The Resident Connection, Written Posts

Being Discovered vs. Being Found

7 Comments 06 April 2011

I think there are two ways to learn about something new.  You either find it or you discover it.  By definition these two words are pretty similar, but as I’ve been saying recently, perception is reality.  And I believe these two words are perceived differently.

When I think about “finding” something I view it as work or effort directed specifically to what I’m looking for.  Examples would be Google, the Yellow Pages, an ILS, a toolbox in the garage, or a junk drawer in the kitchen.  These are all places one would likely go for a specific search in an effort to find exactly what he or she is looking for.

When I think about “discovering” something I view it as what happens as a result of another activity that isn’t necessarily part of a direct and specific search.  Examples would be, something I stumble upon like an advertisement, an article, a new song, or some other type of art.  Maybe something someone shares or teaches like a theory, recipe, a story, a video, or blog post.  Or, it could be a small tidbit we pull out of something bigger like a classroom lecture, a conference, a shopping mall, a movie, a chamber of commerce, a religion, or a political party.

As I wrote that last paragraph I realized I could probably go on and on and on with examples.  This is why I like the idea of discovering vs. finding.  Finding seems so limited.  “I found it.”  OK, now what?  I’m done.  However, discovery seems like so much more.  There’s a story that goes with discovery, and when you discover something it gives you the feeling that you want to learn more and dig deeper to take things to another level.  Discovery seems more limitless.

If you haven’t noticed, what once was considered “finding” something online is now shifting.  I used Google as an example of finding something, but even that is changing.  More credit is now given to discovery, sharing, and connecting on Google.  The social web is integrating with traditional search online, and companies that embrace this idea today will position themselves to grow right along with these changes.  While some traditional search channels may not evolve, in my opinion marketers would be short sighted to continue to rely on those channels alone.

Just a few years ago many brushed this idea aside as theory and not scalable.  The theory is now converting to reality, and we’re finding that social can scale but it looks much different than it did with traditional mass advertising and media.  Scaling means embracing your customers, not hiding behind a logo, and trusting people to represent your brand offline and online.  Scaling doesn’t just mean stroking a check for an ad or an agency to do it all for you.  If that sounds scary to you, then what if I told you your brand could be irrelevant on Google in five years if you didn’t embrace these ideas?  Would that news be scary to you?  I know just the thought is scary to me.

Today, countless people and companies are creating tools and strategies to help you scale these efforts to have your brand be more social.  You don’t have to go it alone.  You can still “stroke a check” to get some help, but what you get will look much different than what you’ve gotten in the past.  This isn’t traditional, and that scares a lot of people.  However, I will say from my experience the benefits translate into overall marketing expense savings, a better positioned online brand for my company, and improved occupancy and revenue.  And to be honest, it really wasn’t that risky.  Maybe bold, but not risky.

Maybe you’ve been lingering around hoping to still be found, but I really hope you begin positioning yourself and your company for discovery by expanding your online brand socially.  There’s a more interesting story that comes with discovery.  Just like we enjoy books, movies, and music because of the stories, our online experiences are evolving into infinite stories we enjoy vs. dead end searches.

If you would like to learn more about social search, embracing customers, and customer lifecycle marketing, monitoring, and strategy please contact me to learn more about The Resident Connection – Powered by MBJ, Firebelly Marketing, & 30 Lines

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