Sime11 – can you afford to ignore social branding?

As one of the theme blogger at Sime11, I had the privilege of spending two days in the company of many inspiring and passionate speakers (read more about the art of presenting here). While the first day kept a high pace with presentations such as showcases of tomorrow’s superstars, the importance of going mobile and quick extreme makeover tips for your website, the second day had a bit of a calm to it.

One of the highlights of day 2 was the panel with Krister Karjalainen from P&G and Erinn Marzo from Buddy Media talking about social branding. A majority of the speakers pushed the content and context issue, but few touched the core of content. Providing good content to your users is good – providing them with content that originates from the users themselves is better.


(Image by @emiliablom)

The main discussion focused on the engagement factor of the client and brand; we need to listen to our consumers across channels, and we need to build our brands together with the consumer. Transparency is key, and if you engage in your customers and make sure they know you listen to them, the result will be a great communication process.

If the customers experience that they are able to interact with the brand, the influence will not be B2C but B2C2B. This is good, because we want and need strong brand ambassadors communicating with our brand. Karjalainen made a great point about reaching and engaging the customer: ”Most important is to listen to consumers, we need to build our brands together with the consumer”.

Got great content and not a clue where to push it?
Erinn especially mentioned travel, tourism and FMCG as wonderful natural fits for social media. ”In a social media environment, we can gather feedback and engage in a conversation and respond back to the consumers”. To get to the client, be where they want to be. To push content we need to be transparent to our consumers. Because who owns the brand – really? The company or the consumer? We can do as much as we want with products and maketing but in the end it’s the consumer who drives the brand.
Co-creating brands is the future and by this we don’t mean the H&M collaborations with designers. If the designer is crowdsourced, it might even be a better business for H&M than just choosing one. The result might not be what they asked for but the answer will be a great conversation with engaged customers online.

Get your game on
Two recurring subjects during Sime11 were gamification and going mobile. Both are great players in the social brand universe. You have probably experienced the gamification factor, especially the intrinsic (play a game because you want to play, not to win) recently in any sign up process you’ve been through. Who doesn’t want to be 100%? It’s win-win: the brand gets more info about the user and the user gets a feeling of achievement, unlocking features etc. Going mobile might be the buzzword of the year but is too important to ignore. Again, it’s all about content and context. If you don’t engage in your clients, someone else will. If you’re not where your customers are, someone else will be.

Key takeaways:
Make sure your content is relevant
Make sure you engage with your audience and share back with them
Be transparent. Even as a brand you can get personal = easier to relate to

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