Real friendship is a little bit magical. Love this photo from my wonderful friend, Libby Williams.
A dear friend of mine recently moved to Greenville from Asheville. The other night we were talking about what it feels like to make new friends when you move to a new community.
He made a simple observation that got stuck in my heart:
90% of a having a friend is being a friend.
We have a lot of discussion around here about “engagement”. What does it mean and how do you really measure true engagement within a community? So many brands and organizations still feel numbers of Facebook fans or twitter followers is a sign of promising engagement.
They really do.
The other day John Moore stumbled on this study: Facebook Fans: A Fan for Life? He sent the team this quick summary:
The authors studied the ‘People Talking About This’ (PTAT) measurement from Facebook between Oct and Nov 2011 to determine how many fans, after the initial ‘like’, are engaging with the brand.
Their findings reveal less than 0.5% of Facebook fans engage with the brands they are fans of during any week.
Of the 200 brands they studied, only 1 brand had 2% of their fans engage with them during a seven-day period. (Included in these 200 brands are “passion” brands… Nike, Chanel, Harley-Davidson, Jack Daniels, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., etc.)
Just 20 brands reached the 1% level of engagement from fans on any given week.
The authors close by writing, “The real question is how cost effective is it for a brand to attempt to drive engagement if the most they can reasonably expect is that 1% of fans will engage?”
We are keeping a close track on the PTAT on FB stats. And our communities are fairing much better.
So it got me thinking. Wondering about the lessons we can learn.
Maybe… we have it all backwards.
Perhaps the thing we should be measuring is our own efforts to be a friend? Something the community management team takes very serious at Brains on Fire.
As brands and organizations are we making a 90% effort?
What do you think about that? Chime in.
A while back.. well, a while back in internet space/time, the University of California had a new identity system designed – and there was a big to-do.
If you don’t know the story, here’s what happened in a nutshell:
The University of California unveiled a new brand identity. The new system was somehow misconstrued by the public to be replacing the school’s seal. It wasn’t, the seal was updated and was still hanging around for more formal uses while the new identity would be used everywhere else. The design team was able to pull together what had been a largely disjointed amalgam of logos and type treatments and turn it into one unified monogram and brand identity system. There was a backlash from the community (students, alumni, the internet in general), they all signed a petition on Change.org, and the administration pulled the monogram from any kind of usage… until further notice.
For more detail, here are some great write ups that follow the drama on the Brand New blog: post 1, post 2, post 3. There’s also a really nice 99% Invisible interview with Vanessa Correa, creative director of the internal design group in charge of the rebrand, here.
So, I could talk about the identity itself and say that I thought it was a breath of fresh air when it comes to large scale university branding systems, and that it does a great job pulling together many disparate organizations under one cohesive visual umbrella. Yeah, the gradient in the “c” is a little weird, but I could get used to that over time… just like when Nike founder Phil Knight was presented the swoosh logo.. he said “I don’t love it. But it will grow on me.” (quote via Brand New) But I digress…
My point about the UofC rebrand is that I think the design is beside the point when looking at the overall story. The university had confidence in their design team, accepted the redesign, and launched the new system. Then, they backed down because of public outcry over what seemed to be mis-information. Instead of standing behind their decision to move forward with the new identity, or trying to re-explain that they weren’t replacing the seal, they backed down…. and went back to using God knows what… and ended up a little in the same place that they started.
Anyway, I think it’s obvious what I think – they should have stuck to their guns and moved forward. However, that contradicts a lot of what we preach around here in letting the community decide what they want to symbolize them. An argument could be made for bad pr (mistaking the monogram for replacing the seal), but at the same time, if this is what the community wants, shouldn’t they get it? Honestly, I think there’s a time and a place when parents should step in and do what’s best for their kids no matter how much they whine. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say. Go ahead, rake me over the WOM coals… I can take it.
Whoa. The 2013 FIRE Sessions were more like the Firehose Sessions. We brought together a collection of kindred spirits, clients, and super smart speakers for a jam-packed day of learning and connecting.
What are the FIRE Sessions? Think marketing grad school complete with everyone doing keg stands of knowledge. (Seriously, keg stands of knowledge.)
Here’s what went down. We had Jackie Huba share her obsession for Lady Gaga’s marketing strategies to turn followers into fans. Our own Geno Church schooled us on how cookie cutter customer communities don’t cut it. Wharton Professor Jonah Berger gave a class on crafting contagious content. Rob Morris, co-founder and president of LOVE146, closed out the day by sharing his “in the trenches” advice for authentically and passionately sustaining a movement.
There was so much smart thinking for us all to digest. Expect a complete recap of the 2013 FIRE Sessions on this blog next week. Until then, here are 15 embers still glowing in my mental fireplace from yesterday’s FIRE Sessions …
#2 | Use Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to forge emotional connections with customers by leading with the WHY behind what your business does.
