Apr 2013

Being a marketer, I always look at the brand and its’ positioning in online media which in most case is an extension of their offline presence. Surprisingly, some brands have transitioned quite well from offline to online. On the contrary, some brands exist only in online media.

I am here wearing the lens of a brand manager and taking a look at some of my favorite brands and what we can learn from them. Of course we look at some brands with a learning perspective ūüôā

I am now going to talk about the various parameters which a brand should consider while going social or augmenting their presence on social platforms.

1. Customer Engagement: No brand would hesitate to engage their consumers. Every brand wants their followers or fans to talk about them. Brands also listen to  loyal customers and put in a lot of efforts to satify them. The brands I prefer in this regard are:

    1. Vodafone India: I have a neutral feeling of this brand. Their main social media objective was to create engaging conversations. They always make an honest attempt to address everyone’s queries. They have a dedicated customer service team for this. But I think they can do better with the way they deal with complaints. Right now, Vodafone has a single generic reply of requesting customers to submit their numbers and assuring them that their staff will get in touch with them. This can sound a bit too impersonal. But, otherwise, I like the efforts taken by the brand to listen to fans, considering the huge number of Vodafone subscribers in India.

2. WWF: This brand has an awesome Facebook page and the way it engages fans and makes people talk about it is commendable. The fact is, all the images, the events and polls are very captivating and there is a genuineness and relevance in each post. There are 1.1 million fans and 33K people talking about it.  The twitter account is has a good amount of activity as well.

2. Brand Consistency: ¬†I know for a fact that brands have consistency, otherwise a brand cannot be developed. But some brands when plunged into social without a clear plan have suffered and have lost their consistency across channels. Consistency means extending a company/brand’s values, services, colors, look and feel¬† and even the language or the tone from the offline to the online world. ¬†Let me explain this with an example of Coca Cola.

Coca Cola has a wonderful offline brand consistency and they have successfully transformed into a lovable social media brand as well.  This happens over a period of time with lots of consistent effort.

Their Facebook cover picture always exudes happiness, which is very relevant to their tagline “Open Happiness”.

The Twitter page also truly represents brand because of the theme and the colors used. They maintain these colors and values very well across their different channels and even in their offline+online integrated campaigns.

3. Clear Separation on Products and Geography:  Social media is global and for a global brand to connect across its fans of various cultures and geographies, there has to be some differentiation in their social content and strategy across different regions. Lets take the case of Toyota. It has a corporate Facebook page and Twitter page and country wise pages for India, Saudi Arabia (Facebook and Twitter), and Egypt, which are unique, yet they carry a uniform brand image of the company. Kudos to the Toyota and their social media partners for maintaining their brand across all these accounts so well.

While considering the product differentiation and promotions, Nike can be considered as an excellent example. They have different Facebook pages as per their product category- Golf, Snowboarding, Fuel band,¬†American football¬†and¬†football. They have a corporate Facebook page¬†and every page has good number of fan following and lot of interaction. It’s the same case with their Twitter account as well. The corporate, golf, fuel band, basketball,¬†and football¬†twitter accounts have a huge number of followers and an average of 100 tweets per day. ¬†Another brand that is doing this well is WWF. Take a look at their twitter account for France, UK, Canada,¬†etc. They are all well differentiated, yet well weaved into a single WWF brand!

4. Planning and Strategic Thought: Social media is an area which requires as much effort as for any other segment of business. “Everyone is doing it. We probably should too.” thought is detrimental to the brand. Each social media platform has its own features, strengths, and benefits. Only with a clear vision there will be a cohesive message for a brand to its target groups.

For Nike, the presence in Pinterest is only for Nike Women, as they know that the majority of users on Pinterest are women. Here is another example, the Perfect Palette, is the brand with the largest number of fan followers on Pinterest. They specialize in helping brides find the perfect color palette for their weddings and parties. Thus, the best suited medium for them is Pinterest than Facebook or Twitter. Their Pinboards are amazing and have wide variety for their target group.

I have only considered the 3 major social media platform- Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in this blog post.  However, these pointers cut across all the other social media as well which I have not mentioned here for the sake of brevity. So, before you go social, keep these things in mind and it will make all your online efforts worthwhile.

Siljith Kandyil

is a Digital Marketing enthusiast, dabbling with tech ideas. He is currently the Operations Head of Happy Marketer and he also manages Happy Marketer’s Bangalore office. Siljith loves Che, Maradona and Steve Jobs in that order.