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Lessons of the Little Mermaid

January 28, 2010  

You're probably familiar with the story of The Little Mermaid. In this classic tale of unrequited love, a girl exchanges her voice for the chance to be close to a prince. It's a parable about finding the right voice amid the melee.

Faced with a plentitude of uncertainties about social media, a lot of brands are behaving a bit like the mermaid these days. They know "engagement" has become an important priority, but from a distance the concept seems fast and loose (Facebook, right...? Twitter, right...?), so they assign their voices to a marketing team—or an intern—without thinking much about the following:

  • What do you really want to achieve? No sense in diving into an ocean willy-nilly; decide what you're doing it for: Visibility? Higher conversions over a period of time? Stronger brand resonance within a given group?
  • What are you willing to give to get it? How much time, and how many resources, can you devote to the effort?
  • Where is your audience? "Social media" covers a broad range of technology, including Facebook, Twitter and a wide range of community-building efforts.
  • How are you going to speak to them? Are you a Zappos-style brand, where the CEO is willing to take time and effort to serve on social media's front lines? Or maybe you're more Adobe-esque, with branches so diverse that it's best to serve multiple customers with multiple identities, depending on their needs.

As is the case with our Little Mermaid, finding the right voice merits taking the time to reflect. Here's some help from MarketingProfs:

In the end, it's the recovery of the Little Mermaid's own melody that wins her prince. What's yours?  


The Po!nt: Name your tune. Choose well your brand's theme song—and the people you'll want to have singing it.

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