Like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, we all want to be a part of something. Ralphie wanted the BB gun, he wanted to be liked and he wanted this “badge of honor” to be included in something bigger than himself. Most of us are a lot like Ralphie, we may not want the BB gun, but we want to be a part of something different, something greater than ourselves.
In addition to this BB gun, Raphie also wanted to be a part of Little Orphan Annie’s secret club, using the decoder key that was sent to him that enabled him to decipher the secret message broadcast during the Little Orphan Annie program. Ralphie was part of a branded experience, a form of interaction and it allowed him to be a part of the action – while being a part of the marketing game.
Today we’re using the same technique throughout social media. People want to be connected to the product, to belong and to be involved in something bigger than themselves. It’s important, as community managers to get them involved into the product and its distribution. At Current TV, their mission has been inclusion, from The Rotten Tomatoes show to some of the earliest user-generated documentaries. Now, every show on Current TV has user-submitted content. Current TV does a weekly call-out to the community giving assignments for movies to watch and then the user-submitted content that is chosen to be on the program gets $100.
We see the example of the popular superhero movie, Kick-Ass from user-generated content to the professional hosts of Current TV, we see how being a part of the movie is a club – and we want to join. Do we need to join? Nah, but heck, the party is happening – I wanna come, too!
The most important aspect of the program is why and how you communicate your mission to the community. The Current TV team tells the community exactly what they want, be it a review for a specific film and that review only. They showcase the best of the best on the Current TV program, thereby providing examples to the community on what to do and what not to do.
Current TV also makes their staff members accessible through popular social networks. Using the example of That’s Gay segment host, Bryan Safi, we saw how Current TV hosts respond to their community. One thing to note is that the staff members do not have a Current TV speak – they speak to the community like real people, they ARE real people. If we’re B2B/B2C/Old School/New School, we must remember that we’re real people – is there really a need for corporate speak? After all, we just want to be part of the club and included in the conversation.