If you’ve seen any of my Facebook posts lately, you’d know that my family recently got a puppy (Jasmine the Golden Retriever). You’d also know that my wife is not the biggest fan. It’s not that she doesn’t like the dog, she just doesn’t care for her eating habits (rugs, slippers, siding of the house, sprinkler system, etc.).
A few weeks ago, Jasmine expanded her diet to include my wife’s Maui Jim sunglasses – which didn’t help the situation. But, fortunately, my wife called the company and, understanding the situation, they offered to fix her sunglasses at a large discount.
One week later, my wife not only received fixed sunglasses, but she also got a dog bone with a note that read, “Aloha, We thought Fido might like a bone instead of your Maui Jim’s. Good luck.” That’s not just great customer service. That’s great marketing. Her story not only made it onto her Facebook page, but her friends shared the story with their friends, and we’re still talking about it.
Great marketing isn’t just about telling your brand story. It’s also about getting others to tell it for you (your customers are your most credible media) – and that requires giving them something positive to talk about (beyond just a great product – that’s expected). While there are many ways to accomplish this, I’ve found that there are some basic do’s and don’t for the greatest success (as the example above demonstrates):
1. Don’t make the story all about you/your brand.
Those stories rarely get shared. Imagine if the Maui Jim note just talked about the great technology in the sunglasses?
2. Do show some personality/be authentic.
Be human and recognize you are speaking with other humans. The “Aloha” greeting was true to the personality of the brand.
3. Do include the audience in the story/make it personal.
Everyone loves to share stories about themselves (which is what makes #1 so difficult for marketers). The Maui Jim story was all about my wife’s situation – they made it personal.
4. Do ask people to share it.
It’s OK to ask, but be careful. If the story is all about you/your brand (see #1), this could have a very negative affect. Note the Facebook and Twitter references on the Maui Jim card. Sharing is implied.
5. Don’t make it difficult (DO make it easy)
Remember that it’s all about sharing. Never force people to register, donate or take some other action to spread the love for your brand. (I’m always amazed when I see brands do this…). Give them everything they need to share it for you (social media links, instructions, etc.)
6. Don’t make it feel like marketing
Many marketing professionals would have cringed at the “design” of the Maui Jim card. But, that’s one of the things that makes it so appealing. It’s authentic and doesn’t come across as a “marketing piece.” If it were on glossy stock, 4-color printing, it just wouldn’t have the same affect.
I’d love to hear stories that caused you to talk about a brand – or what your brand is doing to cause people to share the love. Please share these stories here, as well as other do’s and don’ts.
Let’s all learn from each other on this one, and let the stories inspire us to help others share the love of our brands.
PS. One week after receiving the new Maui Jim’s, my wife lost them. So, maybe it’s not about the dog. 🙂