Public relations and marketing professionals have dug themselves into a hole. With the overwhelming amount of PR spin and marketing messages flying at consumers on a daily basis, individuals are constantly on guard, trying to spot the underlying motives behind each claim, motto, message or deal that brands introduce. Many times the assumption by consumers is that marketing messages are motivated by greedy or deceptive intentions. This phenomena is what Ogilvy’s SVP of Global Strategy & Marketing, Rohit Bhargava, called a “believability crisis” during his presentation at Mashable Connect 2011.
Affinity has become the new secret weapon “we believe in people and companies that we like,” said Bhargava. For those in the public relations and marketing industries, it is important to gain back the trust they’ve lost from consumers by understanding what makes people, ideas and organizations more believable.
Bhargava spoke about what he calls Likeonomics, which “explains the new affinity economy where the most likeable people, ideas and organizations are the ones we believe in, buy from and get inspired by.”
What makes a person or organization believable, then? Bhargava said that Likeonomics is based on being simple, human, brutally honest and emotional.
To be more believable, the first step is simple and based on personal relationships, said Bhargava. “Be genuine, be honest, be open.” He believes that this concept has powered the social media revolution and the brands that have embraced it.
Bhargava pointed to Ally Bank as an example of a brand that gets it. Using the slogan “Straightforward,” the bank sheds light on deceptive industry practices and aims for complete transparency on rates and terms. Says one Ally ad, “we make money with you, not off you.”
If you’re trying to build relationships, it’s a good idea to be human. Simply said, but not easily done.
Bhargava pointed to Innocent, a UK beverage brand that puts a lot of initiative into showcasing the humanity behind its brand. Each winter, Innocent runs the Big Knit, in which Innocent fans knit and send in hats to place on top of its smoothie bottles that are placed in stores. For each hat knitted, the company pledges 25p to Age UK to help make winter warmer for older people across the UK.
This initiative not only illustrates that the company’s founders care about those around them, but it is also a genius marketing idea. Walk into any grocery store and take a look at the beverage aisle (or almost any aisle). Row after row, you’ll see similarly shaped and colored packages. Now place smoothie bottles with cute knitted hats into the picture: get the point?
3. Brutally Honest
After ranking last in a consumer preferences survey of national chains in 2009, Domino’s Pizza launched its humility-filled Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign, which featured consumers hating on the product. Consumers complained that Domino’s Pizza crust tasted like cardboard and its sauce tasted like ketchup, among other pitfalls. Domino’s listened and its chefs got to work, reinventing a “new pizza.”
Relationships of any type are based on trust; trust isn’t possible without honesty. Bhargava said that brands must practice “brutal honesty and extreme transparency” in order to “get people over that hump of ‘I don’t believe you. I don’t trust that what you’re doing is anything more than spin.'”
Bhargava noted that “disclosure is not the same thing as honesty.” Outing the naughty deeds that your company participates in on your annual report isn’t enough.
Founded by eccentric millionaire Christian Ringnes, The Mini Bottle Gallery is billed as “the world’s first miniature bottle museum.” Having recently visited the museum in Oslo, Norway, Bhargava told the story of its founding and why its so unique.
Ringnes “treats the museum with a great sense of humor, because he realizes that he has built an entire museum around something that most people who might think of visiting consider silly or at least strange,” said Bhargava. As a result, he doesn’t take himself too seriously when he markets and promotes the gallery. “The museum itself features a built in slide, a monthly award for the “tackiest miniature bottle” and even a fake brothel with a collection of 40 custom bottles from the 40 legal brothels in Las Vegas,” explained Bhargava on his blog.
Because collecting the mini bottles is his personal passion, it’s Ringnes’ goal to get potential visitors emotionally invested in it, too.
via Mashable! by Erica Swallow on 5/13/11