All posts by alicelankester

Five examples of brands building local buzz

I enjoyed reading this today — five examples of interesting buzz-building by brands.

Here are the campaigns chosen.

Psychological triggers — five ways to think about building awareness

Much has been written about how psychology can be used to influence a customer’s behavior, and there are a huge number of theories and treatises on this subject. So I confess here to simplistically distilling my thoughts down the five ways that I use to start the conversation with companies looking to broaden awareness of their product and ramp up growth.

(Interestingly, these may not apply with the early adopter customers. Early adopters get a thrill from being the first to discover something, to try it out and share results. The earlier and the buggier the better. Early adopters want to be ‘in’ on the story before anyone else.)


Do I recognise ‘me’ in you. If you’re not speaking to a customer knowing what’s important to them, they won’t trust you. But if you’re speaking their language, and if you’re reflecting what they find difficult, confusing, and problematic (and, how you can solve that problem), then they will feel an affinity with you.

Affinity can be created right at the opening of the door. On the first place a consumer goes to find out about you (usually your website), do you reflect their most pressing problem clearly? Do you explain the solution you are offering?


When someone is familiar, it makes them feel comfortable. Figure out how to have your consumers see you regularly. For example, re-targeting brand ads, done at the right cadence, is one tactic here. Those consumers may not click those ads, but it has been shown they can offer brand lift in a longer sales cycle.


Who do your consumers trust? Who can talk about you and your product with authority. Everyone would want their brilliantly conceived new product to be blessed by Richard Branson (as if…), or gets the nod on Dragon’s Den. But let’s be more realistic here. If your B2B service, for example, appears on a Gartner Magic Quadrant, that gives your service a seal of authoritative approval that is a little more achievable.


This is something Slack has done brilliantly. How many have felt that they really had to get onto Slack, because everyone else is? Putting aside for the moment that it’s a product that really only works well if all your colleagues are on it too, it’s a perfect example of the bandwagon effect. Slack fueled the bandwagon effect with their user-onboardng process. to get people to invite their colleagues.


Finally, and this can be hard, there’s value in the scarcity effect. Some of us remember what it was like to be given the ‘golden ticket’ of a Gmail account. (Yes, it really did work like that.) More recently, it was an invitation to Ello. (Which I got, but sadly I haven’t used.) There may be aspects of a product that works for scarcity — an upgrade, new features, extra flare. Or geographical scarcity, special colours — the list goes on. If someone has it, and it’s scarce, others will want it.

Other resources

A few interesting, and I hope useful, resources that go into some detail about the psychological choices that go into the design of offers, landing pages, customer-facing messages:

Meerkat as a ‘fad,’ make the customer experience personal, and don’t ignore millennials…

As part of my weekly media habits, I have been expanding my Podcast consumption to include Marketing and Business podcasts — beyond my usual diet of culture and entertainment. It sometimes feels a bit like teeth-flossing. Boring and worthy. But I always feel better afterwards. Anyway, I’ve organized it so that one Podcast will cover my commute to work and get me into a good working headspace.

The Marketing Smarts podcasts from MarketingProfs I like, because they interview people with real world opinions. Who are qualified to say something worthwhile. And give me actionable advice. Unlike the Ted podcasts, which are lovely and inspirational, but not so immediately actionable in my workday.

Today, I heard from Geoff Livingstone, a multi-talented marketer, with some good things to say. He advises me as follows:

  • Meerkat could be just a fad — ultimately the ‘live’ watching experience will fade
  • The customer experience on social must be relevant — yes, get attention, but if you don’t make your social outreach personal to the specific customer experience, you’ll not win
  • Don’t ignore milliennials — they are now becoming today’s VPs in decision making roles

On the Meerkat question, I’d be sorry if that does just become a fad. I don’t think it will. There are instances when near-live broadcasting from mobile is incredibly powerful. We’re not sure what it is yet. Meerkat won’t tell us what it is. Meerkat’ers will. Give it time. The best use case hasn’t emerged yet.

On the customer experience question, that’s so hard for smaller brands without the access to the big data. Mr Livingstone spoke of big brands, like T-Mobile, who can correlate your social identity with your T-Mobile identity, and reach out accordingly. For example, if they notice you tweet that you’re unhappy, because T-Mobile gets the latest phones too late, they could find you in the database and email you an offer to ship the next phone directly to your home, and waive the upgrade fee. Nice dream. Out of reach for most, but point well taken.

Finally, on ignoring millennials? At your peril. He also made some very good points about how millennials are forging new ways to protect their online identity. Today’s socially savvy millennials wouldn’t post drunk photos on Facebook, because they know better. They have places to keep that quiet and private, and they’re using them. Mr Livingstone gave sage advice about hiring millennials. He tells us he assures his potential millennial hires that he won’t be their ‘friend’ on Facebook. He won’t like their posts and comment. He does expect them to do their job competently. Not be socially well behaved. That’s not his business.

