Taking charge of Branding the Long Tail

Branding in the long tail might be difficult. This blog post aims at looking at how you can use a thought of utility to bypass the expensive branding methodology used today.

I read a blog post today that said social media is not for making money. I think this is only one side of the coin. I believe that you can utilize social media to make loads of money today and in the future. I am unsure if this posts give you reason enough to trust me, but if we discuss it I am sure we’ll reach a profitable conclusion.

Fortunes on branding
One thing that many companies spend fortunes on today, in order to make money, is branding. Branding is all about putting your brand in the right light so that people think that it is the best option when given several to choose from. I believe, and many with me, that social media is an excellent place where a brand can make it big, and thus also make loads of money, by being the better of two choices.

I mean c’mon… it’s no newsflash that people talk on Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, QZone, Friendster, Jaiku (well not so much talk there anymore..)… For me as a user, these services has become a way of expressing myself to my friends in a much more lasting way than before. People can check up on me without having to talk to me and thus maintain the “nice weather” convo without actually talking to other people.

Social networks are in a way, one way, for us as individuals to stay on top of what’s up in our network. What’s hot, what’s not. What’s lame, what’s game. It is also a way for us to stay on top of that game, and in a sense, a way of us to put our personal brand in the right light.

Branding the long tail
So, what does a company brand have to do in all of this. Well, some say they don’t belong, I say those same people are very wrong. I say that brands have an oportunity to stop being brands in social media. What I’m really saying is that your future brand value, and thus your purchase surplus produced on the web, is in fact at best odds when you have no brand at all. What I am aiming at is utility and function.

“HUH?? You say now…” (Yoda voice)

Well… the social web give you as a company a great oportunity to stop paying for ineffective ads. Let your user be your ad instead. The way this works best is basically through you saying – Nothing.

“HUH??” You say now… (also Yoda voice)

To understand this you need to understand how people work in the long tail. You can watch this clip of Clay Shirky talking about this, or you can simply get the fact that; When you can talk to 300 million people through the web, your 1 in a million shot, actually becomes a group of 300 people.

Regardless if your interest or purpose in life is to starv yourself to death, you will find other people that also want this for their life, on the web, through the social networks. Same theory, but applied to a way in which you park your car…. I am 10000-megazillion percent sure you will find someone who parks their car the same way.

I won’t get “långrandig” (vertically striped… swedish expression for taking to much time for nothing) on you. What the long tail phenomenon of the web offers for you as a company, is for people to connect with others that use your product in exactly the same way as themselves do.

  • Focus for you –> make a good product
  • Focus for PR department –> tell people who like previous versions of product that new version exists
  • Focus for users –> make good use of product
  • Focus for marketing department –> help users who have found good use of product, find other users that have found the same way of using the product –> so that they can form a club/a clan/a tribe

Why on earth would this help my company?
Well, first of all, you spread your risk. Today you are putting all your money on one card!! On ONE brand. By letting your users group around several small purposes, utilities and such values, you are relying on their personal brand. When would you put all your money in your stock portfolio on one stock?? Well, you wouldn’t do that… You would spread your risk so that your total portfolio would gain value over time. (I know… you lunatics allready working in social media would put it all on one card, but I am trying to put this in words so that the conservatives understand social medias value)

And just as you talk about the stock in your portfolio that runs steeply upwards with your friends. You should talk about the utility that is gaining the most followers in social media. Why?? Well, because it puts you in the shiny light aswell. You bet on them and they’re paying off. And, if a lot of people have found a common utility for your product, then it is highly likely that people who do not yet know of your product, will find that utility useful. Thus, you highlight what is successful, what the users who actually own your shit, wants to do with it.

It may be wearing your silk trousers on their heads, it might be driving the car backwards or it might simply be eating with your fork in the right hand, as it is more comfortable than the left hand.

You think I’m nuts.. why would ANYONE want to speak about or do like that?? That must be a one in a million shot… Well if it is a one in a million shot… then statistically there should be 300 people on Facebook who wants to do this. Newsflash Social media –> They can now find eachother, group and collaborate!!

So what does this mean
Well, I get it that I don’t get it all said in this post, but I needed to get it out of my system. Basically, this is one way in which I want to say that YOU as a company should focus on making money through social media. You should do this by making a wise investment in spreading your brand risk on many small portfolios –> tribes, colonies etc etc of interpretations of your product utility.

You will not only save a humungus amount of money, but the knowledge about you will also grow NOW and in the long run.

And to learn HOW exactly you should do this call 555-I-WANT-TO-PAY-JESPER-A-FORTUNE-RIGHT-NOW, that was… 555-I-WANT-TO-PAY-JESPER-A-FORTUNE-RIGHT-NOW… if you call within 10 minutes, I said 10 minutes… I’ll throw in the Mitsu knife… an all around knife that makes a filé out of your filé… hmm… tired.. yes… dislike you all…


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