Brand manager are in a quite tricky situation at the moment: They need to take the risk to push their brand through a sea of overcrowded information without getting their brand drown. Read this article to get a guided route to the harbour.
In reality this can be described as the trade off between the creation of so called social buzz and the publishing of marketing content which fits the brand identity closely.
First serious scientific publications on social media marketing can be dated on 2006. But still the topic has not reached the C-Level completely. We are in times where “brand community” (Muniz, 2011) describes the latest step in the evolution of brand management (Heding et al, 2009). The focus is not any longer solely on the sender or the receiver itself, but rather on the interaction of both. Nevertheless social media marketing seems still risky to business and even to marketing departments of big firms. Maybe for the reason of not knowing how long the current landscape of social media networks will sustain – in fact it’s a volatile game to settle a long-term communication strategy – but this cannot be the reason to leverage the crowd of late movers: Social media impacts our businesses whether the brand managers are controlling the communication or not. We better understand which risks and which benefits we gain from it.
In a study run by KPMG in 2011, certain risks have been evaluated by leading automotive CIOs. These have been among others the loss of internal knowledge, protection of sensitive data and against negative content, and others. In articles like “branded in social media networks – what are the risks?“ SMBR conducted an analysis of the different risks that might affect the brand through social media marketing from a user perspective. The above stated results show the current status of this article.
In the end, each risk category might brush brand reputation. So responsible marketers often ask themselves about the benefits of their social media marketing efforts – is it even worth it? Due to an exponential development of technology (big data) in the last decade, and the fact that controlled interaction seems to be such a noble good, marketers strive to take the chance of understanding their customers without even knowing their names – and social media is helping them to achieve it.
In fact, there are multiple ways of structuring a social media strategy – not every social footprint requires exorbitant amount of money and human resources – there are smart ways to handle it without them. Let’s take Coca Cola for instance: a global player in business that disables the functionality of user generated content on their facebook page – but, is this clever or risky?
In discussing these two ends we soon get to the point where we need to start the p/l statement for our brand individually, because each brand needs different actions to achieve their social media target. Like back in the days of Keller and Aaker, the journey starts with looking at the brand identity. From this company core asset, you can consider the pros and cons, and thou their potential profits and losses. In the following SMBR presents 5 science insights you should include in your social media brand’s Profit & Loss statement:
- Values: Check your company values that are applicable to your customer – are these fitting with a lax humour and small talk conversations? If not, your range of topics might narrow sooner than expected.
- Implementation: is your company good in IT support and technological background? The higher you score here, the more convenient it will be for you to create individual support solutions for scheduling, maintaining and monitoring your data in the social web.
- Customer Relationship: Check your general customer relationship and try to evaluate the measure of communication intensity you may interact with your customer in social media. An intensity-gap may estrange your current brand identity.
- Organisation: how strong is the social media strategy perceived and anchored in your company’s top management? The more the better you can face complex obstacles like the compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Flexibility: how much flexibility does your company provide to its employees? These may affect internal guidelines as much as the allocation of resources to implement the social media strategy.
Use these science insights to start your social media P/L statement. The conclusion of this work should not be to avoid implementing a social media strategy.
Instead it should guide you to a more company tailored target which you can achieve successfully then!
Be smart, and don’t drown your brand
use the 5 SMBR steps instead!