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Gathering Branding Insight via Social Channels

By Ryan Rieches

The power and potential of social networks is truly impressive. With how busy I am working on client presentations and meeting with new clients, the time I invest in these channels is limited, but even with the little time I do play in the space, I see the rewards and can only imagine the wealth of opportunity that exists. While the many social platforms and channels out there are great for connecting to friends, family and past colleagues, these channels are also full of new business opportunities waiting to be found, unlimited when it comes to expanding ones network and offer an amazing avenue for sharing knowledge and resources.

Just the other day I posed a question to a few LinkedIn groups I belong to. I wanted to find perspective outside of my own thinking around how global brand managers go about maintaining brand consistency. The question stemmed from a recent post on BrandingBusiness.com that surrounded Creating a Consistent Brand Image.

The question was this: Maintaining brand image consistency can be tough. Any tips or strategies to share?

The comments and insight started to roll in from persons in varying titles and positions around the globe. Here is some great insight I received and wanted to share.

Fostering a culture that focuses on customers will create consistency in employee service delivery and exceptional customer experience –resulting in a consistent brand image.

The best way to ensure that people experience a brand in a consistent way is to educate as many people as possible within the organization and its partnering agencies about the fundamental personality and tone of the brand and how these are expressed throughout the customer experience, not only aesthetically or in terms of image.

Effective brand positioning and consistency is supported by the internal stakeholders of the brand, from the leadership level to all those in the marketing department, to keep repeating the message and keep it consistent. That’s key… as Steve Jobs clearly exemplified.

Clearly defining core values and then outwardly expressing to your group what it is AND what it is not. The culture needs verbal cues so they have tools to help them understand hundreds of times each day what is on and OFF brand.

Brand image is about perception — EVERYTHING communicates. The role of the brand steward (whether it’s the CMO or an Executive Director charged solely with 360-degree outbound messaging and inbound feedback) is to define, declare, disseminate and dialogue about the brand’s core values and persona. Creating permission to believe — with employees, stakeholders and consumers — requires a continuous and consistent validation of how maintaining brand ‘fidelity’ remains in the best interests of the firm, its customers and consumers. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it cannot be haphazard.

So, how do you employ social channels to generate conversation and gain insight? And, have any tips to maintaining brand image consistency?