One of the fundamentals of networking and social media, is that people should be talking about you even when you are not around i.e. your name should precede you. Your brand and everything about it should be so compelling that your audience, client, customer feel the need to talk about you to their contacts and so on.
A recent article featured on the Fresh Business Thinking website entitled “Let your Customers Do Your PR for you” stressed this very point.
Never underestimate the power of your customers as part of your marketing mix. Take the case in question, shoemakers Clarks, the 130 year family owned shoe business based in Earlier this year, they saw sales for their shoes soar in Jamaica, after a popular Jamaican entertainer, decided to sing a song about their shoes.
So what’s the story? Well the entertainer is an ardent supporter of Clarks shoes. He loves Clarks Shoes, in fact he claims to own no less than 50 pairs of the shoes, mostly the Original design (Desert, Wallabee) but in different colours. Last summer he decided to sing a song about his love for Clarke’s shoes. Extracts from the Lyrics include:
- “everybody hafi ask whe mi get mi Clarks (everyone asks him where he gets his Clarks)
- Mi no love crepe, Clarks me prefer (he doesn’t love canvass he prefers Clarks)”
- Di leather hard (The leather is good quality)
- Di suede soft (the suede is soft)
And so he goes on in the song extolling the virtues of the Clarks shoes. What an excellent piece of free marketing for Clarks!
What makes this story so compelling, is that the two parties are poles apart, literally. The owners of Clarks would not have a clue who this person is (although allow me to say that he is an international star whose music, albeit mostly X-rated has a strong following all over the world for that genre). The immediate response in Jamaica and on the dance hall seen in America and the UK (as confirmed by Clarks themselves) has been a noticeable rise in the sale of these shoes.
This story demonstrates the importance of having a strong brand. Your brand and everything about it should be so compelling that your audience, client, customer talk about it to their friends and contacts.
Clarks have had a strong following in Jamaica for its products for many years, built on a reputation of superior quality and immaculate designs. They were not always the trendiest or the cheapest, but they had a type of allure that appealed to the “wealthy and posh”. If you weren’t wearing a pair of Clarks, it would be because you can’t afford it.
And how do you build such a strong brand?
- It doesn’t happen overnight (after all Clarks has been around for over 100 years).
- Quality matters, provide a consistently high quality product or service and you will always have a following that will be a solid part of your marketing mix through referrals and recommendations.
- Be consistent with your brand – over the years Clarks have not really deviated from their original concept.
- Find your niche, focus on your niche and you will have longevity.
- Embrace online social networking; it is fast becoming the biggest marketing tool.
And as for the Jamaican entertainer, well apparently he has not received any money from Clarks for his marketing but then he has enough money of his own. A shrewd businessman himself, he is set to launch his own line of shoes.