While searching for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts online this year I came across a book that will be released worldwide in 2012 called, Likeonomics – How to Be More Believable in the New Affinity Economy. I’m not one to read business book after business book but being in the marketing world and especially the digital marketing world my entire career the title intrigued me.
With the overwhelming amount of PR spin and marketing messages flying at us on a daily basis (hello – information overload?), we are constantly on guard, trying to spot the underlying motives behind each claim, motto, message or deal that brands introduce. And, as consumers many of these messages are assumed to be motivated by greedy or deceptive intentions. Bhargva calls this phenomenon a “believability crisis”.
“The new global currency isn’t made of paper. It’s made of relationships and affinity. Likeonomics is a term that explains the new affinity economy where the most likeable people, ideas and organizations are the ones we believe in, buy from, and get inspired by.”
Sounds a bit like a high school homecoming campaign to me – but he’s right. For those of us in the marketing industry it is important to gain back the trust we’ve lost from consumers by understanding what makes people, ideas, and organizations more believable.
What makes a person or organization believable then? Likeonomics is based on being Simple, Human, Brutally Honest, and Emotional. I know an entire generation that would love marketing based on these four principles.
No matter your organizations size or marketing budget here’s how you can implement these tactics to make your marketing strategy for 2012 just a bit better.
To be more believable, the first step is to be genuine, honest, and open. BE SIMPLE. The social media revolution is the prime example. No longer can brands hide behind the curtain of television advertisements and billboards – deceptive industry practices are tweeted the moment they are leaked. The goal should be for complete transparency – help us, help you.
If you’re trying to build relationships, it’s a good idea to be human. Today’s consumers look for vulnerability, truthfulness, and humility first when choosing a brand. The brands that attract us the most are the brands that speak to us – as individuals. Brands are not people, but brands can act in a human way.
3. BRUTALLY HONEST
Relationships of any type are based on trust – trust isn’t possible without honesty. Bhargava says it best in his book, “Wikipedia is only the most visible example of a revolution in trust that has meant that people are going online and trusting the opinions and expertise of people who they don’t know. Content creation, aggregation and now … content curation are all new forms of microinfluence and they are shifting everything we know about trust.” The fact is, truth sells.
Brands that don’t make emotional connections with their consumers will eventually lose out to those that do. Emotional marketing is all about getting your target audience to connect with your product, service, and brand at a very basic and fundamental level – the level of emotions. It doesn’t mean much if your people, products, and services don’t back it up though. Companies like Nike succeed at this type of marketing because its core belief – its brand promise, the potential for the athlete inside everyone lives inside the people who work there. The result is not only an emotional connection but an individual one. Emotional marketing can only take place once you deliver a user experience that embodies your purpose.
The greatest take-away from Likeonomics is that marketing efforts will no longer be based on who has the biggest budgets or off-the-wall creative. Instead it will be about who delivers the most believable message. After all we are human BEings not human BUYings and it’s time to start marketing that way.
Kimberly Kelsey, Marketing Manager, Red Book Solutions