Stoking Passions to Achieve Sales.
By Vijay Dandapani
Wednesday, 30th May 2012
A brand's success more often than not lies in it's ability to hone in on consumers' passions via a holistic approach that uses their fervor to establish an emotional bond preferably over the long run.

A Forbes.com article details how Tourism Ireland (TI) scored a home run for the economically beleagured country by successfully deploying "passion-point" marketing in the run up to the 100th anniversary of the April 15th sinking of the Titanic.

While the fact that the ship started its journey from Belfast in Northern Ireland was helpful, TI also emphasized the fact the Titanic was built in Belfast which afforded the city an opportunity to enhance its tourism profile as the authentic birthplace of the world's most romanticized ship and sought to standout in a sea of "Titanica" that was flooding the newswires.

TI went about it by identifying four passion pillars to build their campaign around:

1. Passion pools: Identify the sizable consumer passions for which a brand has a credible, distinctive proposition. TI discovered that there were more Google searches for Titanic than there were for Belfast letting them know that they had a passion worth engaging.

2. Valuable content: TI noted that "engaging with passionate consumers requires content that they find valuable enough to pay attention to" and  went on to identify "a niche in short films telling stories of Titanic that offered opportunities for product placement."

3. Appropriate homes: The content must be housed in an environment designed to maximize credibility and conversation. Given the evident scale of Titanic passion TI built a dedicated Titanic Stories website with related social presences and invested in building traffic over 18 months before the actual 100th anniversary.

TI also focused on ensuring their site was well connected with others in the same (Titanic) space thereby ensuring a larger audience for its message.

A marketing story along somewhat similar lines that used employees' passion to disseminate the brand's message was one used by Guitar Center, a musical instrument retailer. The company tried a new tack to  build relationships with customers by publishing profiles for each of the company's sales associates with the expectation that it would provide good content to Guitar Center's site. Among the aspects the company emphasized was the expertise and local presence of their associates with direct email access to them.

Not only did the Guitar Center's efforts generate significantly greater SEO results but also sales via direct contact with the associates underscoring the sales maxim that greater engagement generates more sales. It is a template that could be used across industries.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city.Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

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