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Who’s Driving Your Brand: Navigating Today’s Confusing Customer Pathways & Arriving with Your Brand Intact


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This ebook will cover how marketers can gain competitive advantage by leveraging social media and loosening the reins on your brand.

Published in: Marketing, Business, Technology
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Who’s Driving Your Brand: Navigating Today’s Confusing Customer Pathways & Arriving with Your Brand Intact

  1. 1. CAMPAIGN MANAGER LEADERSHIP SERIES Navigating today’s confusing customer pathways and arriving with your brand intact WHO’S DRIVINGYOUR BRAND?
  2. 2. 2 The proliferation of data offers an exciting opportunity to restore marketing to its fundamental roots – the basic principles of driving business growth by understanding and adding value to current and future customers. Yet, at the same time, control of our brands has been wrestled away by the customer – often with the same tools that are providing us data. THE MARKETING MIND IS RACING If you’re a marketer today, you know the rate of change is unrelenting. You’ve been grilled about the potential of social media, multimedia, and mobile. You’ve lost sleep thinking about how to integrate your multiple social media channels – and how to show their ROI. You’re aware of the risks if your social marketing goes bad. And you’re convinced – there’s something else big around the corner. In short, if you’re working in marketing today, you know firsthand that in order to keep up with the pace, you have to learn, know, and do more. Luckily, previously unavailable data and information are making that possible. “IF EVERYTHING SEEMS UNDER CONTROL, YOU’RE JUST NOT GOING FASTENOUGH” MORE DATA LESS CONTROL - Mario Andretti
  3. 3. IT’S NOT REALLY “YOUR” BRAND Organizations have spent millions of dollars building strong brands. Traditionally marketers have been the ones in direct command of managing customer touch points and shepherding messages. Now, the voice of the customer is amplified like never before. A plethora of channels and 24/7 access to them – one estimate predicts that nearly 4 billion smartphones will be in the hands of consumers by the end of 20171 – provides instant outlets for observation, opinion and debate. While today’s successful marketers recognize their brands are increasingly controlled by customers, some would argue this has always been the case. Brands have always ultimately been defined by the discussion around them – but customer voices are more readily and easily amplified now than ever before. When the news cycle was slower, brands could use media channels like TV and PR to curtail negative news. But not anymore. Today it’s real time and it’s everywhere. According to MarketingProf author, Carla Ciccotelli, “The quicker you reply, the more likely your customers will feel you think they are important; you also give the commenter less time to complain again.”2 As the customer’s influence grows, we need to understand that there is still power behind our brands, even as we let go. However, we need to learn how to serve as catalysts to our brand advocates and other influential voices around our brand to empower them to tell our story in a positive fashion. ” 1 - Ben Evans, “Mobile, context, and discovery,” February 2014 2 - negative-social-media-into-a-positive#ixzz30Hwk4uAJ
  4. 4. 44 LET GO
  5. 5. Looking closely at how customers interact with each other reveals a growing potential for loss of brand control. For instance, in 2010, 59 percent of internet users said they used at least one social networking site (SNS).3 Today, 42 percent use multiple networks, while 73 percent of adults online report using some kind of social network – 71 percent of them use at least one social media site each day.4 Clearly, marketers aren’t the only ones with opportunities to direct brand message. The general public now plays an active, even dominating, role. Customers, prospects, and even competitors, can use social media outlets to build, maintain, protect – or damage – your brand. HOW TO STEER WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL “Letting go” does not mean “giving up.” The challenge today is to embrace your customers, value the increased exposure and harness social media’s enormous potential, while being conscious of the fact that every message will be reinterpreted and commented on in ways that cannot be controlled. In fact, how companies respond online can make or break their public image – their brand – in today’s social media-driven world. CHANNELING EFFORTS Many companies have been using social platforms for years now to engage with their customers, and customers have proven willing to participate. However, customers’ reasons for engaging with brands vary greatly. One study revealed that 80 percent of consumers would share their mobile location data with brands in return for receiving useful SMS or push message.5 In another survey of millennial interactions with brands on Facebook, 86 percent stated they did it just to support the brand. Only 64 percent stated their goal was to get a coupon or discount.6 Unsurprisingly, marketers have flocked to these channels. In fact, a report by SocialMedia Examiner found that the overwhelming majority – 97 percent – stated that they are participating in social media marketing and 86 percent believed it’s important. AN EYE ON THE GAUGES Online adults’ social media activity 59% 73%social media users in 2010 social media users in 2014 DOES IT WORK? 37% of marketers believe their Facebook efforts are effective. 2012 2013 67 71 20 22 15 21 16 18 13 17 Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter Instagram 2012-2013 Pew Research 3 - who-are-social-networking-site-users/ 4 - media-update-2013/social-media-sites-2012-2013/ 5 - charts/2013/11729/consumers-open-to-some- mobile-interactions-with-brands MP1 6 - charts/2014/24336/how-and-why-millennials- interact-with-brands-on-social-networks MP2 O
