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Today, it's no longer just about eyeballs!

2009 March 27

If you are still relying on traditional advertising to deliver your brand message you are missing out on one of the greatest opportunities in a lifetime.  Integration is still the key, but today you need to integrate so much more.

A few weeks ago I attended a conference hosted by Radio Ink called convergence.  It was a conference that dealt with change and how the radio industry has to embrace new technologies, bring their current brands online in way that’s meaningful to their core audience and create new online brands to engage others.  It was an interesting conference and truth be told, I don’t think radio or television as we know it today will survive the tidal wave that was created by web 2.0, social networking and the abundance of choices allowed by wireless “everywhere” Internet connectivity.

Guy Kawasaki, noted author, venture capitalist and former Apple evangelist kicked off the conference with an amazing speech about change.  Only this time, the rate of change is faster than anything we’ve ever experienced.  Who succeeds?  According to Kawasaki and others, it’s those who “jump the curve”.

So, when times are changing, who jumps the curve?  Existing businesses have a very hard time.  Those who marketed the telegraph thought the telephone would never be viable.  IBM thought of computers as big mainframes for business while Bill Gates and Paul Allen saw a computer in every home.

Today, consumers are in control.  If they like something, they will pass it along to their friends and acquaintances on the social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  And if they don’t like something, like maybe your brand, watch out!  That message will spread even faster!

As a company, what does that mean for you?  It means you have to be there.  You have to participate, and you have to rethink just about everything you do when it comes to connecting to your customers.  You can’t just preach to your customers anymore.  They don’t trust you.  And they don’t trust the people you feature in your ads or on your website who say nice things about – because they know you would only put nice things about your company on your own website.

How do you participate?  If you are not already following your brand online, you need to start.  Open a Facebook or Twitter account.  See what’s going on. Then start using the tools (mostly free) that they provide so you can see what real people are saying about your business.  Then, when you get comfortable, you can begin to participate.  Not dictate, participate as one of the group.

One of the many daily blogs I read featured a small post about a condom company in England that launched what they are calling “possibly the raciest advertising ever”.  It shows three different couples in a series of vignettes, as clothing is removed and sexual tension builds. The voiceover says, “Safe sex will never feel the same way again.”  Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, at 42 out of a thousand women under the age of 18.

You can view the Skyn condom ads for yourself here

Personally, I don’t think the ads are that great. While searching You Tube so I could link to the Skyn ads directly (I didn’t find them there), I did run across a much better, more creative ad for Trojans here in the US.  




But that’s not the point.  Or maybe it is.  I read about the raciest ad ever, and as a veteran ad guy and just plain “guy”.  I wanted to see these “racy” spots.  Yep, they got me to their site.  But what happened next is the bigger story. Their site is great!  Not exactly the type of site that I’m overtly interested in – but a site that is perfect for their young core audience.  A site from a company that has really sought out to answer the question, “what type of content will make our customers happy”?  What can we do that’s so spectacular that they will tell their friends, and they will tell their friends etc.  Now that’s integration.

Oh yeah, and now I’m sharing these ads with you along with my thoughts.  If you think the ads are cool, or like what I have to say you’ll pass this blog post onto your friends.  See how it works?

Let’s get back to your business.  Who are your customers?  What do they want?  Are you delivering content they are interested in?  Are they talking about you?  Are you integrating your brand into their lifestyle?  Are you joining in their discussion?

If not, I’m sad to say, the “Curve” will jump you!

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