This great graphic from brandpilgram.com makes a compelling argument for brands to rethink their comms strategy and ensure they are building relationships with “social media mavens” – the new opinion leaders in the age of online social media.
The graphic demonstrates that consumers have changed the way they interact with brands, form opinions, and make purchasing decisions.
In light of this, the biggest challenge that many brands still face is that their marketing budgets are broken down into individual campaigns. The problem with campaigns is they have a start and an end date. Building relationships with consumers should be an ongoing process. It requires nurturing and time. With a fixed start and end date, campaigns are inherently not good at forming long term relationships with consumers on their own.
Brands need an ongoing strategy that lives beyond the campaign window in order to build and maintain lasting relationships with consumers and their influencers. Without this, fan bases can quickly become neglected, and the social media mavens ignored. Those valuable influencers who during the campaign happily shared a positive brand message within their own social connections, suddenly loose their privilege of being close to the brand. They then have the potential to change brand perceptions negatively within their social connections just as quickly as they fostered positive brand perceptions during the campaign.
It all builds the case that if brands are to enter the social circle of consumers and become their “friend” or be “liked”, that relationship needs to be a genuine one. The brand needs to demonstrate that it is part of the community, not just trying to use the community to sell more product. It must earn trust and respect the people that trust it. If it is going to be your new best friend it should behave like that.