I read the latest post from Geek Dad over at Wired today (Can Geek Culture Exist Without Brands?) and it has many thought-provoking topics packed in there. But to take one of the topics and run with it, in this brave new world of brands attempting to be relevant and even engage and participate in their customers’ lives, you, as a brand, can go in one of two ways:
1) You’re a beacon. You’re a gathering place for like-minded people. They follow your light and gather together where you provide a safe place for them to share their passions and enthusiasm about how you fit in their lives. When you’re beacon, you’re there because you’re goal is to DO THE RIGHT THING. You realize that increased sales is a byproduct of being transparent and honest and doing the best job you can to make your customers lives better by connecting to them and connecting them to one another.
2) You’re a booby trap. You have a lot of same elements of the beacon, but your bottom line drives everything. And when those curious people come near to you, you spring your trap, which can come in the form of you attacking them with empty shells of Twitter offers and Facebook fan pages. It’s trying to get them to talk about you instead of you talking about them. It’s putting yourself as number one and sure – you’re inviting people to the party – but it’s your party and you want everyone there to know it and talk about it.
Everyday you have a choice. Every internal strategy meeting and every chat with your agency is an opportunity to choose which path you will take. Will it be a beacon that people come to again and again, or will it be a booby trap that lures people in under false pretenses, springs a trap on them and watches them walk away, never to return?