For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching the tech world go back and forth about Google’s latest creation, Google Glass. It’s been announced for a while, but the product has actually been shipped out to the lottery winners who wanted to pay 1500 bucks to test it out. If you’re not familiar with the product, it’s essentially a computer that you wear on your face like a pair of glasses. It projects a heads up display in the corner of your vision that enables you to see the weather, get directions, take video or pictures, you get the idea.
Once you look past the privacy issues and the dork factor of the design itself, as shown here, the possibilities of potential uses seems pretty interesting. I can imagine recipes being displayed while cooking, or breaking news headlines showing up as the stories happen. It’s making information even easier to access than our smartphones do. This can be good, as well as unnerving.
I’ve been thinking about all of the people now who bury themselves in their pocket computers as if there is nothing else that can possibly be more interesting going on around them (myself included). There are a bunch of reasons we do this that range from being neurotic about the possibility that you might miss replying to an @reply on your twitter feed within 5 seconds, or just using it as a distraction to avoid feeling uncomfortable in a crowded elevator. I think the biggest drawback to this phenomenon is our growing avoidance of human to human interaction, and heaven forbid making eye contact with the person in front of you. Can you imagine how this would grow exponentially if everyone had a computer feeding them information in the corner of their vision 100% of the time? Saturday Night Live commented on this pretty hilariously last weekend, but there is a lot of truth to the comedy.
Anyway, I understand that this is technology and cranky commentators (I don’t include myself in this bunch – usually I’m drooling over the shiny objects like everyone else) will whine every time a new gadget comes out – think tv. But I am a bit concerned about the reliance we have on these devices to feel connected to others. In some ways I imagine that in order to experience true empathy, people need people. With that said, I leave you with this incredible video that I ran across while researching this post. A lot of cars in Russia are now equipped with dash cams, think police cars over here in the states, and someone compiled this video of people just being awesome.
Anyway, let me know what you think.
We chat about communities every day here at BOF. Shannon has a note at her desk that states “Community is not a place, it’s a way of life”. We update one another about challenges, successes and little wins for the communities we work (and live) in. But let’s get to the core of things.
Have you ever been a part of something bigger than you? You might be rolling your eyes at the very grand question so early in the morning, but I challenge you to think about it. Isn’t that the truth of a community- the sum is greater than its individual parts? If you’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of a community, in any way, shape or form, take a moment to think about it.
Did you choose the community, or did it seem like the community choose you? Did you muscle your way in, or were you invited? Has the idea of this community, or way of life, fizzled, or are you still kickin’? I’m curious– there’s no right or wrong answer. Sometimes you just fall into the right place and all you can do is look back, smile, and thank the heavens above.
I think both ways are good ways, because it’s always about the people. NO. MATTER. WHAT. It’s the people. It’s the reason you follow your hairdresser to a new salon, or you tell your friends about the best brunch secret in town. It’s the experience at large… and the people behind it, in front of it, and in it. And don’t forget, you’re a part of that community, too.
Katie Scully is a Community Manager at Brains on Fire. Meet her here.
The past few weeks I have shared a series of posts and thoughts on swag, surprise and social engagement. Today, we’re going to segue into full-on surprise. Valentines week seems like an appropriate time for this transition, as surprise and delight is all about creating a memorable love transaction between a brand and their fans.
Dr. Jonah Berger recently spoke at the F.I.R.E. Sessions, and left behind a few advance copies of his new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. I read it cover to cover while held up at the airport (Thanks, Nemo!) this weekend. (Go pre-order your copy now! It’s awesome.)
Amongst the great thoughts in the book, Jonah shares some particularly interesting (and surprise-relevant) insights on the power of awe:
“Awe is the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might. It’s the experience of confronting something greater than yourself. Awe expands ones frame of reference and drives self-transcendence. Awe is a complex motion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness or mystery.” (page 88) Awe also inspires sharing. For example, Jonah and his team determined that awe-inspiring articles were 30% more likely to make the “Most Emailed” list.
