Million Dollar Ideas

    December 29, 2004

Nope, not talking about Oprah and the Pontiac G6. That idea would be worth $7 million.

But while I am on the topic, I must give props to Pontiac while noting that automobile manufacturers play in a different marketing league. GM is one of less than a half dozen folks that could push this envelope.

So when the AP calls this product placement a marketing coup, I disagree. To me, a marketing coup is when one company implements a new and creative idea at just the right time before its competitors. OK, Pontiac did this, but I’ll add that a coup implies more “deft strategic move” and less “budget heft.”

An example of a million dollar idea in my eyes comes from Red Herring. The publication just invited me to join its group on LinkedIn. Why do I love this idea?

* It taps into the social networking craze, even though LinkedIn bills itself as a “professional online networking tool” (good luck with that).

* It aligns Red Herring’s dot com tech brand with a post dot com tech brand for a credibility boost of sorts. They at least get cool points for it.

* It makes good sense. Fast Company’s online community of readers is well known. It took awhile for Fast Company to build. This approach is an easy and novel way to create community around its publication. It also incentivizes subscriptions as the invite is only extended to Red Herring subscribers.

The publication claims these benefits as well:

* Accelerate your career through referrals from fellow members – for jobs, deals, partnerships, clients, service providers, or other business opportunities.

* Let others know what you have to offer fellow members and their contacts.

* Upon joining the Red Herring group on LinkedIn you will instantly add numerous members to your LinkedIn network. (161 + when I accepted).

* Your affiliation with a group may not be the only way you are related to a fellow member. Only LinkedIn can tell you whom you may already know, and how you are connected to them outside the group.

I read about Pontiac’s $7 million media relations blitz and figure the big expensive play deserves this much buzz. I see Red Herring’s idea and wish I had thought of it.

Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.