  6. 6. 6 For some companies, the benefits of social media marketing have been nothing short of spectacular. CMOs at these companies have embraced change. They’ve pioneered a variety of innovative social networking campaigns, and they’re learning that loosening the reins on your brand can yield considerable competitive advantage. EMBRACE CHANGE 6
  7. 7. Ace Hardware is one such company showing outstanding results. In the spring of 2013 they implemented a Facebook campaign with several ads over a seven-day period. This one campaign alone grew the number of fans of Ace Hardware’s page by 132 percent and generated 50,000 relevant clicks. “This campaign showed an immediate return, both in the growth of our fan base and in sales resulting from the coupon. The value is still proving out with the fan base activity to this day,” states Mark Lowe, Ace Hardware eCommerce Marketing and Digital Manager.7 More than just a click, experts say that adding fans is a valuable resource. It allows companies to create and build a database that companies can use to communicate with and learn from on an ongoing basis.8 As channels mature, there are historical references today. Who can forget the firestorm that Procter & Gamble created in the summer of 2010 when it produced nearly 200 short, comedic YouTube videos to reinvigorate the nearly forgotten Old Spice brand. Leveraging the reach and engagement of social media, these “commercials” were personalized to respond to comments from YouTube viewers, bloggers, Facebook and Twitter users (particularly influencers). In what was seen as a huge risk at the time, P&G allowed its team to respond to the “viral” groundswell of viewers that developed by writing marketing content in real time with little supervision. In essence, the customers were leading the brand. The reward? A catalogue of YouTube “ads” that received more than 10 million views in less than a week. As further proof that P&G believes it works, in the summer of 2013 P&G shifted a full 35 percent of their US ad budget to digital.9 SOCIAL MEDIA MASTERS E E 7 - SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2013.pdf SM 8 - hardware-facebook-ad-case-study 9 - intelligence/2013/08/pg_shifts_35_of_us_ad_ budget_to_digital.php
  8. 8. 8 A great thing about the openness of communications today is that it enables you to see and understand customer behaviors that you might not have discovered otherwise. By recording and integrating that information you can make informed decisions going forward. For instance, you might discover that more seniors are using mobile than you would expect or that visitors to your Pinterest account are more likely to purchase online. The openness of communications today that make it so interesting and appealing are also what make it risky. Trolls aside, most people interacting on the internet are generally there in good faith. But brands of almost any size are bound to have detractors for one reason or another. Being transparent and authentic are key to deflecting most unwanted attention. At the same time, when considering hashtags (#) or campaigns, brands need to know both their audience and the current overall market climate and sentiment. Ideas that can be misinterpreted or redefined in multiple ways likely will be. Brands that haven’t taken these precautions have paid the price. REVERSE GEAR? YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT? Marketers are finding that by being transparent and relinquishing a measure of control, they can actually inspire customers to develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with their brand, products and services. The fact that 70 percent of customers buy from companies based on how they’ve been treated reinforces this notion.10 Customers want to be appreciated for what they contribute to your company and brand. You have to have a dialogue, and you have to be prepared to meet customers on their turf, wherever and whenever that might be. ELIMINATE THE BLIND SPOTS 8 10 - McK The moment of truth in customer service, com/insights/organization/the_moment_of_truth_in_customer_service
  9. 9. Start small. Start with a framework that encompasses your customers’ preferred channels. You don’t have to be everywhere, but find where your customers and conversations about your brand are happening. Listen to and monitor those channels. Customers today expect companies to have an online presence that’s not only informative, but helpful and responsive, as well. It’s an option for companies that care about their brand. For Jeffrey Hayzlett, host of “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett,” and author of “The Mirror Test,” it all boils down to: THE FOUR Es OF SOCIAL MEDIA: And, with regard to the issue of losing control of brands, Hayzlett encourages marketers to take a step back and ask themselves this: How much control did we really ever have? As Hayzlett sees it, customers have always controlled our brands. The difference now is that marketers can use social media as a tool to shape the conversations and share their story. As surprising as it sounds, it’s clear that these days, by letting go, we can actually gain new opportunities to influence. Engage Educate Excite Evangelize 1 2 3 4
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