Do you control your branding online? In this age of the information superhighway, the marketing industry has changed. Well-established brands such as Coke, Nike and Ford built their brand presence before the proliferation of blogging, articles and social media online. And, while these names enjoy the power associated with their brand, they’re not immune to the impact of online conversations, and neither are you. The question is – what are you doing to maintain control of your brand?
External voices have become a popular resource for consumers seeking information regarding a product or service. Consumers can check out your website and glean information about what you have to offer, but they also know that information is presented in the best light possible. They really want to hear from your current and former customers. Are they satisfied with what you offer? Do you follow through on your promises? Does your branding online mean something?
There is also the possibility that these online voices can become more popular than your own. Think about it – the community of bloggers, discussion board participants, and social media users can produce content at a rate that far surpasses what the marketing or PR department of even the largest enterprise can maintain. If your brand stimulates a conversation, you really can’t control its direction. With branding online, however, you can get in the conversation and play a part.
How can you make this happen? Consider one of the greatest successes in leveraging social media and branding online: Starbucks. The company launched its own social media presence, inviting fans, followers and even haters to get involved in the conversation. The result is a community of conversations taking place around the value of Starbucks and its place in consumerism. Starbucks is involved, but consumers are driving the bus.
At the same time, this powerful brand is also featured on such sites as www.ihatestarbucks.com. With a second page Google ranking, the site isn’t doing that poorly. Is this bad for Starbucks? The reality is the company monitors the conversations and has the opportunity to get involved. Not all consumers will be Starbucks fans, but those who are tend to be dedicated fans. The branding online for this hate site is more to draw others who have tried and hated the coffee, not those who have yet to walk into a Starbucks.
If a site exists to pay homage to its hatred for a brand, that brand has truly arrived at the pinnacle of success. It comes with dominating an industry and Starbucks has done well to embrace the concept. The giant in the steamy beverage world understands the importance of getting into the conversation to maximize its reach in online branding. It monitors conversations, addresses issues that should be addressed and engages coffee lovers everywhere.
What does this lesson mean for you and your company? Your branding online efforts require more than the content you create and push out. The practices demands that you get engaged in the conversation, monitor activities, respond to negative inquiries and correct misinformation.
At Susan J. Campbell Copywriting Solutions, we not only create the content and social media strategies necessary to promote branding online, we also encourage our clients to get involved in the conversation. Nothing online should ever be a simple blast of information. The point is to get in the conversation and turn skeptics into loyal customers. If you’re ready to give it a try, we can help you put a strategy in place that drives results. Contact us today for a free evaluation.