Social Media Marketing: Consumer Controls Your Brand?

brand controlThere is a lot of talk within social media circles where the consumer controls the brand.  In a recent post byBeth Harte, she is made me rethink my previous posts and subsequently post this article.  A brand is the message that you initially and continually put out there that you want people to believe and not the logo or the product/service itself. The product/service has to support your message. How then can the consumer consumer control the brand? They cannot as they cannot change what you are saying. They may have an influence but you maintain control of the brand.  This is where brand management comes in.  In social media much more than with traditional marketing consumers have a voice, potentially a powerful voice, and can say that what you have promised is true or untrue in a large forum. Therefore, the consumer influences the brand which is the part that you will need to continuously manage.

So how do you mange the brand?

1. Be Around. This is so necessary with social media.  The only way you can truly manage your brand is to be where you customers hang out.  Don’t leave them alone to write positive or negative comments with no feedback from you.

2. Be Attentive.  Listen to what people are saying and react. This is true for both positive negative customer comments. It is very easy to retweet or respond to positive comments however when the negative ones come in they are equally important to respond to.  Will a  simple email or a tweet suffice?  While it may, a recent post by Justin Levy reminds us of the power of the pen. The recipient of the personal letter feels connected to you because they have a tangible item in their hands and is more apt to reach back out to you which is where you start to build that relationship.

3. Be Consistent.  Just because someone responds to your brand negatively does not mean to abandon ship and start over.  Stick with your message so long as your product or service supports it.

In social media the consumer does not control your brand – you always will.  A consumer voice is the influencer that is powerful and should not be ignored.

What do you think?  Does the consumer control the brand or just influence?

photo credit: Kenneth Hynek