I recently read Can’t Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy. If you want a better understanding of how social can enhance your organizational brand, it’s a must-read. Below are my top three takeaways:
Lesson #1: “We don’t own the brand. The people who use our product own the brand. Let them talk about the brand for us.” (Sidebar: This nugget of knowledge can be found on page 112. It’s my favorite and why it’s #1).
Simple brilliance. If more marketers and branders realized this, the industry would be changed and social media would be the key leveraging tool. As communication professionals, we can conduct all of the advertising we want. In the end, it’s about the user experience.
Case in point: In the book, Joe Tripodi, the CMO for Coca-Cola, had an a-ha moment following the Mentos and Diet Coke “experiment” that went viral on YouTube: “I used to think that loyalty was the top of the pyramid: awareness, consideration, preference, loyalty. Then I said, ‘Oh my God, advocacy is the bigger thing.’ If you can get people to be active advocates as opposed to passive loyalists, I think [that] is so much a part of our future.”
Yep, more simple brilliance and spot on. Thanks Joe, for the beautiful lead-in for lesson two.
Lesson #2: “An ad is someone passing you on the street, someone you may or may not even notice. A Like is an encounter. Maybe it’s a kiss and a hug and a catch-up, or maybe it’s just a mutual smile in passing, but it is an actual engagement involving at least a modicum of attention and emotion and presumption of ongoingness.” (Sidebar: This bit of social awesomeness can be found on page 123).
This is a sentiment from Garfield and Levy after they shared a case study about Oreo. I love this and here’s why:
It clearly articulates the value of social media in direct comparison to traditional media. Traditional can (largely) be defined as passive. It’s serving an impression; it’s sharing a thought or a picture yet it does not offer an opportunity for engagement. Think outdoor billboards, magazine ads or radio spots.
On the other hand, having a social media presence (and in this case, Facebook specifically) invites engagement. Someone who likes your page actively selects to visit your page, which means your newly engaged community member has bought into your brand with a desire to engage and maintain ongoing interactions with you. Carpe diem.
Lesson #3: “A purpose is not a commodity, and you cannot outsource soul searching…..a purpose statement must be derived, not contrived.” (Sidebar: Are you building your brand? Don’t miss page 128).
These little nuggets o’ wisdom also come from the authors and reflect how organizations should uncover their brand personality and carve a space and place within their competitive field. I love these nuggets because of the experience we went through at UNCG as we completed our own Integrated Marketing & Strategic Communication (IMSC) effort. We used Simon Sinek’s thoughts on cultivating a “Why-How-What” communication strategy to differentiate ourselves. It’s how we defined our own, authentic communication strategy and shared value of Do something bigger altogether. As we continue to roll out IMSC across our campus, we continually say it was built from the ground up. It was not conceived by the marketing folks, but rather, discovered and uncovered during our own research. A revelation of sorts.
So go on. Revel, reveal and get social.