Stiles on Content: Can Brands Get Famous?

Mike Stiles

It seems like everyone wants to be famous these days.  People dream of being actors, actresses, singers, athletes, whatever will lift them above the masses and establish them as something special, something above and beyond the norm.  They want the public to love them so much they’ll follow their every move with rapt attention, seek out and purchase every product that’s theirs or that has their name attached to it, and read every word written about them.  They want to be dominant in hearts and minds.

Ben Lashes is a meme manager, an agent for Internet stars of the Internet.  He reps memes like Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat and Scumbag Steve, as well as their creators.  His belief is that the people who create Internet phenomena are stunned by, and not accustomed to, the sudden fame that comes their way.  They don’t know how to represent themselves when dubious operations start using, without pay or permission, their content.  He says, “Anything you can’t do to Mickey Mouse, you shouldn’t be able to do to memes.”  But, whereas huge corporate entities like Disney develop content slowly and methodically, the digital content being generated by all the twisted minds out there gets created, posted and discovered in a flash…unencumbered.

George Takei had plenty of fame as “Star Trek’s” Sulu.  But his digital antics have taken his persona and fame into a current and relevant arena that goes far beyond appearances at the occasional Trek convention.  His funny photos and memes get crazy engagement levels, even beating out Rihanna, the most liked person on Facebook.  He has 1,624,780 likes on Facebook and 348,019 Twitter followers.  If a post gets 50,000 likes and 30,000 shares, that’s not an aberration, it’s par for the course.  Takei has extended his fame by reinventing himself as a social celebrity.

Why am I telling you B2B social marketers about these two fellows?  Because they can teach you how to turn your brand into a celebrity.  Many of the same traits and tactics that turn unknowns into celebrities seemingly overnight can be spun and applied to the social platforms to give your brand a taste of fame.  Here are just a few ways you can possibly make it happen.

1. Do something!  You have to do something if you want people to notice you.  It should stand out, be memorable, and get people talking about you.  You can take just about any famous person and trace their fame back to one specific product or moment that “launched” them to fame.  What’s yours going to be?

2. You have to come across as cool, because the opposite of cool is “lame.”  If the content you put out is safe, makes no waves, and isn’t attention getting, then it (and your brand by association), is lame.  You can’t be lame, then expect people to want to be identified with you.

3. Create a culture around your brand.  I’ll go ahead and give you the best example of this there is…Apple.  Apple isn’t just a line of products.  It’s a culture.  It’s a way of life.  Every experience associated with Apple, from their product design to their packaging to their Apple Stores to their Genius Bars, is one of many components that create a culture and aura around the brand.  Your corporate culture has to yield to a much hipper public culture.

4. Have you been struggling to get people to Like your Page on Facebook?  George Takei didn’t “struggle” to get his knockout numbers.  Keyboard Cat didn’t “struggle” to get the attention it got.  Cold hard truth: if people already adore you, getting Liked will be no problem at all.  You won’t be able to stop it.  If the public is reluctant to Like your brand, then the brand has problems that go well beyond what’s happening on its social streams.

5. Getting famous requires guts, risk, a willingness to fall flat on your face, a commitment to pleasing fans, and a burning hunger to leave your competition in the dust.  Sadly, none of these things are very common in or indicative of most corporate cultures.  Never experimenting, being too thin-skinned, not really caring if you get praise or applause from customers…these are all sure paths to total anonymity.

Do you want your brand to be a rock star?  Do you want to hear customers chanting your name?  Do you want to see them standing in line to get your product?  Then you’ve got to do what every show business dreamer has done, do whatever it takes along the way to make it, and don’t stop until you get there.

About the Author

 Mike Stiles is a content specialist, writer, blogger and producer with Vitrue, the leading social relationship management technology platform in the industry.

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