This post reflects my personal experience and opinions.
Klout. We all have an opinion on the social influence measurement tool. Since it first débuted, I’ve been on it. I personally don’t consider myself all that influential, so I never really expect much in terms of their perks program. I’ve gotten the random assortment of make-up, McDonald’s gift cards and hangover drinks over the years.
However, it looks like Klout is getting smart with their perks. In May, the company announced that they have awarded one million Perks across over 400 campaigns since they began the program. And it’s more than just product placement. They’re providing experiences. Partnering with Microsoft, influencers were given a new phone to try out the Windows Phone mobile OS, three months service, and tickets to an exclusive party. Recall their Chevy campaign? Influencers were handed the keys to a Chevrolet Volt & Sonic for three days and were told to have fun.
It makes sense from a marketing perspective. More brands are recognizing the need to combine social media and personal experiences to effectively connect with consumers. Actual physical and emotional experiences are much more powerful than just the standard swag. It provides the link between our offline and online worlds, building loyalty and trust with us as consumers. We know the brand in a new way.
To be fully honest though, I always expected these to be for those tech elite, which misses the mark of the average consumer. That’s something I think SONY realizes. A few weeks ago, I received an email that I was invited to a Klout SONY trip. Intrigued, I clicked through.
My perk wasn’t a demo of their latest product but a way to experience their latest product. Targeting consumers who love to travel, they gathered 10 individuals together for a Hamptons experience I’ll never forget. And it all began with their latest Sony VAIO Duo laptop.
The laptop was shipped over to us the next week to give us time to play around with it (and that I did). The next step was to bring the nifty tool with us to meet our Sony representative, Callan. Callan gathered us at the NYC Heliport for an incredible helicopter ride to our Hamptons location. We were then picked up in a car to be taken to our boutique hotel.
From there, we lounged by the pool getting to know each other. The evening held a cocktail party and more conversations. Everyone on the trip was a perfect match. Sony’s representative did an incredible job of pulling something together that created dialogue around her products but also created relationships — with each other and Sony.
Instead of something that I may or may not use or bother to figure out how to use, Sony instead was offering me something different: an experience. I won’t remember the gift bag or the hotel name, but I will remember the way Sony made me feel and the relationships created from the experience. In a time when brands are struggling to engage influencers in a meaningful way, Sony did it right.
I talk about my experience, and not just about what I scored. I talk about their products, about how I really actually like the laptop. I show it off. And most importantly, I have a relationship with Sony. I pay attention to their tweets and have even been caught checking out their product line. Sony gave me a new perspective on who they are, and best of all, why it aligns with who I am. And it leaves me thinking, this is the future of marketing.