If you look in any garage worth it’s grease, you’ll find a can of WD-40. The lubricating spray is so effective that it needs no advertising or branding beyond a simple acronym (which, BTW, stands for Water Displacement compound attempt #40).
WD-40 was originally designed for the aerospace industry to protect the outer hull of atlas rockets from rust and corrosion. It worked so well that aerospace engineers began sneaking cans home for their own use. If the creators of WD-40 had less insight (or the endless throng of intellectual property lawyers and communication specialists that mark today’s corporate world) they would have put a stop the practice immediately. Lucky for bike mechanics everywhere, however, the company recognized the opportunity its fans had provided. In 1958, they introduced the now instantly recognizable blue and yellow aerosol cans for at-home use.
This is just one example of how a great product or service, the kind every firm should seek to provide, earns much more from consumers than revenue — it earns advocacy and fandom. Peer-to-peer advertising, known as “word of mouth” in a pre-Twitter age, can be a company’s marketing, R&D lab, market research and creative departments all rolled into one. Recall this post from a few months back, about a tin foil company that was surprised to discover their product had a cult following in the beauty industry. This kind of epiphany is only available to companies that engage their consumers and employees, and remember that social media is more about listening than talking.
If your firm provides genuine value to consumers, they know it. Now, give them a great story and a platform to help them show it.