Can Your Brand Hack a Customer’s Life?

Who doesn’t like to find a faster, better way of doing something? There’s always a little thrill when you discover a new shortcut that makes your life easier. Technology’s benefits and promises are great, but they doesn’t necessarily solve real problems. This is where “life hacks” come in to play. A life hack is helpful information that can improve your life and provide solutions to everyday problems or address unmet needs.

Many life hackers begin their course of discovery by deciding they want to do better. Chances are they want to learn how to do something they’re unfamiliar with or to streamline their lives and become more efficient. Some are students of an existing process, such as the personal workflow management phenomenon of “Getting Things Done” (GTD), a book and process designed by efficiency guru David Allen.

The life-hacking community is dedicated to discovering new ways to help you get by. Tips include:

  • Practical how-to advice. These are tools and tips you may not know about. They can range from your grandmother’s kitchen advice to tricks to better manage your local public transportation system.

  • Technology advice. This life hack helps you streamline a technology process, better control your software, or find new Web sites about your interests and activities. Think of it as industry insider knowledge and “not in the manual” kind of stuff.
  • Personal productivity advice. This area covers tips for your home and your personal life. They can include how to handle new responsibilities and how to focus and rid yourself of time-hogging clutter. It assists with efficiency, memory, and enhancements to popular organization and workflow methodologies (most often based on Allen’s book).

How can insight from the life-hacker community help your marketing strategies? Answers may not be apparent right away. But if you can identify trends and interests, you may be able to discover a little gift you could offer consumers to help make their lives a bit easier.

The Web is filled with life-hacking-oriented sites. Start with the mothers of all life-hacking sites: 43 Folders and lifehacking.com. After that, spend some time with the various social media tools that embrace life-hacking insight, such as Ta-da List and 43 Things.

Here’s how you can get your brand started:

  • Get involved. Get in on the ground floor by helping solve a problem or supporting efforts. You could launch a contest, fund a community project or software development, or even provide some resources. Show that you’re listening. The community may listen in return.

  • Sponsor a site. These aren’t portals; they’re vertical interest sites filled with enthusiasts and problem-solvers. Craft your messages accordingly, and the audience may take notice. Speak to them on their terms.
  • Seek advice from the community. Work with community leaders to put together organized conversations or surveys. Often, community members will be interested in providing feedback so they can personally deliver their advice to someone with influence over a product or brand.

Life hacking is poised as an emerging platform. Every day, we learn more about how this community adapts to the Internet and about new methods of consuming information. How we apply these teachings will determine whether we can successfully meet new needs and offer greater holistic programs that surprise and delight our customers.

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