Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Creating A Buzz?

A study published in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing found that 18% of customers return to businesses they heard about from their friends and family. 

Just look at any book, business, or recording artist who makes an appearance on Oprah.

Or, consider how album sales are linked to controversial lyrics.

Or, how news reports of Twitter being the latest marketing craze feed the frenzy of people who suddenly NEED to be on Twitter.

When there’s buzz, suddenly the “volume” goes up. The number of people talking about the company increases. Attention is generated. And the business on the receiving end of the buzz notices a difference.

Getting people talking about the business has been around for a long time but one company seems to have turned it into an art form. The company is Old Spice, whose “The Man You Could Smell Like” ad campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa took the Internet by storm.  Although they had a number of initiatives that were worthy of watercooler conversations, the “Old Spice Guy” ads would get over 32 million views on YouTube. The buzz created by the ad campaign still hasn’t stopped, gaining Old Spice more and more recognition for its products.

It’s a snowball effect. Once you can generate enough positive, attention-getting headlines, people talk to their friends about you and then their friends tell other friends, and on it goes. Sometimes buzz is created by forces outside of your control but sometimes you can create your own buzz. So, how can you create some buzz for your company?

  • Start by looking at what you do and if there is a way that you can get some attention by doing it in a unique way. 1-800-GOT-JUNK does a great job of generating consistent local buzz by donating their time and talents to clean up public places. That’s a perfect example of the “sync” between the offer and some buzz-generating effort.
  • Take it up a notch. While still striving for that fit between offer and buzz, find something that is unusual, bold, and unheard of. Renaming a town is a good example. This takes guts and perseverance to do successfully, and many good ideas are killed in the boardroom when the executives weigh the consequences and aren’t able to quantify the benefit. Buzz produces quantifiable benefits but must first pass through an unquantifiable stage. The inability to control the buzz is often an idea-killing reason, too.
  • Buzz is a mindset. It’s not something that is easily done by flipping a switch. If you’re a conservative company that isn’t known for generating headlines, it will be much harder to do than if you are a company that doesn’t mind being a little brash and rough-around-the-edges. In other words, your buzz should sync with your brand. So consider adjusting your brand first.
  • If you have a CEO or some other figurehead with a colorful personality, you can leverage this into some buzz. Compare Oracle’s in-your-face CEO with SAP’s very conservative (some might say “old school”) approach to professionalism. And I don’t need to tell you that it works for rockstars, too.
  • When planning to generate some buzz, don’t just come up with a great idea. Buzz won’t happen on its own. Figure out how you’re going to deliver it to the world, how you are going to nurture the conversations, and what you’ll do with the increased attention. Make sure that you’re ready to quickly ramp up marketing opportunities that leverage the buzz AND the ability to deliver increased products or services because of the buzz.
  • Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. You might have to try a few different things before you’re successful with one.

photo credit: Ed Yourdon

Posted on June 22nd, 2011 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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