Digital content creation trends for smart brands to build on in 2020 and beyond – #BizTrends2020

Year-on-year social media platforms tighten the squeeze on how their algorithms prioritise content across timelines in favour of user-experience, which in turn means companies and brands pay more for that space and the smart ones are changing their strategies. Content creation, customer interaction and brand communication online are turning more towards claiming a niche in various communities and evolving messaging from there, unlike sending multiple messages across the web in the hopes that some of it resonates.


Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022.

Brands are seeing more value in focused and targeted strategies that lead to increased community engagement. The advent of 5G and the growth in video consumption will lead to the creation of more visual content that customers can utilise and easily share. There will be more investment in collaborating with content creators whose messaging can be easily linked with certain brands without a major change in narrative.

Short-form brand video ads

New entrant to the banking industry, and challenger brand (in its own right), TymeBank, had one of the most focused social media adverting strategies in 2019; where the brand displayed its card in short-form video format. These GIFs flooded timelines, mine and my immediate circle, resulting in improved brand recognition among social media users in a crowded marketplace. Their smart tactics from artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning to the intelligent use of big data saw them surpassing the 600k customer mark in less than a year.

This short-form, snackable, video content strategy will continue to grow as more brands see value in breaking down their messaging to take advantage of increasingly fast-paced timelines in a hyper competitive attention economy. Video is also one of the most competitive spaces among social media platforms with each trying to out-manoeuvre the other, which creates a gap for brands who understand their customers’ consumption patterns and interests.

Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.



Increase in branded video content and collaboration

Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022. The growth of 5G, increased use of Stories across social media and the spread of video content will lead to more brands creating original video content and collaborating with video content creators.

Unlike written content, video is more engaging and ensures that people interact with content longer than other mediums across digital platforms. As more brands realise the need to create current, shareable and continually useful content, we will see more quality videos. Some of these will be on the brand’s platforms which – for brands themselves – reduces some of the relative noise they compete with across social media.

With some content creators already working on quality video content, it will be easier for brands to plug into that rather than starting from scratch. Specialist content creators, from video to podcasts, will find it easier to collaborate instead of creating content for a brand outside of their existing portfolio and niche.

Black Twitter and other niche communities

South African brands have begun asking questions about niche communities and some have been successful in engaging with Black Twitter, which is largely characterised by political content. With the maturity of social media in South Africa, especially on Twitter, there is also growth among niche communities that develop around multiple interests.

Smart brands, armed with digital data, will craft their messaging around specific communities with the aim of better targeting.

Year of the micro-influencer (again)

Zara’s #DearSouthAfrica campaign was one of 2019’s most followed trends that had micro-influencers at the centre of it, which talks to how brands are now beginning to adopt a different strategy compared to the celebrity-influencer format. Micro-influencers whose content is focused around specific interests will be included in more campaigns, as brands and their industry peers realise increased value in this ever-growing space.

Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Some micro-influencers create content around things they are passionate about, instead of messaging that a brand is interested in pushing. This is how micro-influencers remain unique and the reason why brands in 2020 will include them in their strategies instead of bigger names.

Intelligent data analysis differentiates

Data has been used by some brands to replace human truth and insights that inform strategy, in 2020 this has begun to change with the growth and influence of niche communities. Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.

The maturity of social media has ensured that people organise themselves better, more effectively, into niche communities. Brands that invest in community understanding and collaborate will experience increased uptake and interaction, which will lead to more useful data.

There is a growing trend towards enabling content creators and communities to build on their existing efforts in collaboration with brands, instead of the brand taking over completely. Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Finding and creating opportunities to collaborate easier with community insiders will enable brands and their communicators to build on their messaging. There are already content creators whose niche communities find them credible and as long as brand messaging matches the platform, this will be an easier choice. Collaboration, not just finding platforms to advertise, will enable better human connections with those that will lead their industry peers.

This post by Mongezi Mtati was featured on BizCommunity’s #BizTrends2020.

Participate in a Trail-Blazing Study on Black Twitter in South Africa – #BlackTwitterInSA

Social media is filled with opinions and debate around countless issues. As a result, Black Twitter in South Africa has become one of the most influential communities whose impact has the power to sway public opinion across the social web.

Join the conversation, share your insights and perspectives on what and who makes this sub-culture a shifting community. As a survey participant, you will be among the first people to receive the inside scoop on this multi-faceted piece of research.

BETWEEN 1 JANUARY 2017 AND 1 DECEMBER 2019, OUR RESEARCH SHOWS OVER THAT 16-MILLION BLACK TWITTER ASSOCIATED POSTS WERE SHARED ON TWITTER.