With that in mind…enjoy these seven examples of awesome (or maybe I should say awe-some) surprise and delight. Combined, these 7 videos have garnered over 12 million views. If the average person has 120 Facebook friends, that means these shares could have reached more than 1,440,000,000 people on Facebook alone. Behold the power of awe.
CASE STUDY 1: KLEENEX (52k views)
Scenario: Kleenex is a brand that people reach for (literally) when they’re feeling crappy.
Opportunity: Make people feel better by making them feel extra special.
CASE STUDY 2: BUDWEISER (4 million views)
Scenario: Budweiser is a non-pretentious beer for everyone.
Opportunity: Bring people together to celebrate the underdogs.
CASE STUDY 3: TACO BELL (134k views)
Scenario: Last year someone played an elaborate joke on the town of Bethel, Alaska (pop. 6,000) by starting a rumor that Taco Bell had plans to set up shop in their town. With the nearest TB more than four hours away, residents were crushed to learn the truth.
Opportunity: Turn a negative into a positive—and let them eat tacos!
CASE STUDY 4: TROPICANA (500k views)
Scenario: Tropicana orange juice is a well-known breakfast beverage. Sunshine and Tropicana go together like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, Hall and Oates.
Opportunity: Bring a little sunshine to those who need it most—a group of residents in the Canadian arctic who haven’t seen sunlight in more than a month.
CASE STUDY 5: RADIO KLASSIK (5.9 million views)
Scenario: Classic music and radio are two things that don’t rank high on most people’s “must have” list this day in age. That’s a bad thing when you’re a classic radio station.
Opportunity: If the people won’t come to you, bring the music to the people.
CASE STUDY 6: FORD (50k views)
Scenario: Ford makes cars that everyone can enjoy on some level.
Opportunity: Nobody should be excluded from the joy that comes from stepping behind the wheel of a fast car. Could Ford create a remarkable driving experience for the visually impaired?
CASE STUDY 7: HONDA (1.5 million views)
Scenario: When Monsters Calling Home couldn’t afford studio time, the band was forced to make a music video in their Honda.
Opportunity: Inspired by their brand declaration “Honda Loves You Back,” the people at Honda challenged themselves to find a way to give a little love back to Monsters Calling Home.
This is the second post in a series about swag, surprise and social engagement. See part one here.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the role swag and surprise play in social engagement. Turns out…this is kind of a hot topic. When it comes to swag and marketing, just about everyone has an opinion.
I posed a question on my facebook page (hoping to get some gut reactions from friends outside the marketing industry.)
Are you more likely to engage with brands through social because you want a relationship with them or because you want access to perks, discounts, free stuff?
I want a relationship with brands I identify with on a personal level in some way (e.g., Seventh Generation (social responsibility) or Enjoy Life (access to allergy-free food.) I don’t pay attention to whether there is a freebie, I already feel I’m in a relationship with these brands. Engaging through social no doubt strengthens that.
I do not seek any sort of relationship with a brand. My loyalty to a brand is based strictly on the functionality of their product and the social/environmental impact of their company. For large national brands, I equate any social interaction with them to advertising, so unless there is some sort of perk or reward for interacting with the brand, I’m not interested.
For example, Facebook keeps suggesting I follow Bounty paper towels. I buy Bounty because they work, not because they have an interactive Facebook page. I would only tolerate their content in my newsfeed if I got something out of it.
Local brands are different to me, kind of like cheering for the hometown hero. I enjoy knowing how they are growing, what they are learning, and how they are changing. I want local brands to succeed because their success reflects well on my city, which is a reward in itself.
I just experienced swag love yesterday. I ordered some products recommended by a friend from MooGoo. They came all the way from Australia. In the box, they had included a note thanking me for ordering from so far away. They also included free gifts and samples of other products I hadn’t ordered. They didn’t have to do any of that, but it was so very awesome that they did. It spawned immediate social media action from me as I was motivated to go like their FB page, gush on their wall about my experience, and thank my friend for recommending MooGoo. They earned me as a customer for life just by being thoughtful.
