Latest & greatest
Latest blogpostsApril 30, 2014 April 2, 2014 August 27, 2013 June 10, 2013 April 30, 2013 April 25, 2013 April 18, 2013 April 2, 2013 March 26, 2013 March 19, 2013
- business unusual
- return on involvement
- social branding
- social marketing
- social media
- social media marketing
We can see something coming up in the brand crystal ball, something that we have been toying around with a lot. Led by our CEO Henriette Weber we are now ready to preach one of the next tendencies and or trend within branding: We have called it brand activism. Brand activism is to take the purpose of your brand to the next level. We have also touched a bit upon it in some previous articles like our thoughts on Ben & Jerry’s.
It’s not “just” a commercial brand anymore with a clearly defined purpose, it’s also about a cause, about fighting for something. Something that’s rebellious and bigger than your brand. Something that people can internalize and get behind. Now, in the beginning when we started to talk about brand activism, we all thought: well isn’t the term “brand activism” kind of rebelling against itself ? Just to put brand and activism in the same sentence can be a contradiction because the word brand is kind of “hipster commercial” and the word “activism” is very rebellious, filled with substance and revolutionary in some ways. But, we say nay. Brands can learn so much from revolutions and activists: how to get people moving and believing in a cause and taking action.
We see this as not just purpose before profit. We know that purpose before profit has been around for a while and it will always make perfect sense to us to put your overall mission before the money. But brand activism is more about the people (or if you want it in corporate terms – the stakeholders and how you can activate them, before purpose before profit. It delivers a way for people to get behind and reward the companies they think are doing going good. And not “just” because of their purpose. Because companies who will start to practice this will actually have a way of getting people to back their brand up, as long as the people support their purpose and their communication.
Are you ready for this? Do you want to know more ?
Contact us for a talk at your company, an inspiration session or to know when our next open brand activism event will be.[brand activism, tendencies, trend]
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April 2, 2014
We get a lot of requests to help companies out with their branding. Companies whose branding has been left a bit on the dull side while they have been busy building a product. One of our favorite types of companies that often falls into this is the b2b tech companies-who-used-to-be-startups. When they approach us, before we even start work together, before they’ve booked “The really good coffee & work-session” with us, we ask them what kind of brand they want to be – as well as what kind of band they see themselves as right now (for some strange reason, the band thing always makes them sparkle…), and how they see themselves in the future. Anyway they always end up saying something like. “We want to be really hip like mailchimp! We want to be the mailchimp of our industry”.
Yes, we know that mailchimp does a helluva job being hip and cool. The reason for this – is that they are more about communication than anything else. We know, they also have a pretty good product – that we use avidly for our newsletter, but they see their communication through and make it hip and appealing in the small details.
Here’s just some of the things that hip like mailchimp companies do:
- Email address: hip-like-mailchimp companies would NEVER use a “noreply@” email for their newsletter send. Au contraire they would go so far in the opposite direction to use their CEOs email – because conversations simply matter to them. OR something fun. We always get told that people smile when they see that they communicate with us through a “firstname.lastname@example.org” email.
- They cut to the chase and they include the right call-to-action. They don’t say… hey watch our video and hopefully you’ll buy our service. They would include a “sign up now” right there in the newsletter.
- They add value to the newsletter. Not just a gigantic “we create beautiful this and this – buy us”. Instead there’s a tweak and a twist and some shortcuts or some need to know and nice to know information…
- There’s often something not business or pitch related in the mail. Kind of a “peak behind the scenes”. -maybe just a link to the top one favorite article on buzzfeed these days at the office- but something the readers can pass on. Kid snippets. Bored panda. Viral Nova. Btw. this is our favorite list these days: “Funny first world anarchists rebels” . Something that’s authentic and shows that there’s actually people behind the mail.
Has the hipness of the hip companies turned cheesy? Sometimes you really start to think so. But there’s room for hipness, fun and innovation in every industry. Somebody needs to stand out instead of fitting into business as usual. And that brand stand out is just what might work to catapult your business success in your particular industry. Be the unusual suspect! Conduct business unusual and see your business flourish. =)[hip, mailchimp, newsletter]
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August 27, 2013
In the beginning, there was a lot of snobbery in the literary world when it comes to self-published (indie) books. Traditional publishing houses started the campaign by convincing readers that all indie books were poorly written, shabby versions of their traditionally published competitors. That there’s a reason prices were so low. That they weren’t worth the price of traditionally published books.
