Today, as I watched for the first time, Lipitor's new endorsement of Dr. Robert Jarvik, "Inventor of the Artificial Heart," I understood at the bottom of my gut that I was watching history. Medical ethicist and NPR commentator, Katie Watson, believes it's the first time a doctor has been paid to endorse a prescription drug in an ad.
More importantly, my head was observing an important lesson in strategic endorsement, an example of a powerful automatous response mechanism, social proof.
The power of the Doctor's backstory, a prime example of the power of third party testimony, launched the multi-targeted message like a compound bow, amplifying the message to the prospective customers and the distribution channel, the doctors who prescribe it.
Like below-the-surface eddies, other strategies are being used in this credibility juggernaut: a unique selling proposition, the multi-faceted campaign and a pre-requisite unbranded "educational" public awareness campaign as revealed by Brandweek.
What if your product or service was personally endorsed by a champion of an affinity group, your target prospect?
Find a CPA Trainer to endorse your Financial Planning services. Tell your clients a story about how you, a lender, solved a problem for another client, a top-producing Realtor. As a recruiting firm, get the endorsement of the top sales rep at a high-volume newspaper selling help-wanted classifieds.
Now, put that in a mirror.
If you're a top-producing Realtor, offer to endorse your lenders. (oh, no!). Go ahead, advertisement account reps, you can celebrate, through word of mouth, or even well placed feature article, your recruiting firm clients.
"Oh, I don't know if I could do that," you say. That's a whole nother topic of discussion.