Thursday, 11 June 2009

Missing tricks

Day 2 of the Tube strike, so another walk to and from work for me and many of the other 3 million commuters that usually use the underground network before 9.30am. Everyone knows that Britons love a crisis to bring people together and to give them something to whinge about. For the last two days the commuting community have been united in a common inconvenience.

So where were the brands capitalising on the opportunity to get people to talk?

I spend a lot of time evangelising about the power of the voice of the people, the need to leverage people's personal influence networks and how brands need to be creating conversation currency. Yet here was an opportunity staring everyone in the face, an event that everyone knew was likely to happen, bar last minute strike settlement, and yet as I walked down Oxford Street yesterday did I see a single enterprising coffee shop seeking to add a moment of surprise and delight to the drudge of a disrupted morning? Any brands trying to bring a smile to someone's face by giving them a positive brand experience they could go on to talk about? No. Nient. Nada.

Sunscreen brands, drinks brands, cereal bar brands, blister-care products, I can think of endless mainstream products and brands that could have capitalised on the hundreds of extra people walking past their retailers. 2 days running. But no....

The best I can offer up, and I laud them for doing so, is (the price comparison site) who at least took the initiative this morning to pay someone to stand outside Paddington station armed with this banner and an A-Z to help the lost and perplexed.

It won't have cost them much and I bet I wasn't the only one that noticed. Experiences such as these can interrupt and interject a message and leave a favourable impression.

That might mean someone mentions what they saw / your brand name to their friends and colleagues as a result. It might mean that they shared a Twitpic. Irrespective of the form it takes, that's what I call conversation currency. It can be triggered by all manner of things, BIG or small. Offline or online. But it might well mean that subconsciously or consciously those consumers go on to add your brand name into their brand / service consideration set at a later point in time when an appropriate need arises.

So when these tactical opportunities arise, carpe diem should be a brand's mantra.

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