Marketing on the Social Web Hosting the Conversation 6/01/2009
“ 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
The World in Which we Live The Consumer is in Control
Listening <ul><li>Marketing online is not about interrupting people, but about pulling them in with strong content. </li></ul><ul><li>Good inbound marketing is having people talk to YOU about your product instead of you interrupting them </li></ul><ul><li>Online marketing needs to be less like a sledgehammer and more like a magnet </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t try to kiss me when all I want to do is shake hands!” </li></ul><ul><li>If you build a store and get 100k people through doors, are you successful? Not if they don’t buy anything </li></ul>