This week’s article is inspired by perhaps one of the most important concepts of creating an effective campaign: know your audience. Now this sounds like I am talking about market research, demographics, etc. What I am really getting at is that there is so much more behind this statement. Knowing your audience also has to do with how best to relate to your audience. If you know how to relate to and engage your audience, then you are creating a successful brand with lifetime brand ambassadors. Two articles that captivated my attention this week were one that talked about the importance of utilizing employees to help spread the message, ”Employees No Longer Baggage, but Blessing” by Beth Snyder Bulik http://bit.ly/bgeIJM and another that focused strictly on consumer involvement “Toyota Turns to Consumers for ‘Ideas’” by Stuart Elliot http://nyti.ms/9GHNDD. Granted the latter probably chose this approach because it happens to be Toyota and they happen to be repairing their image (which means customer approval is priority #1, and thus so is their involvement in the brand’s resurgence). My point is that rather than advocating one over the other, I am instead arguing that both are very important.
First you have employees, the insiders and perhaps the front line when it comes to being the connector between the company or brand and the consumer public. Second you have the consumers themselves, a diverse group composed of those who can sway others with their approval or disapproval of your brand. One is more of an indirect connection, but, at the same time, more of a direct connection because consumers trust people who are more like themselves. Case in point, recently I did a coffee maker demo as part of one of my part-time jobs. Do you think people would have connected more if a representative was doing it, or someone that works at the store who makes it look easy and has never used a coffee machine beforehand? Lends a different perspective don’t you think? Employees are important because they are consumers, if you sell them on it they can sell others on it (people can relate and connect easier), when they are front and center delivering the message it is even more crucial that they are involved and on the same page and they have ideas and a fresh perspective that can be beneficial. Consumers need to buy your brand for it to be successful, which makes them important too. Get the right people engaged and other people will join in too. Bottom line, when people can relate to the proponents of the brand, be they employees or other consumers, a strong and successful campaign and brand are born.