October 12, 2012 / by DannyS

Community Exclusivity

With all these social networks and the connected community, what’s a marketer to do?

Grey Poupon, working with ad giant Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has come up with what they deem a perfect solution – The Society of Good Taste. To build on this, they also created an a uniformed Pinterest that actually lives as their website, which I may add, probably defies most marketers recommendations for best practices. But a social versus a non-social site is another argument for another post. What Grey Poupon has said, we are going all in on the basis of an exclusive club, where you can’t just like us, you have to be approved through a selective process that is based on an application process.

This is the first-ever Facebook campaign to screen fans, as not just any individual can enter The Society. Facebook users must be granted membership by successfully completing an application process. Allegedly, The Society is composed of a cadre of culturally sophisticated, refined Facebook users (all of whom embody the Grey Poupon brand, of course). – Business2Community

Head out to San Francisco, at San Francisco International (SFO), with a Klout score of over 40 and you can gain access to Cathay Pacific Airline’s First and Business Class Lounge. Before this, the only way to see the inside of a Cathay Pacific Lounge was by obtaining one of their First or Business Class airline tickets.

Influencers Come From All Walks of Life

Your community is great, it’s a great place to identify your influencers. However, are we seeing a growing trend that AMEX and Airlines and many Las Vegas clubs have been doing for years? Identifying not only your influencers, but your most important customers. Big spenders are now highly active online…

Affluents reported using the Internet an average of 37.4 hours weekly, up 14% from 2011, with the largest growth seen in sites related to social media, entertainment and shopping. Ipsos MediaCT

Moms are one of the most influential connected consumers…

Fifty-four percent of moms now own a smartphone, Nielsen said, compared to 50.4 percent of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. And, at least half of all moms use social media on their mobile devices, compared to 37 percent of the online population.Nielsen

Brand influencers and important customers can fit within several demographics. Grey Poupon has recognized this, Cathay Pacific has recognized this and Vegas has been doing this long before the social revolution came around. So how can you create your own exclusive component to your social strategy?

Grey Poupon did a great job, but one thing to remember about exclusivity is that the majority does not win, that’s what makes it exclusive. Have you ever gone as a VIP at a club? There’s no lines, customer service is top notch, you have one server dedicated to you. Grey Poupon, of their 53,200 likes have allowed 30,486 members into their exclusive “Society of Good Taste.” Easily, we see that 57% of their likes are given access to their society – that doesn’t create a desire, that screams easily achievable, because the majority is there.

Cathay’s idea was great – accept my grandmother could manipulate the Klout algorithm. As a marketer, I would have set the benchmark higher, because all this does is say that our customers who pony up the most are equivalent to a 21 year old college student who gamed the system with a couple fancy tweets. Why didn’t they go with 60 or higher? I am confused by this one.

The point of exclusivity is to create an effect where it’s desirable, see: difficult to gain.

Make A Path To Exclusivity

I have been active on Path since the first week they launched. When it was solely photos, 15 second videos and 50 friends was all you were allowed. Since then, they have taken on some drastic changes. Overall, it’s an amazing platform that puts design over many things, and it’s mobile exclusive which presents another win win strategy. But it’s one thing that’s always sat in the back of my emerging platforms mind and that is how this would be a terrific platform to create a VIP club. I have actually contacted Path about this and they definitely embraced the idea.

Today, Path is set up to allow 150 friends. Now that’s exclusive. Your a brand or business with 10,000 friends but you know that many of them aren’t as devoted as the majority. Some buy more. Others vocalize their devotion. You don’t even have to go through the development costs of creating an exclusive social network – Path is set up and ready to roll. Agencies, through an educational push you can let your client’s most devoted fans from all the other social networks know that you are creating a VIP service. This is a rare treat and everyone who asks to be a part of the brand’s Path will be considered on a case by case scenario. No joke. Or else, invite the few folks you would like to have in this network.

AMEX would never allow everyone to have a Black Card. This is your Black Card to your best clients. Deliver it to the most promising individuals. Exclusive party access, massive discounts, free tickets to your suite at a sporting event, hell, the sky is the limit – offer what you would NEVER offer to a million fans and followers. Don’t let Grey Poupon and AMEX have all the fun – this is your community, show them their importance!

Rarely Seen, Always Recognized

Available by invitation only, The Centurion Card is the world’s rarest American Express Card and confers a level of service that can be extended only to selected individuals worldwide. – Direct from the American Express website

This isn’t the place to put your little photos from Facebook or Instagram. You aren’t going to bury your customers here with several tweets a day. This is the rare treat – give them the true definition of exclusive content.

Stigmatizing The Network

I’m not the first one to propose this. I, however, am probably the first to propose using Path in such a manner. But companies have been doing this for decades, clubs, sports teams, airlines, even small business restaurants. It creates a desire, which means that many will want to work to gain access to this club. I do forewarn you though, a strategy like this must be executed well and won’t work for every marketer/business.

Marketers are asking themselves, “Now What!?” since amassing all of these fans across the web – I believe exclusivity is going to be a terrific tool in the marketer’s shed and empowering your connected fans and doing something that really gets them charged and engaged with your brand is smart marketing.

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!


Most Recent Posts

Cision Blogs Topics

  • Communications Best Practices

    Get the latest updates on PR, communications and marketing best practices.

  • Cision Product News

    Keep up with everything Cision. Check here for the most current product news.

  • Executive Insights

    Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.

  • Media Blog

    A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.