Want customers? Don’t be a boring brand


The trend of business owners using social media and content marketing strategies for their brand continued to grow in 2012, and will do so in 2013.

However, there is a sub-theme to this that has dominated my thoughts of late, and that is around being interesting as a brand.

More specifically, it’s about businesses doing interesting things that they can create content around.

As we know, interesting content—whether text, audio, video or image-based—stands a better chance of cutting through and being noticed by existing and potential customers. It is also more likely to be shared by online influencers, the media and people, thus potentially increasing the reach of your brand.

So what do you reckon? Is your brand interesting? Are you doing things that are worthy of attention?

Having an interesting approach to how you market your product or service range should be a given—something that gets you on to the starting blocks. But what could you be doing over and above that? What interesting things could your business be getting involved in that ensures you not only get off the blocks but bolt away from your competition?

Maybe you could support an interesting local cause or cool social enterprise project and produce content that helps promotes the initiative (and your involvement with it).

Perhaps you can develop a free smartphone app that solves a customer need relevant to your business.

Specific examples

  • If you sell homemade jewellery, you could offer introductory workshops so people can learn how to make their own (this goes for any artisan-oriented business).
  • If you operate a personal training business, perhaps you could establish a local running group and promote it to the general public, not just your clientele (don’t forget to build a microsite that supports the initiative).
  • Say you’re a web development company—maybe you might like to run a competition for nonprofit groups where the prize is a free website.
  • If you run an accountancy firm, run a survey asking people a series of questions around their bookkeeping habits. Turn the results into an infographic, and share online via your social channels.

Are you an expert of some kind?

  • Write an ebook or whitepaper and give it away free.
  • Create an online TV or radio show (and produce it regularly!)
  • Stage a training event, film it, and sell the resultant video package online.
  • Run a free webinar that addresses a particular pain point of your audience and provide a solution (relevant to your expertise).
  • Or go for broke and write a traditional book. If you can’t get a publisher, consider self-publishing. This is a viable option in today’s digital age; indeed, entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki has just written an excellent practical guide on this very subject. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur).

While what you do is important, the more critical thing is that you do interesting things on a regular basis that you then create content around, which in turn will help your brand connect more deeply with your target audience.

  • Karen Smith

    Foul-mouthed Ashley – she lost me after her 5th gratuitous swearword. She may have got my attention, and managed to captivate it for 60 seconds (refer to Rhondalynn’s last blog), but she certainly lost it, and any creditibility her business may have had, from then on in.

    You really should be more careful about the people you promote Trevor.

    • Hi Karen, I hear what you say! Usually when I use Ashley as an example, it’s more around the notion of authenticity and being true to yourself from a personal branding perspective (which is critical in this world of social media); and I usually preface by saying she’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Indeed, Ashley does put off a large number of people with her F-bombs and in-your-face attitude, but her followers absolutely love her to bits for that very reason.

      Erika Napoletano has written a branding book called ‘The Power of Unpopular’ that mines this very issue (for brands generally, not just personal brands) – http://erikanapoletano.com/books/the-power-of-unpopular/.

      And author and blogger, Jonathan Fields, is at crossroads on the issue of swearing on one’s blog or in video/podcast interviews – http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/revisiting-the-f-bomb/ – Jonathan’s a good writer and thinker, well worth a look.

      Back to Ashley and the article above: the point I was trying to make was packaging of one’s services (preferably in a creative manner) – in this example, I still think Ashley has it nailed (when I don’t see too many people doing it well).

      But yes, I agree – maybe I should have used my normal preface and warned readers her work might not be suitable for everyone. Sorry about that!