Is your brand social? Are you creating shareable content? Is your brand influential? For all of these questions we ask ourselves about important adjectives that our brands should be, we often miss one of the simplest yet biggest ones of all — how talkable is your brand?
Whether you realize it or not, you know what a talkable brand is. It’s a company that you do business with that makes you smile. An organization that has such a unique way of doing things you have to talk about it to others. In fact, you’re compelled to do so.
For example, this week I welcomed another box of Warby Parker home try-on glasses frames. What’s Warby Parker? I’ll answer with my go-to pitch I give anyone curious about my glasses: Warby Parker creates designer frames and lenses for just $95 dollars. That’s it. Your bill for a single pair is less than $100. They also have sunglasses. If you’re curious about how frames look on you, you can get up to five frames at a time sent to you as “home try-ons.” And, if you needed another reason to buy, for every pair you purchase they donate a pair to someone in need. There’s no reason not to get glasses from Warby Parker.
I then usually apologize for being a glasses salesman and assure them that I’m not on Warby Parker’s payroll.
It’s a familiar story. We all see these talkable brands flying around the zeitgeist—Zappos, Tom’s Shoes, and the like. Companies that understand that the best “ad” you can buy is to create a unique brand that focuses unabashedly on helping people. Seth Godin explored this on his blog recently by asking, when should we add marketing? He points out that previously the model was to sprinkle marketing on at the end after the product or service is fully formed.
This era has given over to a time when the marketing is baked-in early on in the process. Warby Parker carefully built a powerful marketing system from the start based on the design of their experience. They haven’t run a big ad campaign or done anything that would look to the previous generation like ‘advertising.’ Instead they opted to build something unique, remarkable, and ultimately talkable.
To Seth’s point, this means moving marketing up earlier in the process and asking tough questions about product, process, and personnel — things some traditionalists might consider out of the domain of the marketing department. You see, marketing is no longer a clever ad grafted onto a product after it’s done. Instead, it’s become the series of stories, special services, and sentiment that make up your brand’s experience. If successful, this creates exceptional long-term brand value for a fraction of the cost of a traditional ad buy by transforming your customers into raving fans compelled to talk about your brand to the next random person who compliments their glasses. Of course, social media magnifies the intensity of talkable brands even further.
The talk-able factor is a good litmus test for seeing if you’ve added marketing in the right place. Would you or your friends feel compelled to share your brand’s story with others?
How talk-able is your brand?