Forbes (2012) suggested people establish relationships with brands rather than the products they purchase, with successful branding lasting the test of time.
The way we approach branding a product or service is continually changing. We live in an age where being online and mobile is second nature to everyone, with technological advances occurring at a rapid rate. Brands are establishing strategies and modifying techniques to stay innovative, resulting in an enormous difference in the way we branded ten years ago, compared to today.
Branding today focuses on building relationships and experiences, developing personal involvement with each and every potential customer and an increased emphasis on storytelling and engagement with customers on a higher level. This means we are going back to basics and placing much more attention on word of mouth promotion. This has and will remain, one of the most influential and powerful marketing tools for all brands.
The evolution of social media has been monumental, platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the many others, allow brands to utilize customer engagement and encourage ambassadors. Thus, creating authentic endorsements. This content is hard for brands to create themselves with the same legitimacy. A happy customer uploading a genuine picture onto social media has the potential to reach millions.
Social media management is therefore an imperative part of branding today. With businesses dedicating time and recourses to build their social media presence. An online personality can be developed using social media, allowing engagement with customers long after a purchase of product. It’s a platform to speak with your customers, helps to create deeper relationships and bonds, and a way increase engagement.
A great example is water brand Evian, who have effectively used social media as the focal aspect of their latest campaign. What makes Evian so good at branding? They always keep their finger on the pulse, staying current and relevant. Renowned for the roller skating babies, their May campaign focused once again on the theme of ‘live young’. This time the meaning behind the budding babies, dressed in over-sized adult clothes, was to encourage adults to remain young at heart. This message cuts through a saturated market and engages with its audience keeping the tone light hearted, entertaining and symbolizing energy and youthfulness.
They opted for snapchat, a communication method creating a unique, visual, interactive and short lived AD to engage a younger audience. Evian’s global marketing director suggested the reason behind this was that ‘the target hasn’t changed, what has, is how to address and engage them.’
The progression of social media enables a different type of interaction with audiences, as well as a greater understanding of your audience. Social media platforms provide large amounts of information about it users. Thus, helping brands to understand what it takes to meet their needs, and enables them to measure the performance of campaigns for example the number of mentions ‘live young’ has on twitter.
As a result, brands develop dedicated social media strategies, incorporating all social media platforms, allowing the key message to be reinforced. Evian’s Instagram account showcases this, with their strap line of:
‘Welcome to our Instagram account where #Liveyoung is not a matter of age, but a state of mind!’
The hashtag #Liveyoung is used on every post, strengthening the campaign and giving it vast reach. Giving the simplest product a voice, message and meaning using social media as a communications platform.
However social media’s instant nature opens up the potential for negative association, consumers can use a campaign hash tag to log complaints or bad reviews. This is not always a bad thing as it gives brands the opportunity to strengthen their reputation by resolving customer issues – adding value and integrity.
Check out our previous blogs, that focus in more detail on some of the techniques used by brands today, examples of the way branding has changed over the past ten years, short lived content, interactive marketing, influencer marketing and video content– to name a few.
Need a helping hand getting your brand’s message across? Get in touch on 0161 660 8352 or email Jennifer@cuckoodesign.com – we have lots to talk about!
By Stephanie Lambert