Marketing has evolved at warp speed over the last ten years.
Today the small business owner, brand manager or marketing director has to be
in the publishing business to tell their story and to establish a powerful
reason why their customers should care about working in partnership. The effort
today is a hybrid of brand management and journalism. I guess you could see it
as the rise of the brand journalist.
What is a brand
In order for brands and businesses to connect, we must find
a way to have customers really care about us. We must matter beyond our
functional and transactional relationship. When I go to my favorite restaurant
or buy a gift for a newborn baby online, I don’t just want to buy dinner or a teddy
bear, I want the person I buy from to recognize that I am not customer #325;
instead they should see a real live human being and help me want to keep doing
business with them. Part of what I seek is a transaction, but the more important outcome is I want to be connected with someone who cares and really acknowledges me.
For business to business marketing, brand journalism can be a powerful approach to differentiation. It allows me to connect with a range of influencers and to share knowledge and ideas first before I try and make a sale. It allows me to feature topics of interest and exciting new trends in our marketplace. Most of all, it is a more transparent and honest form of communicating than traditional advertising because the customer isn't interrupted by my message. Instead, they give permission for me to share ideas with them.
Blogging is a
reasonably easy way to build relationships with customers when your story
telling is honest, open and informative. In the case of the restaurant, the
owner has a chance to tell me how they have found a special way to get fresh
fish for their menu that no one else is doing in the area. He can help me
understand the extra mile she takes and more importantly, what that means
to my eating experience. Since I care a lot about food, she is telling me stories
I want to hear and helping me repeat his message to others I know who also care
about the freshness of what she prepares for her customers.
For bigger companies, blogging
helps to humanize the corporation and to explain thought leadership. As you
know, I work in the wine industry and I love to read winery blogs where I get
to hear real human beings telling me stories about wine making. If I am a new or
regular customer, the blog is an open and transparent way to provide me with
knowledge and connections. In truth,
that connection is often beyond information and helps me to know that the
passion of this particular winemaker is going to deliver a sensational product.
Far better than advertising, the blog helps me learn something new and to give
me reasons to care about that brilliant new Chardonnay/Viognier blend.
Blogs must be honest,
real, transparent, informative, well-written and fun to read. Like a writer
at The New York Times, a journalist on NPR or a free-lancer with The Economist,
brand journalists are in the story telling business and they know the power of
emotional hooks that help you learn and care.
Blogs provide brands and businesses with a platform to show
thought leadership on ideas that have an impact on your industry or community.
They give you a chance to weave together a tribe and interested community on
relevant topics. Most of all, they are the fertile ground to nurture and grow
Blogs are like seeds planted to grow a community. Overtime,
you can harvest the fruits of that labor.
Notes: When I am not writing my blog, I am writing about blogging and other marketing methods to help you connect with your customers. If you enjoy these posts, would you share them with like-minded friends? Thanks.
Labels: Brand journalism, marketing blogging, Marketing Moments, Why blog?