Brands losing control through social media

At ItsOpen we are starting to work more with brands as heads of brand strategy understand that social media is fundamentally changing the rules of brand marketing.

Brand is now a dual play: it is both online and offline. Bloggers and online communities are shaping the direction of brands. Rather than controlling brands, we are helping marketing teams to see how they can foster and nurture their brands in influential social media networks.

What underlines this stark change in approach is the simple fact that people can easily find out about a company’s offerings through a Google search than the company’s own carefully branded web site.

And what do they find through a Google search? Usually blog comments; news stories (not necessarily positive ones); unofficial videos and so on. This is all being created by the development of democratised tools of production (computers) and the democratised tools of distribution (social media networks). ‘Official’ raditional media does not have absolute sway over this new field and nor do businesses.

As social media explodes in growth, customers and other audiences will no longer remain passive recipients of brand messages but they will continue to contribute to them, alter them, create them even,and talk to one another about them.

Being a custodian of your brand in this environment is highly demanding and requires brands to learn to leverage new methods of communication in order to be heard, and to share and create information and knowledge.

Brands are having to discover their own online communities and have dialogues with key influencers and consider the content they share. The wealth of information generated by the rise of social media is being accompanied by a poverty of attention. It is harder to gain attention in this competitive environment where there is far more choice. Brands need to understand the culture of social media to prosper. The cost of dull brand content (which can often by architected from the inside out) is that it will not be read or shared through influential social media networks.

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