My son’s preschool has composite pictures of previous “graduating” classes hanging on the wall of the stairwell that leads down to the classrooms.  And every morning that I’ve dropped him off, he’s paused on the landing to point to the picture of his older brother and say with a tone of extreme reverence, “That’s my brother!” The look of pride on his face as he points it out is unmistakable.

I’m sure you all know the feeling.  I know I felt it when IBM first put up Lotus Sametime 7.5 banners in the lobby of my building, back when we were approaching its release date.  I know I felt it when I showed my 19-year old cousin Notes 8 (even though I didn’t work directly on it myself), as I was able to quickly turn around his perception from a summer internship using an older version of Notes.  And Lotus Knows that if we were to have polled the broader Lotus community about their feeling of pride in Lotus Solutions 6 months ago and compare it to one taken 6 months from now, we would likely see a sizable jump.

Today’s marketing thought of the day:  What are you doing to bolster the sense of pride in your coworkers and customers?

Yes, that somewhat corny blowup of your product box cover you place outside the elevator can make a difference.  Keep doing it.  How about your advertising?  Have you made pdf copies of your ads available to employees so they can forward them on to friends and family, and have you posted TV ads on YouTube so employees can find and share them?

And what about your customers?  When someone buys your product, they are making a major decisions, sometimes even a “bet the job” decision.  How are you helping them feel – and display – their pride in that choice?  (That’s right, ignore those that may accuse you of simply being self-serving, and go ahead and post that pdf and video of your ad on your external website, too.)  

Perception is reality.  If you provide the key sponsors in your customers with material to help evangelize your product to their internal customers, your perception in that broader constituency will increase accordingly.  And guess what… the ensuing word of mouth marketing will have a payback stream all of its own.

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