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.

Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism

We’ve reached a new height in the age of American consumerism—Scrabble in a banana.

Yes, I found this new gem while stopping at Walgreens the night before Thanksgiving to grab some contact solution. You can purchase this enlightening invention for only $14.99.

Yes, it's true. This is a Bananagram. No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Here’s the kicker: When I came back to Walgreens to snap a photo, only one remained.

I have no idea what company makes the Bananagram, or why. All I know is that I couldn’t help but stop after glimpsing five oversized, fabric bananas hanging from a hook off the aisle at Walgreens. I had to inspect this specimen further.

Upon removing one fabric banana from its hook, I noticed a zipper down the middle. Intrigued, I gently unzipped the contraption, revealing its hidden surprise. When it opened, a bag full of plastic letters—the kind used in Scrabble—erupted from the banana’s core.

I looked up at my boyfriend, confused. “Scrabble in a banana?”

He broke into a hysterical fit of laughter, as I stood there, stunned, with my shoulders shrugged. “Who would use Scrabble in a banana?”

Then I noticed the invention had a name. There, inscribed onto the side of the banana, it proclaimed, “Bananagram.”

Wow.

Now I know we’ve hit our peak. We have Facebook, and Twitter, and God bless it, we have WordPress. We have cameras on our phones and phones on our computers. But never have we reached the epitome of our capabilities in societal communication—until the Bananagram.

May it bring us peace and solve world hunger.