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10 2010

Beginning With The Basics

Posted in The Basics | 0 comments

On my last post, I talked a little about ‘new beginnings’ (a la Independence Day) and how to begin to leverage the power of social media, you must always Social Media basicsbegin with the basics.

So, what are those basics?

First, is your brand.  A long-time branding expert, I know for a fact that the only way really to stand out in a sea of competitors is to make absolutely sure that your brand stands for something specific and unique.  Part of your branding is your look.  But the look and design of your brand is nothing but a reflection of the IDEA your brand stands for.  So many companies get this one wrong.  A banal descriptor of the products and services you sell is simply not enough.

To give you an example, I worked as a consultant for ASSA ABLOY, the world’s biggest lock company.  Yes, they stand for locks.  But the management understood that their company stood for much more.  They stood for security in an insecure world.  They didn’t just stand for locked, closed doors either.  Their brand was about making sure that when people opened the door of their home or business and went out into the world, they left with utter peace of mind.  ASSA ABLOY chose the tagline Unlock Your Life.  In other words, the point really wasn’t the locking (and the fear that implies) but the UNLOCKING i.e. the freedom that security brings.   This is branding par excellence.

The second basic is to understand your target market.   We left a mass media world behind many many moons ago. Today is all about niche marketing.  Your target market is no longer one single monolith but a series of precise niches.   Don’t think big.  Think small many times over.  By the way, the tools of social media and the internet let us execute precise niche marketing efficiently and easily.

The third basic is the message.  What exactly do you want to say?  Your message needs to be more than flogging your products and services.    In relationship marketing (which is what marketing on the internet is), you need to provide interesting, original and ongoing content about your industry. Without it, people will leave in droves.  With it, you will establish true authority and leave your competitors in the dust.

As the Americans and French realized centuries ago, the end of every old world is the beginning of a new one.  So are you ready for it?