Resonance, Not Reach

Creating a brand LoveMark in the 21st century has never been easier. Yet, the concept seems to be alien to so many companies.

Many brands think they’ve got a loyal following. But what they really have is passive brand loyalty. People who buy the product all the time, but don’t really have a loving, committed relationship. It’s a marriage of convenience. Your brand is not a LoveMark. And you’re fooling yourself if you think those sales figures are just going to continue without putting some work into your relationship. There’s always something shiny coming around the corner, or a challenge to be met and if your customers aren’t willing to go the extra mile for you, then you’re DOA.

Advertising used to be about reaching as many people as possible with your message. Reach. CPM. It was all about how many eyeballs you could get to. And that’s what brands thought would bring them some sort of relationship with people. But it’s a flawed system that doesn’t work. The old “50% of my advertising works and 50% doesn’t – but I don’t know which 50% is which” simply isn’t good enough for today’s effective marketer, working on a slashed budget and still needing to demonstrate real ROI.

I put it to you that Reach is not what you should be focused on (in fact, it was never the real focus, but we got lost because that’s all traditional media could measure and create sales on). It’s not primarily about Reach.

It’s all about Resonance.

To explain Resonance to students, I say it’s like hitting the sweet spot on a tennis racquet. You get the best power, best direction, best result – with ‘just-right’ input. Hitting a ball with the sweet spot on the tennis racquet is Resonance. And the perfect chord on a guitar is Resonance.

Social media offer brands an opportunity to create a LoveMark because they offer a capacity for Resonance that traditional formats, focused on CPM, could never offer. CPM tries to achieve Resonance by throwing lots and lots of tennis balls at a racquet, and hoping one or two make the sweet spot. There’s stacks of lost message. And stacks of lost money.

Resonance in advertising is all about making your product the perfect and only fit that the buyer can see for them. In fact, it shows the product as being built specifically for them. It’s all about the individual consumer. It’s not about how many thousands of people you can get your message to. It’s about getting it to the right people.

By using social media as a tool, Resonance happens when your brand speaks to people online. Personally. As part of a conversation. When you’re speaking to someone it says you care about them. How do you think rock stars get so successful? Name any teen heart-throb: David Cassidy, Robbie Williams, Jesse McCartney, even (good grief) the Jonas Bros make girls feel they are performing just for them. They sing songs that say “hey, I’m so lonely and you could be the one.” Rock stars who do that have Resonance down pat. And now it’s easy for any brand to do the same.

Social media offers brands the opportunity to become a LoveMark for people and eliminate a great portion of the passive brand loyalty that they’re built on. Good brands, like Zappos.com are in the space, making personal relationships with people a priority. As time goes on, I hope more companies rediscover the importance of Resonance over Reach. If you build resonance with one person, then they’ll be singing your praises day in and day out to people who care about what they have to say. And that’s a CPM you couldn’t put a price on.

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