“The Bermuda Triangle” is a Social Media Marketing Companies Dream. We’ve been examining the struggles of Bermuda’ Tourism Authority to build on recent success and truly grow a brand that will bring in tourists from around the world. When I first started looking at Bermuda’s unique marketing situation several years ago, my first thought about the island nation was, “I’ve heard of the Bermuda Triangle.”
As humans in a fast-paced, technology filled world, we transmit way more information than we receive. One statistic states that, “As a society we now publish more information (for public consumption) every 48 hours than we published from the beginning of civilization through the end of 2003.”
There are way too many products, brands, companies and way too many screens through which marketing noise can distract us. Jack Rice, author of Positioning, said, “You and I are living in civilization’s first ever over-communicated society.”
With that said, our brains are full. It’s too much; our minds only accept new information when we can match it up with prior knowledge or a prior experience. That means that once our mind is “made up” it’s nearly impossible for new information to change it.
When my mechanic starts explaining what’s wrong with my car’s exhaust system, my brain turns itself off. It’s not already familiar to me. To take in new information, I must first dump content already in my brains memory bank. The same is true for my wife. She takes in what is relevant to her. We share a similar world view but have different interests, we’re soul mates sharing a single hard drive.
When someone starts speaking to both of us, depending on the content, one of us switches off knowing the other is listening. If it’s about the kids’ health, immunizations, or healthy living I turn off. My wife’s an expert on that. Why waste space in my brain capacity with information I cannot process as efficiently as her? She’s the same when it comes to money and maintenance.
We’re a team. Just another mechanism we humans have developed to combat information overload.
That being the case, have you stopped to contemplate just how hard it is to position a new marketing message in the mind of a consumer today?
Our minds have a defense mechanism against the sheer volume of information we are expected to absorb these days through constant media formats.
It’ near impossible and getting harder, which is why I cannot understand Bermuda’s refusal to leverage “The Bermuda Triangle” as the centerpiece of their marketing campaign.
The fastest way to get a brand message into the mind of a consumer today is to leverage what’s already in it. A famous example is the Avis car rental campaign.
“Avis, we’re number two… so we try harder!”
The Avis advertising agency recognized the position of Hertz as number one (already cemented into the mind of U.S. consumers). Avis ruled out taking them on head-on, so instead told consumers:
“We openly admit that we are not the number one rental-car-company in America, but we’re trying harder than Hertz.” Brilliant!
Even though Avis wasn’t really the number two car rental company, they convinced consumers they were and occupied that position in the minds of their target market. Consumers didn’t have someone in mind for that spot, so you could say the brand position was “vacant” and open.
The campaign cleared congestion with consumers. The tagline also meant that Avis suddenly became the underdog that everyone likes to get behind. Potentially offering better deals and service because they try harder.
The campaign skyrocketed Avis from a small to medium sized company turning over 5 million dollars annually, to a point where they were actually gunning for Hertz as the number one rent-a-car business in the U.S. Avis then turned to a new line, “Avis, we’re gunning for number ‘1’…”
Avis lost some momentum with this shift, because consumers had already positioned them as something else.
Moving up the ladder in the mind of consumers is more difficult than we could ever assume. If a product or brand is above yours in the hierarchy of the consumer’s mind, and has a strong foothold, never try and compete. Leverage the existing position they hold to get yourself in.
Leveraging What You’re Known For
Brand positioning is not about products, services or brands – it’s about what’s in the mind of consumers. We’ve all heard of the Bermuda Triangle at some point in our lives (and when I say all, I mean people around the world). To me, Bermuda and Bermuda Triangle are one in the same. What’s more telling is how the world’s media, and science community, continually promote Bermuda:
“The Bermuda Triangle is a mysterious, unworldly, and sometimes deadly place on earth that has had scientists scratching their heads for decades. Researchers have spent much time and energy looking into the mysteries of the Bermuda triangle and many have told some amazing stories….”
I have been at the cutting edge of promoting events and social marketing for the better part of 20 years, long before Facebook and YouTube. I can categorically state the mystery surrounding “The Bermuda Triangle” is a social marketer’s dream.
What Social Traffic, Inc. could do with a story like this across social media would shore up Bermuda’s tourism revenue for years to come. Bermuda’s current positioning statement “So much more” just doesn’t make me want to buy their offering. It isn’t clear on what the brand is about, doesn’t make promises, and doesn’t show a consumer why they should care.
You can read more on the proper use of taglines here.
The main reason I don’t like the tagline is because it doesn’t leverage Bermuda’s greatest marketing asset, bar none, an existing brand story already positioned in the minds of customers everywhere.
I don’t know what the tagline should be, but I know that my company could drive Bermuda’s residents to collaborate towards a better brand through social media.
Simon U. Ford