The brand is, by definition, a quality reference, a specific universe and a vector of values. A brand is recognized for its quality and, in its domain, garners a reputation and expertise, which can lead to taking a position of authority and providing advice.
All these factors can now to be put in place using the available digital media, of course, respecting the web code of conduct, i.e. openness, authenticity and a willingness to initiate (listen and participate in) the “conversations”.
Facebook has materially changed the media landscape through, in particular, its fan and group pages. Facebook’s classification of fan pages is increasingly of commercial interest to brands. Some brands such as H&M, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Victoria’s Secret have found in Facebook an active and engaged audience – including their employees. Here is the list (via fan page list) of brands with the largest base of fans.
Twitter, to another extent, has revolutionized the customer relationship with real-time processing of requests, complaints, special offers, etc. It gives the ability for even smaller brands or companies to interact with their customers and allow them to become visible to the Twitter community. A perfect case in point: The Stockholm Historical Museum which spotted a tweet (a message under 140 characters on Twitter) from us and immediately sent a message @mdial to thank us for the visit. “Glad u like our museum! Interactivity and kids visiting with adults are top priorities at Historiska Museet.” This exchange was both surprising and pleasant and, most importantly, came at negligible cost to the Museum. This form of interaction demonstrates the ability of the “small” to play in the big leagues.
Staying close to the street – and listening to your client base — is crucial to remain visible and credible. The notion of friends sharing recommendations is a strong element in social networks. Famous brands are at an advantage, since they are more easily noticeable and commendable. However, new players in the market place can build their identity and increase sales and visibility faster and better than before, thanks to the social networks, operating under a set of new rules and a new mindset.
One of the more significant issues relates to ”personal branding” – a phenomenon associated with the rise of the concept of “e-reputation.” For the CEO, the stakes are high. How to accord a professional image with the personal one? As for the employee, the issue is to build his/her own identity while working within a company. And, finally, for all Internet users (i.e. consumers), regardless of their status, their image on the web — with the virtually indelible traces – becomes associated with the brands with which they interface. In any digital media strategy, brands need also take this aspect into consideration when building their community of fans.