On a routine trip to our local Costa coffee shop, near the Vertical Leap office in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, I was inspired to write this post. The inspiration was a tray of massive biscuits being sold for £1.75 each. My colleague Stu Wooster bought a Custard Cream and I reminded him that for the same price he could have bought three normal packets in the supermarket.
This was a novelty product though. A talking point. Something you just had to buy just so you could enjoy having seen it and eaten it, or just so you could show other people what you had discovered. I took a photo of the biscuits and shared it on Facebook before I had even ordered my coffee.
Now this isn’t a bold plug for Costa for any reason other than this highlights perfectly the value of invention and creative thinking. We talk a lot about SEO and social media marketing and how you can come up with all kinds of content to boost your visibility, but one really great way to boost your visibility AND your content AND your PR is to come up with a great product that people want to talk about.
When Wispa was relaunched by Cadbury, creating a buzz was simple because there were so many people willing to share the news of the product’s return. Tesco’s “Every little helps” and Kit-Kat’s “Have a break” are brilliant inventions that now keep the brands in our minds whenever we hear the phrases or say them ourselves. Marmite is such a recognised brand that it has created no end of talking points thanks to a series of brand extensions into biscuits, chocolate and more.
I bet the marketing people at Costa didn’t sit down and think, “How can we get more coverage online? I know, let’s make big biscuits.” For them, it’s perhaps simply a great product idea. If you are in the product making business, or even if you only retail the products of other manufacturers, think about the word-of-mouth, PR potential of your products. Do you have something exciting that no one else has?
Products that look innovative or artistic can be promoted and talked about on Pinterest, something that’s whacky and fun is likely to be shared and talked about on Facebook, bloggers will write articles about them (as I am doing now) and that will spark wider interest. If you can’t invent a product, think about how you can create inventive content featuring your product, so it becomes a talking point or a shareable image.