Brand enhancement via social media is still viable but vigilance is required.
There are branding benefits that can be derived and measured for brands that choose to participate in social media. However, practicing a “set and forget” social media strategy can have negative branding repercussions.
For the better part of my advertising career I worked with commodity and specialty brands. This was especially true in the chemical industry. Consumer brands such as M&M’s or Revlon would prefer that their customers not know too much about what really goes into the making of their favorite snack, nail polish color, or fragrance. We referred to these brands as the name behind the name you know.
For all of the decision-making benefits big data may provide, a message with a strong emotional connection is still the best solution.
As demonstrated in the recent presidential election, a simple statement that created an emotional connection with millions of voters undid big data analysis. You may be asking how did this happen and how was it misdiagnosed?
Speak with almost any CEO of a small to mid-sized brand, and they will tell you that inbound marketing is an important communication component in creating and maintaining brand preference. However, ask them what resources or processes are in place dedicated to inbound marketing content, and the answer will tell you that this is usually more wishful thinking than reality.
Why is this? Small and mid-sized brands are resource-challenged. Their employees have a wealth of knowledge to share but usually there is no process in place to capture content.
Visceral experiences create emotional connections to brands.
It was the bucket list ride. 2,200 miles in all, beginning with a ride to Big Bend National Park and culminating with the North Texas Norton Owners Association rally in the Texas hill country. That much seat and think time allows for serious contemplation such as brand loyalty -– how to create it and how to keep it.
Social media, love it or leave it, is hard to get away from. What started as digital networks where like-minded users could connect and share information has grown into a multi-billion dollar network catering to sophisticated brand advertising and user generated content.
Each platform has its own particular tone and style. Understanding this allows for social media content to be developed to show a more human side of the brand or a more technical competency based on the objectives of the social media effort.
B-to-B brands seeking to use social media for engagement need to understand the strengths and limitations of their selected social platform. Where Facebook is perceived as a more B-to-C retail platform, there are numerous examples where B-to-B brands have used the platform to connect with rural outlying communities where their facilities are located.
In the aviation industry, brands fall into three categories – innovators, challengers and laggards. Innovative brands take calculated risk; they think big, invest smartly and understand the power of marketing. Challenger brands are smart and agile they rely on new technology and materials to disrupt traditional business models. Laggards, well are laggards. Laggard brands practice “Random Acts of Marketing” a term my colleague Paula Willliams uses to describe marketing tactics without strategy.
Consideration decisions come from establishing an emotional connection
Most big-ticket purchases in aviation and related industries are considered purchases. It is the job of marketing to understand what is important to decision makers and influencers in terms of feature, function, and cost benefit. Those are the issues that will be weighted against the competition when the rational purchase process begins.
Our emotional connection with a brand is an unconscious decision
Product and service innovation in the aviation industry comes from improved features and functions. On the flight deck, it can be a chip-driven avionic component that replaces a mechanical legacy system, to the cabin, where passengers are plugged into inflight wireless connectivity while enjoying their lay-flat seats — these innovations are the result of engineering.
The connected customer gathers information from a multitude of online sources before coming to the final purchasing decision.
The connected customer spends more time on social media than with watching television, listening to radio, or reading a newspaper. Cloud-connected smart phones, tablets, and laptops are the predominant tools of the connected customer. They absorb information from many different sources and share their experiences with followers on social networks. Aviation manufacturers that do not shift their marketing tactics are endangering their brand and flirting with obsolescence.