The world of BRAND is changing and charging headlong towards SOCIAL BRANDING but what does that really mean? It’s not a case of throwing up a Facebook page and waiting for engagement to occur, it’s more fluid and far more interactive than that. At the core it’s about building relationships with engaged consumers and weaving that into something that both parties gain from.
Honesty and transparency is one of the biggest growth areas, brought on by accesible social media and comes from a need for brands to provide great value trades with all of it’s engaged consumers, partners and stakeholders. Rather than spending cash on PR to hide wrong-doings and inequitable behaviour, modern brands must strive to be the best they can whilst embracing their human side. The consumer is not, unlike in traditional marketing, the little man but plays a central role not only in how the brand behaves but also how it evolves.
The old paradigm of two ears, one mouth … use in proportion comes to mind.
Two ears, one mouth
To approach social media monitoring and find relevant conversations sits at the heart of this. Most of the effort should go on the listening aspect but you should still have the capability and manpower to respond promptly. Most conversations don’t need active or direct engagement but being ready to jump in where appropriate is vital to success. Practise in this area and you’ll find it’s also a great place to capitalise on a crisis and improve your image in the long term.
Social media has manners much like the real world – in fact, for many, it’s a super-charged version of the real world and that means providing a consistent and honest view of your company. This is where core values come to the surface and the real brand will emerge. This is, quite rightly, terrifying for businesses who are not-as-nice-as-they-would-like-to-be-viewed.
If social media has one legacy once it ceases to be a standalone initiative and that is the death of crummy, greedy and dishonest businesses.
These three core principles provide a solid grounding and are easily carried over to any of the new emerging social spaces. There is a fourth principal, however, the next stage in evolution.
The social organisation
The end point of moving your brand to a social footing is the social mantra permeating throughout the organisation. This sees community and social engagement at all levels of the business, the traditional role of brand managers then dissolves away as your loyal social base influences what you become, what products you develop and how your service them. Even how you price them.
These are the new, fast growing, organisations. Companies like GiffGaff. Watch them and learn.