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10 Things Marketers Can Learn from GE

Linda Boff, the self-proclaimed media and digital explorer, otherwise know as the Executive Director of Global Brand Marketing for GE-inspired marketers at yesterday’s MediaNOW conference, hosted by the New York Advertising Club. Not only did she motivate me, but also unlike most keynotes, she provided valuable information that all brands could utilize to better their marketing and feel more comfortable with taking risks. Here are my thoughts on what we can learn from GE.

Build a brand network

Build a community of an “owned” audience whom you speak to directly and who will ultimately become brand loyalists. GE started with GE Reports.

Everything can be media today

GE honored the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon with the creation of a limited edition of moon boots. These boots made headlines all over the world and now are selling on eBay for thousands of dollars.

Reach new audiences in unexpected ways

GE launched a SXSW BBQ Research Center where it gained scientific research, data and analysis from participants. Three days of hands-on activities and conversations featured experts in the fields of science, food culture and — of course — barbecue. Experts included Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ, Questlove, Scott Heimendinger of Modernist Cuisine, and sample tastings were from Black’s Barbecue, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, Louie Mueller Barbecue, Freedmen’s and our house pit scientist.

This worked because it was indigenous and unexpected.

Always begin with the platform

It’s important to now force-fit your content. Identify whom you’d like to target, what their interests are and where they like to access content.

Here’s an example of how GE utilized the power of sound via SoundCloud and a DJ influencer.

Be the first mover

GE was the very first brand on vine and had tremendous success with only one vine that created a movement of user-generated content that used #6secondscience. Its vine, which cost the brand only several dollars, won GE a Cannes Lions Award.

Experiment

GE’s creative strategy is to cocreate and build an eclectic group of creatives. When an idea arises that everyone feels in their gut is right, they follow it and never second-guess it. Experimenting only works if you host intensive postmortems to make the next experiment even more successful.

The user is king

GE found that Jimmy Fallon also had the invention and innovation bug. GE then approached NBC with its idea, sold the producers and let The Tonight Show’s producers run with it.

Never sweat out your assets

GE loves their content, but the key is to make it work and make it popular. Therefore, don’t overmilk your content. This does not mean your content cannot have a long life. GE will be launching 500 days of innovation to gain hype for the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. That’s 500 days of content (on a budget!).

Shout louder than you spend

Make your brand’s personality create an emotional connection and something that will resonate with them. If it doesn’t, then no amount of media dollars will work.

To sum things up, give your brand a platform appropriate personality that delivers constant and emotionally engaging content.

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