Then the campaign grew nastier and completely went out of the loop. Trash posts about self-publishers out to kill the industry followed soon after. That traditional publishers were struggling to save the book industry and with it – culture.
The debate became too much a drag and a gag, a collective insult to our finer sensibilities so much so that Toothless Tiger decided to dedicate this post and join in the (fun) fray.
After all, our CEO Henriette Weber self-published her book, Return on Involvement in 2009, when it became clear that there was nothing the publishing houses could do for her, that she can’t manage herself. They simple don’t have a reason to exist in the book publishing project, at least not for 85 % of the sales. So she self-published her works and laughed all the way to the bank. Talk about living and breathing Business Unusual!
Who are they fooling, rockers? The truth is much nearer – big publishers are just struggling to save their skins. The ivory infrastructures they’d enjoyed for decades – high-priced offices, executive benefits, inefficient production systems, absurd distribution channels – they continue to cling onto these crumbling pedestals for dear life.
What they have been missing all along and continue to ignore to their peril is the simple reality that books, as a medium of storytelling, don’t really matter. Like scrolls and caves of old, books are giving way to pads and smartphones.
What is wrong with that? Do the stories they carry and spread being harmed in any way, be it an illuminated manuscript or a Kindle? Sure, there will always be people who collect printed books as artifacts. There will always be people who treasure illuminated manuscripts as priceless works of art.
But what readers want, what they will always seek is information, excitement and inspiration. While printed books make excellent vehicles for those (make no mistake, books is still where the money is and will be, for some time), they are not the only vehicles and perhaps not even the best.
Another brilliant self-published book we have been looking at lately is “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher. He even was on one Cheryl Richardson’s podcast talking about self-publishing and why you should consider it (more and more each day). Anyway he wrote a great article on how to self-publish.
Great publishing, traditional or indie, has always been about more than the story. It’s about building that special bond with the audience.
In the same vein, smart businesses should always ask themselves, ”What do the people want? What’s the best way to give it to them while maximizing profits but keeping costs low?”
In the end, people will always demand connections that inform, excite and inspire. By all means give it to them.
Do you have what it takes to do just that?
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June 10, 2013
Here at Toothless Tiger, there’s a huge difference between getting an idea about a brand direction, and launching the idea succesfully with content and context and champagne and what have you. Some people might call us “loud” on behalf of our clients, but behind the loudness there’s a well-crafted and executed strategy plan, down into the tiniest detail. Most of our clients are companies who are curious about the digital world, but maybe a (tiny) bit dusty and a (tiny) bit clueless around how you use the digital world to enhance and spread your brand.
So how do you go from clueless to not-so-clueless to knowledgeable? Where do you begin this huge process of becoming wiser about the internet?
We would recommend that you begin with listening/observing, what’s happening around your brand. Here’s a couple of pointers for you:
-Do it with Twitter searches, google alerts, pinterest queries or that fancy social media monitoring tool that your boss has invested in, but haven’t quite gotten around to use yet.
-Find out when people are sharing your content.
-If they are not sharing it yet, see what was the latest thing that got a lot of/some likes. If you don’t get any likes, then ask people who you know that are following you on social media, or have signed up for your newsletter, what was the last thing they really enjoyed seeing/reading from you. Most of the times that opens up a waterfall of conversation.
After a couple of weeks/days of this, you will be able to see some patterns that could be one of the content “centers” of your brand.[clueless brand, listening]
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April 30, 2013
We know that Facebook is not only the most favored social network for business. But we’ve also experienced that all politicians can learn a lesson or two regarding the proper use of the platform to share messages, empower voters, and raise money. Or as our Founder Henriette Weber would say it “Return on Involvement”. The way business uses marketing campaigns for involvement, fan growth and branding with the end goal of increasing sales, is the same exact formula that politicians should use to get the majority vote needed to hurl or keep them in office.
Here’s a couple of facebook tips for politicians:
ROI for every budget. For business, there is always a social media strategy to fit every budget and create positive ROI. Outlining a social media ROI using an approach that is based on time measured goals is a must have for every business. The top three social media goals for businesses is strengthening brands, generating sales and acquiring contacts.
