Brands and Social Media: Avoiding the Usual Blunders


By James D. Roumeliotis

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Branding should be the set of expectations and relationships, that as a sum, are on a consumer’s top of mind, which in turn choose one product or service over another. Therefore, to be clear, contrary to misleading beliefs, a brand is not merely the recognition of a logo, design or packaging.

Social media is, on the other hand, defined as “web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.” In this digital age and with a plethora of wireless devices, businesses ought to be present online and interacting with its intended audience — if it is to build its brand, as well as grow its crowd of loyalists.

When the brand utilizes social media strategically and wisely, the results will yield a tremendous amount of sharing and community involvement. This requires a coordinated marketing effort on behalf of the brand which is intended to bolster information and sentiments about the product or service through at least one social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Most importantly, social media postings and campaigns should be well focused, have measurable outcomes and are directed at influencing their targeted audience to act and/or feel in a specific way.

Legacy brands vs Newcomer brands

Legacy brands such as in Mercedes, Gillette, Pepsi, Marriot have their disruptive “Newcomer” brands which compete in the same category such Tesla, Harry’s, Red Bull and Airbnb (among others) respectively.

Brand equity erosion is hitting the traditional as today’s consumers, especially the younger demographic such as the Millennials, are seeking practicality and functionality along with companies which share their values, offer some form of advocacy and interact genuinely with them.

Legacy brands communicate with consumers through traditional media, whereas the Newcomer and agile brands are more often discovered via social media and direct word of mouth. That is where most of their target audience spend their time and interact these days. This will most certainly remain that way for some time.

Purchase brands and digital brands

According to branding expert, Mark Bonchek, with some exceptions, the “Traditional brands are ‘Purchase’ brands and Digita’ brands are ‘usage’ brands.”  In his B2C study and article in “Branding Strategy Insider”, Mark states that “Purchase brands focus on the “moments of truth” that happen before the transaction, such as researching, shopping, and buying the product. By contrast, usage brands focus on the moments of truth that happen after the transaction, whether in delivery, service, education, or sharing.” He further states, “The benefits of shifting from purchase to usage are reinforced by our research. Survey respondents show more loyalty to usage brands. They had stronger advocacy in the form of spontaneous recommendations to others. And they showed a higher preference for usage brands over competitors, not just in making the purchase but in a willingness to pay a premium in price. On average, the usage brands were willing to pay a 7% premium, were 8% less likely to switch, and were more than twice as likely to make a spontaneous recommendation of the brand.”

Brands do not mean much unless the company serves a larger, holistic purpose for the environment, health, and other societal issues important to consumers. Thus, as a behemoth food processor in the age of healthier consumer offerings, Kraft-Heinz and many other such food giants will remain in strife, unless they change their ways in a timely manner.

The takeaway

Contemporary marketers are effective due to their evolving tactics which keep pace with societal and consumer changing demands. Newcomer brands and established ones, which are agile and savvy to progress, do not offer fluff in order to create value. They have the foresight and insight to know what to offer in terms of a product or service with value-add and how to best communicate it. This includes an effective narrative and a lifestyle around their offerings. In other words, more than just an appliance and/or a facility. Digital marketing is where all the marketing action lies at this day and age. Legacy brands, please take note. Either you focus on traditional marketing and branding tactics, whose effectiveness is dissipating, or evolve into a digital brand by switching your positioning on the lives of your customers.

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Filed under 1, Branding, Business, small business branding, social media, total customer experience, viral campaigns

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