Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
In Chapter 7 of The Content Code, Mark Schaefer discusses the concept of a heroic brand, relating it back to his example of Chris Brogan in Chapter 1. A heroic brand is a personal brand “that can put content sharing on auto-pilot” (143). The alpha audience, or allies as Brogan refers to them, of this brand share content because they believe in the person behind it and what they stand for (143).The key aspect in building a heroic brand is trust, meaning that the audience needs to get to know the face behind the content. A little less emphasis is placed on the actual content, as seen in Brogan’s 37-word post that went viral. Allies share automatically.
Many great heroes have sidekicks. Schaefer addresses many ways to go about creating a heroic brand, the one that stood out to me was his idea of reciprocity. There is a universal concept that “if somebody does us a favor, we feel a powerful obligation to repay the debt”; that rule applies online as well (145). Repayment in the online world is on a much smaller scale and requires much less effort.
A heroic brand cannot be created on its own, it relies on relationships founded on this reciprocity. Offering to share someone’s post in exchange for a share on your own expands a brand’s reach and can result in new allies. This entails getting involved and making new connections. Gary’s Vaynerchuck’s “give, give, give, give, then ask” approach interested me (146). Rather than asking for the reciprocity upfront, he suggested asking people how he can help, planting that seed of obligation so that they will feel inclined to help you out and share your content in the future. A heroic brand can take time; it definitely won’t happen overnight. It is all about focusing your efforts less and promoting your own content and refocusing these efforts on others (146). The success will follow.
“The Internet is a relationship economy. You have to give to get” (145). As soon-to-be communications professionals out in the real word, it is important to acknowledge that there are so many other content creators out there trying to be heard, just like us. Building these symbiotic relationships, both online and offline, is a vital part of the profession. The concept of a heroic brand is something we can use in our own lives, as well as for the companies that we work for.
Image source: http://www.dccomics.com/comics/wonder-woman-%E2%80%9977-2015/wonder-woman-%E2%80%9977-special-1