Every day we have hundreds of “transactions” with brands – through adverts, our purchases or reviews and recommendations. A new book 'The Social Brand' ask us to consider whether these experiences add or take away from the balance of the “account” for that brand, product or service.
The author, a Marketing Director of a world famous brand, has chosen to remain anonymous. Here they argue that with the social era, and shifts in the media landscape, 'giving marketing' is what now gives brands the competitive edge and earns the loyalty and trust of customers. Being social is about giving something of true value to customers, so that they will want to seek out and share with others. The outcome is that consumers say 'thank you' by recommending a product or content. The book summarises this approach in the table below.
This is the key point of relevance to those with an interest in Responsible Business - the case being made for the value of giving back to customers and to society - not as token gesture, but as core business principle. By aligning ‘brand mission’ with product, the author contends, brands can gain integrity and be more transparent and more value driven, and use this to build customer trust and loyalty.
By spending less on advertising and better integrating CSR and marketing functions, organisations can also redirect considerable money and resources into community investment or issue-led philanthropy. The book outlines steps to build and manage a 'Brand Bank Account' as well as useful and up to date examples and case studies.
Though many of the arguments about brand engagement and the new role of the active consumer have been made before – from the Cluetrain manifesto through to Wally Olins’s The Brand Handbook, this title offers a refreshingly simple way to review and update brand strategy.