Social Media and Branding

This is huge. This is what the marketing plan is aiming for. You understand the buyer, the target segment, pricing, distribution, and the rest, so you can figure out what your messages are, to whom to send them, and how to send them.

Traditionally, branding was about what the textbooks call the marketing mix, which included details of advertising, collaterals, public relations, events, promotions and so forth. You can still find a lot of information about all that in bookstores, blogs, and on the web. But be careful, because even though the fundamentals of target audience and message and media are still valid, branding and actual marketing have changed overnight. Consider this statement:

You don’t control your brand. Your customers do.

As I write this, traditional advertising and most of the traditional marketing mix is in disruption from social media and the changing landscape around it. I like the phrase Jim Blasingame uses as the title his latest book: The Age of The Customer. He says the balance of power has changed forever. Previously, companies paid for advertising to send their message to the world – one-way communication. That’s like buying your branding, which is like buying a voice and shouting slogans at a crowd. In the new world, instead of buying your branding, you earn it, through engagement, and effort; and what the world thinks of your business is what your customers tell each other about it.

And changes come very fast. Mobile is the new web. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are the giants today, but new platforms come quickly.

Your work and thinking here have a huge impact on marketing tactics. Inputs like target marketing, segmentation, messaging, and media will never be the same. Advertising, public relations, and events are radically different now from what they were just 10 years ago. So definitely incorporate social media in your marketing tactics unless you are in a very old-fashioned business with very old-fashioned customers. And social media is not something many business owners do well in their spare time. The accounts may be free, but the time and effort aren’t. Make sure you plan for it.

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