Social Symphony

The Social Intelligence Of Tyra Banks And Why That Matters To You

Gunther Koo - Saturday, October 09, 2010

Tyra’s social intelligence matters because she has skills we need… she knows how to attract millions of people and cultivate long-term relationships with them. Tyra is already a star. She has learned a lot particularly when it comes to people. Now she’s going social.  Last week at the IAB conference during Ad Week in NYC, Tyra let us know she is going to be more then just a name on the masthead.  

“I Call Them Fams Not Fans… They Are Family To Me” Offhand she mentioned that she has over 2 million twitter Fams… Family not Fans. She made the point that if you think of them as Fans you get caught up in a celebrity trap where you are bigger and better then regular people. This celebrity thinking inhibits real connection with people. Fams not Fans. Her philosophy is that we are all in this together as a family would be, that Fams don’t revolve around a star but relate to each other like a family might. She see’s herself as a “360’ human being, warts and all, and not an actor on a stage”.  This philosophy has been the driving factor in her success. Tyra acts as a member of her family, helping, loving, advising, teasing, laughing and bringing them home. 

Tyra Will Use Technology to Build Her Fam Banks is partnering with Demand Media who will cull topical insight from search and chat online. This will inform her of what topics will increase the probability that she will engage and help people and they will share and grow Tyra inc. She is going to use technology to learn what and to focus on what people care about. That is not the big news but it gets the headlines and attention. Others can cull info and target content. The real insight here is Tyra’s way of connecting with people… that is the winning part of the equation. My money is on Tyra and her Fam thinking. 

Are Brands Better Off Getting Fans Or Being Part of The Family? Imagine having 2,000,000 Fams. Imagine people who really cared about you. People who tell your story for you, who tell their friends they like you and tell them to try you. Imagine people who defend you, who offer ideas, who buy your products, who try new things and become the backbone of your future offerings. Do you think you will get them from Fam or Fan based thinking? The Fam thinking provides a combination of relevance and emotional connection making your content popular and more likely to be shared. What people will see is your relevance to them, what they will feel is your love, help and concern for them. What will sprout from them is more sharing, more Fams joining the family and more positive results for your brand. 

How Brands Can Make Fam Thinking Work For Them It starts with the mindset about how you position your brand for social interaction and relationship building over time. You want to place yourself as part of your Fams circle, to be a part of them and them a part of you… rotating together based on the value you offer. Align with what they care about… their passions for food, music, travel, sports and others. Plan across one year unique ways your brand can be relevant and create conversation, invite participation in social ways. Enter and blend into those passions and provide value on a continuous basis. 

Imagine A Larger Social Identity For Yourself Flex your brand to be broader, to relate to different kinds of people in a social way. Visualize what that looks like driven by conversation and participation. Plan to make human connection and provide meaning. Start creating examples of what that might look like for you. Plan ways to use paid media to drive earned and owned sharing. Build conversation and participation into your creative design.  Realize it is not all about the platform and technology; it is also about your ability to add connection and meaning.