Time dictates how we do our jobs, and for marketers, this is no different. The socialization and democratization of media has taken a marketer’s previous job of carefully crafting messages and controlling the brand and shifted it to something else.
Working to maintain brand control is no longer effective. It's impossible. Consumers will take messages and do with them what they want, so an effort to maintain control is ultimately futile.
Be the Champion
We are now brand champions. There’s a lot of talk about brand advocates, and for our brand we must be the biggest brand advocate of all, while being thoughtful ambassadors to our customers by making sure their concerns are addressed, their ideas are implemented, their questions are answered and their experiences are positive.
What’s a marketer to do?
The New Direction for a Brand
No longer can we view consumers as individuals who have the potential to somehow hurt our brand by placing a logo somewhere, reworking a tagline or writing about us on a review site. That’s going to happen whether we approve or not, so we might as well focus on where we can win by taking a new approach for our brands in the interactive space and getting involved:
- Discover and Communicate Your Social Brand: Create your brand’s social experience. Determine how you will communicate, where and in what tone. You cannot re-create your traditional marketing strategy. This needs to be something different, something more personable and more conversational.
- Extend Your Brand’s Presence: Align on where your brand will participate and start engaging, but make it easy for your customers to take your brand elsewhere through sharing brand assets and creating content that can be spread and shared through multiple channels.
- Be a Brand Steward: Maintaining control is out the window, but being a steward who maintains and curates the brand isn’t. Always stay true to your points-of-difference and reasons to believe while maintaining your brand’s integrity. If you communicate it well enough and in a compelling way, consumers will become stewards as well.