocacy.
The thing is, the advocacy you get from these people can be a two edged sword if you don’t start it right. So paying someone to do a bunch of adverts for you may cause some sales interest and may have measurable ROI. Money wise. But if you are adopting the paradigm shift and starting to measure ROI in your own reputation, you could be spending your investment capital more wisely elsewhere.
What people want is to see unsolicited testimonial, or to see people actually using your branded products in ways that inspire them. So rather than paying for an advocate to toe the party line, you need to start thinking outside the box. In fact, you might want to think about throwing the box away and getting a whole new set of terms to play with.
Here’s an idea: use your own customer to advocate your brand, through doing something with the products you produce. This doesn’t mean getting lame quotes from people to put on posters or on your website. Because the ugly truth is: no one trusts what they read on the web, cause everyone knows how easy it is to post fake stuff or advertorial stuff anywhere you like. Therefore: a few quotes from highly satisfied “customers” just don’t cut it anymore, specially where all the quotes sound suspiciously like they have been written by the same person.
No – what we are talking here is a whole new way of using the power of people. A random example: if you make anything that is used to make things, so a camera (which takes pictures) or music software, anything like this – stop advertising in the traditional way and run a nationwide competition for people who own your product. The best photos, the best tunes – whatever it is your real, people on the street customers are making with the products your brand supplies. That way your target market sees you reaching out; it sees real people doing amazing things with your products; and it gets them thinking “I want to do that too.”
At the end of the day – who cares what car insurance Iggy Pop has, or whether Gary Lineker likes crisps? These people may be loved and liked, but they’re not us and we know it. Even if a sportsperson did eat burgers (which most of us doubt), we’d hardly be likely to consider them expert witnesses when we know they’re being paid to rhapsodise. So instead, why not concentrate on liberating the joy of people who actually choose to use your products?
Marketer and engineer specialising in IT, tech and engineering companies. I bring new ideas, innovation, passion and clear strategy development with defined ROI, underpinned by 30 + years of experience.★★Marketing, Digital and Social Media Strategy, KPI and ROI | Marketing, Digital and Social Media Consultant | Trainer | Speaker | Virtual Digital and Social Media Help Desk and Support