Friday, August 8, 2008

Bigger & Better



One of my favorite Web 2.0 stories is how Kyle MacDonald started with one red paper clip and completed 14 trades to end with a house. It's a remarkable story about passion, sincerity, determination and community. Since 2006, MacDonald has published a book about the story and a movie is currently being produced about the extraordinary adventure.

What can we learn from a little red paper clip? Well, actually a lot.

"I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted ... I just don't know which half." -John Wanamaker, father of the department store and modern advertising

Frequently, brands spend millions for impressive advertisements and fancy promotions that miss the mark, because consumers are not engaged. Additionally, companies often believe the secret to traffic results is having their website listed first on a Google keyword search. But are expensive promotions, advertisements and purchased keywords really just wasting half of a company's advertising dollars?

MacDonald's story illustrates the importance of engaging community first and spending money second. He connected his brand, himself, with a variety of people through personal connection, a story and free Internet media. MacDonald's fame grew over time and was sustainable, unlike popular Internet movie stars that are here today gone next click. His social equity accelerated as consumers rallied around his extraordinary idea, not around the actual product he was trading.

An extraordinary idea? A purple cow? Is that all it takes? ....Try it for yourself and be the judge.

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