There is a common misperception by the marketing community
that assumes that a consumer cares about a brand. Nothing could be further from
Consumers care about
satisfying needs and solving problems.
Brands are purely emblematic, vehicles or tools towards something bigger. Consumers love the experience they have
through a brand – but it isn’t the brand itself that matters. More often than not, it is about being part of community.
And there are easy ways to know this through social media.
Listen to the conversation that take place on line about
brands and your categories. I’m amazed how many senior leaders in companies
never go online and observe what the conversations are about related to their
Consumers have situations, circumstances, problems,
need-states and conditions.
They want a way to find a better experience when
traveling (AirBnB), cleaning products that respect the environment (Method) or
to have the tools to create that awesome video tip of the week (Animoto).
But it isn’t the brand they care about; it’s solving that
problem, scratching that itch and belonging to a community.
I enjoy signing up for various brands on Facebook to listen
and watch the conversations that take place. It is like being a ‘fly on the
wall’ at typical focus groups.
Often the conversation is about shared values and community.
Whether it is the Jameson Irish Whiskey, Harley Davidson or the Talenti Gelati,
the discussions are the same as the product (or service) is the magnet drawing
people together. But the discussion is about shared experience. People joke
about drinking great Whiskey, Ireland or the feeling they get at their local
water hole when they have a Jameson in hand. There is a secret language used (Jamo not Jameson). I wonder if there is a special handshake I haven't learned yet?
Conversations about the new
electric Harley and its quiet roar permeate the discussion as if everyone was
sitting together in Sturgis,
North Dakota for the annual motorbike rally that attracts 100,000
enthusiasts. Or, it can be a group of
foodies like me who indulge in conversation about how they were tempted by Sea
Salt Caramel Talenti Gelati on a warm summer night in North Carolina.
I love being part of a community that listens to a Shaw University's Jazz Station WSHA. I love being part of a community of people who shop at Whole Foods where the products resonate with my personal values. I love being part of a community that listens to marketing podcasts (Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation, Mark Schaefer's The Marketing Companion and Michael Hyatt's This Is Your Life).
I care about my experience not those brands.
Social media is a great place to bring a community together online
to reinforce those experiences. But the brand is the magnetic force bringing
together the common needs of people across different geographies.
Are you really using social properly so your brand can be an
energy force pulling like-minded consumers toward you?
I think it takes three important AUTHENTICITY attributes to do this
AUTHENTIC to the
brand voice: You have to bring the true voice of the brand to life online
and make sure you attract people who strive toward a desire to be part of something
bigger than themselves.
AUTHENTIC to the
platform: You can post the same image, message and format on all social
media. It would be like running print ads on the radio. Understand how to speak
Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter before foraging into those woods.
AUTHENTIC to the
promise: A brand gets to touch consumers along multiple experiences. Your
brand promise has to be clear and you must reinforce that commitment in your
posts or tweets. If your brand promises
a certain tone or tenor, social media can amplify it to spread the message.
emblazoned on products are shortcuts to help the consumer quickly connect with
your products or offerings. Like water added to Jameson, you have to be careful
not to dilute the value you want to build.
But don’t be fooled into thinking
the consumer cares about the brand. They show up to satisfy emotional needs that
often are about belonging to a community of common interests.
What community does your brand serve?
Need a marketing coach? You can hire me through Clarity to provide advice about marketing for your new product, business or service. I donate 100% of your fee to charity. So far I have donated almost $525 to Charity: Water working in my spare time.
Just follow the link for some Clarity.
Labels: AirBnB, Animoto, Consumer marketing, Consumers and Brands, Harley Davidson, Jameson, Mark Schaefer, Marketing Moments, Method, Michael Hyatt, Mitch Joel, Talenti, WSHA