Marketers! Ask Not “to Tweet or Book?”

Ask how both can be used as a part of an overall branding strategy in the appropriate way.

Facebook and Twitter are playing a larger role in brand strategy than anyone could have expected. What started off as a social networking tool for the mere purpose of harmless interaction has turned into an online billboard with the user’s life and opinion on it an opinion that’s worth more than any ad campaign. What is it about sharing mundane and honest information in 140 characters that has gotten everyone tweeting? How is this medium with its 15 million users (so far) leveling with Facebook for the web’s number one networking tool? They are both very different to users, one is not better than the other, just better in other ways. It is high time companies realize this too and apply it for branding activities.

Getting insight allows a company to truly set its brand apart from the competition and capture the minds of consumer and the marketplace. Being early to learn about human thought and behavior is the first step for achieving brand success, which helps in ascertaining brand promise that meets expectations. Organizations can learn what people are thinking, saying and doing about their brands and the impact on their daily lives.

Organizations now have a better chance of fixing a situation before mainstream media picks it up to control the story. This is why monitoring the consumer opinion in high speed mode is important, available and should be used vigilantly. There are more opportunities for brand experiences to be more relevant when an organization is close to its customers. It makes the customer feel like the king again and one with a worthy opinion and louder voice. If you are part of an organization that has adopted the idea of monitoring and responding to Tweets and Books in the operational structure, you have a better chance to respond to the customer needs faster and better thus saving the communications department a lot of trouble.

Twitter gives the opportunity for immediate response, an early warning system if you will. One of my friends recently called Emirates to confirm his flight & the rude behavior of the representative prompted him to tweet about the strange lack of service from the great brand. Using a digital monitoring system, fine tuned for this very purpose, Emirates were able e-mail him with an apology and bump him up to first class. This is a fine example of using information to benefit both parties – the customer and identify a chink in customer service. Barrack Obama used it for publicity as did other candidates at the start of the presidential campaign.

It was used to identify fraud by the Republican Party in impersonating Democratic members of the state of legislature. Aside from the commercial use of Twitter, NASA’s astronauts regularly update their fans, followers and colleagues on daily activities at the space station and exploration findings.

Now let’s examine Facebook; in order to dive deeper into details (over 140 characters). It is without a doubt, the appropriate social media tool for brand strategy & is great for engaging customers in a memorable way and getting to know them. Why? The company gets to witness consumer to consumer interactions and have immediate company to consumer conversations that are more thoughtful and not restricted to a word limit.

While some Facebook pages are of a more practical nature, like OPTP (which hold contests on new flavor and logo ideas, going so far as asking how the brand experience can be better and rewarding those with the best answers), Ufone, with its funny ads has a more entertainment centered approach to its Facebook page by encouraging user generated parodies of its ads and staging a contest for a better punch line. This works well with the brand personality.

One of the most recent examples of how companies can use in-depth conversations on Facebook to create better brand experiences relates to the Dawn News profile page which keeps fans in the loop about upcoming shows, events and green energy campaigns.

They have been highly vocal in revamping the image of Pakistan, enlisting ordinary individuals as Citizen Journalists and volunteers for various CSR projects. The direct feedback and involvement with these projects only streng-thens their brand value and generates brand evangelists. Using Facebook saves them money that would have otherwise been allocated to marketing and has been phenomenal in enhancing brand advocacy.

In order to listen, learn and deli-ver, companies need to be able to utilize whatever new tech available to differentiate their brands in a way that matters. They should continuously question how each new social tool can work in their favor, to improve upon customer service, product or image. It is in this connection with the public that adds greater value to their lives and is important to understanding how either is being used by the consumer, so as to allocate resources to brand behavior accordingly.

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Author Information

Babar Javed is Managing Director of Mission Centenarian, a health and fitness company founded in 2007, which comprises of a network of personal trainers in Karachi. He was most recently the chief marketing officer at Alan Guides and has worked with Glaxo Smith Kline and UBL Fund Managers as well. His key interests lie in health care, education and green energy.

2 Responses to “Marketers! Ask Not “to Tweet or Book?””

  1. Mustafa Bilal #

    Loved it! keep up the good work.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm Reply
  2. Which of the two should have more weightage for a pharmaceutical in Pakistan that primarily deals in antiseptics above all else?

    Please respond in kind

    September 20, 2010 at 10:58 am Reply

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