October 6, 2010
It is important for any of the brands to act more as people and not as automated systems. I have even come across brands who use tools like Hootsuite, Cotweet, Jist and many more to post content regularly in order to look like an active brand.
But, that’s not sufficient for the brands. Most of the time one has to interact with users regularly in order to suggest, resolve and discuss around various conversations and make sure there are real people behind every Twitter or Facebook Profile
But what about organizations that are leveraging employee participation to communicate with their audiences through social media? Here are a few tactics to consider implementing to humanize your brand:
- Instead of an icon or logo, use a team photo for your Facebook page or corporate twitter account to show that real people are behind the brand.
- Include the names of employees representing the brand in any account profiles, about us pages, etc.
- Include a page on your blog with author profiles and photos – offer a behind the scenes look at their role within the organization.
- Have a monthly “Meet our Team” post on your blog or Facebook page. This could include a text entry with an attached image or a video post that offers some insight into the personality of the organization.
- Build stories around individual employees’ favourite products, why they love them, how they use them, etc.
- Encourage team members to communicate on behalf of the brand through their own twitter accounts – which would include their photo, their role within the organization and a link back to the company website.
- Get out of the office – have a plan that bridges digital communication with face-to-face audience interaction. This could include employees speaking at industry functions, hosting seminars or educational events, employee volunteerism within your community, regular pr/service visits into the marketplace, etc.
What other tactics could you implement to humanize your brand?
Understand Your Audiences
A word of caution before pulling the curtain back on your organization – take some time to really understand the needs of your internal and external audiences. Before setting out to humanize your organization through social media:
- Communicate social media goals and guidelines with employees – particularly if they will be representing your brand through personal accounts of off- hours.
- Understand the information needs of your audience and balance the frequency of culture posts – personal stories are great for building relationships but it’s important to be mindful of the fact that too much content related to the organization may not be of interest to your stakeholders.
These are the most aspects that any brand should start following. This will certainly help a brand to avoid crisis as Dominos Pizza faced last year.
Pls Note: This post was been inspired by the original post on Social Media Explorer
Filed in Blogger Outreach, Content Marketing, Crisis Management, Influential Marketing, Social Media Marketing
Tags: Digital PR, Dominos Pizza India, Dominospizza Casestudy, Humanize your brand in Social Media, Indian Social Media, Influential Marketing, Social Media Approach
September 27, 2009
Traditional media had always promised us millions of Reach but no one bothered to measure or did not have any tools to measure the reach with qualitative analysis. Social Media PR which is so called “New Media” in India comes with Reach and a strong influence…
People ask me why Social Media PR can be dominating in the future. The most important draw-back of traditional marketing approach is the reach but no influence or less influence. Thought it claimed to have quantitative reach but failed to have qualitative results to the reach. We never felt it important just because we didn’t have any other option. But Social Media has opened the big doors for consumers to voice their opinions against their bad experiences with the Brand. This certainly did not change overnight in India but it took enough time to reach out to people’s realization.
Most Importantly, Social Media Marketing comes with a strong power to influence consumers decision because of its communication model. Social Media Marketing is more towards permission based marketing approach. This does give them a right to accept what they feel and how they want it to be. It is very difficult for a brand to approach a consumers with its own rules and approach. In such case of personalization there is strong sense of influence too. Since the consumers have to power to weave their perceptions it becomes very easy so establish a strong chain of influence along with the reach. Its the enough room consumers have achieved in this medium bringing more difficulties and straight-forward approaches for the Brands. This has completely changed the consumer’s experience with the Brand. Hence, marketers have to strongly think and brainstorm about building necessary approach in this medium. There can be silent damage to the brand if the marketers do not feel the necessity of interacting with the consumers directly, which may result in great downfalls for any Brand or service.
This certainly can also be a great help for brands to also identify the loop holes in their Marketing & Communication approach, resulting them to fix issues and problems pertaining to the Product, service and much more…
Most importantly since Social Media PR has a great Reach along with strong Influence, marketing efforts can achieve assured qualitative results and also ensure better penetration of the brand or service amongst the consumers. In such cases a clear ROI is also defined effectively.
Filed in Brand Reputation, Crisis Management, Influential Marketing, Social Media Marketing
Tags: Indian Social Media, Influence of Social Media, Loopholes in Marketing communications, marketing communications, New media, Permission Based Marketing, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Researh, Social Media Influences consumers effectively, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing in India, Social Media offers qualitative reach, Social Media PR, Social Media Reach and Influence, Traditional marketing follows Quantitative reach, What is social Media Marketing in India
July 28, 2009
So far we have been seeing how to build conversations, engage people with our brands to build awareness around the brand, product & service. Most important work starts after the purchase considerations or after a consumer starts using the product, service; this is an area where major damages cause to any brand, service, product, identity etc. Most of the reviews we see is the result of unhealthy experiences of the services, product. Most of the marketers fail to analyze this aspect and hence try to build awareness without knowing what is been written and what is been talked about a brand. The most important thing for any marketer before getting into Social Media Marketing, is to build internal process to handle queries and marketing promises effectively after the purchase cycle as it reflect in the discussions of the online users. Most important thing is the efforts made behind Social Media Marketing are endless, hence to manage these activities effectively in the long run; one has to be very clear in understanding the willingness of being transparent in their communications.
