It seems that over the last few years, with the rise of social media, branding is being redefined over and over. While some brands do very well (Apple, Trek Bikes, Subaru,Starbucks) other brands are struggling to stay relevant to empowered consumers. So what does it take for a brand to stay relevant today?
Brands have to gain better insights into their customers. While consumers will stay with brands they know a majority of them have boundaries as to which brands they will allow into their lives beyond the basic promise. However, some brands really feel that consumers want to have social relationships with their butter, ketchup or salad brands.
For consumers the rule seems to be “be there when I need you (social media) and just because I liked you does not give you permission to invade my online time”.
For brands like Trek bikes however a social relationship is different. Cycling can be both a passion and a hobby and people are always looking to interact around riding.
Starbucks keeps introducing new products and consumers have looked at their Starbucks beverage as a reward for all the BS they put up with during the day.
Apple is driven by their products not their customer service. Their latest OS, for example, has a bug in its Mail app that requires users to take Mail off-line than back online to get new messages. While a bug like this would cause an avalanche of hateful social media posts Apple customers are just happy to have a great product.
Marketers should do a better job of getting into their customers head to find out their expectations of their brand relationship before investing a lot of money on social media marketing.
When I meet with new clients one of the first questions I ask is “how important do you think social media is on coversion?” The answer I get most often is “we’re not sure”. My response is to say “let’s find out before you waste a lot of marketing dollars.”
Is your brand relevant enough to your customers to have a social relationship?