#3 | To forge deep connections with your die hard brand fans (the 1%), give them a name and a shared symbol – ex. Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters & claw.
# 5 | Community is a way, not a place. Community rallies people around a cause/idea. Community is defined by customers who give a damn.
#6 | A brand community isn’t for every customer. It’s for the fervent ones, the freaky ones, the weird ones. The 1%ers.
#8 | Social Currency … are messages that make people feel smart, cool, and special spark word of mouth. ex: Please Don’t Tell in NYC
#9 | Triggers… design products/messages to be triggered by the environment in order to become talkable. ex: FRIDAY by Rebecca Black
#10 | Emotions… focus marketing messages on feelings more than function. ex: Google’s Parisian Love commercial
#11 | Public… products/messages/ideas that are easily viewed out in the open get talked about. ex: Movember
#12 | Practical Value… products/messages/ideas that are highly useful get discussed. ex: saving money coupons/tips get talked about
#13 | Stories… to spark word of mouth, wrap products/messages/ideas around a broader narrative. ex: Jared’s Subway story
#14 | Movements take Audacious people, Thorough thinking, Personal engagement, Tenacity, People Perspective, Collective Shout
#15 | Great marketing inspires passion from customers, donors, employees, and people. The prerequisite for passion is thoughtfulness from every angle.
FIRE Sessions attendee Michael Jantz (from 800-CEO-READ) sketch-noted the first two sessions of the day. Michael admits to being new to sketch-noting but his newness is chock-full of awesomeness. These are great Michael. Thanks for sharing and adding your voice to the FIRE.
When I was about 19, I worked in a county western music bar in my small hometown. I loved and still love the storytelling aspect of country music.
The group that worked there was an eclectic mix. We cooked and waited on tables and served drinks until the doors closed at 2am. I was in college and found myself working with the mother of a four year old who was about my same age. Her boyfriend was a piano player (with a bit of a drug issue). The cook was a 35 year old man who had lived in his grandmother’s spare room all of his life. He wrote song lyrics when he couldn’t sleep. The bartender was studying to be a chiropractor in his homeland of New Zealand and was genuinely intrigued with the collection of bands that played on our stage.
Every night after the doors closed and while the world slept we would sit for about an hour and just talk about the night. The music, the people, the community that that loved our small time traveling bands.
I loved that job. And those people.
I loved hearing the mom’s boyfriend play piano (which he had learned to play by ear) as we talked late at night. He didn’t have a piano so he only got to play there as we cleaned up or in the piano store at the local mall. I loved hearing the cook shyly read us his latest lyrics. I loved the New Zealander’s fresh-eyed take on our customers and music.
It felt like an experience I would carry with me forever and itreally has been. I learned something magical that summer. I learned this simple notion:
Community will form naturally and organically when you share common experiences and passions. Even people who at first blush appear very different will form really strong bonds around shared interests.
We have been tasked with empowering our community of Greenville, South Carolina to share our story with the world. It’s an exciting opportunity and project. And it’s had me thinking a lot about the role diversity plays in making a community wonderful.
Each community that we have had the honor of working with has been rich with amazing and diverse people from all walks of life. People whose normal relationship boundries have been set aside because of their shared passion.
I love seeing relationship walls come down.
Come on share. When have you seen this simple truth at work in your life?
“We have our sushi flown in every day from Japan. The owner’s brother goes to the fish market and picks it out every morning, ices it and ships it to us. We pick it up at the airport daily.”
I looked up from the menu and asked the happy, smiling waitress to tell me her favorite roll. “Oh easy!” she said, “It’s named after me. Because I love it so much. The Jacque roll. “
I ordered the Jacque roll.
Purple International isn’t new to town, but it was new to me. My first visit was on a very crowded, 45 minute wait kind of Saturday night. Our table was full with wine and laughter and really fresh sushi.
But here’s the fun part.
Within a week, I had not only told eight others about Purple, but I had also told them about the bother in Japan making the daily trips to the fish market and the Jacque Roll.
Last Wednesday night, John Moore came to town. Geno and I were taking him to dinner. They both asked me to pick the restaurant. And you saw this coming….
I suggested Purple.
The three of us walked in and Jacque’s face lite up as she said, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re back.” I smiled. She’d remembered me even though the place had been extremely packed when I first visited.
I felt appreciated.
I said to John and Geno, “This place ooozzees Word of Mouth.”
“Passion.” John said.
Passion is contagious. Don’t you think?
I had simply caught Jacque’s love for her work and the people she serves.
Jacque also understands the power of story. I loved hearing the details of how they got their fish and how there was a roll named after her. Both easy to remember, sharable stories.
And now. I’m sharing them with all of you.
So. When was the last time you caught someone’s passion for their business and shared it with others? Do you have a favorite brand that oooozzes word of mouth?