Brands are created after consistent efforts towards building a certain mindset in your target base. Brands may be big or small or even have an umbrella culture where a parent brand holds the values core and integral to the others. As the brand becomes bigger in its size, reach and value; its audience size is also increasing and becoming more specific. Thus, brands need to focus and become visible to their prospects, customers and competitors.
As the process of marketing is understood, it is observed that different ATL activities are not just costly but they may not be sufficient to penetrate in the market. Thus use of a mix of channels and BTL is adopted. Social media marketing is a long term investment and results in long term benefits. It is one of the most interactive, real-time media communications that a brand can establish with its consumers. Being so volatile and explicit in nature comes the need of policing the publicity and communication activities on it. There are guidelines on internet and set protocols for website and traffic posts so as to facilitate a healthy environment for different kinds of users.
Social media channels are an informal way of creating communication or dialogues with your audience in order to promote your brand; gather insight and expand your reach. However, marketers should not forget that a brand image is created after toiling on various aspects of the brand, such as values, tone, attributes and benefits and features. These properties of a brand should justify the brand image and should not be unreal. As long as your consumers are aware, they will seek in you a more trustworthy association with your brand.
To cut the competition, brands must not use wrong means to promote themselves as better. There should be transparency as much as possible so that your consumers can understand your rationale and appreciate your efforts as brand. A brand should speak very authentically so that the users can relate to it. Also, if the brand exhibits quality based on a rationale, it starts becoming more real and consumers can relate to it more logically. The consumer is attracted to a brand which is not just real but also stands by its message as they connect to it at an emotional level. The human tendency to trust is based on emotions. Hence brands should be able to exhibit more realistic qualities which will seek value for consumers.
Social media channels invite two way communications between the brand and its audience. As the communication is on an open medium, it is real-time and viral. It is thus important that brands present themselves in the most realistic manner to create a lasting mindshare. A consumer would appreciate the brand that is sensitive and is customer-centric.
Some main reasons to understand how brands can meet the above criteria of becoming human:
Any information about the processes and your brand should be made as transparent as possible. This helps the consumer to connect more strongly to your values and also understand the rationale behind your approach in the market. Just as one human connects to other based on their governing principles, for a brand to live longer transparency is must. Though the brand is not a person or is intangible but it is measured largely by the principles and value it exhibits. Social media channels are platforms to not just market about your brand but also to project your real facet.
A brand should reflect its core values and not just be about a product sales pitch. It means that whatever values are integral of the brand should reflect in the processes like development or manufacturing and sales and marketing. Hence, it should be genuine. The promises made in any communication should be authentic and genuine. At the end the consumer should not be left with the feeling of being cheated for the value or price factors associated to the brand. A consumer is the medium of propagating the brand; any unethical or fraudulent experience becomes viral and can spread through word of mouth. An authentic brand value system will help to create customer loyalty and in long term mindshare.
The brand should also be sensitive and understand human sentiments while setting up the tone to communicate with its consumers. If the consumer needs are not kept in mind then the consumer would not like to associate with such brands and change their loyalty towards others. Neither should a brand build its value system by discarding or criticizing competition. Just as two individuals will have unique qualities and should focus on their own qualities rather than pulling each other down’; brands should show similar openness and respect while communicating. Hence, being a customer-centric brand ensures that the consumer’s needs are always given priority.
Consumer needs keep changing. A brand must evolve as per the consumer needs and ensure that its customers’ satisfaction is not compromised. Some brands become rigid about their traditional systems and processes; this will stagnate to its growth in the new market. As the competition is growing aggressively, flexibility is an important aspect of growth. Individuals show flexibility by understanding each other’s needs, similarly brand must have the quality to make each touch point more customized to their audience so as to build a strong connect. Social media is not just vast in reach but viral; brands exhibiting flexible policies and features are always preferred by contemporary consumers.
Ultimately the way the consumer relates with a brand at their conscience level. A brand is perceived no less than a living entity which has evolved basis the understanding of consumer sentiments and needs. Hence, any communication and dialogue on social media must be as real as possible. The consumer should take pride in associating with the brand. No consumer will like to associate to a brand which makes false promises.
The above indicators hold true for any brand or service. As the communication is based on understanding your customer needs and sentiments, the brand starts building a deeper mindshare.