exec summ: mad men be damned. fans aren’t just for the rock stars and supermodels of the business world. great ideas still have the power to drive great brands and to make good brands great (with the fanbase to match!)
mike arauz is a smart guy with a blog. in it he writes incisive commentary, passes on his de.licio.us and stumbleupon links – he also makes my list for the hall & oates fan site he just launched! but I digress. recently, mike wrote about brands and their fans. the post was a response to alan wolk and his theory of ‘prom king’ brands – that only iconic brands like apple or nike deserve to ask for fans. wolk responded to arauz to clarify that brands didn’t necessarily need to be iconic or represent sexy categories, only that they needed to represent great products. I contend that arauz doesn’t go far enough in his rejection of wolk’s argument. here’s my comment:
definitely with you, mike. iconic brands in sexy categories will always get a vip pass. but little guys need love, too. two examples.
fiskars was seeing market share erosion for their high end craft tools against cheap imports. they turned to social media (note this was back in 2006!) and with branding agency brains on fire, created the fiskateers site dedicated to scrapbookers and featuring a group of real life practioners. the program’s success was recognized last year with a forrester groundswell award.
the next example might be one that alan would call marketing bullshit. a small credit union in rural alberta, canada was concerned about its aging customer demographic. they turned to social media to appeal to an entirely new target market. they worked with currency marketing to create the young & free alberta program.
the program features a pretty standard new account offer for customers between 17 and 25. what makes the program unique is the marketing platform that drives it. the credit union promoted a contest to select a spokesperson for the program. the winner created content, including video, for a dedicated website. the program exceeded its target growth in accounts by 50% in its first year – and that was measuring current, not lifetime value, for the valuable new depositors. the young & free program was also selected for a groundswell award.
mad men be damned. fans aren’t just for the rock stars and supermodels of the business world. great ideas still have the power to drive great brands and to make good brands great (with the fanbase to match!)
the young & free program demonstrates that even an undifferentiated product can be given an appeal purely through effective positioning. don draper would be proud.