So no matter the size of your budget, politicians should realize that social media is a key investment and should include this into their marketing strategies. Funding should never be an issue, and that’s the beauty of social media. You can build an engaged audience even with low budgets so long as your messages are rocking your community.
Focus on quality, not only on quantity. Successful business pages have intuitively known that follower numbers do not necessarily mean high engagement. Brands with high engagement seem to possess, on the surface, that instinctive knack to create content that rolls well with their community. Believe it folks the rule of the game is not purely divine intervention but mainly perspiration out of hard work and research.
So you better roll up your sleeves, Mr. Politician. Evaluate your content by first using data gathered from your target community to ensure that your messages will resonate glowingly with your audience. Switch up your message content, or try other social media platforms that might be better suited for a particular content. You can for example, use facebook if the message will become too diluted when fitted down to Twitter’s 140 character limit.
Social media and email is still a potent and winning combination. While the buzz surrounding social media seems to cover out the rest of the other handy marketing tools available online, most discerning brands haven’t forgotten about the tested and true marketing tool: Email. And although social media is great for content sharing and engagement in interactive discussions, email has helped businesses convert the results of those initial conversations and engagements into targeted campaigns and long term relationships.
In turn, politicians should never miss out on the huge opportunity that email marketing delivers. You should integrate email into your marketing strategies to achieve the powerful punch it provides when combined with social media. Learning from the business perspective, you should make it very easy to subscribe to email and social updates in a seamless manner.
A picture (and a video) is worth a thousand words. Businesses have been harnessing the power of pictures and videos into their social marketing campaigns. Photos and videos have told the story of the brand and culture quickly, intimately and efficiently. Needless to say, sharing photos and videos with advocates have helped bolster a brand’s presence in the social world.
In the same manner, politicians can employ multimedia to create content for your social properties, using photos and videos or links where fans can take action in every single facebook post. For instance, you can post your speeches to help convey your message to your supporters in a unique way, and you can even extend your social reach further to other social platforms as well.
Business and politics, like oil and water, may first appear to be totally different entities that should take diverse approaches to marketing. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s all too clear that there are deep insights regarding the way brands leverage social media to expand their reach and influence which politicians should examine more closely to integrate into their marketing efforts of developing and maintaining voter engagement. After all, both politics and business cater to the same people with the same aspirations and desires.
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April 25, 2013
There has been so much discussion about the way brands engaged events and people in real time. There is a lack of newsjacking casestudies. So we’ve been digging up some cool examples on the internet, just for you.
While there will always be opposing contentions about which form of media deliver the most ROI (both return on investment as well as return on involvement) one rule is set in stone: no matter how much you plan ahead, no matter how strongly integrated your campaign may be, there’s no better and cheaper way to cut through the clutter than to improvise creatively, take risks and create business artistry.
Although improvisation is a dangerous idea for those who lack the courage to think, see and embrace Business unusual in ads – responding to events in real time, as they unfold, and hooking your brand into people’s primal emotions and needs in a way that support your brand proposition – is the most powerful form of marketing. Even though it’s not newsjacking on a large scale, there is a form of media platform takeover, that we on one side think is fantastic, and on the other side, hope that the beholders are ok with. Both for the sake of the people watching but also to create good-will for the brand.
Here are some real samples of newsjacking casestudies that made the tiger bow to the ground in deep respect.
First of our newsjacking casestudies: Sumo wrestler appears to assault spectator in clever stunt
Showing the crowd of spectators at sporting events is no big deal. But when DEVK, the German insurance brand hijacked that big screen showing the actual crowd of spectators during a football match with an advert that’s supposed to be a real life event, the result is inspiringly brilliant. At half time, a half-naked sumo wrestler showed up on the screen clambering down the benches, held a fan and ripped off his shirt with a tagline, “How do you explain that to your insurance company?”
Of course, the incident is just a simulation, pre-produced and then inserted into live stream. But the desired effect is spot-on, and the brand surely settled inside the head of everyone in attendance long after the match. Maybe you think it’s fantastic because it haven’t been seen before, or maybe you get slightly offended because the ads appears somewhere you’re not used to, anyway: talk about marketing brilliance. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad PR right ?
