By Ruth Michel
“Stop it!” Scott Stratten screamed at a room full of marketers at SilverPop’s Amplify 2013 conference as he pointed at photos of QR codes on flying airplane banners, automatic doors and billboards. Maybe the technology of a QR code was promising, but marketers were ruining it, according to the president of Un-Marketing. Stratten is all about engaging instead of using traditional or new-fangled tactics that make you look out-of-touch or simply stupid.
His presentation kept coming back to ridiculous (but laughable) uses of QR codes, which only 3.6% of people actually use by the way, but his points were consistently wise. Here are a few:
“We share experiences, not logos”
How often do you share cool logos of brands with your friends, and how often do you share about products you just experienced? I had some killer steak and mouth-watering lobster at Outback last night. I’ve shared this with four people so far, but the logo hasn’t come into the conversation. The point here is not to ditch your logo, but to put your resources and energy where it matters most.
Stratten showed us photos of a loosely stuffed giraffe on vacation. Cool enough, but what made it awesome was that a little boy had left this at the resort and freaked out (as any child experiencing stuffed-animal-separation-anxiety would) and the resort mailed it back, paying for all shipping costs. Problem solved, but the resort employees made it an opportunity when they photographed the giraffe by the pool, hanging with its animal buddies and learning how to monitor security cameras. They even created an employee badge with the giraffe’s photo and included it in the package. This is the kind of thing that social media eats up, my friends.
“Branding is in real time”
An irate Stratten recalled the time that he kept being stalled as he crept his way through airport security, only to be rudely told to “open his ears” by a Delta stewardess. His frustration hit the Twittersphere, and within minutes, he had a polite, apologetic reply from a Delta employee. It immediately diffused his anger. A day later, and that reply would have been too little, too late, but in that moment, it was perfect. Our brands’ perceptions can change in an instant!
“Twitter has no ROI”
If you’ve ever tried to attach dollar signs to Tweets, then you understand it’s not easy. Yet Stratten challenges us to open our minds. “There’s an ROI in being awesome,” he says, “and sometimes that happens on Twitter.”
Is your company compassionate on social media? Does it challenge the status quo? Is it surprisingly creative or wittingly executed? Does it get people to think “Wow,” “Awesome” or “Do that again!”?
Be real and humorous
Sticking a QR code on the back of a semi? Worse than telling your customers to text and drive. Sticking the following on the back of a milk truck? “In case of accident, please have cookies ready. Lots and lots and lots of cookies.” Well, that’s witty, funny, and makes me want to share all over Instagram and Facebook.
Needless to say, Stratten’s best sellers UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. and The Book Of Business Awesome: How Engaging Your Customers And Employees Can Make Your Business Thrive are at the top of my reading list! Is your business doing anything awesome?