Mini Case #3: Lightly BrandingJanuary 16, 2009
So this is our third case study of using social media in the real world!
For marketers, social media has shown how to drive opportunities in greater volumes into the pipeline. “Lightly branding”, which is having your customers and communities drive your brand, is happening all around us. Companies today are custodians of their brand, not the owners. In a global world, consumers are taking that brand equity and building their own stories. It is these stories that are now at the heart of trust and relevance.
Social media is the toolset to allow pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness and new customer leads. It is more powerful than third-party advertising because it conveys an implied endorsement from a friend. And it provides you with a way to personalize your brand.
For example, EepyBird.com and the Coca Cola Company. The video of two “scientists”, 101 bottles of Diet Coke and hundreds of Mentos showed the reaction of the 2 products together in a huge fountain effect. It started as just a video for the fun of performance, but ultimately this “lightly” branding significantly drove up sales of both Mentos and 2-liter bottles of Dike Coke
With the YouTube generation, the internet is a media of social connectivity. Differentiation is no longer about product/service but rather is based on the concept of engagement and long-term relationship.
For instance. In one of the book’s Online chapters, a small company in San Antonio Texas called RackSpace is highlighted because of their virtually 100% referral business. Driven by viral reference videos, and what they call “Fanatical Support”, they have co-branded their support as a competitive advantage. (http://www.ibmpressbooks.com/articles/article.asp?p=1273853)
Lightly branding is one way to start that long-term relationship and to drive new leads. It works both ways though! Just recently, due to Twitter comments, Johnson and Johnson’s Motrin brand took a lightly branded approach by removing their new ad due to tweets about the ad’s impact on their “brand”.
- Businesses no longer hold absolute sway over the decisions and behavior of consumers
- The longer companies refuse to accept the influence of consumer-to-consumer communication and perpetuate old ways of doing business, the more they will alienate and drive away their customers
- To succeed in a world where consumers now control the conversation, and where satisfied customers tell three friends, while angry customers tell 3000, companies must achieve credibility on every front