Monday, September 29, 2008

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Did you know that many companies handle online and other media as separate functions that don't even talk to each other?

That they have one brand image in print and broadcast media, and another online?

That as search capability expands from text based documents to videos, blogs, news and other forms of communications your brand image can become totally fragmented and the way you describe it in different media can make it murkier?

These are all challenges brought up in a white paper from iCrossing, a search engine optimization firm, that works with companies to create enterprise level campaigns maximizing their brands across all platforms - or as some ad agencies call it - customer touch points.

In an interview with EMTET, Rob Garner, director of strategy, reminds us that the age-old principles of branding apply just as much in new media as they do in old.

Garner says companies need to examine all of their marketing and communications - in all forms and types of media - to insure that they tie back to the brand image they want to convey. He says the mistake many firms make is they jump into social marketing and set up a separate department to address it, because they want to be forward thinking, but haven't thought through how it reflects back on the brand and positioning they already have.

Two issues to think about -

1. Now that you're blogging how will you respond to negative comments online? Will it be the same way you do it on a toll-free number or when a customer writes in? What will you do when someone writes something bad on their Facebook Wall about you?

2. How do you integrate the PR you are doing in print and other media with the marketing you're doing online?

In short, many of us need to go back to basics. We need to think about what our brand stands for and how it is presented and responded too in all forms of media. For every company - the solution must be linked to business goals and brand franchise.

The white paper was co-written with Gabe Dennison of Pluck, a social media company.

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