Between 1 January 2017 and 1 December 2019, our research shows over that 16-million Black Twitter associated posts were shared on Twitter.

The inspiration behind the survey and research stemmed from the curiosity of WordStart founder and MD, Mongezi Mtati; on what makes the local Black Twitter community influential, a perspective from data to people’s outlook. Early research insights already reveal a picture of a community that is driven by various thought leaders from legal minds, celebrities, journalists to social media influencers who built their reputations online with little to no mainstream media.

Early findings

Our initial survey findings show that Black Twitter is more than just about popular TV shows and celebrity news, there is also a narrative of what and how brands can engage with socially-savvy and connected black professionals. These are the people whose views contribute to shaping media narratives and turn the tide in how brands communicate in a way that is not tone-deaf. They command some of South Africa’s most sought-after spending power and have a positive contribution to how we consider our diversity as a society.

From brands being more sensitive and considerate of people’s differences, because of possible backlash and positive engagement that adds towards revenue, to people losing their jobs because of offensive and racist social media banter. Black Twitter in South Africa is positioned as a microcosm of the temperature of the country.

Debunking myths

Our ongoing survey debunks the myth that Black Twitter is focused on entertainment, celebrity news and calling out certain individuals. Instead, we are finding that politics, how politicians can be instrumental to societal change and the government take centre-stage.

Between 1 January 2017 and 1 December 2019, our research shows over that 16-million Black Twitter associated posts were shared on Twitter. Results show that June 2018 was by far the most active month with posts about Cassper Nyovest going to the BET Awards; Bonang Matheba’s reality show (Being Bonang); and rapper, AKA’s album release – on June 15, were among leading topics throughout the month. June 2018 shows that over 300 000 posts were shared including, South African telenovela, The Queen, taking up much of the conversation.

Leading topics in June 2018: Word Cloud provided by Crimson Hexagon
Leading topics in June 2018: Word Cloud provided by Crimson Hexagon

Most brands have stayed away from Black Twitter for fear of coming under fire, and yet the survey reveals that early respondents think brands should interact with the community. When asked whether brands should target Black Twitter with their marketing, 73% think brands should engage with the community. Most people cited authenticity and being aware of what is happening in the community as being significant when engaging with Black Twitter. Some also believe that if brands pay attention from a distance, they are more likely to have positive human interactions outside of social media.

Above is a snippet of earlier responses from the Black Twitter survey: Provided by WordStart
Above is a snippet of earlier responses from the Black Twitter survey: Provided by WordStart

Add your voice

The maturity of social media in South Africa has led to people to curate their experiences, media consumption and interaction with news stories around their lives and Twitter timelines. This makes shining a lens on communities and their resultant sub-cultures evermore significant in for both brands and society as a whole. Some brands understand this and engage courageously while others fall behind.

We would love to get your opinions on Black Twitter in South Africa, which will give you early access to the summary of our findings and ensure that your views form part of the report. When the report is launched, you will also be the first to be notified. To participate, please click here: https://jo.my/bt-survey.

This piece was first featured on WordStart.

Focus on the Smallest Viable Market: This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

Marketing has come a long way from the days of targeting as many people as possible and hope that some might fit the perfect customer or client demographic. In fact, Seth Godin’s latest book, This Is Marketing clearly speaks to focusing on the smallest viable market. It opens the reader up to a world of possibilities.

This Is Marketing - a book by Seth Godin
This Is Marketing – a book by Seth Godin

If you have followed Seth Godin’s thinking over the years, you realise that This Is Marketing derives a lot of its inspiration from some of his other books. He takes it leaps ahead this time. From the idea of Tribes to Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin demonstrates how marketing has evolved and continues to be about the community you seek to serve. In this book, marketers are persuaded to listen more, to create meaningful connections between their brands and the people they have identified as their customers.


Listen and see

All marketers purport to understand their customer, to have a handle on who their potential clients are and to have messaging that reaches the right people. Some brands get it wrong about their customers, about people in general and this is because most companies don’t invest enough on learning about who they are targeting.


“Marketing isn’t a race to add more features for less money. Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve”, says Seth Godin.

He goes on to share how companies that are devoted to understanding the culture of their audiences are more likely to win than those that focus largely – and mostly – on product improvements.

The more we listen and truly see our customers, the more likely we are to communicate authentically and create a marketing message that resonates.

