Monday, May 23, 2011

Marketing Lessons Learned From the End of the World

The world didn’t end this weekend as predicted by some, and I’m sure the majority of us are pleased about that. Like most things in life, whether good or bad, right or wrong, there is always a lesson for us to learn.

When it comes to promoting the ‘Rapture’, there was a considerable investment in time and, in the case of last week’s widely speculated event, some costly full page advertisements in national US newspapers. The doomsday merchants were certainly committed; after all, what did they have to lose in putting everything they had into this last minute promotion as if there was no tomorrow?

The cynic in me is left wondering though; did the leaders in this foolhardy venture and emotional exploitation hold back some financial reserves just in case? What made this campaign a success in the respect of the media attention and social conversation, is it fed upon peoples pre-conceived ideas, morbid curiosity and inherent fears.

The lesson we have to take from this, as marketers, is the global reach a story like this can have. When designing our own campaigns these basic human emotions that make a promotion integral to our immediate existence must be considered. All too often we try to introduce new ideas that require a whole new perspective or mind-set and wonder why they get so little traction. Think of the conference presentations that you have been to that got the greatest applause and most positive feedback; that presenter undoubtedly told the audience something they already knew. Thoughts leaders who break new ground and present new thinking are often met with a degree of suspicion and seen as a threat - not always a great strategy when trying to gain the favour of the masses.

There were a large number of people who fundamentally believed that this story of Rapture and the end of the world had some basis in reality. Inherently we all fear that the earth has finality to its existence, even basic science tells us that its demise is ultimately inevitable. Even we cynics wanted to know who was saying this and why, just in case we had missed some important information that supported the back story like a rogue meteorite or a cataclysmic failure in the earth’s crust. The message succeeded in getting our attention - isn’t that what good marketing is all about?

For my money and emotional investment I would rather back those who feed our hopes and dreams rather than prey on peoples fear. When designing your campaign or promotion think first about the day after the end of the world and what you will be remembered for when you represent yourself, your brand, and the investment of those who trust you most.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What is the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Business Page?

Facebook is now a serious business communications platform. Many of us have, at some stage, had a love hate relationship with this global phenomenon which now boasts in excess of 600 million active users. Reason enough to take this very seriously as a business communications platform.

Recent changes to the administration structure of Facebook have made using business pages easier and more practical. Despite this change, one of the most common queries I still encounter is confusion over the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page. This question is usually backed up by a fear of confusing one’s personal life with their business life which is a valid consideration. I’ve written about this before but it’s always good to remind ourselves of this important detail.

Put as simply as possible a profile is for a person (you) and a page is for a business.

Facebook Profile:
This is your personal page, it is how you log on to Facebook. It is here where you connect with your friends, post comments, pictures and the videos that you want to share with your own network. While some serious consideration and attention needs to be given to your privacy settings which dictate who can see your updates, i.e. Friends only, friends of friends, or anyone, for all intents and purposes this is your own personal space. I do however refrain from using the word “private” because Facebook will never be that.

Facebook Business Page:
This is your business persona. Administration access to this page is via your personal Facebook Profile but otherwise it has no relationship or public visibility to your personal information and updates. The recent addition of the “Use Facebook as a Page” link in the “Account” menu means you can do just that. By switching from your personal profile to your business page it allows you to update and administer the page as well as visit other pages, such as clients and associates and “like” their page in this form rather than as your personal profile as required previously.

For those of you who have erroneously or deliberately created a profile as a business, you have breached the terms and conditions of Facebook and risk having the profile permanently removed without warning. I would suggest that you cut your losses, set up a Business Page, notify your existing friends that the new page exists and put things right by removing the profile. Be sure you have a correct administration link to your page because removing all administrators from a page literally orphans it in cyberspace with no way of reconnecting to it again.