Coming back to the feedback cycle, most of them in India have also realized the importance of the Social Feedback cycle and they are working backwards the set few things right in order to gain consumer’s trust. And some are still getting carried away with review portals where their product reviews can be posted with an additional cost.
This is still fine in few cases as manier times, it is really difficult to rate a particular product as it might have too many features for a consumer to rate it, this also involves a strong market survey to understand what a best deal would be for a consumer, base on it a balanced review can be generated. The best example I would give in India is mouthshut.com. This is the only portal in India which had been purely into user generated content and currently a leading portal for UGC across India and also influences lot of people in their purchase decisions. I would rate this portal to completely dependant on Social Feedback Cycle.
But yes there are other portals too which handles fake reviews, so beware of it.
I would identify the most important area in Social Media Marketing is the Social Feedback cycle, the feedback cycle shows a clear path to your future Social Media Marketing efforts. Hence I would also say that Social Media Marketing is not for everyone and everybody, but most of them :)
Filed in Blogger Outreach, Brand Reputation, Crisis Management, Digital Communications, Digital Marketing, Influential Marketing, Social Media Marketing
Tags: Digital PR, Indian PR, Indian Social Media, Influential Marketing, Invest in Social Media. Social Media Return, Purchase considerations, Purchase funnel, Social Conversations, Social Feedback Cycle, Social Media, Social Media for everyone and most of them, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Tactics, word of mouth
June 5, 2009
I would like to thank to one of my online friend – ISABELLE who has been actively discussing with me on this matter, The Best part of our discussion was coming up with a new perspective to look at “Cost of Inactivity” rather than analyzing it through ROI, Cost per click etc etc.
Inactivity has been an important concern in the Social Media World especially in the Indian Markets. Social Media has been very successful in other countries. India has still yet to taste the response of Social Media. Yes there are many companies who have started using Social Media as one the mediums to engage people. But they are not completely in it. The current perception of the Indian market is still restricted to contests, Campaigns to engage users and not discussions, brainstorming and other Crowd sourcing activities. Indian brands are still skeptical to act transparent to the actual people and still looking at different ways to control these mediums in either restricting themselves on tools or content.
But Social Media is more than just sharing a company’s information, their operations, their expansion plans, service etc. Social Media is also, giving an opportunity to the people to participate in one’s brand conversations, such as brand enhancements and many more. It need not have to be specific to the brand but a relative activity of the brand. Ultimately what people look for is an opportunity to converse with people on different possible discussions, express their views, frustrations, ideas etc. where they would like make some value additions. The Best example of is the Idea Campaign, it does have an emotional connect as well as involve people in the brand’s Initiatives.
There is one more reason why Brands in India are not very keen in involving real people in their activities, as the fear of conversations going against them. But, its worth taking a risk.
It needs a long term strategy to develop good relationships with the real people. An ideal social media strategy should span across between 3 to 6 months. Social Media strategies are little time consuming, but in this case we are building a communication support to backup our promotional activities. It just like somebody approaching you with a product which has no history and future. Everyone needs some supporting, not just appearing it on Hoardings, Electronic media, but also adding some personalized touch to it.
Brands still look at one big Idea, than looking at simple strategies to support it. And this kind of practice is dangerous for a brand image. Moreover, just being listed on all popular social media services, will not be considered as being active on it. One has to talk to people, ask their reviews, involve them in the brand’s survey processes and also involve them in possible brainstorming processes. This will certainly place any brand to a customer’s expectation and also building brand loyalty. People wants their concern to be considered. So far we have been hiding and running away from their concerns, and naturally that leads a Brand Disaster in the coming future. Moreover, being active is so important as there is immense competition around the brands itself. Lets understand one thing, being inactive is far more expensive than being active. Here are some important aspects to look at it:
- Misunderstanding towards a Brand
- Loosing valuable customers without knowing
- Negative Influence
- Misinterpretation of the customers expectation and hence ending up in a loose out
- Advantage for the competitors
- Negative conversations going out of control damaging the Brand Reputation
- Very difficult to convince and provide possible justification on a claim or an incident
- Loosing out good opportunities to connect with consumers directly and also understanding their expectations
- Spending lot of money on the research companies, with assumptive survey reports
- Unwanted Redirection of Valuable Conversations
Looking at so many possible disadvantages, Is Being Inactive Worth a try ?
