Who Are You?

We recently introduced our kids to one of last century’s greatest films, The Princess Bride. I was intrigued this time around when Inigo Montoya asks the classic question of Westley, “Who are you?” Interesting, he doesn’t ask “What are you selling?”, “What is the central aim of your mission?”, or “What distinguishes you from the score of other masked swordsmen flooding the Guilder market amid this recession?” Inigo wasn’t even concerned with the revolutionary technique that allowed Westley to best him. In fact, Inigo isn’t interested in asking the dozens of questions for which Westley has no doubt crafted the perfect answer. Nope. He had one burning question that besieged his conscious mind above any other: “Who are you?” His question, ironically, is probably one of the only questions which Westley was unwilling to answer.

Facebook, along with other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and even blogs are being used by millions of individuals and companies to answer this question. As an anecdote, wedding photographers 5 years ago had sites that simply answered the question “What are you selling”—portfolio portals. Today, many photographers don’t even have a portfolio online, but have instead replaced it with a blog. Why? They find it so much easier to answer the burning question in customers’ minds: “who are you?” — and apparently customers are responding.

Yet this trend is anything but new. Decades old Shows like How Stuff Works, Dirty Jobs, Some Assembly Required and countless others point to a significant interest in what happens before the product arrives on shelves. Part of this, of course, is the curiosity for the product itself and how it is produced. What types of processes are used? How are the materials formed? Is the work done by hand, is it mechanized, or both?

But another important and oft overlooked element is the view behind the scenes—namely, who is doing the work. Are they happy? Are they clean? Do they enjoy their job, their employer, and their company? Can I trust them where the safety of my children’s toys, the cleanliness of my family’s food, and the proper operation of my electrical gadgets is concerned? Humans are intelligent, and a look behind-the-scenes of a company and how they operate can yield incredible insight into whether or not that company can be trusted.

And that brings up the most telling part of this all: “Who you are”, in large part, is really a diplomatic way of asking the more direct question: “Can I trust you?” Amidst stories of melamine in baby milk, E. Coli in spinach, Salmonella in peanuts, corporate scandals, and political crimes, it’s no wonder people are beginning to demand the answer to this question.

“Who are you?” is a great question to lead with. It comes before “What are you selling?”, and “What’s the price?” After all, if the litmus question produces an undesirable answer, then why move on to the more topical inquiries? Why would I care what you’re selling if I can’t trust you, or if you are unwilling to tell me what your most fundamental motivations are? And why should I be satisfied with a lower price when it could potentially accompany an inferior (or even dangerous) product?

Smart companies today are beginning to pay attention to this phenomenon, and are working to taylor their brand and marketing messages to answer this one question first. They are working to show who they are, what motivates the creation of their products, and are learning how to publicly define the values and principles that drive their decisions. These companies are listening to their customers, and are at last learning to speak their language in a new era of true two-way communication.

Answer the question of who you are, and you’ll earn more than a customer. You’ll win a brand advocate.

Have you thought to ask of your company or organization the illuminating question, “Who Are You?”

Did you think Social Media was a fad?

We found a great video today detailing some of the impacts of Social Media on marketing in the internet age (video below). A few interesting tidbits:

  • 50% of the mobile internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook—imagine what this means for bad customer experiences
  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content—Do you like what they are saying about your brand?
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisements
  • 90% of people skip ads via TiVo/DVR

Powerful statements backed up with some very compelling data. While we understand the importance of using social media to hear your customers, most people don’t realize it is also a highly effective tool for communicating with them. The numbers are in, Advertising has declined rapidly over the past decade, and 14% trust factor is going to look like a large number within the next 5-10 years. It’s time to stop selling, and start communicating. We can’t help but think the last line in the video below is going to prove remarkably prescient as time passes: “The ROI of social media is [that] your business will still exist in 5 years.”

Enjoy the video below:

The Blog is alive!

Welcome to our new blog! We will be posting here regularly, and hope to keep everyone updated on all the fun we’re having. We had a terrific Thanksgiving, we’re wrapping up an incredible year, and we’ve had a bit of craziness in the last few months. For starters, have you seen our Doritos Super Bowl Ad yet? Check it out, and if you think it’s funny pass it along to your friends. So far our spot has become the 4th most watched spot on the Doritos site out of over 9,500 entries. Awesome!

We also have a few things in the works that should be fun to announce in the next few months.

Nothing else for now. Thanks for taking time to visit the site, and please let us know if we can help you with your social media needs.