Branding in the Age of Social Media
Brand marketers today have access to more touchpoints to reach target markets. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that of these forms, it’s social media that leads new media. Brands now have quick and easy tools. But is it really that simple?
According to Peter Juan, “A brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company, and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story to your customers.” Juan is Director of Social Media, Wunderman Manila.
Imagine how many interactions brand managers now monitor, and dissect on social media alone. There’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and LinkedIn. All of these have 44% and above following on favorite brands. What’s a brand manager to do?
The challenge is that customers, users, have the most important tool at their fingertips—the power to click to opt out. This power renders brands immobile, indecisive perhaps.
Needless to say, brand managers have to face the challenge. “Branding helps people identify your organization. It’s what differentiates your company from the competition. Branding helps build trust, keeping strategies focused on making that emotional connection with the customer,” stressed Juan.
There is what Juan calls a “Golden Circle of Purpose, Process and Result”. Brands must know the goals of its existence. It will then need to take direct and purposeful actions to fulfill the brand’s goals of purpose. Lastly, it will actualize the purpose, and reach fruition of its goals.
It would be imperative for brands to deeply immerse itself in self-actualization—without which, its social media persona cannot be developed. Creating this persona constitutes consideration of company culture, target markets, and above all, being truthful. It’s authenticity that drives the emotional connection. And, it isn’t enough to verbalize the characteristics—these have to be defined by demographics of age, sex, and behavior (likes and dislikes).
Once the brand’s social identity is set, it next sets out to study the social space it will occupy. This is science and mathematics. It’s all about age and income statistics. Having the accurate numbers, gauging perfect timing, these are key.
While it’s science and logic, it’s also art. Says Juan, “You have to maximize through visual branding. Craft your visual style through consistency, use templates, use colors to your advantage. It is important to use the same display profile across your social media channels.”
Juan also advised how brands can use online influencers on social to build relationships, but to be wise about their choice. “Do not determine influencers based solely on the number of their fans or followers.”
Brand marketers don’t have to look far for good influencers, most can be sourced outside of the limelight. “Find volunteers from within your network, employees or trusted suppliers. Empower and deploy active and passionate members from your own online communities,” added Juan.
Lastly, this social media expert recommends going offline, and going beyond social, saying, “We must always strive to make a tangible difference in our customers’ lives.”