iQ by Intel Takes the Food Cart Viral: A B2B Demand Gen Case Study

August 28, 2012

I was checking out one of my favorite foodie blogs, Eater 38, when I came across the iQ by Intel series on Mobile Food. These videos investigate how popular food carts in New York and Portland are using technology to succeed. The first, “Starting the Food Cart,” shows mobile restaurant owners discussing how technology shapes the industry. Next, “Powering the Food Cart” looks at how these businesses use the latest payment technologies. And the third, “Promoting the Food Cart,” will show how they use social media to connect with customers. I think these are great examples of how smart content becomes discoverable—by revealing something people want to know and are excited to share.

A colleague of mine knows Bryan Rhoads, iQ Editor-in-Chief, and he gave her the inside scoop about this project. “iQ is designed to feed a content-hungry 24/7 cycle. It may sound cliché, but content is the currency of the modern web…and social shares are the transactions in this market place for eyeballs and exposure.”

How has iQ been effective in grabbing eyeballs? “As consumers of information, we still Google or search for information, but content discovery has changed. I’m much more likely to discover interesting items, news and product offerings in my social news feeds like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. An additional and very pleasant surprise for us is how often we’re seeing our content in news aggregation sites, magazines and apps like FlipBoard or Zite. That’s effective modern marketing. That’s how the game is now played: getting one’s content to appear organically in these new tools and apps. Seeing an iQ story, including the Foodcart series in FlipBoard and Zite, is what it’s all about.”

How can businesses increase exposure? “It’s a 24/7 on-demand market place. Brands need to think more like publishers, i.e. cater to what the audience needs, wants or wants to share. iQ’s content strategy is ‘demand-side’ economics, not the ‘supply-side’ where brands have traditionally focused. Brands historically want to supply content and messages that they want to push out. However, in this on-demand world, messages and content will fall helplessly flat if there is no demand.”

The Mobile Food series is a great reminder that we can increase awareness and credibility without being salesy. One of my social gurus, Carmen Hill, agrees that these guys have knocked it out of the park. “I love what Intel is doing with the iQ site. Bryan and his team have truly blazed a trail with their social and content marketing practice. It’s so easy to fall back on the bad habit of always talking about ourselves. What Intel is doing—and what we should all aspire to do—is to create content about things our audience cares about. Talking about our products is boring. Talking about how our products help get your lunch paid for and ready to eat faster is much more interesting.”

The takeaway? When B2B demand gen efforts are aligned just right with what’s hot, content can become not just relevant but magnetic.

How are you delivering the content your audiences are hungry for in ways that reveal your true value—and get you the eyeballs you want?

Battle of the Brands in the B2B Demand Generation Arena: Personal vs Corporate

February 11, 2011

The Web Wants YOU

Let’s explore how you can  get the support you need from your company to cultivate your personal brand through social media—and reassure them that your personal brand buildup will be beneficial to them.

In his article “Personal Brands vs. Corporate Brands,” Chris Koch asserts,

“This is the year that the personal brand begins to do battle with the corporate brand…We need to let the personal brand win—especially in B2B.” Allowing your subject matter experts to become superstars in their own right, typically via a non-company blog or other social media, “creates a virtuous cycle that links these personal brands to the corporate brand.”

This virtuous cycle includes at least two big benefits to the company:

  • Positioning company leaders as subject matter experts in their own right adds credibility to the organization and increases trust in the company brand.
  • The personal brand blog ultimately drives traffic to the company website—it serves as another channel for leads.

But, your own company might say, what if our superstar leaves the company and takes all their good traffic with them? That’s what happened to Forrester Research: Popular analyst Jeremiah Owyang joined them after his own blog had gained a large following. The brand benefits were mutual, as Chris notes:

“In the early days, Owyang’s personal blog was driven by his personal brand and enhanced by the Forrester corporate brand. First you found Owyang, and then you found that Forrester was behind him.

Meanwhile, the Forrester corporate blog that he contributed to was driven by the Forrester brand and enhanced by Owyang’s personal brand. First you found Forrester, and then you found Owyang.”

As you may already know, Owyang ultimately left Forrester for a startup, Altimeter. But from Chris’ point of view, Forrester still wins:

“Owyang’s blog is still packed full of references to Forrester and his work there…There’s a very positive association there that underscores Forrester’s ability to nurture talent.”

However, today Forrester analysts may only write personal blogs “behind the Forrester firewall” and contribute to group blogs targeting specific business lines. Effectively, Forrester co-brands their analysts. And if a star analyst leaves, it’s easier to fill the gap—right?

“From a traditional corporate branding perspective, your immediate reaction would be to expunge the analyst from your audience’s memory and start pushing the new content instead…From a customer’s perspective, I think Forrester looks better being a legacy on a star’s personal blog than having a star that leaves a void in content upon leaving.”

Companies can’t afford to default to knee-jerk traditional brand-think when dealing with all of the issues brought on by the rise of the personal brand. Your audience’s memory might be short, but the Internet remembers everything. And that’s a big reason why, as Chris says, “like it or not, the brand game has changed forever.”

I highly recommend reading Chris’ full story on “Personal Brands vs. Corporate Brands” as soon as you get the chance!

Have you faced resistance to establishing your personal brand as a marketer outside of your organization? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

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