The Smallest Viable Market

We have long been segmenting our customers, analysing demographics and communicating with people based on these. Or least who we believe are the most relevant people. The market we choose needs to be smaller, more specific and clearly defined.

Your work is not for everyone, it shouldn’t be and the more clearly defined your audience the smaller that community is. Part of the challenge Seth talks to is the fact that marketers dilute their messaging by trying to be more inclusive, while missing out on the opportunity to connect better with the right people.


“It’s impossible to create work that both matters and pleases everyone.” – Seth Godin (This Is Marketing)

From: This Is Marketing

Invest in trust and earn enrollment

Many brands invest getting their message out there, in making promises that they fail to keep which causes damage and destroys the affinity that people had. The opposite is to build trust, to encourage connection and to create unmatched customer experience through positive action. Especially when the worst happens. 


 “The goal isn’t to maximize social media numbers. The goal is to be known to the smallest viable audience.” – Seth Godin (This Is Marketing)

Trust, Seth Godin suggests, leads to enrollment. In this case the idea of enrollment is when people lean in, when they effortlessly connect and become part of the change you are working towards.

This book signifies a shift in marketing, in how we interact and connect with people for change to happen. Whether that change is to make a sale or to increase newsletter signups, this book has a compelling message about why you should focus on a small audience and grow that community. It also comes with a unique code to join a community of peers from across the globe who are changing the status quo in marketing.

5 Digital marketing trends and hacks for brands and entrepreneurs to use in 2019

In the perfect world most brands and entrepreneurs start planning long before the beginning of the year, with the start of each year mostly set aside for some tweaks and updates. Digital marketing trends, social media and the odd social media crisis tend to trip even the most strategically insightful among us. It makes sense to keep the strategy document constantly updated while looking at some growth areas in digital marketing and taking full advantage of social media.

Five strategy hacks and trends for brands and entrepreneurs to improve their digital footprint in 2019:

 

1. Create a video content strategy

 

The consumption of video content across the internet continues to grow at a rapid rate with more social media users also creating their own content. Research shows that 93% of businesses got new customers and converted leads as a result of video.With so much content being created daily, it’s best to keep your brand content short, punchy and fun to ensure both impact and social sharing. This requires brands to be brave and to keep creating content to understand what works, which may take some time.One of the advantages is that owned content may cost less than other forms of advertising and increase engagement between the brand and its community. It also gives added insight into what customers like because platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram give you data.

Quick hack: Start creating videos, even using a mobile phone, and improve quality as well as content. This will get easier over time and post some of these as Facebook stories, then monitor feedback.

 

2. Understand and use IGTV

 

Instagram’s IGTV is the new popular kid on the social media streets and a promising entrant in the long-form vertical video space. Launched in June 2018, when Instagram also announced that they now have a billion monthly users, IGTV has already begun making strides with some brands and influencers embracing this platform. It’s nowhere near being a YouTube killer or a worthwhile adversary to the likes of Vimeo, but it’s changing the game.Some of the top global brands that took up IGTV creating some quirky and fun content include Netflix, Bacardi and Louis Vuitton which have all been creative in their use of the platform. IGTV with its largely youth audience enables brands to think more creatively, to be quirkier (yes, that word is coming up again) and a little “weird” in comparison to traditional strategies.Cisco predicts that video will account for 78% of mobile data traffic by 2021, in just 2 short years, and the early adopters will lead their industry peers. Some brands have already begun building communities on IGTV.

Beginner hack: Start by opening an account and following some of the most active brands for your own inspiration and ideas. You can also check some of these brands on IGTV that are making serious moves on the platform and how they are doing it.

3. Create a robust LinkedIn brand strategy

 

LinkedIn is the single most useful tool to gain access to the decision-makers in most organisations that matter and this is why everyone spends time networking. It enables users to have a better understanding of their potential clients and the platform has been improving its offering for professionals, brands and entrepreneurs.Over the past few years, LinkedIn users have been utilising the platform to share stories and original articles, which in turn improves engagement. It’s a more powerful platform for lead generation and general brand engagement for professional B2B services.

A hack to use: In addition to the company page, build a showcase page for a service or product because these showcase pages increase engagement for specific products. Some of the most interesting LinkedIn showcase pages include companies like HP, Cisco and a few others.

 

4. Personalise! Personalise! Personalise!

 

Next to customers wanting more customisation than ever, personalising the customer and client journey as much as possible with a brand strengthens the relationship. In 2019, personalisation from shopping data to search will evolve more.Leading brands like Amazon have been personalising the customer journey for years and they continue to make the individual experience more worthwhile. When it comes to improved customer interactions 96% of marketers say personalisation helps to advance customer relationships.

