This is a bit of a quick post – but I know if I dont post it now, i never will. I just read this article about Real Time Branding Online – it is so relevant to what is currently happening in the industry that I couldnt help but to think – How do these insights impact OFFLINE Real-Time Branding.
Please have a quick read through this article – just so that we are on the same wavelength 🙂 – then see below – my ever twisted interpretation and adaptation of online principles to offline branding:
1. ” Audiences were happy to fall for the dream and not shout about the reality; but with the arrival of social media and the real time web we are seeing, these same audiences not only answer back but take control and engage in the brand experience itself on a minute-by-minute basis.
This directly affects the way you should manage, monitor and measure your online branding campaigns – in real time.” – BUT WHAT ABOUT OFFLINE?
I believe the same has to be applied to offline branding. People are no longer interested in anything that is not a REAL representation of the brand, accompanied by a means for them to interact – BUT – how do we measure offline campaigns in real time? Here is how, whether it is through offline below the line activations, promotions, events where “REAL PEOPLE” are there to facilitate two-way chat or a redirection to some online platform for them to interact – SOMETHING has to be developed for everyone to CHAT.
2. Real time reputation – if only it was as easy as opening up a BrandsEye account to measure and control offline reputation. But it is not impossible. I like to call it “Modern Public Relations & Research” – What I mean by this is, is actual public relations, not media relations, but actual REAL interaction with the PUBLIC – people who use and love the brand. Hand in Hand with this goes – REAL research. Not just completing some survey in a controlled environment – but rather a CHAT getting real information from REAL people in REAL time. Once again it makes sense to make use of an online platform to facilitate this, think brand blogs, brand online communities, or non-brand specific think – www.shespeaks.com ; www.hellopeter.co.za – BUT can also be done offline at below the line activations and events. Think – every single promoter in store, brand ambassador at an event, or any person representing a brand offline – equiped with a video phone, or which ever mechanic makes sense – getting real time information about people using their products, by having a simple CHAT. The world where the media controls peoples perceptions of brands are changing, PEOPLE control peoples perceptions. And OFF LINE campaigns have to make use of REAL PEOPLE. This takes us to point nr 3.
3. Brand ambassadors: no more them and us
” Establishing who a brand’s key online ambassadors are – that is to say those who are already advocating your brand – and being able to identify their influence amongst other potential brand advocates is now one of the key foundations to building a successful online brand campaign.” – this is exactly the same offline. Establishing key offline ambassadors – well connected people who are already advocating your brand and being able to identify their influence. A company that i was very involved with called PHATSET – gets this right. Making use of a customer centric approach to product and campaign development is far more valuable than what the current adoption rate of this approach may show in South Africa. Having consumers (even though i hate calling them that) – PEOPLE OF THE BRAND – much better – involved in every step of the process, might be a little bit more time consuming, BUT the rewards and impact will far override the extra time spent. I suggest giving PHATSET a call now!- see image below 🙂
This brings us to nr 4
4. Are your employees your brand?
Similar to the online industry – where Janet talks about – “UK company recently who fired an employee for stating in her Facebook account that her job was ‘boring’, this is probably not the best way forward to enhance your brand image.”
This is the same offline, as mentioned before in one of my posts, i was privileged enough to be involved in the execution of the glaceau vitaminwater launch here in South Africa. It taught me a lot about living the brand, i will continue to live the vitaminwater brand – and not because they asked me to, but because i want to. More importantly though, it highlighted the importance of INTERNAL MARKETING
At university, this was a very important chapter, but in the REAL world, it seems to have been left behind. I managed to do a couple of degrees at university, where my indecisiveness seemed to have paid off in the long run, as i got to come across the very important alignment hidden in the chapters of my organizational psychology and my marketing textbooks. In the REAL world, i was pleasantly surprised to notice that these two departments do not work together all that much. Internal Marketing is somewhere between a staff party and internal training – but HOW MUCH DO EMPLOYEES REALLY LIVE THE BRAND? HOW MUCH DO THEY KNOW ABOUT CURRENT COMMUNICATION? DO THEY REPRESENT THE LIFESTYLE OF THE BRAND?
It is actually so logical, perhaps a bit ideal, but it makes perfect sense, job satisfaction and offline word of mouth must be correlated to some degree. People who form part of the brand lifestyle and experience must be far happier working for the brand than someone who falls without the lifestyle and the brand experience. I would love to perform a study on this, perhaps someone else has already. The point I am trying to make is that South African Brands spend so much time and money on their marketing campaigns, to a point where agency professionals know more about the brand than some people in the company. Some Sales People communicating and interacting with consumers everyday, exchanging valuable REAL TIME INFORMATION – it is almost CRUCIAL – for BRANDS to capitalize on these CHATS, whilst developing an organizational culture where information is shared and everyone feeling part of the brand and brand development. PEOPLE are connecting with other PEOPLE everyday, and BRANDS have to be pay more attention both online and offline – to ensure that REAL information is exchanged in REAL time everyday. Online Platforms facilitates this, Offline interaction has to as well. As she says in the article –
“Your brand is now open to the world and is defined by those who use it, interact with it and by how they view it on a second by second basis. Brands can no longer hide behind the advertising boards of the 20th century.”
SO lets just drop all the marketing jargon, and become REAL brands for REAL people in REAL time 🙂
Idea: – Videotorials – Combining the marketing and organisationl pshycology worlds through REALITY like TV shows / online videos – to provide both consumers and potential employees with REAL information in REAL time about REAL brands!!!