When I was in high school, I was a complete nerd. Unfortunately not the kind that aced every test (to my parent’s dismay), but I was a member of some quite un-cool groups including the Student Representative Council and Band. I was also Prefect, and once took part in a school fundraiser where students had to bid against each other to ‘win’ a Prefect as a ‘slave for a day’ (I put these in quotation marks, because surely this kind of thing has been outlawed by now?).
As it happened, I raised the most amount of money—more than the cool kids and more than the School Captains themselves. Not because I was in fact cooler (although feel free to debate that amongst yourselves), but because I had met and talked to and stood in front of so many students in my role as nerd groupie, that they knew who I was. They couldn’t help it, to be honest. I was everywhere. Like I said, complete nerd. More importantly, I knew who they were.
Before your customers buy from you, they have to know who you are. You have to get in their faces, regularly. Consistently. But also meaningfully. You need to engage with them on their turf—whether that’s in the band room or the library—and talk to them about your brand. Directly. Personally.
Personalisation is a fairly new trend that has been used by a number of big brands to engage consumers and ensure the product is meaningful to them.
I imagine most of you would remember last year’s Share a Coke campaign by Coca-Cola, which invited consumers to find or create a Coke can with their name on it, send a virtual can to a friend and even make their own Coke ad featuring their friends.
Another example is the Bond’s Birthday Project, which involved finding one person to represent each of the 35,301 days that Bonds has existed in Australia. People could claim their birthdate onto the site and upload a profile photo to receive a free-t-shirt.
More recently, Sydney.com are asking followers to share why they ‘Love Every Second of Sydney’. Photos are uploaded on social media as well as giant digital billboards in Sydney and Melbourne. Confectionary brand Allen’s is also getting on board with a ‘Smile Makers’ campaign, encouraging Australians to smile more by uploading photos and asking them to sharing personal moments that make them smile (watch the ad here)
Of course, every good campaign has a call to action. But these campaigns are doing more than just getting the customer to take action. They are making it personal—using names, birth dates, private holidays and funny moments shared with friends—and encouraging them to share it with the world.
You’re brand doesn’t need to be the cool kid in class. It just needs to be engaging your customers in a way that’s meaningful to them.
What do you think? Is this just something all the cool kids are doing, or could you successfully tailor these big brand ideas to your start-up? I’d love to hear your thoughts.