Crafting a Successful Buzz Strategy

5 11 2008

Today Maria Elena Duron takes over my blog for a guest post on creating a buzz strategy.  Maria is CEO of Buzz to Bucks which provides online profile management, social management and reputation management services to its’ clients.

buzzstrategyThis week I sat down with several clients to talk Twitter.  Their questions ranged from “how to?”, “what’s this?”, and “how much time do you spend”?  Developing a great buzz strategy begins with the greatest questions of WHY and WHO/WHOM.

  • Who do you want to be seen and know as?

This is the beginning necessary for an effective BUZZ STRATEGY.  WHOM is it important for you to interact with?  WHO needs to see more of you to get to know you?  WHO needs to know what you do and how you save the day?  WHOM can you engage to speak positively on your behalf?  WHO can do business with you or refer business with you?  WHO would be a good contact for you?

Answering these questions provides direction as to what methods to use to connect with the WHO, and even how often to connect with them.  Identify WHO they really are and include their likes, dislikes, and activities, along with the standard demographic stuff.  Then, go out and find groups of them. Where do bunches of them hangout?  Is it online?  In Twitter, in a forum, or in a chat room? Is it in LinkedIn groups, Rotary, Mother’s Day Out? Where you find many of them congregating is where YOU want to be.

  • Why do you want to be seen and known by them, and interact with them?

Every English paper that reviews stories always starts with questions like “what’s the purpose?” or “what’s the plot?”  These are the same questions you need to ask yourself, and then you can craft your success story on interacting with the WHO.  What’s the overall outcome you want from this?  Envision the happily ever after of this.  And ponder on whether the tools you’re using to get there are actually getting you there or whether they are just interesting.

Do not go any further until you, quite in detail, answer the first two questions of WHO/WHOM and WHY.  Doing anything else without answering those questions is merely a waste of time.

Visibility is first so that people will get to see you or even know that you exist.  Next comes developing credibility.

  • What can you do to create visibility with whom you want to interact with?

Easiest answer is to hang out where they hang out.  Frequent their hangout spots!  Watch and identify how often people need to hang out there to be noticed.  For example, if you’re considering Twitter as one of your visibility tools, then check how often people that you know (who mirror the people you want to know) are Twittering.  Now, if they’re not Twittering, why are you there?  If it’s interesting research, recognize that it is and move on. It’s not a visibility tool – it’s something you’re checking out, that’s it.  As you choose visibility tools, it’s important to remember not to confuse “activity” with “accomplishment”.  Where do you really need to be to be seen?  Pick TWO and get really good at being seen on those.   Think of things that you want people to know about you and that you wouldn’t mind repeated. 

  • How do you develop credibility?

Credibility comes from interaction.  People need to sample your character and competence.  There’s an old saying that states, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  How do you show you care?  You interact.    Let’s say someone sends out a great link to a site that’s very helpful for you?  Then, let the person who sent it to you know.  Give them feedback.  Be lavish with gratitude.  Be helpful.  If someone is seeking resources, has a question or a need, help them.  Send links or articles or another connection you have that would be able to help them.  Refer them to books.  Recommend sites.  Be helpful.  There’s a myth that “You give – then you get” in networking.  And, while I think “Givers gain” is a catchy little phrase, I believe it leaves the impression that if you give to someone then you can expect to get something from them.  That expectation may taint the interaction and actually keep you from gaining anything.  It can leave someone with the taste that you’re not helping sincerely.

Better to think “give, give, give, give, give, and you will get from the great feeling of giving”.  Then, when you get something directly from that, it’s a delightful extra!  The goal in building credibility is creating relationships.  Relationships, whether online or offline, still take time.  In our instant gratification microwave society, relationships still take time, yet they are solid when built.  People speak positively about people they know, like and trust.  It’s important to find a few that you feel compelled to help and connect with, and develop, know and like – trust will come.

The object is to help people learn how to carry the message of you to people they know – that’s what BUZZ STRATEGY is about.  Write down the WHO/WHOM and WHY.  Then, find TWO avenues that you will use to connect with them.  Then, find TEN people that you’ll interact with and watch the BUZZ grow.  Establish this first – then we can talk more about EXPONENTIAL BUZZ GROWTH!

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Photo by: Unhindered by Talent

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When Your Brand Becomes the Product

15 09 2008

Red Bull was founded by Dietrich Mateschitz and officially launched in 1987.  Ten years after its launch Red Bull was finally brought to the United States first being introduced in California.  In 2000 Red Bull had approximately $1 billion in worldwide sales.  In 2006 more than 3 billion cans of Red Bull were sold in over 130 countries.  Red Bull now accounts for approximately 50% of the energy drink market in the United States and up to 80% in other countries with an approximate 65% overall market share.

Those are just some quick and dirty facts about Red Bull to help frame the what is really interesting about Red Bull.  I think one of the most interesting aspects about Red Bull is how their brand has become the product (energy drinks).  Even though there are now over 150+ competitors in the energy drink space, most people I know still refer to energy drinks as Red Bull.  Red Bull is commonly mixed with Vodka and is one of the main ingredients in drinks such as Jagerbombs.  Even when a bar doesn’t offer the brand and instead uses a competitor, you will still hear people request Red Bull and Grey Goose or Red Bull and Vodka.  In my opinion this is one of the best things that can happen for a brand.  Since the brand becomes the product, the demand for the brand increases.

One of the reasons for Red Bull’s success, besides being the first to this niche market, is how good they are at buzz marketing.  Red Bull sponsors events such as windsurfing, snowboarding, cliff-diving, break dancing, art shows, music concerts, video games and several other sporting/social events.  Red Bull also hosts the Red Bull Flugtag which can be best understood by watching this video:

So what can we learn from Red Bull? Of course, most of us can’t afford to sponsor extreme sporting events, art shows or the like but we can do things differently than the rest of our competition.  Try to be the first one there.  If not, then do it differently then those before you.  Try new things.  Explore new options.  Don’t do the usual.  Don’t be like everyone else.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Be interesting.

Red Bull is known for always trying to market their brand differently in new and creative ways.  It is because of this that the brand has not failed or fallen off even though it is now in an extremely competitive space.

Now I turn it over to you – what are other products that you can think of where the brand has become the product?  I can think of a few but am interested in others thoughts.

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Photo by Dawn Ashley

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