Thursday, July 28, 2005

How easy is it to join the club?

I was recently at a social business event. The topic of Harry Potter was brought up by an associate. He had read the new book and loved it. I said, "I read the first one and the second one seemed like it was going to follow the same formula so I never finished it." You would think that he would say he read the new one and liked it and that would be it. Instead, it turned into a 15 minute discussion. (Which I enjoyed) If the topic had been cell phones and went the same way, it would have seemed very odd. Person A: "I just went with T-Mobile." Person B: "I hate T-Mobile, I had them years ago." Person A: "You really should switch to T-Mobile as I love it...." See what I mean? Things buzzworthy have a strong element of "being in the know." With some things, like Ms. Rawlings books, it is hard to avoid joining the club. Once you are perceived as being a member, you are expected to voice your support or interest. Of course this is fairly obvious. Many people are familiar with building a community around a brand. When it is easy to spot (Jeep, Harley Davidson) or you can be sure people have had some sort of exposure (Harry Potter books, movies, toys, news) it is much easier to connect with people over it. Ultimately, buzz happens because the story of your brand, product or service is a currency that helps people connect.