Social Brands: Brand Engagement as a High Performance Engine for Growth
How can companies fluidly manage their brands in the social conversation to optimize promotional budgets and accelerate revenue?
Protecting and growing a strategic brand is a different animal in the era of public conversations among customers, competitors, and brand ambassadors. Regardless of whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, control is no longer possible. The media mix is ever-expanding. Messaging originates from anywhere. An individual with an avid following can influence beliefs as well or better than the best-planned integrated campaign.
Fortunately the tools, access, and know-how to manage a brand strategy can be harnessed by savvy corporations to curate a brand’s reputation more effectively than ever. Expensive research isn’t required to get a pulse on customer perceptions globally and in real-time. Promotional campaigns can be better targeted to influence a local market’s brand preference. All companies now have a mission and the tools to become brand curators.
Corporations are now looking to their brand management teams to do it all: create stronger revenue streams, magnify the impact of every promotional dollar, assist in attracting talent, improve employee engagement and avoid reputational risk. These requests arrive from every corner of the organization, and rarely come with additional resources.
How will you transition your organization to manage your brand successfully in this new era?
This new reality requires an updated approach that involves examining the opportunities, learning from peers about their successes and then customizing to meet each brand’s needs.The Conference Board proposes to convene a new Research Working Group to help companies successfully shift their strategy into the new era of socially-responsive and locally relevant brand management. The group will investigate the following themes:
Your message: How do you roll out messaging around the world that doesn’t sound “pre-baked” and is reflective of local conversations about your brand? How do you maintain consistency with your promise and brand story? Can you use authenticity to inspire trust in your brand?
Your partners: How do you enlist your global employee base to become local ambassadors for your brand, amplifying conversations worth spreading and redirecting social messages that are off base? How do you encourage brand evangelists to promote your brand on their own while supporting your intended promise?
Your risks: How do you guard against competitive frontal attacks now that they are easier to execute through social media and then are picked up by mainstream channels? How do you minimize reputational risks?
Your infrastructure: How do you adjust your promotional budgets and messages to optimize their impact at the local level? How do you monitor emerging technologies and determine when you need to invest in a new social response program? How do you clarify the ownership for responding to significant social and mainstream media and teach your organization your response plan? Can your content be designed and leveraged across silos ranging from product teams through internal and external communications and other teams?
Led by Mary Poul, former Global Marketing Manager at 3M and a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, the RWG will achieve its objective through case studies, best-in-class interviews, panels of experts, benchmarking surveys, etc. By tapping into the collective brain-trust of the participants, the group will generate new thought leadership and come up with original content, tools, and frameworks.
We will analyze campaigns of various scales and can find inspiration from many angles. For instance, imagine running your brand strategy and execution like a U.S. Presidential Campaign:
- What does it mean to have the pulse of every geographic locale and what they think about your candidate/brand?
- How can using promotional resources to join in local conversations help you adapt to what matters most to people and influence their perceptions?
- What happens when other people run promotions for your candidate/brand, and you may or may not approve of their messages?
- When staff monitor all conversations about your candidate/brand 24/7 and maintain a map of local sentiments can you adjust the roll out of your advertising campaigns, PR, and messaging to have the greatest impact for your candidate/brand, and ultimately, votes/sales?
Whether you aspire to manage your brand like Pepsi or The White House, this project is designed to increase your sophistication through multiple platforms.