The swag post received a couple comments from great minds in the industry, as well. Their comments drive home a few points I wanted to make about swag and surprise. You’ll find them below…
1. SWAG AND SURPRISE ARE NOT SYNOMOUS.
Let’s be honest. We all love free stuff. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve pitched more than a few branded tumblers, keychains and koozies in your time.
Let’s get a couple things straight, shall we?
You can surprise without giving out swag. (Good.)
You can give out swag without surprising and delighting. (Less good.)
You can surprise and delight with the help of swag. (Hooray!)
Swag is stuff.
Surprise is a sentiment.
Swag is about creating a one-off.
Surprise is about creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Swag is evidence that your brand has a promotional item budget.
Surprise is evidence that your brand is paying attention to your customers.
Swag is one-night stand.
Surprise is an LTR.
2. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
When you employ the use of swag and surprise may be just as important (if not more than) as what you give someone. Remember: surprise and delight isn’t intended to “buy,” “coerce,” “convince” or “sway.” It’s meant to show the people who love your brand that you love them back…and you’re tuned in and paying attention.
Mack Collier, @MackCollier
I think an important clarification needs to be made in the discussion of giving customers free stuff. WHEN they receive the free stuff can be the most important consideration.
In general, if the gift comes BEFORE the purchase, it’s an incentive to change behavior. If the gift comes AFTER the purchase, then it is viewed by the customer as a REWARD. A reward helps build loyalty, which can turn customers into fans.
In researching my book I discovered that this is probably the biggest marketing disconnect between brands and rock stars. Brands, for the most part, target getting business from NEW customers, via incentives, offers and free stuff. Rock stars also offer free stuff, but they target their biggest fans via secret shows, autograph signings, etc. The idea is to target your fans, create something amazing for them, then let them become your marketing channel via word of mouth.
3. THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN GOODS. IT’S ABOUT BEING GOOD.
Surprise and swag can work together to create a truly remarkable experience, but at the end of the day surprise isn’t about stuff, it’s about sentiment.
In the same way the coolest swag loses impact when there is no thought behind it, a simple, handwritten note has the power to overwhelm and delight. Why? Because it shows someone—a real human—cares. And in a world of tweets, text and automation, a real connection with a real human goes a heck of a long way.
Geno Church, @GenoChurch
I love hand written notes. I keep every one I get. I often buy from Frank & Oak, an online men’s clothing club. With every purchase I get a little hand written note along with a random nugget. It’s not the typical thank you, and it speaks to the folks at F&O. I find that a meaningful treasure.
BRINGING IT ALL HOME…
So am I proposing that you swear of swag? Definitely not. What I am challenging you to do is get to know your customers. Get in there and pay attention. Find out what they need and what they want. Really listen. Find out what makes them tick and what makes them smile. Then challenge yourself to blindside them with something remarkable.
UP NEXT WEEK: 7 Awesome Examples of Surprise and Delight that will Blow your Mind.
YOUR TURN: In the meantime, step up to the mic and share your thoughts with us. Are you more likely to engage with brands through social because you want a relationship with them or because you want access to perks, discounts and free stuff?
Today’s post is from our beloved Vicky Hammond.
Love is a circular transaction.
You may have heard us say that once or twice. We firmly believe in harnessing and rewarding the passion conversation within our clients, their customers and our communities.
Something we do not give thanks enough to the first step within all that we do- building trust.
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” –George MacDonald
Igniting a movement is a brave AND scary step to take. We have watched passion spread multiple times from within the Firesphere, but we forget this is the first time for our clients.
I am blessed to be able to work on client service and hold these brave pioneers’ hands, building their trust and confidence through the process. On the flip side, I also get to take that trust and use it to empower our clients as we see the community build and harness the love that our hand raisers are putting out there from a community shepherd perspective.
Thank you to our brave clients and kindred spirits for trusting us.
Love is a circular transaction.