3 Social Marketing Lessons from a Bananagram


Plastic letters in a banana. Was I hallucinating? No, but after one simple email, I switched from a skeptic to an advocate for this unique “game.”

I’m talking about the new age of social media marketing. About a week ago, I wrote a humorous, yet cynical blog post entitled, “Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism.”

A Bananagram.

The next day, when I checked my inbox, I found a surprise. There, filling my subject line, all in caps, was one word: “BANANAGRAMS.”

Turns out the email author was the PR representative for Bananagrams. “Morning Shari,” it read. “I just saw your post.  You have to play it!  It’s so much more than Scrabble in a banana. I attached a few articles on the founder and the creation of the game as an FYI.”

The three articles were from the New York Times, TIME Magazine, and the Boston Globe. Within the hour, I was all hers. How? Well, besides introducing me to the very endearing story behind the Bananagram, she did three very key things:

# 1. She found me.

I wrote my blog without knowing a single thing about Bananagrams. All I observed were five oversized fabric bananas hanging off an aisle at Walgreens. I had no intention of researching these contraptions further.

Yet, the PR rep for Bananagrams searched cyberspace that day for her brand’s name, and miraculously found my blog. She read it and saw an opportunity to educate a potentially influential “advocate.”

#2. She researched me, I’m guessing.

I can’t say for sure, but from the way she approached me, I imagine the Bananagrams PR rep poked around my blog and saw I really am a serious journalist (I say this because the same day I received her email, I had several views of my resume and professional clips).

I have plenty of information on my blog about me: where I’ve worked, the Associated Press awards I’ve won, and clips from the various magazines for which I’ve written.

#3. She educated me, the right way.

After getting a feel for me, she didn’t try and push her brand onto me. Instead, understanding my journalistic values (again, I’m guessing), she attached three articles from three very reputable publications and let the objective stories speak for themselves. Additionally, she didn’t threaten me or ask me to take down my blog post—nor did she request I write a positive follow-up (that’s right, this post was MY idea).

Roundup

This should be a lesson for EVERY company or service out there. You can no longer rely on your potential consumers to contact you. Instead, you need to find them—where they live—whether on Facebook, Twitter, or the blogosphere.

But before you do, spend one minute (literally) reading my first post about the Bananagrams. And see for yourself the difference one email can make. You’ll be amazed.

11 thoughts on “3 Social Marketing Lessons from a Bananagram

  1. Love it! and I love it when social media works.. in the right way. I once tweeted to ask (the world) when American Mother’s Day was, so that I could send a card to my mother-in-law. Hallmark were the first to respond. It was perfect 🙂

    WG.x

    1. Thank you! And thanks for retweeting my blog site, too. 🙂 That’s awesome about Hallmark. They’re really tuned in–the right way–too. That’s the way marketing and communications is going. The big boys have to stay in touch with every potential customer this way. And I bet you’ll go to hallmark first now, to buy cards, huh? 😉

      Stay in touch!
      Shari

  2. Well, I have to be impressed with the turn this whole banana thing has taken. I am usually pretty cynical about these social sites, but now I’m wondering who is really out there, and If I say just the right words, what will happen?

    ken

    1. Ken, I’m right there with you. I’m a former print newspaper journalist. The mere act of even considering to accept the newest realms of social media was a huge obstacle for me. Yet, once I began to embrace the tools, and learn how to use them correctly, a whole new world of professional opportunity began to open.

      I’ll be posting other future stories around some of these tactics, in addition to my creative, fun life stories. I’d love for us to stay in touch. By chance, have you subscribed to my blog? It’s free, and you’ll simply get email notifications when I publish something new (I don’t post daily, more like 2-3 times a month, so you won’t be overwhelmed).

      1. Yes, I did subscribe, after reading your great Jewish cat story. Thanks, I’ll look forward to future posts.

    1. Hi Tia,

      Yes, I do! It actually sounds kind of fun. Each participant gets a pile of plastic letters. The goal is to make as many words from the letters as you can, crossword puzzle style, and the first to use all of their letters yells, “Bananas!” The game was developed by a grandfather who got impatient with how long it took to play Scrabble with his grandson. So, he wanted to make a game that went so fast, it drove you “bananas.” Thus, the birth of the Bananagram.

      Thanks for stopping by! I’ll swing by your blog again later when I get home. 😉

      Shari

  3. Wow, congrats! That is really cool and amazing how writing 1) changed your perspective, and 2) got you “found” by the company. I love all the things we learn and people we meet just by using what comes naturally to us — our words!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was a little crazy, but I completely found the story endearing. And it’s amazing how this blogosphere can connect so many of us together through writing! Thank you for reading my post! =)

      Shari

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