On a daily basis, I receive at least one email from a friend, client, even complete stranger who starts his or her letter with, ‘HELLO, my name is…’
On a weekly basis, audience members from my speeches approach me and introduce and say, ‘Hello Scott! My name is…’
And every so often, friends, colleagues and strangers alike will ask me for blank nametags, write down their names and stick them on their shirts
Now, you might wonder: do encounters and jokes like these ever get old?
Heck no. After all; they’re fun, they’re friendly and they engage people!
But look closely at what’s happening here. These individuals, who may or may be joking around, are still participating in my brand. You can’t BUY that kind of marketing!
Therefore, brand participation has five key advantages:
1) Fun: participation leads to fun, which leads to comfort, which leads to approachability, which leads to trust, which leads to loyalty.
2) Believability: as the old adage goes, “If YOU say it, you believe it; if THEY say it, they believe it.”
3) Word of Mouth: customers that participate in your brand take ownership of that brand. No wonder they’re willing to actively tell their friends about it!
4) Memorability: think about three radio commercials you remember from when you were a kid. Did you sing along with their jingles? Of course you did. That’s called participation.
5) Emotional: branding is about emotion. Plain and simple. And brand participation is a combination of your visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses. It doesn’t get more emotional than that!
Can You Hear Me Now?
Think Verizon. What’s their main tagline repeated over and over in every commercial?
‘Can you hear me now…?’
Right. And how many times have you said that on your cell phone and then chuckled because you thought of the commercial?
Exactly. Because their brand is participatory.
Or take Men’s Warehouse. Ever heard one of their radio ads? They feature actual voicemail messages left on CEO George Zimmer’s answering machine from loyal customers who ‘like the way they look.’
Damn right. Because their brand is participatory.
What about you? Do you want thousands of people using your brand in their daily conversations? Do you want top of mind awareness with your customers?
If so, this guide (a la Jeff Foxworthy) that will give you a few clues.
YOU MIGHT HAVE A PARTICIPATORY BRAND IF…
EXERCISE: grab a blank piece of paper. Fold it in half. Write all of your brand’s key phrases, sentences, taglines, words and mantras on the left side. On the right side, list all of the cliché moments, common experiences and typical situations in which ordinary people are likely to use, mention, or refer those same items. When you’re finished, you will know whether or not your brand is participatory.
Oh, and by the way: if you can’t fill out the right side, maybe it’s time to reconsider what’s written on the left.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your brand participatory?