What is Branding?
In social media, there are watchwords. They’re the latest and greatest in the field, and it’s usually the hottest of what you’re supposed to be focusing on. For many years, in this game, branding has been one of these buzz words. The focus on branding is one of the biggest reasons people are upping their marketing game to include social media. When traditional marketing efforts weren’t focused enough, or got too expensive for branding campaigns, many companies turned to social media, thus allowing for a thriving career for social media managers.
Best in the Biz
Branding isn’t a new concept, as advertising executives have always sought that one singular aspect of a company that they could fully market and in some cases, exploit. For Nike, their branding revolved around their ‘Just Do It’ slogan. They became the brand that got stuff done; their shoes were the ones you wore to overcome self-doubt and laziness. They were the shoes that got you off the couch and outside to just get stuff done. With their branding campaign, they were able to get the word out there, to the public, that their shoes were the right shoe for both athletes and us regular folks.
For large conglomerates like Nike, a branding campaign can be considered fairly simple, because the money is there to support their efforts and they’ve often developed a tagline from which a company can draw inspiration. For a small business, branding isn’t always so simple. Certainly, a company looking to establish a brand or even to rebrand can present quite a challenge for a social media account manager. With a small business, the advertising budget is usually minimal and they’re not developing catchy slogans or hiring celebrities to endorse their product and get their name out there, but that’s our job.
What is Your Brand?
When trying to figure out your brand, the best way to do so it to determine what makes your business different from everyone else’s business, especially your competitors. You pull your brand from what you’re looking to draw attention to; what you want people to notice. If you’re operating a snow plow business, and you want to establish a brand for yourself, you’ll want to draw attention to a particular aspect of your company that is different from others of its kind. For instance, if your business is entirely family operated, this may be something you’d like to establish with your branding. If you offer round the clock and preventative services, this can all be part of your brand.
One thing to focus on, when establishing your brand, is how you want to maintain that brand. Of course, establishing a brand is important, but establishing a reputable brand is even more so. You want to draw positive attention to your brand, and quickly respond to and rectify any negative attention. It’s almost always a certainty that negative attention will follow you, as it is nearly impossible to please everyone. However, if your social media presence and your customer feedback shows responsiveness and the ability to positively handle criticism, your newly established brand is off to a good start.
The Art of Rebranding
Sometimes, though, a negative image can haunt you. This is where rebranding comes in. Remember the Domino’s campaign from a couple of years ago when they were exploiting all of the impressive changes they’d made? This was a rebranding campaign, and it was quite successful. They listened to complaints, and made the appropriate changes. When they perfected their new formula, they needed to get that information out to the public, and they did so with an impressive rebranding campaign. It worked too, as they’ve experienced a great deal of newfound success that hadn’t been seen since their advertising efforts in the eighties and nineties.
Your business is a fragile ecosystem, and your brand is what sustains that ecosystem. Like the delicate balance that is often achieved in nature, your brand will require the same amount of cultivation and maintenance. It is not enough to establish a brand, you’ve got to foster it and work to keep that brand reputable. Each effort you make towards keeping a positive image will be an important step in your branding campaign. As social media managers, we’re not miracles workers, but we will try to come as close to it as we can by helping you build your brand.