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Newsletter #1001: The “Real People” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Real people: They work for you, they buy stuff from you, and they spread the word about you. And yet, most marketing doesn’t focus on real people. It focuses on consumers, target demographics, and influencers.

Here’s why real people should be at the center:

1. Real people write marketing
2. Real people build relationships
3. Real people make mistakes
4. Check it out: Nested

1. Real people write marketing

On every bottle of RealBeanz iced coffee, the packaging text introduces the guy who wrote it, Kurt. It might say: “Hi, I’m Kurt, the guy who writes the packaging text, mainly because after 34 years, his parents have decided it’s okay to charge their own flesh and blood rent. Anyway, the folks at RealBeanz wanted me to tell you…” It’s not your typical packaging text, but it’s funny, it’s surprising, and it’s starting conversations.

The lesson: Your customers are smart. They know marketing when they see it. So why not have a little fun with it and acknowledge it for what it is?

Learn more: Tumblr

2. Real people build relationships

When Johnson & Johnson reaches out to mom bloggers to talk about their brand, they make it personal. According to their Director of Corporate Communications for Social Media, Devon Eyer, that means actually caring about those influencers. She says she reaches out from her personal Twitter handle, meets them at conferences — becomes their friend. It’s not a marketing tactic, it’s a real relationship.

The lesson: Devon says those brand advocates often tell her, “The relationships that I have are not with the Johnson & Johnson Twitter handle, but with you, Devon.” Earning ambassadors for your company is about much more than your stuff. It’s also about the real people behind it.

Learn more: Vimeo

3. Real people make mistakes

The news loves when employees fall victim to accidentally tweeting something inappropriate from the company Twitter account. Will disciplinary action be taken? Will someone get fired? But when one Red Cross employee accidentally tweeted that she was “#gettingslizzard” after work from the Red Cross’ official account, they used the negative publicity to do something positive by accepting donations using the same hashtag.

The lesson: When your employees make mistakes, sometimes it’s best to embrace them and to let your customers know your company is run by humans.

Learn more: BuzzFeed

4. Check it out: Nested

This list is like a nesting doll for a universe. Click “Universe” and a drop-down menu will appear for galactic superclusters, galaxies, galactic centers, black holes, star systems — all the way down to the stuff string theory’s made of and back again.

Check it out: Nested

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