Last week, in an effort to broaden my exposure beyond my parents, I recorded and uploaded a 3-minute bit I do about the most popular male sex toy on the market — the Fleshlight (Note: previous and all other links herein pertaining to fleshlight are EXTREMELY NSFW). I posted the video on my twitter, @mentioning the Fleshlight brand in the process, and hoping for any kind of reaction from them. Thanks to my floundering self-esteem, I expected the same response that I get whenever I tweet bottomless pictures of myself to Selena Gomez: silence. What I got was, well, something very special.
This post originally appeared in our May issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.
Perhaps the greatest part of the internet is how it allows complete strangers to come together around a singular event and create things both profound and absurd. The death of Osama bin Laden was just such a momentous occasion. While some took to the streets to celebrate, most went straight to their computers and mobile devices to let the world know how they felt. If Twitter's record breaking 3,440 tweets per second (TPS) is any indication: people had a tremendous amount to say.
At Post Advertising, we talk a lot about creating engaging content that audiences not only seek out but also share with their friends. This type of "talkable marketing" is often referred to as Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM). I recently had the opportunity to speak at the School of WOM to give a behind-the-scenes look at the methods we use to unearth brand stories — the most shareable form of marketing.
When we feel like we are the target of marketing, our arms fold and we close ourselves off to the message. But when we listen to a story, we open up, lean forward, and listen. No one has 30 seconds to be marketed to, but everyone has 30 minutes to hear a great story.
The power of brand storytelling doesn't end with acceptance of the message or even the seeking out of specific branded content. The power resides in how far a message can spread, for free, via fans. When audiences find content entertaining, useful, or both, they'll add, syndicate, and share their own content (comments, links, ratings, and new versions). This is the power of WOM — it creates a talkable brand.
After a year of success and implementation on millions of websites, Facebook has given its Like button a new sibling - Send. Essentially replacing the "Email to a Friend" functionality on websites, Send allows the user to specifically target the recipients they share the article with, including users and groups within Facebook as well as any email address.
The Send button solves the problem that has been nagging the Like button – relevancy. Currently, when a user “likes” a website, it is sent to their entire network through their news feed, whether it’s relevant to the recipient or not. With Send, the user can ensure that their appreciation for the content is shared with only those who care about that same content – especially if it’s something you don’t want your grandmother seeing (who of course is on Facebook too).