Integrating social media with your overall brand strategy can create an emotional connection with your brand.
“How Social Media Is Changing Brand Building,” published by Forrester Research, identifies three strategic roles that social media should play in brand building. Author Tracy Stokes correctly identifies that social media in and by itself cannot build brands but must be integrated with overall brand strategy and complement paid and owned media.
Below is my interpretation of Stokes’ report for aviation marketers regarding how social media can impact aviation brands.
Brand building and social media are complementary to each other and share common threads.
In the aviation industry, brand building is achieved by implementing the correct brand strategy across multiple customer touchpoints to create and reinforce the brand experience. Today, aviation brands need to be able to tell their story beyond features and benefits to create an emotional connection with customers.
3 ways social media can help aviation marketers tell their brand story:
- Engage and connect with customers, building a relationship to become the trusted supplier
- Differentiate their brand to be more remarkable and unmistakable by emotionally connecting
- Nurture customers to become brand advocates
Social media is not defined by a Facebook page or a Twitter post but is rather a venue for connecting directly with customers on their terms by providing authoritative content that is interesting and relevant. However, aviation marketers must be aware that social media has its limitations for brand building due to the following:
Communicating through social media networks is not scalable. Social media cannot reach the critical mass that paid media can provide. Social media engagement happens at the time and place customers and prospects choose. Therefore, social media should be used as a complementary media for one-to-one engagement.
Messaging through social media is fragmented. Due to the nature of many voices commenting and interacting on social media platforms, a brand’s core messages can become fragmented and taken in a direction that is beyond the control of the brand.
A social strategy is only as good at the brand strategy that guides it. Aviation brands must articulate what they stand for and believe in, providing social media a foundation to tell the brand story.
Aviation marketers are beginning to understand social media but still struggle with integrating social media with overall brand strategy. As customers and prospects use social media platforms as a venue to discuss issues, problems, and solutions, aviation marketers will adapt and find ways to engage and connect.
Social media’s long term impact is still unfolding, but aviation marketers should be aware of these trends:
- Corporate and brand identities will blur. Employees will become brand ambassadors. Marketers will need to understand and harness the power of employee branding.
- Connection planning will become more important as marketers look to extend the brand engagement. Connecting the brand with customers provides a rich ecosystem for gaining customer insight leading to emotional connection.
- “Always on” will be replaced with brand support of events and organizations that align with corporate values and play to corporate storytelling.