Brand Thunder received some nice coverage over at Folio Magazine yesterday. The story focused on our latest release for the Columbus Dispatch and some technical benefits we added behind the scenes to make the product more useful to Dispatch readers and ultimately The Dispatch itself. I encourage you to read the Folio story and get their take on the work we’ve done.
What we did was enhance search queries made from the browser so that Dispatch content related to the query is presented in a news block at the top of the search results page. It’s not intrusive, it’s presented respectfully and it’s a true value add. Dispatch readers will more easily find Dispatch content, and getting more readers into its online content is what helps The Dispatch.
I like it because it’s a concrete example of marketing using new media. I get lost in all the discussions around social media and how brands need to become part of the discussion. What does that mean? (I know there are a lot of great blogs that discuss this, but the information falls out of my head the moment I leave the site.) I feel we’ve delivered a good example of helping our client’s community, satisfying a need of that community and seeing our client benefit from it. I also think it’s closer to what the social media experts want when they say “engage your community” and less on the side of the conversion marketers who are driving clicks and sales.
Another real world example is Woot. They do a great job on their shirt.woot.com site. The community designs t-shirts based on a topic provided by Woot. The user generated designs are voted on by the community and the top ones are made into t-shirts ($10 + free s&h). It provides a creative outlet and recognition for designers. It’s fun, even for the casual observer like me. And for Woot, it’s a fantastic model for keeping the community active and coming back. You know they’re going to sell some shirts along the way. Woot creates entertainment for its visitors, helps designers with exposure and generates revenue directly from it.
If you know a little about the history of Woot, you know they have killer writing and very active discussion boards. When Woot first launched, each night there was a race to make the first page of comments. You can see how that became the springboard for looking at other ways to engage their community and still stay true to their commerce mission.
We do have the benefit of leveraging the brand affinity between our client and their customer. That provides a lens through which we can view our products and benefits. “Our customers have expressed a connection to this brand by downloading our Boom!. Is there an opportunity to super serve them by knowing about that relationship?” The ideas and opportunities flow from there. So what unique feature can you leverage to help better serve the needs of your audience? And what do you possess that will help your customer with their needs? From that point, you just might see your next opportunity.