Mesh08 – Building a Brand
As the reach and efficiency of traditional media for marketing purposes continues to decline, companies and marketers alike are questioning how they can build a brand identity without any of the usual tools. What strategies make sense for brands when they move online, and how should they be structured to take advantage of the medium? What are some of the pitfalls of trying to use social media to do so? Join a discussion about these and other issues with Rohit Bhargava, author of the new book “Personality Not Included”, Maggie Fox of The Social Media Group and Michael Garrity of CommunityLend, with Mark Evans, moderator.
On Evolving a “Messaging” Philosophy:
Mod: How are organizations structured from a branding/marketing perspective?
Maggie: We are working with a company that decided that they are going to talk with one voice, so all messaging has to have one point. But they’re yelling, because if I want to engage with them I might not get what they’re saying if it’s only one thing. If they’re not listening to me then they are missing out on my role in their brand creation. It goes to people, who within the organization owns that messaging. People communicate with these org across multiple silos, so who is talking to your consumer about the product? They aren’t talking with one voice they are talking about what people want to talk about.
Mod: traditionally we talk about using a handbook, so how to companies adjust and restructure themselves?
Rohit: Is your brand one message that everyone needs to sing to or is your brand what you stand for and then everyone can sing to it in their own way? Innovation is a good example that can be adapted. So we are used to thinking about b to c and b to b and now people are talking about e-c- employee to a consumer. It’s now individuals within corporations who are building the relationships, not to mention your best customers who are evangelists. So it’s really an evolution of being ok of having different messaging, that doesn’t mean there’s no voice or brand.
On Silos as Barriers, and Sucky Products
MIchael: I think it relates to this question of how to organize. I’m personally frustrated of being in a marketing company with a budget and not being able to engage with customer care because they are in a different department. Then you have the tech guys who are trying to figure out how to make people move through the site, and that’s online branding, which is silo’d in technology. It’s the marketing departments that need to lead this revolution, in order to bring all of that together. If your product sucks, so you need to figure out how to get the feedback of what isn’t working and realize the solutions to making it more profitable. It took us a while.
Maggie: if your product sucks nothing is going to save you. You have to live up to your brand promise. If you’re listening people will tell you if it sucks. The other thing is brand advocacy. It’s outside and inside, so you have this 1% outside that is very influential, but internally you also have a 1%, it’s really important to find those people internally and enable them. Don’t forget the people inside because they are your best ambassadors.
On Choosing Ambassadors and Reacting to Feedback:
Mod: Now those ambassadors who are in can now access the outside? How about listening to your customers as you’re building your brand, whether it’s resonating with them or not, and it’s more then just sales. You can associate a great marketing campaign with sales, etc. How can we listen effectively?
Rohit: One thing that companies are starting to do more effectively is using social media on a mass scale. In the old days, you would hear from someone that there’s a problem and then you might feed back it, and if you were lucky it might get back to those who can do a difference. Now it’s instantaneous. The window of suckiness is shrinking. Now we can only suck for 30seconds and then you’ll now. So yes as companies we can listen, the challenge is to roll that information into an actionable item. So for example, companies that do have people who are listening and doing something about it. Two challenges: 1) listen effectively, and for smart companies is how do you scale that to be more then just one or more people doing that. It seems like the biggest challenge in the world. How do you release a product and then offer warrantee support to everyone who bought it? Companies are doing it though: There is an 800 number, or website. There are ways of doing this to scale, those only challenge is that social media hasn’t found their way into social media as of yet.
On the effectiveness of Focus Groups (or lack thereof)
Michael: And this is true for big companies because if you quantify how much money they spend trying to listen traditionally. Like focus groups, which are such of wasting of time. Companies spend millions and millions of dollars, when really if you have a good web analytics programs, forums, you participate etc, you can hear pretty loud and clear what people are saying. The conversation is happening, and if it’s not then you really suck, because if no one cares at all then you’re in trouble.
On the tools to use and Google Alerts:
Mod: tools, listening tools you can use. Google Analytics, make sure your tool is indexing what eve rhas impact, any platform that has mass. So first we find that 1% of influencers. Not all blog posts are created equal so you have to be able to weight the relative influence and reach.
Rohit: In addition to that, there are a couple of essential truths. If we’re marketing tools we want to listen but we’re lazy about it. And the other truth there that goes in spikes. If you set up a tool where you need to go and spend time getting into it, then you’re going to do it when you have time and you might not always have time. The easiest thing right, set up a Google alert for whatever your brand is. It’s a push way. The idea is that you’re setting up a way of listening that fits your work usage.
Selected Audience Questions:
Great examples of stuff:
Megan: Zappos, shoes who use social media. They have lost any sort of employee silencing policies. Culture book that is created by employees, and they put control. They use smart social media use, they are using twitter and monitoring blogs. The CEO is living it
Megan: It’s early days for Ford, we’re in a position where the work we’re doing is finding the influencers and doing very basic blogger outreach stuff.
Ford Blogger Relation Person: First you listen, if you find someone who is appropriate you watch their blog. You engage them like a friend, they are not their blog they are their friend.
On the benefits of getting and using Media:
Michael: For, social lending, we wanted to claim the space, so we put together enough of our story visually that we could reach out to media. So public relations for start up is the best thing you can do. The media also gives feedback because they ask for expert opinions. So you can get a better idea of the viability of your idea.