Today on walks with Jeph we talk about Westjet and the social object they’ve developed; being the “fun” airline. They tell jokes on flights, are extremely friendly, and just seem to care more than the other airlines.
Do you remember the first time you flew Westjet? I sure do. It completely blew my mind that this airline actually wanted to make my flight more enjoyable. I went home immediately and told my parents about it and have been a loyal Westjet supporter ever since. You see, just the fact that I had to tell someone about my first experience with Westjet makes what they offer a social object. They’ve baked the marketing right into the product and I don’t think anyone can argue the success they’ve had.
So here’s your excuse to have a crazy, wild, loud, awesome idea for your company. The next marketing meeting you host tell everyone to think about the Westjet story and how it all started. Someone had the idea of telling jokes on flights. Even more importantly, someone high up in that company liked the idea and gave them permission to try it.
A smart culture breeds smart ideas.
If you think it’s social media is the future of marketing you are way off kilter. Social media is merely a means to and ends, a tool, a medium for communication. Social media is not a strategy.
What happens when communication goes from being expensive (press releases, billboards, 30 second spot) to relatively free (website, blog, Twitter account)? We get a fire-hose of information, which makes it much more difficult to standout amongst the crowd. (more noise than signal)
Enter Social Objects, they are the videos we share with friends, the pictures that get retweeted, the reason we tell stories about companies, the reason we remain extremely loyal to some brands. It’s all because of social objects. If something is worth sharing then it is a social object. Billboards can be social objects, commercials can be social objects, products can definitely be social objects. Anything that’s worth telling somebody about, is by definition, a social object.
As a marketer it is now your job to create social objects.
Here’s a video on Social Objects:
Social objects aren’t created over night. What usually seems like a major breakthrough, is the result of a long process of improving upon the first iteration. The iPod for example may appear to have been a remarkable social object that happened overnight for Apple, when actually it was the product of many different versions improving upon the prior version.
Because creating a social object is difficult, many companies purposely try not to, if it was easy everyone would do it.
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