A hack to try: Instead of a broad strategy, personalise your email and social media marketing for a specific target audience. This may exclude some of the customers you want to reach but it will be impactful for the people to whom the message resonates. Try this a few times and track the results.

 

5. Work towards a medium to long-term micro influencer strategy

 

Big brands from Listerine to Cîroc Vodka had their share of major criticism in 2018 which made others approach influencer marketing with caution. Some countries have since created policies around influencer marketing where people should mention that they have been sponsored or even paid by brands. This will increase transparency in 2019 and increase awareness among consumers, as opposed to people believing that brands are used organically.That said, influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2019 with more brands potentially collaborating with micro-influencers. Instagram is the leading platform for most influencer and brand collaborations which will continue in 2019. Twitter and Facebook will also be part of this influencer marketing mix as the connected get access to brands.

Micro-influencer marketing hack to develop: Follow some of the people who already engage with your brand and industry, then invite them, as early adopters to small pre-launch meetups. Let them be the first to sample products and experiences, as well as be the first to spread the word.

 

Budgets are tight and most brands are bringing things in-house with less to play with, and this may be the best time to experiment with a few ideas. A long-term approach is always key because it often takes time to see results and build the traction needed to grow a community behind your idea.

 

This post was first featured on WordStart. 

Mongezi Mtati chats with Arye Kellman about social media and influence on TouchHD

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of chatting with the inspired Arye Kellman about my personal and business journey through social media in South Africa, which brought back many memories. We discussed a few lessons from both a brand marketing and personal branding perspective, though I can’t tell you what ‘personal branding’ is if you asked.

This was one of the most fun and relaxed media interactions I’ve had in my young life [insert: as a Jedi in training]. Arye’s style is easy get engage with, without feeling like you may say the wrong thing and as such you need to be at the top of you game.

The discussion included how WordStart came about the opportunity that took existed when we started  as a digital word-of-mouth firm which in turn led growing into most things digital. It was built out of a genuine need that we had to spread the word about our own work and the work of other brands that realised that there was another way, outside of traditional media platforms.

Have a listen below and let me know what you think.

On Talk Radio 702 about Facebook seeking scripted content in Hollywood

News of Facebook looking for content partners and talking to studios in Hollywood have been doing the rounds, Talk Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes asked me what the implications are. In my opinion, this is an opportunity for Facebook because people already consume more video in general across the web and longer videos at that.

The obvious growth of advertising revenue for the platform would mean that they get more into the space that YouTube has come to perfect over the years and more time will be spent on Facebook than anywhere else. This also increases the likelihood that Netflix might also feel the pinch if great quality content is produced for Facebook and competes for dwindling attention spans.

There is no lack of content, even great quality content which tends to rise above the noise and near data that comes our way. The challenge for anyone competing with Facebook or another influential social media platform is the fact that there are friends we trust using the platforms that we active on.

Please listen to the interview below and share your thoughts.

Don’t forget to share if you liked the interview.

Get social and get paid for it

This was originally posted on WordStart.

Yesterday saw the official public launch of IceBreaker, a platform that lets you connect with new people who want to meet online and extend that to in-person connections. In most instances, the social platforms that you use reward you with more connections and the right people’s attention.  You rarely, almost never get anything more than that.

The deal we struck with IceBreaker is about to change that.

 Own your social life

What’s in it for you?

We are looking for 10 people to try out the platform and start their own groups, where you can then meet other groups of people. Whenever you meet with a group, you’ll need 25 points which is the equivalent of R25.

As a WordStarter, and we can only accommodate 10 people, where you’ll get 1000 points for FREE. You can use your points to meet as many groups of people that you and your friends think are worth having an outing with. You can also be part of as many groups as you want.

Your one group of friends may be into indoor activities, others may like outdoor adventures and the other may be into travel or backpacking around the world. The last thing you want to do is force someone who’s terrified of spiders to go camping in the bush. Okay you might, but we don’t encourage it.

Get paid to connect people

We also understand that you are a connector and you should get rewarded for it. You are one of the people who invited your friends to Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and maybe even Google+. This time, as you invite your friends to join you on IceBreaker and they meet people, we’ll pay you for it.

WordStart has teamed up with IceBreaker so that when a friend of yours gets their first 25 points, you get R25 in cash.