2nd of our newsjacking casestudies: Frozen cinema stunt
Getting to the movies in winter to relax and unwind is something we almost always do. But what would you do if the heater is turned off and the cinema is freezing cold? You get the nearest blanket fittingly provided to keep yourself warm. And, instead of immediately watching the movie you paid to see, you get to see first the documentary of everyday plight of homeless people struggling to keep warm in the cold and hear their comments of incredulity at the prospect of a freezing cinema. And while you fidget to the edge of your icy seats in vain attempts to keep warm, you get to witness their casual amusement when they found out that the temperature wasn’t low enough at 8 degrees Celsius. It’s nothing, the homeless people nonchalantly intoned on the wide screen; it gets really cold at 0 degrees Celsius, making you gag at the painful prospect. The punch line – “Come on… don’t bother the people at the movies” – spoken with dignity and compassion by an anonymous homeless with a scraggly beard.
The stunt was done to raise funds for the homeless and a sizeable donation was made right on that theater through QR codes written on the distributed blankets. The idea soon spread and brought lots of media attention. Wow.
3rd of our newsjacking casestudies: New taxi meter stunt spreads brand’s fuel-saving technology
Translating a new technology into a real world scenario is sometimes needed just so people can quickly grasp its benefits. That is precisely the case for the automaker Seat with its Brake Energy Recovery System which collects energy lost when a car brakes, and then reuses this energy when the car accelerates again – saving on fuel. To promote and illustrate the concept in concrete terms, a creative stunt was staged where taxi passengers saved money off their fares whenever the car brakes were applied.
The system was connected to the taximeter so every time the driver hit the brakes, the meter ran backwards. To create this video, cameras were hidden inside the taxi and random passengers were picked up all around Dusseldorf.
4th of our newsjacking casestudies: Musical earmuffs
Running a marketing campaign is always hard in an open society. But imagine the difficulties if you run your campaign in highly stratified societies and the problems are increased a hundredfold. But Vodafone India went through the seeming insurmountable hurdles with ease using simple and practical solutions.
The event campaign targeted the largest religious festival in the world, visited by over 100 million people. Held during the harsh winter month of January, musical earmuffs with the Vodafone logo playing devotional music were distributed among thousands of attendees from diverse socio-economic backgrounds who gratefully wore such vital winter accessory – helping the brand penetrate some of the most inaccessible segments of Indian society at minimal costs.
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April 18, 2013
In today’s ferociously competitive economy, successful companies need to position themselves by offering outstanding value, conducting business all throughout the supply chain with integrity. With brand sharing they need to make a strong impression in their community with thoughtful outreach like scholarships or sponsorships to a cause that matters most to their consumers.
Increasingly, customers don’t want brands to just tickle their senses. They want to know that their brands aren’t using third world children to build their products in sweatshops, that they aren’t polluting the environment, and that the business will always stand behind the value of the product.
By all means, brands that are behaving ethically and superlatively need to let their consumers know about their good deeds.
And brands that are still in the process of testing the sharing waters should allow themselves to be more surprising in a quirky sort of way, to flirt with their consumers, to listen to the right conversations, and to cater to their wants and needs. For a brand to remain constantly relevant today, it should not be afraid to take leaps of faith, embrace risks, and abandon self-obsessions. On the other side, if brands showed reluctance in bending to the constantly changing rules of the game, they could easily become as irrelevant as yesterday’s news.
The dominance of social media has taken the power to define a brand away from the companies onto the surroundings and the peers. To counteract this, a brand must be flexible enough in sharing their attributes while never losing sight of the core values which formed the company in the first place. Without this moral anchor, a brand becomes a wayward ship without direction – a jack-of-all-trades – changing course at the slightest whiff of the wind – losing its identity in the process.
This new sharing approach, however, can be a redeeming factor for brands, most especially those “traditional” companies that are not natives to the web. It can be liberating for business leaders, brand managers and the consuming public. Initial results of this fresh involvement are quite promising as it tends to generate an atmosphere of more fun, delightful and rewarding consumer experience, and it is at the center of a recent wave of loose branding executions whose core elements remain the same. While marketers are yet to explore the full potential of this new technique, an evident sample case is pointing the way.