Filed in Brand Reputation, Crisis Management, Digital Communications, Influential Marketing, Perception Communications, Social Media Marketing
Tags: Cost of Inactivity, Cost per activity, Cost per Click, Cost per impressions, Digital Marketing, Digital PR, Inactive in Social Media, Indian Messup in Social Media, Indian PR, Indian Social Media, Influential Marketing, Invest in Social Media. Social Media Return, Listening & Engaging, Measuring Social Media, Proactive Social Media, Social Media Concerns in India, word of mouth
December 31, 2008
This is the only thought I always carry whenever I meet a new client for pitch presentations on Digital Marketing. I always choose to meet the actual decision makers because they are the one who needs to understand how digital marketing can help enhance their brand loyalty and values. Because Digtial Marketing needs complete transparency in the information or deals provided to them. Hence the actual decision makers has to be present while understanding how digital Media works and reacts. Even though many times I end up meeting other part of the organizations. I don’t blame them, because everyone who is in charge of marketing always follows the proven methods of marketing. But there has to be a clear thought process and one needs to have enough exposure towards all kinds of marketing.
All the smart marketing professionals do understand the importance of digital Marketing and its reach. One thing everyone should be open is for new ideas and news mediums to explore, which drives marketing communications for their respective companies.
I have met many clients in India where they are not even open for discussions on Digital Marketing, because they are scared of being written wrongly. I agree, since web is a open platform and anybody can write anything about anyone. But what have we done to overcome it? If something is written against you or any wrong information is published.
Let me give an example:
In the traditional media there is a control on what’s written on a brand, service or a personality. Despite of all these things there have been so many articles which are been wrongly published or wrongly quoted. Brands do take care of it through their PR agencies… right…, but what is the use of taking care after the first damage is done. If something wrong has to happen or if somebody wants to write wrongly about anything, they would still write. Same is on WEB. Lot of clients say that we don’t want to carry out any marketing programs online, as sometimes it back fires them. But how? I don’t see a reason to it on why one should not use web as a medium to communicate their marketing or awareness initiatives. Why does one think like that? In fact there is a great influence on the brands through web. It may be a Babycare product or it might be techno gadget. Everybody relies on web for detailed information right from the cost to reviews. And it really matters to ones buying decision.
Let me come back to the topic where we were discussing about how one can write negatively about a brand, service or a personality – on the web. For any product & service, there is criticism & applauds. It all depends on how one carries it forward. If there is criticism, one has to come forward & give enough justification and show transparency towards their practices. I am sure it will not take much of time to convert criticism into applauds. But one needs to be proactive to go ahead and work accordingly towards it. After all why do we have programs such as online monitoring, Online Reputation Management etc, presence in Social Media. All these programs do help an organization or a brand to actually overcome all these hurdles. Well Digital Marketing follows a different set of rules on marketing & PR. One needs to really think out of their old ways of marketing and handling customers. I even mentioned in one of my articles that it is no more a sellers market, hence it’s a buyers market. And buyers do expect direct information, direct reach and transparency in ones communication.
Many marketing professionals do ignore this medium, but what are we doing about those suspicious comments made on the brands in the digital medium. If we don’t bother about it, it might bother us in future. In every marketing practice there is something called anticipation which leads the future of any organization.
To share with:
I had come across a brand called Nestle. Surprising there are so many social Groups on “Boycott Nestle”. Which has more 3,000 users each in the group? I am sure Nestle is not doing anything to manage their online presence. With the extension of Internet Bandwidth and more Internet service providers in the market. Very soon we will find every single person in this country having a Personal computer and an internet connection. I am sure Brands, service industries etc will have a tough time to convince users. So, its time that we build our presence and be ready for all kinds of possible hurdles. Lot of marketing professionals do think of competition, but how many competitive promotions are really genuine enough to be worth called as competitive. People do have enough spending affordability. The only thing they look for is genuine deals. Even if it little out of their budgets but they do see how loyal the marketer are. As that affects their relationship with the marketers in the long run. I hate to see Teaser marketing promotions which follow “Conditions Apply”. In the current scenario this is the most attractive marketing practice but yet it is proven to be very wrong marketing practice. Lot of marketing professional might not agree. But where is the trust in the brand, which every organization looks for. Are we are not targeting long term relationships with our customers? Are we going to sell only one product to the customer in all our future marketing practices? Certainly not…
All I have to say about Digital Marketing is an organization needs to be very transparent when you are directly reaching your consumers and hence rather face them than avoiding them. Because they are ones who can bring success to any business in the world. And digital marketing multiplies your business to X10 times to any other main stream media activities. But they are equally important at times.
Filed in Brand Reputation, Crisis Management, Digital Marketing, online reputation management, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
Tags: Best Marketing Practices, Brand Enhancement, Brand Loyalty, Brand management Marketing, Brand Transparency, Brand Values, Buyer's Market, Consumers Reach, Digital Marketing, Global brand Marketing, Online reputation, Transparency marketing, Web Marketing