This article is a sequel to The Essence of Brand and Customer Experience post that I wrote a few months ago. It explores further how to use Social Reputation metrics as the levers for pro-active brand management.
Over five years ago, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff wrote in “Groundswell”
“Marketers tell us they define and manage brands. […] Bull. Your brand is whatever your customers say it is. And in the groundswell where they communicate with each other, they decide.”
These words inspired software entrepreneurs to create hundreds of social media listening tools and sent brand managers to shop for them in droves. However, these words did not motivate many marketers to abandon futile attempts to “direct” a groundswell and to start “surfing” it instead.
Tools (i.e., technology) cannot change the way people conduct business. A change in business process, leveraged by technology, is needed to achieve that. As long as business practices are focused on inside-out “shouting,” no “listening” technology can help to ride groundswell to larger market share and better margins.
Here are a few ideas for the integration of social levers into brand management process:
- Customer Satisfaction or Loyalty metrics are much more meaningful if they come transparently from Social Customers as opposed to company controlled surveys. Internally generated metrics may make your management feel good, but they don’t help to increase your brand value in the minds of consumers who learn about your brand reputation in social media you cannot control.
- A single point of reference, your brand CSAT or Loyalty metric, is meaningless in terms of a business process. You need to understand the competitive position of your brand to chart a course for improving that position.
- Brand sentiment alone is not sufficient for understanding which products associated with your brand are detrimental to its social reputation. Optimization of a product mix by channel, based on social customer feedback and operational metrics, can substantially improve overall brand reputation.
- Linkage of operational and financial metrics with social media signals produce the most reliable estimates of the suggested action impact.
The entire process description, along with specific examples, can be downloaded from Amplified Analytics website.