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Grant Criddle
Business Consultant
Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
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The Brand Conversation Shift

Social Media is rapidly changing the landscape as brand conversations increasingly shift to the Social Web. Social Media bookmarking and link sharing sites like Sharethis, Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon encourage content to be shared within those communities.
Written Jul 01, 2009, read 1510 times since then.
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Over the past few years, a good many companies saw the emergence of the web as an opportunity to further position their brand online, usually within the pages of their corporate website. Some companies have taken it a step further by pollinating the web with their brand via online articles and press releases.

I define brand in simple terms. It is how people perceive a company based on information, experience or conversation related to that company. That perception can be influenced by any one or all three of those variables, they are completely interlaced.

It's no surprise then that corporate brand managers, marketing directors and public relations officers endeavor to control the flow of company information, monitor conversations related to the brand, and standardize as much as possible  the delivery of product or service so as to impact the end user experience.

Many smart Brand Managers and/or corporate Marketing Directors have recognized the opportunity to both deliver information and monitor some of the brand conversation by utilizing kind of an online "push-pull" method. This would include online blogs, press releases and/or product pages within the corporate website.

The method is simple and straightforward and it's also fairly effective. Push out the information and provide a "comments" section so readers of the blog, release or information page can give you feedback. You then have an opportunity to engage a "conversation" with readers by responding to that feedback and expanding on any questions that were raised.

Social Media is rapidly changing the landscape as brand conversations increasingly shift to the Social Web. Social Media bookmarking and link sharing sites like Sharethis, Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon encourage content to be shared within those communities.

Many companies have jumped into the Social Media fray with brand created Facebook fan pages, Flickr accounts, or Twitter accounts. Not all do it very effectively though. A company must monitor content and conversations across the web in order to manage the brand effectively.

The key point is that trusted conversations have fragmented to the Social Web - shifting the balance of power to communities. People talk about brands and share information regarding them whether or not they have a Social Media presence.

I make this argument to many companies that I talk with. People talk. If they're talking about you, wouldn't you rather be in the room?  I do not think I overstate it when I say to them that a Social Media strategy is a must - it's absolutely necessary in 2009 and beyond.

It is with the implementation of an online strategy that a company can begin the process of engaging Social Web communities. You can't control the conversations, but you can participate in them.    

One such strategy could be to aggregate the questions and comments regarding your brand to the company website. Corporate websites could look more like a collection of real-time customer discussions - not just product pitches.

Your brand is your reputation. Like it or not, that reputation is determined by perceptions that are shaped by conversation. Your ultimate goal should always be to develop brand ambassadors or "fans" within the community you serve.

 

Learn more about the author, Grant Criddle.

Comment on this article

  • Director of SEO Strategy 
Issaquah, Washington 
Maximus Kang
    Posted by Maximus Kang, Issaquah, Washington | Jun 06, 2010

    Hi Grant! I agree, allowing users to interact with you is a very powerful tool as I feel it subconsciously gives them a bit of entitlement of your website. Biznik does this very well ;)