iBrand: Giving Customers a Megaphone

By BKV in Media Strategy on May 7th, 2010

iBrand. No, it's not a new product from Apple. Although, it certainly sounds better than iPad now doesn't it? No, iBrand is a term that was coined by a couple of gentlemen in the industry - Stan Rapp and Michael McCathren. Basically, iBrand is nothing more than the individual brand your raving customers represent online. Think about that for a second. It's how people represent YOUR brand - hopefully in a positive manner - to other people in the online space. So in other words, it's a virtual megaphone!? Yeah, kind of. Imagine for a moment the old stereotype of the snake oil salesman ... standing out in a dusty desert town with his megaphone. "Step right up and cure what ails ya!" That was brand marketing. Now imagine for another moment that someone actually bought some snake oil and felt it worked. They then went out and told some friends about it ... told them they needed to buy some too. That's Word-of-Mouth marketing. Now consider the notion that if that snake oil salesman would have also given the customer a megaphone, free with purchase of course. He would be helping to create an iBrand. How? Well, by giving people something they liked (snake oil) + a means in which to voice their opinion (megaphone) + giving them something for free ... well, you've got a recipe for iBrand creation my friends. But now, let's consider taking this scenario out of an old dusty desert town and plugging it into online media. Combine this concept with the multiple outlets people these days have with social networking ... and you've got Word-of-Mouth on steroids. And each of these people who are now touting YOUR brand are "individual brand representatives" for your company/service/product. But "individual brand representative" sounds so IBM - so let's stick with iBrand for now. Let's begin thinking about how we can not only obtain customers but how can we obtain them and then help push them in the direction of being an iBrand for you and your clients. Because if you can do that - create iBrands for your clients - you are basically going to hit a homerun when it comes to ROI; that's the best part: this word-of-mouth-on-steroids advertising is basically free. (Hey, I used "homerun" and "steroids" in the same sentence ... and Barry Bonds wasn't even in the conversation!) Do you have any applications of iBrand? Are you an iBrand for any particular company or product? Let the stories unfold ... especially you Apple/Mac folks.