Monday, January 31
Friday, January 28
Thursday, January 27
Wednesday, January 26
Tuesday, January 25
So, instead of just opening a new agency, we thought we’d make it even more difficult.
Wouldn’t it be fun, we told ourselves, to also create (well, “define” really) a whole new demographic? Given our deep backgrounds in the so-called “Geek” culture, my partner Steve Rotterdam (formerly of Time Warner’s DC Comics Division) and I have formed a full-service marketing firm, Bonfire Agency. The core idea is to help companies and brands better reach and engage with this geek demographic.
Just what is the geek demographic?
This term, admittedly somewhat clumsy, has come to mean hyper-intelligent, hyper-connected passionate fans who love comics, science fiction movies, collecting toys, action TV shows, anime, manga adult cutting-edge comedies and more. Their passion typically stretches across several genres. You see these fans on Big Bang Theory or waiting in line on opening night for the next big movie.
Not only do these fans spend their time and money on entertainment they like, but they talk about what they like. All the time. In person and online. They are critical, highly articulate and eager to share their views. You can imagine that they make the ideal consumer for brands- - not only will they buy what they like, but they’ll tell others about it!
As we articulate our agency’s reason for being, folks seem to get it. With the proliferation of geek culture spilling into mainstream (who would’ve thought the Green Hornet would do better box office than a Ron Howard movie starring Vince Vaughn?), it’s a logical next step.
And you know, working in this space will be an opportunity for brands to showcase their most creative, edgiest work. Although when people ask, “why hasn’t anyone done this before?”, it makes us wonder too. There is a slim line between visionary and deluded fool, I’m sure.
One thing that we didn’t anticipate was the great interest from professionals who want to ‘join the team’. In the marketing community, so many art directors, copy writers, marketers and strategists have reached out saying, “Great idea! I’d love to join you!” This combined with the initial positive reaction from early clients and potential clients, is encouraging.
So, three weeks into it, as we’re past the point of all those pesky housekeeping/start-up issues, such as getting staplers and filling them with staples, we’re focusing on the projects at hand and the potential ahead. Like the song says- “deadlines and commitments, what to leave in, what to leave out”.
But it’s so much fun and so engaging. It’s invigorating to have something fresh to champion and to leverage, helping all involved. I could talk about it all day. On the other hand, I’d really love to hear what you think. What’s your experience?
- Ed Catto is a partner and co-founder of Bonfire Agency, LLC in New York City. For more information, please visit BonfireAgency.com.
Monday, January 24
Friday, January 21
Thursday, January 20
I am so excited about today's blog post - 'cause it's written by someone I've come to admire!
I met Nate Riggs at an AMA convention last fall and instantly could feel his intelligence and presence in the industry. He's a consumer marketer who has a particular focus on social media,but it's not just social media for social media's sake ... he applies the fundamentals of good marketing to his work. Like really understanding his consumers. He's a fellow runner and a fellow marketer, so we naturally became fast "friends."
I asked if he'd write a guest post for my blog and he graciously said yes. So here he talks about building personas, and using them as bridges to brand loyalty. Man after my own heart.
The fun part is that Nate is also simultaneously hosting one of my guest posts on his blog today too, which you can read afterwards at nateriggs.com.
May I present the wonderful Nate Riggs, better known as @nateriggs.
Nate, what's your experience? Jim.
Using Audience Personas from the Inside Out
I’m kind of obsessed with browsing around the Zappos site. In my opinion, it’s one of the best online shopping experiences in the game.
So yesterday, I figured that after stepping in a puddle and winding up with cold wet toes, my running shoes were pretty much kaput. It’s time to buy a new pair.
Except there are dozens upon dozens of shoes to choose from, and buying any type of apparel online is tough. You can’t feel it. You certainly can’t try it on, and even though I know that Zappos has a killer return policy, I want to make a good choice on the first round.
Enter Andrew, one of Zappos’s buyers who kindly demos and explains the technical parts of the shoe to me while displaying the product in a neat little video hosted on the site.
I get why they chose Andrew to deliver the spiel. He seems to know his stuff. In reality, I have no idea who Andrew is, but he’s about my age and his build and demeanor give me the impression that he’s most likely a runner, just like me.
Watching Andrew’s video demo a few times, I get strange this feeling like I can trust this dude. As runners go, he’s one us.
Being One of Us
Last year, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith released Trust Agents. The book that would end up topping the charts as a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller in about a week.
The authors outline a framework of 6 principals that humans can apply when using the Interwebz to build trust among their fellow humans, some of whom might one day buy there stuff.
For me, one of those principles has stuck in my mind as most relevant and applicable to the next generation of brand marketing: “One of Us”.
The concept here is simple. We humans tend to trust other humans who are similar to us in terms of belief structures, cultural interests, and behaviors. If we can identify with another human in the sense of “Hey, he (or she) is just like me…”, we feel safe. We trust based on the emotions that the feeling of “One of Us” evokes in our psyche.
What One Earth Does This Have to Do With Personas?
For years, marketers and brand strategists have found value in personifying the audience. It helps us establish a feeling of connectedness and understanding of the audience we are trying to reach.
The result? We become better equipped to craft relevant and timely brand messages that evoke an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer.
Change is Happening (Right NOW)
You already know that some aspects of marketing have changed.
Supported by social media and the popularity of user-generated content, a fair majority of brand marketing now resides in the interpretation and re-distribution of content by the audience.
While exciting, that change can also be a scary one for brands to wrap their head around.
So what do we do? How to we make it less scary to engage with audiences on the social web?
Reverse Engineer Your Personas
As more and more brands begin to think in terms of conversational marketing and command centers as a part of their marketing mix, the opportunity arises to use audience persona data to identify individuals inside your own company who can act as agents, utilizing social networks and media to connect with specific audience segments.
Think about it. Who better to represent your brand across social media that a genuinely influential member of the exact audience segments you are trying to reach?
At its root, the idea is simple. However, the process to get there can be a bit more complicated.
Here’s 5 things to consider when identifying the agents who will be “One of Us” with your audience.
1. Find those who match – work to identify folks in your company or your clients company that match the traits, attributes and behaviors of your target audience personas.
2. Develop your agents’ communication skills – train the selected individuals to be proficient in not delivering your message to the audience, but also in using technology to communicate the content.
3. Be a coach – be ready to offer guidance as to the objectives of the business as related to reaching your goals.
4. Assess regularly – find ways to continuously measure how your agents are communicating the messages and creating response among your target audience.
5. Boost their presence online - Help them develop their human brand and increase their level of influence among the target audience.
What else would you add? What are the things you believe to be important when you send an agent into the social web to become “One of Us” with your audience?
- Nate Riggs, Social Business Strategist at nateriggs.com