For example: If 100 of your friends meet up with groups of interest to them, IceBreaker will pay you R2 500. Plus you don’t have to do anything other than invite friends using a link that we will send you, which you can share.

Friend rewards

What kind of a friend would you be if you got everything and you didn’t share?

Starting this week, whenever your friends buy their first 25 points, they’ll get another 75 points for free. That means you all get to meet new groups of people together.

Are you in and know some people that may want to get paid, as the first 10, for connecting as well? Send us an email to info [at] wordstart.co.za and we’ll get you started.

Alternatively, tell us in the comments below and we will get in touch with you.

Tools to Spread Word of Mouth

This was originally posted on the WordStart blog.

In October, the Enterprise Technology Show Africa organisers invited us to share some ways to spread the word. There are many tools on offer in the market and here, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we share three of our favorite ones.

When working on building buzz for your product or organisation, you have to be clear on what the objective is. You may want to generate the word on mouth on your Facebook page, through contact with bloggers or by understanding customer conversations and sentiment, then contributing.

The tools in a nutshell:

  1. Shortstack is an easy-to-use Facebook application tool. It allows to run competitions with user-generated voting and content. We regularly use it for various purposes. Create a free account and try it out.
  2. Grouphigh combines SEO and social search to enable you to engage with the blogger community that you are interested in interacting with. You are then able to think through how you would like to position your content on various platforms and you understand what those blogs are interested in. Have a look at the 30-day free trial or request a demo to engage blogs for you PR and Marketing.
  3. Traackr takes influence beyond blogs and helps you find brand advocates by topic of interest and helps you build your influencer engagement efforts. Have a look at their plan options

Below, have a look at the presentation.

What are some of the tools that you use?

Run a startup, travel the world, defy convention: Q&A with Chris Guillebeau

[Here’s a Q&A I originally posted on Memeburn]

Building a startup on-the-go while you travel the world may seem unlikely. The status quo would have us believe it borders on the impossible. Thing is, Chris Guillebeau has done just that. Oh and he also writes books and evangelically spreads his unconventional ideas on entrepreneurship and startup communities.

The word “unconventional” is actually a pretty accurate description of Guillebeau. The American entrepreneur reckons you can build a startup for less than US$100 and even wrote a book explaining how. His popular blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, focuses on travel and personal development topics and meshes with his personal mission of helping people live life by their own rules using a “non-conformist” lifestyle.

We caught up with him during his travels and talked about his insights on building a startup, how he uses technology and where he thinks the next “big thing” in tech will come from.

MB: Building a startup while office-bound is hard enough, how do you build both a startup and a community as you travel the world?

CG: I’ve never separated travel from my work. For 10 years I’ve been actively travelling to 20+ countries a year, and for the same time I’ve been building online projects. I think it helps that I enjoy what I do. I don’t feel like I’m struggling because I’m motivated to keep working away.

MB: You are constantly building ‘Unconventional Products For World Domination’ and send blog updates, sometimes in airports, from the world. What are the top three things that go into building a new product?

CG:

  1. Understand what people really want. (It’s not always what they say they want.)
  2. Create a highly compelling offer. The offer is at least as important than the product or service itself, and most people save it for last. Don’t save it; design your whole structure around the offer.
  3. Ensure good follow-up and over-deliver whenever possible. Your customers will stay with you for life if you keep helping them.

MB: You recently released a book to help writers get their books published. What doesn’t the world know about self-publishing?

CG: The world doesn’t know that the break between self-publishing and traditional publishing is overstated. You can self-publish and traditionally publish. For me, I love both options.

MB: Can cheap, democratised technology overcome barriers in entrepreneurship?

CG: Sure, and we see that especially in Africa. In the future I think we’ll have more and more African entrepreneurs accessing a global marketplace instead of just buying and selling within Africa.

MB: In 2011, you embarked on your ‘Unconventional Book Tour’ which involved your blog readers. What three lessons can you share from that tour and rallying your audience as part of a cause for common interest?

CG: The book tour is continuing now and I hope to visit South Africa at some point. (I’ve been many times as a traveller, but never as an author on tour). Among other things, I learned that meeting readers is an excellent source of inspiration. After a meetup, I go away thinking about the people I heard from, many of whom are living remarkable lives of their own. It helps me to serve them better when I know who they are.

MB: What’s the most challenging tech situation you’ve ever found yourself in?

CG: I’m constantly searching for Wi-Fi access everywhere I go. Surprisingly, some poor countries have better access than some rich countries. It just depends on the country and even the specific area.

MB: What’s your latest book, The $100 Startup about?

