Psst. Did You Hear? Consumers Own Your Brand

We, as marketers, presumably all got the memo that our power had shifted to consumers; however, many of us have not changed the ways we interact with our current and potential customers. Corporate silos still exist, channel marketing is still alive and kicking, and not all strategies are consumer centric.

Psst. Did You Hear? Consumers Own Your Brand. image K T Social Media 300x199consumers brands and centric strategiesLong gone are the Don Draper days. Even the idea of 360 marketing is passé. Consumers no longer “buy it” because we say it is so, and they do not think or behave in a linear fashion when they engage with our brands. Rather, they visit our website, check out prices online, read a blog, go to a review site, talk to a friend, call customer service, post a complaint on Facebook, shop online and in-store, etc.

The truth of the matter is consumers own brands. And the funny thing about these consumers is that they expect a seamless branded experience regardless of their point of entry. Despite, or rather because of, this seismic sea change in power, the old fashioned notion of branding is more important than ever. Add to that clarity and consistency the notions of authenticity and shared ownership.

As you navigate these new waters, I would encourage you to not think of social media as new vehicles across which to share your one-way marcom messaging or as budget line items but rather as a way of doing business—a way of engaging with your customers. 24/7.

By ‘baking’ social into everything you are doing, I believe you will have a leg up on your competitors who are still driven by very old think and corporate ego, e.g. “I want 1 million Facebook fans.” “Our competition is on Twitter. We’ve got to be there as well.” “Send a press release to bloggers.”

I can only assume the vast majority of companies have put a toe or a whole foot in the social waters by this point. But I wonder how many are truly maximizing these platforms—this new way of doing business.

Are you asking yourself the following kinds of questions?

  • Where are organic conversations about my category/brand taking place?
  • What’s actually resonating vs. what am I telling consumers?
  • Are we making it easy for our customers to find us and engage e.g. are the Facebook and Twitter icons on your homepage? Does your Facebook about page include links to all other assets?
  • Are we inviting our customers into the conversation or are we merely providing lip service?
  • Do we have separate but synergistic strategies for each environment or is a tweet the same as a Facebook post?
  • Are we mining each platform for low hanging fruit?
  • Are we truly listening?
  • Are influencers raising their hands to promote our brands?
  • Is it easy for consumers to share content with us and each other?
  • Do we maximize the power of storytelling via video and pictures?
  • Are we publicly dealing with missteps and owning our mistakes?
  • Do we surprise and delight our customers?

The list goes on and on but you get the drift. Research confirms that consumers are loyal to brands they like, admire, and trust. No longer do we enjoy that Wizard of Oz behind the curtain je ne sais quoi. Instead the emperor has no clothes. That said, a meaningful relationship is yours for the taking. Open up. Listen. Respond. Surprise and delight. Be human. Rinse. Repeat.

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