I have been chastised by millennials I know that my ‘digital footprint’ is too large. Too late, I think. Horse has bolted the stable. The millennials I know aren’t making that mistake. They’re ensuring that whatever is public is what they want to be public. That’s why services like Snapchat are so appealing. And why they are a good thing. I could learn a thing or two there. My identities are all ridiculously blurred. And that’s not a good thing.

How brands can build social relationships that deliver real value

Social relationship marketing is a key imperative, or should be, for all brands — both B2B and B2C. Social works in all stages of a customer’s discovery of a brand’s products: Discovery, Exploration, Purchase, and post purchase Engagement. There are jobs for social at each stage.

But the way social relationship marketing is being done by most brands today is failing. Why?

1. Because organic posts are now effectively zero — your social audiences aren’t seeing your content, and

2. Even fewer people are interacting with the posts they see.

Social audiences have to be tapped with social advertising. It’s no longer remotely reasonable to believe audiences will find your social posts just by discovering them in the Newsfeed (organically).  And similarly, it’s less valuable to drive them to your social presence.  You should be driving them to the only place you own — your brand website. Continue reading How brands can build social relationships that deliver real value

Thinking beyond simple social engagement, to a participatory engagement campaign calendar

At Friend2Friend, we work with our brand clients to ensure a year-round approach to engagement campaigns.  When the content that fills a brand’s social newsfeeds is solely of the “one-to-many” type – beautiful photos, inspirational videos, sneak peeks at new products – the only participation you’re asking of your audience is to like, comment, and/or share. And that’s OK. But brand social audiences will be happy to respond in a much more participatory way if you ask them. And there’s every reason to make that participation happen regularly, around the seasonal marketing clock.

Continue reading Thinking beyond simple social engagement, to a participatory engagement campaign calendar

TL;DR — a lesson to be learned

I always enjoy reading Brian Solis.

No more so than today, when Brian reminds attention is a precious commodity. We should earn it, and spend it, wisely. Content curation and a thoughtful attention to our audience’s attention span is absolutely required.

Our audiences are bombarded with so much information. As consumers of digital content, we all struggle to stay ahead of the information firehose.

A leading editor once told me over breakfast that he seriously considered writing an article and only allowing the first two paragraphs to make sense. The remainder would be nonsense. Then he’d watch if people still shared. I suspect they would. Because he believed no one read past the first two paragraphs of anything much these days.

So with that said, I’m done.

Facebook vs LinkedIn — this will be interesting

Facebook will face some interesting challenges with their Facebook At Work product, not the least of which is the psychology of the user.


I certainly am not alone in having given a lot of thought to my ‘personal’ identity and my ‘professional’ identity. While there is obviously much cross-over — I am, after all, the same person — I am more than happy I have my LinkedIn space, and my Facebook space. I report differently in each, and have a very different network in each, with only a small percentage of cross over. All good.

So how am I thinking about the Facebook At Work announcement?

Continue reading Facebook vs LinkedIn — this will be interesting

How are you starting your content marketing strategy for 2015?

You’re going back to your desk in the New Year, full of energy for new marketing initiatives, one of which is your content strategy. Here are some pointers and resources to get started with your planning.

The essential plan

Understand the purpose of your content plan. Your content should be helping achieve your organization’s business goals, not your content goals. So be very clear and get agreement on this from the start. Your business goal may be selling products or services; creating leads for sales teams; encouraging engagement and frequent visits; helping users find what they need; or driving awareness, engagement or loyalty.

Your planning framework might, therefore, begin with a content mission statement, or a business case. For example: ‘Build multi-channel content that establishes/underscores my organization as the leader in the ABC economy/market/space.’ Or ‘Build multi-channel content that delivers qualified leads to the sales channel.’ Very different statements, requiring very different tactical plans. With your defined goal, you must also be looking at where your customers are appearing, and what message you want them to hear, with your content, at whatever point in the experience.

The customer is at the center of this at all times.

A good plan must:
Continue reading How are you starting your content marketing strategy for 2015?

10 favorite podcasts that you might just find addictive

podcastEvery day, I walk. I walk to keep fit. I walk because I have two dogs. I walk because I love to walk. I walk because I have a #FitBit, and I must reach my 10,000 steps a day — I just must. That’s all. But I also walk because I love listening to podcasts. Podcasts of books. Podcasts of news shows. Podcasts of comedy. Podcasts of drama. Podcasts of documentaries. I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and years. Over the past few years, the choices are so much greater. It’s so much easier to subscribe. And the quality is so excellent.

Here’s my top 10 list. As you can see, they skew heavily in favor of the BBC, because, well, I’m still a Brit. And the podcasts they produce are that good.

Continue reading 10 favorite podcasts that you might just find addictive