Branding is all-important in today’s advertising, and becoming a household name is the holy grail of marketing. When a company has become inserted into day-to-day language, it means that their brand has become ingrained into the social consciousness, and when people think of an object related to that brand, they think of that brand first. Building brand awareness means inserting yourself in ongoing conversations about your brand and engaging with consumers on the social media platforms where they already live.
In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore the concept of branding and relationships. We look at how brands are engaging with consumers via social media platforms, and how building brand ambassadors can take a brand to the next level in regard to reach and influence. We look also at rising marketing trends and how one company has combined the ideas of sustainability and branding to make a positive impact on the environment.
Human interactions can alter how we perceive one another, allowing us to quickly build or compromise a relationship. The same is true for brands trying to build a relationship with consumers. Consumers are thirsty for brands to provide something more than just a product or service. They want relationships, especially amid our technologically immersed lives, where human interactions seem to be decreasing and digital interactions are increasing. JP LaFors, director of client service at gyro Denver and Forbes contributor, offers four important and transformational shifts that can either accelerate a brand’s success or cause it to remain vulnerable:
- Relationships have moved beyond product transactions to human interactions.
- Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond service transactions to personal interactions.
- Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond marketing-led transactions to user-led demand.
- Relationships between people and brands have moved beyond a structured research process to organic discovery.
Brands Are Learning to “Say Cheese” (CNNMoney)
The rise of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram has changed the way marketers from Whole Foods to American Airlines think about and use images to sell their products. Unlike the slow uptake by marketers of other new technologies — from early television advertising to social media — companies have been quick to jump on these image-based platforms. Brands are seeing the value in being able to tell a story through posters, banners and text. Some brand’s Pinterest and Instagram sites are a combination of brand-created and user-curated images, and that is creating a kind of branding that exists outside of the typical identities. Companies like Starbucks are increasing their level of engagement with consumers via these platforms. The correlation between tags and shares, and measurement in termsof sales, is still a reoccurring issue, though there is still no clear answer. Does 617,994 photos tagged #starbucks on Instagram equal more people coming in for Frappucinnos? At the moment, brands are seeing more value in being a part of the conversations taking place about their brands. The hope is that eventually, increase in website traffic and sales will come.
Digital PR: Finding Brand Ambassadors (Business2Community)
A recent report from the Society for Digital Agencies shows that earned media is prime. So how do brands find brand ambassadors willing to go the extra mile and spread the good news about various brand? Brand ambassadors are people or groups who already love and support your brand and would be delighted to forward your message. In most cases, they also are someone with a decent following online, either on his or her blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social news sites, such as Digg , Reddit or StumbleUpon. It’s important for brands to do a social audit and identify those who speak positively about their brands. Once you’ve recognized who your ambassadors could be, offer them exclusivity. Give them access to content no one else has. Mashable reports that Walmart goes the extra mile for the influential mommy bloggers they have identified. Not only do they give their “Walmart Moms” exclusive products and experiences, they also host a blog and YouTube channel for them. Ambassadors don’t have to have millions of fans or followers, but they do need to be passionate about your industry and be a fan of your brand. Identifying this quality in individual followers increases the influence and audience reach, which helps brands build long-term relationships with current brand ambassadors, as well as create new ones.
Rhythm New Media, a premium mobile ad network, recently conducted an analysis of mobile video advertising and found that the addition of display ads and social media features to mobile video can boost the effectiveness and engagement of a mobile marketing buy. Data collected from more than 140 campaigns from top brands showed that display ads are integrated into 88 percent of mobile video campaigns, and that’s because the combo can lift engagement. These numbers present a good outlook for marketers as mobile is becoming a substantially more capable vehicle for driving brand awareness, affinity and purchases.
Sustainability Leadership Through Branding: A Woman and a Community of 50,000 (The Huffington Post)
Huffington Post contributor Graciela Tiscareno- Sato recently interviewed KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, founder of the Sustainable Brands Conference. Vikoen Skrzyniarz’s mission is to affect positive environmental changes through the process of branding. She defines a sustainable brand as “a better brand that endures by respecting and delighting all stakeholders in both current and future generations.” She also talks about how the Sustainable Conference remains successful by getting big brands to create cross-functional teams to expand the conversation into one involving multiple stakeholders, which keeps a brand relevant to more than just the consumer. Also by connecting innovators to big brands, the brand remains current for generations to come.
Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.