What is Social Branding?

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Teaching companies to play nice on the social web.

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What is Social Branding?

  1. What is social branding? Teaching companies to play nice on the social web Lance Shields
  2. “ We are not seats or eyeballs or end-users or consumers. We are human beings - and our reach extends your grasp. Deal with it.” - Excerpt from the Clue Train Manifesto
  3. To answer the question “what is social branding?” , I need to fall back on a personal experience. My wife and I are raising two kids in the suburbs of East Tokyo. Our son is 10 and our daughter is 5. The two fight like cats and dogs and my wife does her best to handle these rascals while I’m at work.
  4. But the real troublemaker is our youngest since she always wants what her brother has and is a terror trying to get it (I love her!) So for the past 5 years we’ve been trying to teach her to share and think about her brother and others besides herself . It isn’t an easy sell let me tell you.
  5. At some point in time all of us when we were kids had our parents teach us how to share and get along with others . We weren’t taught to give up what we wanted or deserved but to learn to think about others’ feelings too. Basic social skills, right? Can you see where I’m headed? Photo credit: Konstantin Ryabitsev
  6. In a dog-eat-dog world, business as usual means companies trying to get what they want at all costs, sometimes at the expense of customers, employees or partners. What the social web has changed is corporations really don’t have a choice to be spoiled brats any longer. Not knowing what the customer wants is no excuse anymore. Photo credit: Listener42
  7. Having a relationship with our customers isn’t about some CRM program since we don’t have an option to “manage the relationship” (we never really did). People demand more from us than ever before and mass marketing is dead since when was the last time anyone liked being considered just one of the masses. Photo credit: Bettina Tizzy
  8. Social branding isn’t really about brand at all, or at least not brand as we’ve known it - something to control, to measure, to systemize. That’s because our brand is not our’s to control. It’s our customers, our employees’ and all the other people who think and talk about us behind or in front of our backs. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk
  9. To start thinking and breathing social branding means to get down on our customer’s level and speak with him or her one on one like people used to do in little village stores and barbershops. Photo credit: smccard
  10. Like my daughter and her struggle to share, companies (especially the big ones) are seen as greedy & scheming on the social web and people could just as well go on having conversations without us. But there’s an obvious lesson here for all of us in business if we care to pay attention.
  11. If we can learn to see the importance of others feelings and needs, then we will care enough to listen. And if we care enough to listen then we will want to say something to them.
  12. And if we have real conversations with our customers (not press releases or ads) then we may start to build something substantial, something I like to call a social brand.
  13. Or we could just as well call it friendship ?
  14. So come on kids, don’t you think it’s time to share the ball? And in the words of the great ABBA: “ If you change your mind, I'm the first in line, Honey I'm still free Take a chance on me…” Lance Shields: lance@bluecreativestudio.com I work in the social web: http://bluecreativestudio.com Some thoughts about it: http://blog.bluecreativestudio.com

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