The Brand Platform Comes to Life in the Age of Social Marketing
Now more than ever, exercises that develop and fine tune a brand’s fundamentals, or brand platform, are important not only as an internal compass for CPG marketers, but also serve as a concrete blueprint for the brand’s voice and overall approach in social marketing communications.
Interbrand’s www.brandchannel.com defines the typical brand platform as having the following components:
- Brand Vision The brand’s guiding insight into its world.
- Brand Mission How the brand will act on its insight.
- Brand Values The code by which the brand lives. The brand
values act as a benchmark to measure behaviors and performance.
- Brand Personality The brand’s personality traits
- Brand Tone of Voice How the brand speaks to its audiences.
Within the agency I work for, we have a lot of conversations around what ‘authentic participation’ in social marketing looks like for our clients. Not an easy question to answer, but it can be argued that having a crystal clear perspective on the above fundamentals and effectively communicating them to those charged with representing the brand in the social space, is mission critical for a brand’s success. The reason is that a well thought out brand platform can serve as a great foundation to this idea of authentic participation; in social media, brands have an opportunity to express and demonstrate who they are, what they stand for and to find common intersection points with their customers.
Consider: a strategy in social marketing that leaves the expression of what the brand stands for to the whims of the summer intern charged with manning the corporate Twitter account is dubious at best, and grossly negligent at worst (a colleague of mine calls this the “Twittern” approach, btw). Social marketing is a conversation, so unlike pure advertising, the message the marketer creates is not always the polished, outbound variety, instead, sometimes it’s a response to a question or comment. But how can individuals respond on behalf of brands if they don’t understand the brand in the first place?
In the end, social marketing is about people connecting with other people. So if brands want to play in this space and to do so authentically, they need to empower individual people as brand spokespersons. These spokespersons need to grasp the fundamentals and to engage with other people in a way that is consistent the brand platform.
Brand platforms have always been intended to help drive marketing communications, but the opportunity in social in the new decade is unique because there are natural opportunities to talk about many aspects of the brand platform. Authentic participation in social marketing means having a clear understanding of brand platform fundamentals and then expressing and demonstrating this through an ongoing dialogue with people that have intersecting interests and needs.