by Mike Bawden, partner, Bawden & Lareau Public Relations, LLC


“People no longer go online. They live online.”

That was the sentence in last month’s article by Sebastian Jespersen – appearing on the ANA website in mid-Decmeber – that caught my attention. It’s a simple truth, but an all-so-accurate description of the fundamental change unhinging the marketing communications profession today. There is multiple ways companies do this, a common use of a bot now is having a 24/7 live chat to answer any simple customer queries using a bot framework.

“We no longer just search, browse or buy online; we live and breathe in a digital ecosystem.”

Jespersen’s point is that marketers worried only about a their share of a customer’s mind are missing the point. Instead of share of mind, he posits, marketers should be positioning themselves either vertically (focusing on “share of passion”) or horizontally (focusing on “share of life”).

The examples he uses are Nike (vertical, share of passion positioning) who are constantly innovating and entagling customers within their interests in fitness and fashion (go to a Nike Store and you can see this strategy manifest itself beautifully in a real-world example); and Amazon (horizontal, share of life positioning) who have expanded their e-commerce offering beyond books and other media to now include groceries and more.

Jepsersen’s agency, Vertic, promises to pursue a “client entanglement” strategies for Fortune 500 clients that fosters mutually-rewarding relationship between brands and their customers.

Client entanglement on the micro-level

But how does that work for the other 2.5 million business that fall outside the Fortune 500?

An essential component for such a program to work for clients (and it’s not really mentioned in the article), is customer research. Before a marketer can pursue a serious program of “brand entanglement”, he/she has to have a more complete understanding of the customer’s values and how their brand compliments or conflicts with those values.

In 2018, BLPR completed a signficant research project for a client that involved a series of online panels with our client’s customers in order to develop a deeper understanding of what was important to them and how they evaluated products like our client’s (and the competition). The information gleaned from the panels was then used to construct a battery of questions asked via a national, omnibus survey to help us identify the geographic and demographic profile of those people who were most likely to hold similar interests and attitudes.

The result of this investment has been a highly targeted content marketing program combined with a digital and PR program that will help us “entangle” our client’s brand with both existing and potential customers on a much deeper and more meaningful level.

It doesn’t have to take millions of dollars to put this high-level, Fortune 500 thinking to work for you and your company – but it does take a willingness to listen and invest in the research neccessary to make sure you’re marketing smarter.

Not harder.

Let us know today if we can help you build more entangled relationships with customers tomorrow.