Everyone knows the power of Oprah. Her following and influence make her the number one target of publicists, brand managers, and marketers alike. Her authority and persuasiveness is a cultural phenomenon. Everyone wants to be on her radar -- from authors and doctors to creators of diets and psychologists -- and not many get the opportunity. Everyone wants to be on her show.
Few make it to the big leagues, and Oprah is a media major leaguer. And while smart, persistent, and authentic entrepreneurs and industry experts have good reason for wanting to make this a reality, the real power in marketing is layering messages that resonate with customers through online and traditional media coverage that creates buzz, heightened credibility, positive word-of-mouth, and even viral demand.
Companies such as Burt's Bees, Stonyfield Farm, Monster.com, and Famous Amos Cookies have become successful -- and landed on Oprah's set -- by not only providing unique products or services but offering distinctive customer experiences. This includes consistently delivering unparalleled quality, developing solutions that address societal needs, filling niches where there were once voids, and doing it better than the competition. In addition, the founders of these companies disseminated their good news and stories on an ongoing basis through A-, B- and C-level media outlets, regionally, and sometimes nationally.
National brands are built when the story is genuine and there's passion and purpose behind it. Take Stonyfield Farm for instance. Their mission is supporting local farmers and creating healthier products that people and the planet demand, such as their healthy vending machine program for schools. This differentiates the brand and helps build positive word-of-mouth while creating loyal, even fanatical, customers.
If you have an extraordinary product or service, provide exceptional customer service, make a point to stand for something beyond profits, strive to provide the best customer experience and commit to proactive marketing. Then who knows -- maybe Oprah will take notice of your company like she has with Wally "Famous" Amos, Roxanne Quimby from Burt's Bees, and Stonyfield Farm's Gary Hirshberg.
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