Are You Creating the Right Kind of Buzz?

Diagram showing the different kinds of buzz described in this article.

To keep it simple, we will consider buzz as something people want to and will talk about.

The social media phenomenon has lowered the barrier to creating buzz. There are so many tools (most of them are free) out there to today that can help you with that. If you are lucky, you can create a lot of buzz with very little effort.

The real question is – “Are you creating the right kind of buzz?”

First, we will look at what will people NOT want to talk about!

Boring stuff.

People don’t want to talk about boring stuff. Boring stuff is simply stuff that will elicit a “So what?” response. When your product or service elicits this response, it is forgotten very easily. People think it’s a waste of time talking about it. If they talk about boring stuff, they will come across as boring. So the best best is to avoid talking about it altogether. As you can see, you don’t need a lot of creativity to create boring stuff.

You are at the bottom of the value chain when you create boring stuff. You can talk two paths from here. Both of them will provide a lot of opportunity to create buzz – but only one of the approaches will give you a long term payoff – that’s the one that requires you to be creative.

Remarkable Type 2

Let us look at the path where you don’t require a lot of creativity:

  • You can create stuff or provide a service that is UNBELIEVABLY bad. ( Eg: Bernie Madoff )
  • You can make stuff that will make people laugh really loud
  • You can make stuff that will make people laugh. ( Eg; A funny YouTube video – most of them will fade away)
  • You can create faster, better and cheaper versions of existing products (Eg: a cheaper USB drive with more memory)
  • You can create faster and better versions of existing products. (Eg: LIke a faster and better hard disk.)

Remarkable Type 1

You can get some short-term results and probably a “buzz spike” for any and all of the above but if you want the “real buzz” you have to take the path that requires a lot of creativity.

It is a path where you bring out responses from the audiences like:

  • This is cool!! ( Eg: Numa Numa YouTube video)
  • I wish I had thought of that. ( Some startup who copied your idea? Please read: Help! Someone stole my idea
  • What? Nobody was doing that before? It seems so obvious! ( Kindle, iPod, Netflix etc. )
  • Unbelievably good product/service. Wow!! ( Zappos, Nordstrom etc.)

If you are going to be making investments anyway, you might as well invest in getting the right kind of buzz.

What Kind of Buzz Are You Creating?

What are your favourite examples of the right and wrong kind of buzz?

What was the best buzz you ever created? How did you do it?

About the Author: Rajesh Setty is an entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. Rajesh maintains a blog at Life Beyond Code. You can also find him on Twitter at @UpbeatNow.

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Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. it’s true what you are saying here about the two types but i honestly don’t believe in just being creative regarding the second road you can take .

    which is kinda weird since i don’t believe in luck , in destiny , in god or any of that stuff … but still , i don’t believe that you can simply come up with a great idea just because you want to .

    i think it’s just some sort of a spark that you may or may not get and that you need to keep an eye out for . i can’t quite put my finger on it but i don’t think it’s just a matter of wanting it .

    great article by the way .

  2. ODC,

    Thank you. I totally agree with you that having an idea or “wishing” is not a ticket to creating the right kind of buzz.

    But it starts there.

    Execution is hard work whatever be the kind of idea so the point here is to take the “right stand” towards creating the right kind of buzz.

    Have a great morning.

    Best,
    Raj

  3. I’ve heard people are 12 times more likely to talk to others about a bad experience than a good one. If that is true, I guess you’ll create 12 times the buzz if it’s for incredibly bad service than if you provided incredibly good service.

    BTW, love your graph!

  4. Hi Terry,

    Bad news spreads fast. In the long run, only the “right kind of buzz” will give any meaningful ROI.

    Thanks for the note about the graph. Glad you liked it.

    Best,
    Raj

  5. Neat article. I get it.

    But what hit me as I was reading, was how hard it must be for those organizations who offer the boring products to generate buzz. I also can’t say that I think all boring products are at the bottom of the value chain. (Although I understand generalization to make a point.)

    Consider a company that makes household cleaning supplies, better yet, laundry detergent. Talk about BORING! Who is going to get on Twitter to talk about how white their whites look or how bright their colors are? At the same time, the organization needs to figure out how to get the buzz going for each boring product. Perhaps they drop trial packets from planes above major cities or maybe they just start launching gallon jugs at the horizon with a trebuchet.

    If there is one benefit that I can see to one of these boring products, it’s that, since people aren’t apt to talk about it, once they’ve chosen it, they are likely to stick with it until it lets them down. The trick is to come up with something brilliant that shines for just a moment, then focus on the next boring product.

  6. Brian,

    That is a good question but there is a solution for people with boring products.

    They can create “adjacent social objects” to generate the buzz.

    More about it on my blog here:

    http://www.lifebeyondcode.com/2008/03/03/adjacent-social-objects/

    Thanks again.

    Best,
    Raj

  7. @brian – true , but still … you have to keep in mind that their products are necesities . I mean … how many ads do you see on gasoline compared to … say coca-cola ?

    the ratio will go way down because people will need gasoline , while coca-cola … they can live without it .

    there needs to be a clear distinction between these two major categories of products :

    - the ones we need

    - the ones we could do without .

    i think that this article only applies to the second category . when it comes to the first … people will always need those products and they will simply hunt them down .

    the only issue is getting a higher slice of the market . and that higher slice doesn’t necessary come in the form of buzz , but in the form of presence .

    a cleaning product doesn’t need kick ass ads for it … it just needs to be everywhere . so that people get used to it ( it’s name , it’s logo , it’s color palette , etc ) . and when that happens they simply adopt it as a household thing .

    there are 2 types of promotion in my opinion :

    - aggressive
    - passive

    you need aggressive promotion for products people could do without and passive promotion for the products that people need .

    aggressive means getting those brilliant ideas and getting yourself wherever you can .

    while passive simply means getting yourself everywhere you can .

  8. Love the chart! Will save it to refer to every single time I go to create something :-)

    People do tend to pay more attention to the bad than the good but if you have something really good, valuable, and/or interesting, it’ll still get shared. It only takes a few mentions to spread all over.

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