It seems that infusing the precise dose of corporate brand in social sites can make or break you. Too much, you’re screwed. Too little, you’re screwed.
By “brand” I don’t just mean a tight logo with a trendy color palette & volumes of images of happy people action shots where the consumer has to spend time interpreting how the high flying kite somehow represents a product. I mean the whole ball of wax: logo, look & feel, authentic conversation focus & tone from genuine human beings whom people in the market place get to know individually on a personal level because you build commonality with them by sharing non-corporate passions, interests, hobbies, silly pictures of you with your pets, etc. and by taking an interest in not only shoving corporate info in their direction, but by getting to know them as a person not just a potential wallet. It’s been said countless times, but people rather stand behind people they personally know, like and trust and/or are recommended by other consumers or friends.
“You think you can market to people with whom you have no relationship Listen first. Monitor what’s being said about your brand, your industry, your products. Then join the conversation and become part of the community. Then your occasional marketing messages will be accepted, or at least tolerated because you also add value to the community.”
~ Top 10 Reasons Your Company Should Not Tweet
Similar to how consumers 50+ years ago bought from the local mom and pop shops because they knew the shop owners and the small town chatter was the product review system, we’ve all become digital influencers and base our purchases on reviews we share at lightning speed — only now the “small town chatter” happens instantly and globally.
I’m not suggesting that what I call “traditional brand” (logo, look & feel, etc.) isn’t important, it is — just ask those who have been brand-jacked or have opted to hand over the keys to their brand to whomever wants to commandeer it on their behalf via the vast new media channels simply because they (the brand-jacked) chose to not join the conversation. Or, ask those who have over-branded their social net activities via a one way, stuffed-shirt social network presence that looks a lot like traditional web 1.0 content shoved into a web 2.0 pipe — it doesn’t fit.
“If 1.0 was about buying attention, 2.0 is about earning attention by creating great experiences and providing value. In a sense, advertising 2.0 turns marketers into street musicians who must hone their performance and their content. They have to be so good and so relevant that random passers-by will choose to stop and experience the content. The digital manifestation of this is strategies that aim not to drive traffic to your site, but rather, drive your site to the traffic.”
~By Jeremy Lockhorn, ClickZ
What I am suggesting is there are interesting brand influencers who don’t reside in your brand/marketing organization(s), or company for that matter, at all — individual humans engaging in the new media arena sharing their knowledge and experiences. Market place conversations about your company and products are happening right now with or without you — good or bad. You, the human(s) behind the logo, best be sensibly participating in both.
For those already engaged in the new media area, the above is old news. For those new to this space who may be wondering how to join the conversation, have a look at how other companies are participating and decide what best fits your company’s style & focus. Here are a couple to get you started: