Know Yourself: Capitalizing on the right place at the right time.


One of the more frustrating things about building online communities for small businesses is the naive expectation of instant gratification. For example, my client that manufactures only one kind of product for one kind of customer -- their first question after reaching 2,000 followers on Instagram was “when are we going to hit a million like Nike?”

Whoa, 2001 Nelly!


This came as a surprise to me then, but it is fairly common for marketers to have to find graceful ways to say things like “You’re not Nike though”. Of course, stay positive. However, what job is effectively done without calling out spades where we see them?

There is a difference between building an online community and maintaining a cult following. That is that the first is usually followed by the latter. When introducing new products, understand that it’s not going to be love at first sight for you and some consumers. Your bread and butter will come from those with a specific need for your product. Your cult following will come as you begin to present yourself to your audience as the brand with more depth than the competitors.  That’s when it stops being about the hand to hand exchange and spills into the exchange of knowledge or anything that the masses can collectively share in an aha moment.

How do you do this? One way is to figure out who your customers are, then focus on an area of interest. This requires knowing what consumers like about you, what they see in your competition, and what they like to do or talk about in their down time. Analytics are your friend when you go down this road, but sometimes the numbers aren’t always able to show you where you can maximize your influence. Timing is everything. Be a constant observer of the issues and trends going on around you. Be swift about using your greatness to tap into new markets or do some good in the eyes of your consumers.

To take the simplest of products, I’ll use Dawn dishwashing soap as an example. They could not have predicted the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They could not have predicted that thousands of wildlife were going to be affected by the one thing they so famously fight in every one of their previous ads - grease. The Dawn Saves Wildlife campaign not only put the brand in the spotlight for animal lovers all over the world, but now the product that is known exclusively for one thing can be used for many. Dawn didn’t have to sell me the idea that I could give my dog a bath with their soap. They capitalized on their “aha moment” - an event in history - so now we’ll always remember the wonders of Dawn. As many commercials as they aired comparing themselves to competitors, somehow we all know there’s no real difference. You don’t see people cleaning ducks with Palmolive.