Bravo, Bravo: You’re doing it right
Finally someone who is embracing branding and social media the right way. Too many companies are getting Twitter accounts and Facebook pages because they think they have to in order to compete, and there may be a kernel of truth in that. To me, if a brand does not have a web presence it must either be so indie that it would ruin the concept of the brand by going mainstream or it is so out of touch the brand doesn’t know how to integrate with the internet.
However, just having the Twitter/Facebook certainly isn’t enough. The brand must engage its fans and followers in ways that said fans and followers find compelling. This is the challenge. Even though PR professionals are consumers, it’s hard for them to know what will be a big hit, especially with the short attention span of the internet.
Bravo is one of a handful of brands that I believe is doing IT right. In the past week I saw outreach efforts that I thought were very cool and progressive:
1) Bravo has teamed up with the runaway hit Foursquare. Foursquare has been receiving lots of media attention for its partnerships with chains like Tasti D-Lite, where users get free/discounted items for checking in at the location. This provides free advertising for the company and taps into the sought after word-of-mouth effect. Instead of giving discounts for checking in, Bravo is giving badges for users who check in at 500 (seems a little high?) Bravo locations. These locations are chosen based on their ever popular reality shows. Thereby making the shows come alive more (and compromising its stars’ privacy more). Consumers like to connect with a brand and what could be a better way than to actually recreate a Bravo show. I think this is pretty neat.
2) One of Bravo’s most popular shows is Project Runway, in which fledgling designs compete for the prize of funding and support for their own line. Well now Bravo is upping the ante by partnering with Ruelala, the invite-only shopping website (like Hautelook or Gilt Group). I received my daily email from Ruelala and it contained a promotional notice about being able to buy the winning designer’s new line immediately after the finale tonight of Project Runway. This is seriously cool. Even though I have no interest in the show or its designers, I am always interested in seeing new designers. More, there are thousands of people out there who do care and will flood the website for their chance to purchase a piece of pop culture. This helps Bravo’s branding by attaching to the Ruelala brand and helps users connect with the show in a tangible, visceral way. Ruelala is also benefiting from the inflow of new users who will inevitably be signing up tonight.
Basically, Bravo is going to where its users already are and are engaging them in compelling ways — easier said than done. Even though I don’t have much interest in Bravo, if I were looking for an afternoon activity, it might be fun to track down locations from the Real Housewives and it won’t hurt me to go take a look at the fashions available for sale.