Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Chocolate Problem - Andy Sernovitz at The Association for Corporate Growth (Austin)

Andy Sernovitz spoke to the Central Texas Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.  He is a master on the topic of "word of mouth marketing" and shared his philosophies with this gathering of local business professionals.

He talked about "chocolate" having a problem... Nobody calls their friend to tell them they just tried chocolate, and it was awesome.  Chocolate has been around for thousands of years, and it's awesomeness is well known. Thus, once your brand is established you might suffer from not being interesting enought (aka...NEW ENOUGH) to talk about.

In the 1990's Apple Computer re-charged their business when they released their Macs in green, yellow, and purple.  Same computers, but nobody had ever had them in colors before, and that was enough to put the company back on the map and get people talking.

Sernovitz went on to mention brands popular that do little things that make people happy... and these are the companies we talk about: Zappos, RedEnvelope, Jones Soda, Makers Mark, etc...  The unique things they do for the customer gets people to talk, and that is what we all want.  But it is not always your customers who are the ones talking.  Ferrari owners are not their biggest advocates, it is all sorts of others (who may never own such a car) who spread the excitement of the brand.

Companies must remember that your brand is not what you say it is.... it is what other people say it is.  We have to help our fans tell their friends.  Making it easy to promote your stories, and not caring on what mediums the messages are being sent, is paramount to success.

When you are an established and GREAT brand, you must solve the "Chocolate Problem".  You must find new ways to get people talking and keep people talking, without selling out what made you cool in the first place.  He mentioned that Krispy Kreme Donuts was built on people coming to watch the donuts being made (and bringing their friends).  In the world of donuts... ALL donuts start out "hot"...  but Krispy Kreme created an urgency to watching them being made, and eating them warm.  It was special.  However, now you can buy cold and packaged Krispy Kremes at the gas station.  Not as cool, and nobody is nearly as excited to talk about the brand.

SIDE LINE.... This made me laugh when Sernovitz said: 
"It is a federal law that all marketing presentations must refer to Seth Godin at least once" (uttered after he mentioned Godin's "Purple Cow").

His talk was both informative and inspired people in the audience to want to take actions to get others talking.  And he passed out chocolate.  Who does not love a speaker who gives them candy?

Hey.. feel free to share this blog with your friends (he said asking was important!).

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

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