Social Media for “Boring” Products and Services

Josh Bernoff at Forrester Research recently wrote a report Social Technology Strategies for “Boring” Consumer Brands. Alas, the report costs $749, so I haven’t read it – yet. But, Bernoff’s executive summary explains his key point – “borrowed relevance.” If you have a “boring” brand or product that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to digital conversations and social media, you shouldn’t give up on leveraging social media.

Instead, Bernoff suggests creating an application that taps into your customers’ problems, and then using that application to capture the online enthusiasm of consumers.

Josh’s colleague, Chad Mitchell, followed up Bernoff’s report with an article in Insurance Networking News where he gives specific examples of “boring” insurance companies/brands using the “borrowed relevance” strategy. Some examples, include:

Geico’s MyGreatRides – a site for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Allstate’s Allstate Garage – another site for motorcycle enthusiasts with articles and content related to motorcycle safety.

Though Bernoff’s report focused on consumer brands, the “borrowed relevance” concept can also be applied in a B2B environment too as I mentioned in an earlier post.

If you’re a B2B company selling a product and service and you’re wondering how to capture the digital passion of your potential customers, you may want to ask yourself what problems those customers are having that don’t currently have an online solution. It could be as simple as a dedicated messageboard so that your potential customers could connect, vent, and problem solve with other people in their field.

Maybe you’re working in a specific niche that lacks a go-to blog or news source. You could consider creating that blog or news source as long as you commit to building a truly neutral news site. If you start excluding articles that mention your competitors or giving prominent placement to your own press, your customers will start doubting the value and authenticity of the site.

further elaborate

* Social media can sell “boring” brands, too
Using a social-media marketing strategy to sell something dull and practical isn’t as tricky as it looks, writes Chad Mitchell, especially if firms are willing to follow the examples of a couple of market leaders. Companies such as Geico have used social marketing to reach out to specialty clients such as motorcycle enthusiasts, while companies such as Nationwide and Liberty Mutual have tried to hook clients with educational content, Mitchell notes. Insurance Networking News (4/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail This Story

* Century 21 marketing is all social media, all the time
An online radio talk show about real estate issues that includes an unbranded forum is the latest element in Century 21 Real Estate’s shift from TV to an all-digital marketing strategy. The company, which in January stopped running national TV ads, also is using social networks and Twitter as elements in its C21 Communities social-media platform. Advertising Age (4/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail This Story