The surest way to get people talking

When have you been positively surprised by a brand ? What was the situation ? Why were you surprised ? What did the brand do so well ? I posed this question on Linked In and here's one of my favourite responses -  from Rashi Mittal today:

"Extensive Psychological Research Studies show that 'Surprise' is actually one of the 'strongest' and most 'surest' ways to get people 'talking'. Schemas is the scientific term used for the way that we understand the world. Whenever a 'schema' is broken, people are likely to talk about it. (eg. when a plane lands in water, when a girl wins a hand-fight with a boy and so on.). I'm not even surprised that a discussion on 'how have brands surprised you' has led to so many more answers on linked in, than most average questions. :)

In any case, my favourite of the most recent ones has to be Benetton's Unhate campaign. A lot of positive energy. Breaks schemas like no other campaign in recent times. A conversation-starter like no-other. Viral Marketing at its best?".

here's my email to Rashi:

"Thanks for helping me with your answer. I wanted to re-open this question in 2012 to see how people would respond, and which brands could be part of the conversation.

You rightly made me exercise my 'left' brain, and I'm going to dig up my Psychology books - for a timely refresher on some of the basics of human cognition, perception, and behaviour. I'm intrigued to see if Benetton can build momentum on their campaign and continue to stay part of the conversation and become relevant.

By the way, I love your concept of brandripples.com Its such a great universal metaphor; simple to understand and has that little piece of magic - by being able to visualise its meaning when hearing the name ! Love it."

What are your thoughts ? Join the conversation, get talking and share your answer on Linked In here.

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The Social Network II

"I was only saying the same things as my friends who work here, I just hit enter and went for lunch. I deleted it straight away, but my boss didn't see that as proper apology". 

It's only a matter of time before Anderson Cooper announces the sad but true 'sign of the times' faux pas....A sorry tale of the poor Gen Z multitasking intern who inadvertently announced on Linked In (while also auto posting on their blog, and twitter feed) their hatred of their employer, boss and leadership  using sms profanity of the most vulgarity ......
No, not a deleted  Facebook movie scene, but an observation of Linked In.  A once simple, uncluttered and intuitive professional networking platform that is transforming into a business social network.  Now filled with a landscape full of dashboards, ads, and tabs, and peppered with likes, comments, pictures (of babies ..perhaps) and youtube videos. 

Is the brand manoeuvring its way into future convergence with the hyper-stimulated, hyper-sticky, informational super-channel-esque - Facebook behemoth ? Fiction ?  Melodrama ?....Partial truth ?  Irrelevant !  As user numbers continue to increase and embrace the new experience, the business led by Jeff Weiner is an indellible disruptive force heading for an IPO. 

As I write this post, ad agency planners the world over are scheming to uncover killer insights,  brand managers vy to launch their first hybrid campaign, and media mavens are seeding content amongst the most coveted 'sociopro' influencers......

I used to love Linked In as I knew exactly why I was there, what I was going to do and how long I was going to spend there.  Yet the online version look and feel changes, added features, and constant refreshes echo the rhythm of Facebook, and I sense its now too late for them to dial back. My only solace is the Iphone version -  (the  app development team are genius architects for mobile).

Failure to understand their brand equity and user base may lead to the creation of a 'Bring back old Linked In' group.  Start to worry if a cut the rope 'corporate ladder edition' replaces the 'People you may know' section......

PS, while the opening quotation is currently fictitious, I sadly predict to see it reported true pretty soon.

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