CG: Two things. First, it’s the story of 70 “unexpected entrepreneurs” from all over the world who started businesses by using small amounts of money and the skills they already had. Second, it’s a blueprint for readers to do the same. The goal is to inspire a revolution of freedom, as more and more people choose self-employment over traditional jobs.

MB: What has changed for you since you built your first startup, which inspired you to write a book to educate entrepreneurs?

CG: I’ve learned to become more strategic. In the early days, I was primarily concerned with getting by and paying the bills. This was better than working a regular job, of course, but I wasn’t really building anything of real value. These days I feel focused on a clear goal, so it’s a lot easier.

MB: Where do you think the next big tech innovator will come from?

CG: I’m less interested in innovation and more interested in usefulness. Most of us aren’t going to make the next iPhone, but we can all make something that improves people’s lives. To me, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

The Kindle version of The $100 Startup is already available for sale.

 

Your Great Following Is An Illusion

Whether a customer pays you or not, they have expectations. Do you know what they expect?

This past Friday I went to a show in Johannesburg, where DJ Premier was playing. In a nutshell Premier, for me, is one of Hip Hop’s superheroes a ninja. An icon. He wields nanchuks that are foundation of Hip Hop globally. The one DJ and producer whose work we listened to growing up and shared with friends.

15 years later when Premier comes to South Africa, we wouldn’t dare miss his show. And we didn’t, as you would expect.

The show was organized by Kenzero, a local highly influential DJ, who also does another show (Party People) that has a huge following. He has a well established brand in the local Hip Hop scene, and his is a name most people are likely to know.

Perceived value

While having dinner with friends, who also wanted to see Premier just as much, we had a conversation about the value of things.

The tickets were worth R180 at the door (about $29 US), which is more than you would pay at an up-market nightclub. But it’s fine – it is Premier after all.

If you pay for something, regardless what the amount is – it creates expectations. I already anticipated being blown away both Kenzero and Premier. They are both respected names in the scene and supposedly lead the pack.

The set played by Kenzero was quite good not great, which was unexpected given his following. We knew all the songs, when we expected to hear a bit of what we haven’t. Perhaps that’s part of what he sells.

Understanding that what you sell is not always what people buy is key. I bought into that event because of the profile I heard of it. The value people place on what they exchange for your product – be it money or attention – is significant to them and you may lose them if those are disconnected.

Meet expectations

What does a potential raving fan expect when they use your service for the first time?

The following you have and the word people spread about you is what the masses have in mind when they interact with you for the first time. For as long you raise the bar above all those expectations, you win.

When you approach new interactions on the basis of arrogance from past successes, you stand to lose more than your following. You may think – “but I’m the exception not the rule”. But I wasn’t because some of the people I was with agreed they didn’t get what they expect.

Are you selling what people expect to receive?

The illusion of a great following

When you are of the impression that your fanbase makes you, you are bound to stuff up.

The wake up call I had this past weekend was how much of a consumer most service providers and sellers perceive their customers as being.  We tend to disregard that people – all of us – want to be treated as individuals. I don’t care that you are servicing a million other clients.

Let’s face it, a huge client base bring with them even more expectations. You have to work more at managing expectations and exceeding your past success. The conversation changes when. . . you no longer provide an experience worth talking about.

The death of the superhero

DJ Premier is one of the all the time Hip Hop music superheroes. He ‘s one of the producers and DJs you wanted to listen to in the 90’s even now, but a lot of talent has risen since then.

I went there expecting him to play a lot of new music, which he didn’t. Without discounting the great music which he played, his 2-hour long set had some things I still question.

There was an artist with him who does not match up to the talent he used to produce in his early days.

After over 12 years of listening to Premier, I was quite disappointed with the presentation at that gig.

It is quite disheartening for me to say – I don’t think I’ll ever view him the same again. The childhood hero has lost me as a fan because of that 2 hour set. That brings me to the last point.

A brand is. . . . . .

. . . . . the collective perceptions people have of you and the dealings they had with your service offering.

Let’s bring that home. For all the years I listened to Premier, shared his music, recommended it to friends and raved about him – I was spreading a marketing message. So was he. That is how and what his brand was to me and the people I spoke to.

Your clients speak and their word speaks volumes to them than any marketing message you send out about yourself. We think the people around us are more credible than the billboard across the road. Even the radio presenter.

These collective messages that surpass your marketing by far. That is what creates a brand.

How are you spreading a positive message?

Photo by: eyesore9 on Flickr