You can educate senior marketeers, who have built their careers around offline expertise, about considerations when using social media as a marketing tool…
You can even give said senior marketeers new job titles, that incorporate the words social or online…
You can help them be conversant on the pros and cons of using different social networks…
But what remains the ultimate challenge is changing certain marketeers mindsets of believing they can tell their audience what to think about their brand.
This stops them letting go of the idea that what they say the brand is will become the reality, regardless of how the brand actually sits in the minds’ of their audience.
I had a rather surreal conversation with a senior marketeer at a global brand, now in charge of social for the business, where they said, of their unhealthy and rather edgy product: “I want our benchmark brand in social media to be Innocent Drinks”.
I say: “I’m surprised you want to compare yourself to a brand, with a polar opposite target audience, which won’t face any of the challenges your brand may in social media”.
He says: “We make high quality product and so do they”.
I say: “But your audience doesn’t buy your product because of the quality. In fact they buy your product for the same reason you might place a bet on the lottery each week. It is about relieving a sense of immediate need and then gratification over a set period of time. A lottery brand or even an energy pill brand on Facebook would be a more valuable comparison”.
He says: “We like what Innocent have done on Facebook, they have lots of fans and a really positive vibe”.
I say: “To compare your brand which has no history of social media activity to Innocent Drinks based simply on their success and what you would like your brand to stand for, puts a lot of pressure on you”.
He says: “Em… Now that is an important consideration”
The old school marketeer mindset has no problem with a brand being disingenuous. Yet, this is the road to ruin when the marketeer is charged with building a brands social media strategy. If you are a warts and all brand, you can’t pretend the warts don’t exist when operating in social media, you must plan acknowledging your brands limitations and taking into account how it is currently perceived.