Oreo has been on our radar ever since this enterprising brand scored an advertising touchdown in Super Bowl 2013. It turned out that that brilliant ad coup wasn’t just a blip in the marketing radar but a result of conscious and painstaking efforts of rebranding on social media.
We found out that Oreo had launched a Daily Twist campaign for its 100th year anniversary last year by posting 100 daily images on its social channels of an Oreo cookie modified to honor an event. This playful campaign remained true to the long-established brand image of a happy snack both for children and adults while resoundingly adapting to the fleeting social whims that bother most brands dipping in the almost anarchical virtual marketplace.
Well, the core idea here is a marketplace that, on the surface, is seemingly anarchic. This brings us to the main point of emphasis – just beneath the turbulent surface, an underlying layer of calm, order and harmony exists – if only brands exert enough effort to find it.
The winning marketing formula has always been and always will be to look beyond your core users and spread the love out to capture new customers. Although maintaining the current consumer base is extremely important, it is also equally important for your business to progress and generate new clients. New consumers mean new business, and even more consumer loyalty.
That said, the key to the growth of your brand is visibility which may be difficult to achieve if your company is not effectively sharing your brand to current and potential consumers.
Brand sharing is easy. Ask yourself what would make you compel to buy your brand and start from there. Then, tore down those impeding walls for a minute and, play around creative ideas that can make your brand instantly relevant to your pursued clients.
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April 2, 2013
In an earlier post, we discussed the need for brand ambassadors to advocate your company. These dedicated peers are a key part of our sales process because they rave and sing to the high heavens about the wonders of our brand inside their own social circles and have the power to influence purchasing decisions within their networks – at practically no cost to the company – and it’s all happening in social media: they are called brand ambassadors for a reason.
But before you can benefit from such privileged community service, it is imperative that you identify who among your peers are best qualified to be your brand ambassadors…
Perhaps this is self-evident and plain common sense, but we love to rub it in. We call it a strategic approach to your brand advocacy and your brand ambassadors. You have to monitor the base of your peers and find out the people who are already talking about your brand. Listen to their sentiments and find out what motivates them. Why are these people compelled to plead your cause? Why are they willing to stand up for you? And share their awesome experiences with you ?
Then participate in the conversations around your brand. And when your most vocal and active peers seek you out, they are actually searching for the opportunity to establish an emotional connection. By all means, give them what they want!
But how? By responding promptly to messages, making every effort to reach out and thank them for sharing your content, not taking them for granted, and above all – being human(e). After all, it’s all about building the foundations of a good relationship by providing great, consistent service, and delivering on your brand promise…
Once you have identified your candidates for brand ambassadors, start nurturing an extra special relationship. Mind you, your handpicked consumers won’t suddenly become brand ambassadors by simply being your peers. It’s up to you to provide them with an experience worthy of their new status. So don’t be routine with your interactions – they deserve singular treatment 1 on 1 – which means that interactions should be done on the individual level and it’s different for everyone. You can’t mass produce this sort of interaction and most certainly, you can’t automate it.
But the simplest way to make the initial contact is also the most productive and intuitive – just ask. You can ask them how they like your new product; or even ask them if they are willing to give a review or an opinion. By approaching your soon-to-be-ambassadors in an open, honest way, you’ll gently change the terms of their relationship with your brand.
And once you have meticulously developed your brand ambassadors, make sure they are heard. They want and they deserve recognition (they are human after all) so magnify their online presence more by posting their valuable insights on your sites, sharing their most brilliant ideas on your networks, and making sure to give them all the credit for their efforts towards your brand.
The reason you have to aggressively amplify their message should be obvious by now. Social media is such a crowded place for marketing. By allowing brand ambassadors to be your social microphone, you can easily break through the clutter with an authentic voice because your message will sound different. As much as you try to develop smart marketing messages that deliver, the reality is that even if your brand ambassador said exactly what you’d have said, this same exact message will have a tone of genuine passion which marketers struggle to express without sounding pushy.
C’mon rockers, lets invite our chosen ambassadors to the dance floor now – Oh, and…Keep on rocking![brand ambassadors, branding]
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March 26, 2013
So what does Dave Grohl knows about music? He knows that the musician is the most important(and if you haven’t seen Dave Grohl’s SXSW 2013 keynote – you should watch it here). Seriously this newsletter is not as important as Dave’s message is.
