GaryVee holding the Picture Marketing cube

GaryVee holding the Picture Marketing cube (screen grab from video)

Gary Vaynerchuck (@GaryVee) was in town promoting his new book, The Thank You Economy (highly recommended). The book discusses how–like it or not–brands are now living in a transparent environment thanks to digital social platforms. Brands can no longer push their message out without regard to the conversations customers are having with each other. But while brands no longer control the conversation, there is a huge opportunity for brands to win fans by using the platforms to listen to customers and deliver meaningful experiences. He says that intent matters in this world, because people have amazing BS detectors and can sniff out when a brand is not being authentic.

He tells a great story of an employee in his wine company’s Customer Service Thank You Department, who converted an important customer of Wine Rack to a brand fan for life by delivering a gift that was personally meaningful. First she listened to what the customer cared about by following his Twitter account, and then seeing that he loved Quarterback Jay Cutler, she purchased a signed jersey on Ebay and sent it to the customer as a surprise gift. Note that the gift wasn’t free wine, the gesture has to be something meaningful to the customer not the brand.

As you can tell from his example, and as he so elegantly rants in the video below, this one-on-one marketing stuff ain’t easy for brands. You have to get the experiential stuff and the digital stuff to all line up. You have to scale it up to make an impact, but the gestures have to be personalized in a meaningful way.

Our take:
Picture Marketing believes we have a way for brands to deliver a meaningful gift to their customers in an authentic yet scalable way. By taking a photo or a video of a customer at an event, a brand can capture a fleeting interaction for later enjoyment and recall. People appreciate the gesture and after they have viewed it online privately, some number can choose to share it to social platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. A true win-win. We believe that by making every part of the interaction customer-centric the brand organically benefits in the long run (and even the short run).