Spike Jones, co-author of Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements, spoke at this weekend’s PRSSA Day sponsored by the greater Kansas City area Chapter of PRSA, Public Relations Society of America. He is also senior vice president of customer experience and digital/word of mouth at Fleishman-Hillard in Austin, Tx.
Although the hot topic these days seems to be social media marketing, Jones focused his presentation on word-of-mouth marketing. His presentation was engaging, informative and creative. He shared with the students five tips to take away about branding an organization.
Learn the Disciplines
Jones utilized graphics from Marty Neumeier’s book, Zag, to creatively differentiate the six displines:
- Public Relations
- Graphic Design
Each discipline plays a unique role in an organization’s communication, but Jones argued the lines between them are blending more everyday. His focus is word of mouth marketing, which can also be categorized as public relations.
93% of Word of Mouth happens OFFLINE.
Jones pointed out that online we create new personas that put our best foot forward, so do not take social media information at face value. Question everything. For example, many companies are wanting to create a relationship with their customers. But what does that mean? Jones argues that customers do not want a relationship with a brand; they want information, problems fixed and good deals.
The great thing about social media is everyone has a voice. The crappy thing about social media is everyone has a voice.
Create Ambassadors of Goodwill
Jones talked a lot about creating ambassadors, or spreaders of goodwill, for your brand. He expressed being unimpressed with influencers and considers them to be simply broadcasters. He suggests using influencers to find your ambassadors and give people passionate about your brand a platform.
When creating an ambassador program, he said to remember three things:
- It’s a passion conversation, not a product conversation.
- Influence can be created; passion cannot.
- Create a barrier of entry to be an ambassador for your organization.
Tell Stories with Powerful Identities
Jones reminded us that everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, so do not forget the power of good story. He shared the story of how he helped rebrand Justice for Children International to Love146, an organization trying to stop sex trafficking around the globe.
They can tell their powerful story better than I can:
Think about Online and Offline
Jones said everything in life can be separated into two categories:
The clocks representing everything predictable, and the clouds representing the unpredictable nature of humans. While technology is important, never forget about the humans behind the computer screens.
There is only so much you can do behind a screen.
Do you think Jones is on to something? Do we need to refocus our marketing efforts offline?