Brand Monitoring With Web 2.0

May 30, 2008 at 7:53 pm 2 comments

I am not in marketing, but I understand the value of having a brand. I understand the need to have a brand image and how to leverage technology and social media to build a brand. When I speak to my customers, especially in the retail space, many of them are still struggling with the concept of Web 2.0 and Social media, talk less of how to leverage them to engage customers, build a fan base and grow and monitor their brand.

So why should you use social media to monitor your brand? The answer is to monitor information about key factors in the ecosystem. These factors are a very important part of your business and your brand. So what are these factors? They are:

  • Your Fans: Your fans are your spokespeople. They love to talk about your product. They are the catalysts for acquiring new customers. If you ever stop to consider how companies like Apple spend their marketing dollars vs. how you do, you will notice that companies like Apple spend most of their money on current customers and wowing them and less on acquiring new customers. You on the other hand probably spend more money trying to acquire new customers and less on keeping your current customers happy. In a B2C environment, Apple’s model is absolutely crucial. Why? Because every Apple fanatic is doing the marketing for them. They are the ones talking up Apple’s products, showing off the latest cool gadget, blogging about it on the Web. They are the ones who are helping you acquire new customers by building and spreading your brand. Your fans – they are a very important part of your brand ecosystem and participating in social media and talking with your customers, rather than talking to them helps you find these fans and fan the flames to allow them to become brand advocates. In addition, should you ever need to draw upon references to win new business, your fans and the relationship that you build with them will come in very handy for that purpose.
  • Your Critics: On the opposite end of the spectrum are your naysayers. Whether you like it or not, whether you provide them the social media infrastructure or not, they are talking about your company and your products. The question is are you listening? Because if you are, you will know what is broken with your brand image and you can try and fix it. It shows that you pay attention to your customers. It shows that you care enough to listen, and then act.
  • Your Competition: At customer meetings, I sometimes point out to my customers that their brand image is often times controlled by their competitors, the media and the naysayers. Why is that? They should not have a say in how you project your brand. You should be the one controlling your brand image. As I said earlier, your customers are talking about you. They are also talking about your competition. Having your ear to the ground (via social media) is a great way to learn not only what your customers think of you, but what they think of your competition. Knowing that allows you to improve your products and services and gives you an edge over your competition. There is a lot of data flowing in from your customers on this topic. The key is to devise ways to collect this data, analyze it, listen to it and then carve out a strategy to act on it.
  • Your Opportunities: Collective intelligence. That phrase is synonymous with Web 2.0. Often times, businesses are so focused on the daily grind that they lose track of innovation. Innovation does not always have to come from the product manager or the CIO or the CTO. Your customers are using your products and services daily. Who better to tell you what is right or wrong with your company and your brand than your customers? Who better to tell you what they really want from your company and how to go about improving on what you have? Your customers have ideas, and lots of them. Not all of them might be great, but they are worth listening to. Building a brand is not just about coming up with new cool products or services all the time to keep your customers happy. It is just as much about improving your products, looking for new opportunities that can be created from existing services or products and leveraging social media for this purpose is very important. This is what Starbucks does with their “My Starbucks Idea” website.
  • Your Influencers: These are people with some level of authority, respect and hence influence on your product or service. They could be a blogger who writes highly relevant, detailed posts on all things related to digital cameras or IT outsourcing. They typically have lots of people who value this persons opinion and this is reflected in the page views that the blog gets or how many people link to their blogs or subscribe to their feeds. Discovering who these people are, building a relationship with them and understanding their opinion about your brand is very important because their opinions carry a lot of weight.
  • Your Reputation: Reputation management is just as important to building a brand as any of the above topics. What is reputation management. Think about what you would do if you were Dell and this happened to you – in a meeting full of executives, one of your Dell laptops catches on fire and someone takes a picture of it and puts it up on the Web for everyone to see (true story by the way). People immediately start talking about it and the news spreads like wildfire. How do you deal with a situation like that? If you are not connected via social media to the public, you have no effective way to tackle the situation. Building is brand is also about doing damage control as and when the need arises.

Hopefully this article brings to light the importance of using social media and Web 2.0 technologies to monitor your brand. In a future article, I will discuss the latest trends in social media and what are the emerging areas of development in this area.

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Entry filed under: Marketing, Web 2.0. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Claire  |  June 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Great article. I look forward to the next installment.

    Reply
  • 2. Landon Hoover  |  June 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I posted a comment on your May 29th Article, “SaaS Ecosystem.” In that comment, I inquired about resources/companies that help SaaS providers monetize their ideas and meter customer activity. Again, I have the same question after reading the great article above: Are there tools/resources to help SaaS providers better understand what their users like/dislike? The company, eVapt (www.eVapt.com), I mentioned in my earlier comment offers such a solution; a metering solution that goes more in-depth than GoogleAnalytics and actually monitors how each application is utilized. Are there other resources?

    Reply

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