Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Likeability Factor

The likeability factor is often viewed as a very personal trait. We all want to be liked and we want to associate ourselves with likeable people, products and services. “What’s Hot is Hot and What’s Not is Not” aptly describes our shared social need to be associated with the most current likeable symbols in society. These can range from entertainers and products to politicians and ideas. If you can establish a likeability factor for a product or service it can grow your business exponentially.

Viral marketing is the most obvious face of the likeability factor. It has become more visible with the growing use of social media such as Facebook and, Twitter; and the use of hand held computing devices. The spread of Likeability is similar to the spread of a virus; hence the name viral, which connotes the rapid spread of likeability.

Most clients, when considering a communication project of just about any sort do not consider the likeability factor. The main reason for this is that it costs time and money. Marketing campaigns, and make no mistake; any communication project is in some way a marketing campaign, underwrites the likeability factor. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, environmental causes, I-Pads, pro-biotic yogurt or electric cars; each has a carefully orchestrated marketing plan that reinforces its likeability factor.

The fact that the product is innovative or is effective only ads to or complements its likeability factor. A perfect example if Proactiv – a product whose sole purpose is to help clear up facial blemishes and it’s endorsed by likeable people like Justin Bieber. The product has primarily the same ingredients and the same effectiveness as Clearasil, one of its competitors, but it cost 4 times as much; why because it has a higher likeability factor.

Now, having mentioned Justin Bieber does require a slight clarification of terms… it is important to note that likeability and popularity are not the same thing. Likeability can occur on a small scale and can influence buying decisions at very basic level while popularity has to achieve a larger scale to be considered effective.  

We may be led to believe that viral marketing is free but this is the exception rather than the rule. Most likeability campaigns are supported through marketing in a variety of distribution channels that are unseen or appear to be casual or unsponsored. This is important to a likeability campaign since we value unsponsored endorsements more than those that are sponsored.

While these likeability campaigns may appear unattainable to small and medium size businesses, they can be scaled into smaller projects in the way that we promote our customer service, or how we greet customers on the phone or, the style of a web site or a video. All of these and many others contribute to the likeability and help determine if the call to action in any communications project is going to be effective.

 If you are interested in learning more we have a documentary we offer to clients for viewing called Art & Copy that helps demystify some of the aspects of Likeability. Also, you may want to read The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life's Dreams by Tim Sanders.

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