I attended the M-Squared marketing and media conference yesterday in San Francisco, and as someone who spends more time on PR than branding and pure marketing, I enjoyed hearing how companies are taking steps to connect with their customers to build their brands.
A few take-aways from the speakers:
- There are really only 3-4 national daily newspapers that really matter, with the New York Times being at the top of the food chain. The point is that for most metropolitan daily papers to survive, they need to spend more time serving their local communities (connecting with their customers) and less effort on national news.
- One reason blogs are becoming so popular is that they serve to “police” the mainstream press. The media have gone unchecked for so long, and some blogs are calling them out to “right the wrongs” in their reporting.
- Good blogs are serving as personal guides to help people find cool stuff on the web. They can become a very trusted voice.
- Mini USA, makers of those cute little cars, goes to great lengths to build an incredibly loyal community of owners. Halloween events where Mini owners decorated their cars in “costumes;” More than 3,300 Mini owners assembled for a cross-country road trip in August (some Mini owners even quit their jobs to make the trip); and affinity credit card programs where Mini owners can order a credit card bearing an image of their own car, were just a few examples.
- Appealing to customers’ psychographic characteristics are more important than ever before in making a connection with the customer. Figure out what motivates them and then address those motivations.
- Brands must mirror what their customers aspire to be or desire.