I have done some SEO work for leading innovation strategist Phil McKinney and follow his blog. He recently published a quote by DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg:
“In order for us to delight and surprise — and to exceed the expectations of our audience — the requirement is that we are original and unique. Original and unique equals risky. Risky equals failure — sometimes.”
This statement resonated with me as I contemplate how to make the travel websites I manage stand out from the crowd. How do you make a website rise above the noise? I know that creating compelling content is critical for reduced bounce rate (one page-view and exit) and also for SEO. However, the term “risky” in marketing suggests taking a chance on some method of creating buzz and energy. With this line of thinking, I am the one responsible to get eyeballs on the site.
Yet, “risky” could also be acknowledging that management no longer owns the brand, the users do. Charlene Li’s book “The Groundswell” brings to light the concept of clients, customers and users being the actual owners because the Internet has empowered them with the power to post, critique and promote the brand. Good old fashioned word-of-mouth advertising updated to encompass online. With this line of thinking, I am responsible to create the brand image however I am relying on the users to communicate and promote the brand experience.
A “calculated risk” may be the smarter approach of blending these two marketing concepts. How about enlisting an organization’s managers to create content rather than the marketing department? This would create a more genuine marketing effort. It would also allow the managers to have ownership in the brand experience.
Let’s use a hotel as an example. Most hotels have a general manager, head chef, catering manager, front-desk manager, group coordinators and a director of sales. What if each of these managers were given a week in which they were responsible to create the content for the website? The hotel would be branding their managers and staff as celebrity professionals committed to quality while adding personality to the branding campaign. They would also be enlightening and engaging the user on all the different facets of running the hotel. Users would then be encouraged to provide comment, critique and feedback which the hotel could use to improved internal processes. Risky to turn your brand over to your employees and customers, but if you are committed to quality, it is a calculated risk that may pay big dividends.
I call this genuine marketing. It becomes knowledge management by providing a platform for information and perspective from different parts of the organization to be communicated. Content creation from many areas within the organization along with user engagement is the foundation for which the genuine marketing campaign is built. I believe winning organizations will utilize genuine marketing to empower, encourage and build their brand image.
Enjoy the Journey,