Social media presents new challenges to marketers everyday. From PR crises to the prospect of getting lost in an overcrowded space, social brand building is not easy. Yet, the likes of Coca-Cola and P&G are thriving. What differentiates these winners from the brands that barely survive?
- The winners, while designing their brand building strategies, have a contingency plan on how they will tackle everyday challenges.
- For these social media mavens, brand building means more than promoting their brands. They consider social media as a platform to build and nurture relationships with customers.
Thismoment's team noticed the typical challenges faced by marketers:
- In 2011, the penetration of social network users in the US was 63.7%. In 2013, it will increase to just 67% (eMarketer). According to Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst, "With fewer new users signing up, social network users will be more sophisticated and discerning about the people and brands they want to engage with." For brands, the challenge will be to strengthen relationships with existing users.
- Reputation management and engagement were among the biggest challenges faced in 2011 (Smart Insights).
Besides these common obstacles, we found other challenges that marketers faced. Let us examine how these obstacles can be converted into brand building opportunities.
- Maintaining Consistent Brand Voice: One of the challenges for marketers is to develop a consistent social presence, which is crucial for brand building and establishing trust-based relationships with customers. How can brands do this?
- DEC Allows Brands to Build Once, Deploy Everywhere: With Thismoment's Distributed Engagement channel (DEC), brands can have a home for all their digital content. DEC allows brands to deploy cohesive messages across social channels like YouTube, Facebook, etc. Thismoment's Corona Latino DEC, for instance, has a Brand Site, Facebook App, YouTube and mobile channels, and a Facebook Tab. This enables Corona to create a single brand identity across multiple channels.
- Brand Reputation Control: When it comes to brand building, reputation management is crucial. In today's unfettered social space, customers can make or break a brand. How can brands manage their social presence and protect their reputation?
- Monitoring Social Presence: It's not enough to just build a solid brand image; brands also need to maintain this by monitoring their social presence. In 2011, 82% social media strategists said that they would invest in brand monitoring, a 6% increase from the previous year (eMarketer). Although some brands are still catching up, the others are using monitoring tools like Thismoment's Brand Monitor to:
- Monitor/measure reputation
- Review brand health
- Capture and address negative sentiment associated with their brands.
- Striking a Balance: Although marketers have their social brand building strategies in place, when it comes to integrating this with other marketing channels, they're often stumped. According to the 2011, State of Search Marketing Report:
"37% companies found it difficult to integrate social media marketing with other marketing channels."
While traditional channels are here to stay, marketers need social media to strengthen and build their brands. How can they strike a balance?
- According to Social Media Examiner, social and traditional media complement each other and marketers should move away from replacement thinking.
- The assets built for traditional campaigns can be reused in the context of social to create a single identity to support the campaign that brands deliver over time.
Here's an example of creative integration: Created on Thismoment's DEC, Audi promoted their new A7 on Facebook and YouTube through their 'Bold Design' campaign. Audi then extended this interactive campaign offline, by displaying the tweets posted by users on the New York's Times Square billboard.
While brand building is high on the priority list, the challenges it brings can sometimes deter marketers from building solid, winning social brands. Where some brands struggle with the sheer scale of the social space, the others are faced with tasks like reputation management and integrating social media with other channels. Winning in this unfettered, competitive digital space is about overcoming these everyday challenges by converting them into brand building opportunities.
- Shama Ahmed