We pride ourselves of being very inspired by music in Toothless Tiger. If we were a rockband we would rage against the machine in spirit – but more like Foo Fighters in operation (doing everything ourselves). And we’re in the same boat as everybody else. We have to inspire you guys to buy our hours otherwise our job is gone. We’re only an enslaved tiger in demand.
Pardon us for sales-y intro, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. Well, so much for that…
In this world and most especially in the business world, why is persuasion so tough for some, yet so simple for others? And what can we do to set the audience on fire?
We firmly believe that business owners can engage listeners in a more profound way if they toss company jargon aside and learn to cut the bullsh*t and tell their story. The story they are living: storyliving. The everyday struggle for fame, dollars and more clients. Because of what you believe in as a company. It’s so simple for us, but it’s hard for companies to understand – maybe because it’s so simple. Live something that matters to you- and the audience will follow you.
The key to their hearts is not a compelling story, it’s to live and tell that story 100.000 times so it becomes an integral part of you. You tell it in articles, on video, in interviews. You live it out from different angles and, in the end, it becomes a part of the coolness of your brand.
You don’t only tell the story, but you create content around it consistently. Everyday.
We’ve done it with several huge subjects close to our hearts. Henriette Weber’s “Sorry I don’t do mainstream”, or our “Cut the bullshit” in business. We speak things as it is and we generate 1000 pieces of content around the things we firmly believe.
Yes, we do believe that companies should be more like rockbands. We do believe and preach rockbandism. We make the core values of your business the center of our strategies and we’re not afraid to say what sucks and what rocks in our world.
Storyliving is key to everything these days – but you need to find out what stories you firmly live and believe in.
Yeah, we just simply know how to do this the right way – but, do you ?[storyliving]
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March 19, 2013
We’d been listening on conversations around community management, and boy! – there’s a lot to listen to! But the odd thing about these conversations is that the discussions focus almost entirely on managing online communities. If ever discussions on offline communities are brought into the mix, it’s mostly treated as an afterthought….
Of course, there is no doubt that the inherent connectivity provided by the internet and social media in particular have opened up an extremely convenient opportunity to meet, and reach out to others who share some common interests, or reach out to those who suffer from any form of pain.
However, while using online strategies can do awesome things for the brand if done the right way, the limiting factor of these online efforts towards building a healthy, vibrant community is its tendency to be transient – with community members dropping in and out ONLY when they need support.
But the primary aim of any community management is keeping the members loyal to your brand and in the end, sell more. And the first rule of business is to make them appreciate your presence in their daily lives, as part of their news or twitter feed or what have you. It’s the sort of loyalty you need to earn, and not something that’s a given from the people who think you’re doing some interesting stuff.
You can do this in many different ways. As an example, you can do a proactive approach in your community. Listening, typing and engaging all day long will not make you remarkably special to your community members. But to really hit it home, you need to get above the disconnect of just interacting with your computer screen.
Deep down, people still crave face-to-face interaction. The physical contact of a firm handshake brings the warmth of humanity into reality.
But what if your company takes this simple human contact to another level by personally sending out a cake to one of the members of your community on her birthday? And because you’re feeling good about the positive impact it generated, you’ve decided to make it your business policy to send cakes on the birthdays of every community member. Can you imagine the windfall you’ll get out of this generous gesture? It will surely be magnified a thousand fold because it’s…priceless.
And in case you’re wondering whether we’re shifting your attention away from your online activities to focus mostly on the real world – no, we’re not. That would be the same as shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re just giving emphasis that your online efforts should run parallel to and in support of your offline connections, never as a substitute.
At the end of the day, we firmly believe that the real masters of community management in the future will be those who can connect the online and offline worlds in a flawless way.
But there’s still a big black line dividing the two for the majority of businesses today: That we, in business, are not using our efforts to deal with people on a one-on-one basis. We still want to address crowds because it’s so much cheaper! – and so, less powerful. If you really want to be ahead with your go-to-market strategy of tomorrow make it a one-on-one approach (oh and reach out to us, we have a ton of experience in this field and it’s one of our favorite things to do).[community management, human, physical]
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