A Magical Solution to Get Your Brand Noticed
By Polina Pinchevsky | November 18, 2015
Early on in my life as a parent, I happened upon an important phrase in one of the many parenting books I read. I didn’t know it at the time, but that phrase would go on to serve me well in many different tense moments. It goes like this:
“If I had a magic wand, I would __________.”
Fill in the blank with any of the passionately willed but wholly unrealistic demands three-year-olds make. Since my three daughters were born exactly three years apart, the phrase got a lot of use. I would give them a tight hug and tell them with conviction what I wished I could do for them.
More often than not I truly did mean it. But sometimes… If I had a magic wand, I would conjure chocolate cupcakes this minute. No, I wouldn’t – three-years-olds don’t need dessert for breakfast. If I had a magic wand, I would make it so you could wear sparkly high-heels to pre-school. Another fib. In all honesty, even now that my kids are teenagers, I still employ this phase every once in a while.
I didn’t expect this, but I’ve also had ample opportunity to use it with my clients in my role as partner in a creative marketing agency. It’s remarkably helpful in responding to unrealistic expectations. If I had a magic wand, we would design your campaign in one week. Fairly recently, a client asked if her organization’s digital newsletter could be made larger than the screen of the viewing device. Magic wand please. Requests aren’t always so blatantly unrealistic, but it’s still not unusual for clients to ask for the impossible.
Lately, I’ve noticed that clients seem to be interested in magic of a different kind. The ask goes something like this: So what can we do to break through? To get noticed? To get people to try our product?
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When we look deeper, we discover that more often than not, the client already has their major bases covered. They’re creating and marketing content. They have invested in SEO and they monitor the analytics. They have a social media strategy and have cultivated an active following. They publish and run digital ads and use Google Adwords.
Often times, internal staff has put all of these best practices in place with little outside assistance. Though I imagine tweaking some variables in these initiatives would help, it seems that everyone is more interested in finding some grand magic solution – something that they missed entirely that would serve as a panacea, sending every metric that falls short skyrocketing.
For once, I can say that there is a magic solution. While it’s key to take care of the basic marketing musts, if that’s all you do, you will reach a plateau. The magical solution is community level marketing – a way to create cohesive communities of current costumers by helping them connect over common values [Click to Tweet!].
Customers who are engaged in this way will remain loyal because they don’t just like your product – they like your company and its Purpose. Better yet, a small percentage of these folks will self-identify as brand advocates. These brand advocates will repeatedly buy your product and will also actively talk about your brand with their friends and family, show up at events you sponsor, respond to your offers, and, amazingly, even volunteer their time to champion a common cause (insert your Purpose here). They’re spreading the word about your business (often without you even asking) and helping to advance your Purpose – it’s magic.
What You Need to Make It Happen
What does it take to pull off community level marketing? It takes a few things. The first thing is guts. To build a community, you need to be brave enough to build a company that people can care about. B Corps and other for-benefit businesses score high marks in this realm. Community level marketing requires a different approach to business and rejecting the status quo can be scary.
You also need to have patience. When building communities, you’re working on a longer timeline. Think 6-18 months. While the old cliché counsels that Trust takes time, you can still gauge whether you’re heading in the right direction at any point in your journey. RoundPeg is working on developing metrics that will allow companies to gauge success using their Purpose to build supportive communities. Sign up for our newsletter to stay posted on our progress!
Effective community level marketing also requires staff to understand and live the Purpose if you want to connect with customer values. Assuming there is already a strong values system in place and a company has a clear vision of why it’s in business, every employee should quickly be able to complete this sentence in unison: Our Purpose is to _____. This understanding and commitment imbues employees’ actions, and by extension, customer experiences with an authentic reflection of deeper shared values. This is brand alignment in a nutshell.
Once you do see results, your job isn’t done. Remember that like any other relationship, the bonds between your company and its community members require attention to stay strong and relevant.
If you’ve got the guts, the patience, the strong sense of Purpose and the bandwidth for follow-through, you’re in a position to try community level marketing. In my next post, How to Build a Community of Supporters for Your Brand, I’ll tell you how to make it happen.