Don’t just use social media, be social and your brand will build itself

By Emily Horgan on Monday, 10 October 2016

In an environment where social media is king and traditional platforms like TV are playing an increasingly supporting role in content consumption, how can we harness these platforms to help build brand awareness?

At the recent Festival of Marketing, Huib van Bockel, author of ‘The Social Brand’, led a session that discussed why many brands don’t seem to have changed their marketing behaviour in response to our shifting media landscape.

While many marketers look at the brand position, Huib believes that we should instead be looking at the brand mission - what is it that we want the brand to do for the end user?

With so many messages being shown to consumers every day we should be looking at the kind of world that we want to create for them and what is it that we can do for those who are already engaged.

For example, while a free gift added to a new product may actually devalue it in the eyes of the general consumer, giving it exclusively to loyal customers can increase positive feelings and encourage evangelism, resulting in a much further and deeper reach.

Huib presented his idea of a Brand Bank Account, a concept devised to help brands discover the opportunities that they have to make a “deposit” to the consumer rather than asking for constant “withdrawals” on their behalf.

He explained that we all have a virtual Brand Bank Account in our minds for each brand or business that we interact with. Seeing an advert, buying a product or following them on a social platform either adds or takes away from the balance of our “account” for the brand.

While TV still mostly relies on pure consumption, social platforms offer consumers the chance to actively engage in a conversation, respond to a prompt, or take onward action in real time, all of which can build a stronger connection with a brand.

So, rather than constantly asking the consumer to give something to us, from their personal data to their money, we should use every opportunity to give things back to them, like useful content, freebies or exclusive extras, that will encourage long-term brand loyalty.

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