How to get your brand talked about – Tip #1
When thinking about how to create newsworthy stories, most companies focus on themselves and what they are up to. However, newsworthy opportunities can also come from your competition, perhaps they’re making controversial decisions or making bold claims in your market that you could react to, or maybe something isn’t going according to plan.
Richard Branson is a genius at leveraging the competition’s misfortune for his own gain, but it’s all done with a smile and in a spirit of fun. When British Airways sponsored the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames, they called a huge press conference, but there was one big problem. They couldn’t get the wheel up and it was lying on the ground. Ever the opportunist, Branson seized the moment and organised an airship to fly over the the wheel – where the press had been waiting for several hours – with a huge sign saying: “BA can’t get it up.” It was so tongue in cheek it made everyone smile and of course was front page news. This type of fun-spirited approach to the competition can really help build a brand.
A few tips on how to keep up to date with your competitors
Google Alerts – Set up keyword searches on competitor brand and product names, as well as their key players. Don’t forget to add your brand names to make sure you know what’s being said about you too.
Social Mention – Similar to Google alerts, but more focused on user generated content on blogs, bookmarks, in comments, videos and more.
Social Media: Follow competing brands on Twitter, join their Facebook pages and Google+ circles.
Newsletters: Sign up to your competitors’ newsletters and blog posts, so you’re aware of their latest promotions and launches.
Ask your customers: Ask your customers about their views on the competition. Depending on the nature of your business, this can be done online via a quick survey using Survey Gizmo, or Wufoo survey tools, or asked in person. If you discover that you’re streets ahead in important areas then write a press release and get your stats published.
Attend conferences: Conferences are a great way to see and hear what the competition are up to and to see the industry’s response.
Talk to your suppliers: If you share suppliers they can be a great source of competitive insight. What do they think your strengths and weaknesses are versus the competition?
Hire your competition: No one is more willing to share insider knowledge than a disgruntled sales guy! I used to have a client, who shall remain nameless, who advertised fictitious senior sales positions in his company and interviewed potential candidates from competing companies. He spent the entire interview grilling them about their sales techniques to get on the ground insight into his competitors’ sales strategies. I don’t personally recommend creating fictitious vacancies, but staff that come from competing companies can be a useful source of insights into what’s not going quite so well.
When it comes to getting your brand talked about, your timing is critical. If you spot an opportunity, go for it, the faster you can create a stunt or some other form of response, the greater your chance of coverage.
If you would like to hear more ideas on how to get your brand talked about then come along to our small business marketing seminar in London on March 15th. Click here for more information:
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