Buzz Your Brand

By Greg Kenney

Buzz: (noun) an atmosphere of excitement and activity; (verb) to create an atmosphere of excitement and activity.
Event/Buzz Marketing: I’ll never forget my first experience. Headed downtown on my way back to work, I noticed a crowd of people staring up at the Empire State Building. Joining the fray, I was surprised to see a giant inflated King Kong tethered to the top of the spire!
The “stunt,” as it was known back then, happened in 1983! And according to Jen Chung at gothamist.com, it was approved by the Helmsleys in an attempt to celebrate the building’s 50th birthday, keep it in the public eye and stimulate rentals.But that was over 30 years ago! Yesterday’s stunt has evolved into what we now know as Buzz Marketing: employing a vast array of viral marketing tools, clever PR and social media to stimulate and promote brand awareness.Leap ahead to 2013.Challenge: Generate interest about a totally new paradigm and excitement for its products to a mass audience.Enter Google Glass: a revolutionary, wearable, hands-free, take-anywhere computer with optical head-mounted display in the form of glasses! According to mutualmobile.com, “Glass provides a fundamentally different experience from smart phones and tablets.”

Though it might take a while to go mainstream (consumer release scheduled for mid-2014), and early models are a bit pricey, it hasn’t stopped Google from forging ahead with a very strategically orchestrated Buzz plan.

When Google talks, people listen.

Thanks to well planned PR involving product appearances on Google personnel, announcements on Google+ and topics of “technical interest” on both TV and radio, Glass has drawn media attention worldwide.

Here comes the buzz.

On July 2, Google launched an informational press site for Glass designed simply to reveal What’s new, How it feels, What it does and, most interestingly, How to get one.

Introducing The Explorer’s Edition… an exclusive club of testers, Google I/O developers and “early adopters” chosen to wear, demo, record and publish their “Glass Experience” for the general public via website, Facebook, Twitter and other social media portals. Membership has recently been offered to the general public through the Glass website. Entry requires you submit a 50-word essay and pony up $1,500 per pair, as well as agree to attend a “Glass Event” in NYC, SF or LA. The promotion sought out “bold, creative individuals” interested in testing the device. As of August 27, 10,000 people had been selected as part of the “Glass Experience” contest!

Buzzing on… Can someone explain that 800-ton gorilla floating in SF bay? The “Google Mystery Barge,” as some sources are calling it, has been shrouded and floating in San Francisco bay for several months, generating quite a stir online and in other media. Google has been largely close-mouthed about the four-story behemoth, but it’s been rumored to be everything from a floating data center, an “open-spaced interactive showroom for new technology” (Glass?), or a big Glass “retail party boat” that will float from city to city on the West Coast hawking Google Glass. Another similar structure has been sighted on the East Coast offshore of Maine. Could this be a simultaneous launching on both coasts?

According to the NY Times, “Google has said it wants to sell Glass in an unusual and personalized way­­-and with a new view.”

Whatever its function, it’s just one of the many exciting ways Google has been employing a vast array of viral marketing tools, clever PR and social media to stimulate and promote brand awareness for Google Glass.

Wondering if all the Buzz is paying off? Time magazine recognized Google Glass as one of the “Best Inventions of 2012.”