Ric Dragon urges marketers to accept that the locus of control over brand identity has shifted.
Today, brand entities are becoming cooperative concepts owned and maintained by companies and consumers. Rather than view this shifting social media landscape as loss of tactical turf, Ric envisions a vast landscape of opportunity on which companies and consumers can build a future together.
There’s actually a tremendous aura of mystery around social media. As we go out there in the world, people are constantly asking, “You know, social media is this monster that’s constantly changing every day. Last week we were told we needed to focus on Facebook, and this week we’re told we need to think about Pinterest, and next week it’s going to be something yet again. It’s evolving so quickly, how do we stay on top of it?”
Social Marketology’s focus is not so much on those tactical elements. In fact, I do not address the specifics. Very rarely do I talk about exactly what you should be doing in Twitter, for instance. It’s more of a large framework which you can bring to any social platform that’s happening. In fact there’s a chapter just on the patterns of social media so you can look at a social platform and try to determine what the patterns are of the underlying value that you can bring to it as a marketer.
There’s a lot of fear around social media, for an executive or a brand manager, that all of a sudden what’s being said about my brand, or how people are using my brand, is taken out of my control—and this is true. It’s often said now that the consumer owns your brand’s voice. You don’t own that. The reality is something more in between: the brand is owned by you and the consumer. After all, a brand is a mental construct. People project personality onto brand. And so that projection of personality is happening with the consumer, not happening back here at the brand, it’s not happening in the CEO’s mind. It’s happening out there. So we can put things out there as brand managers or owners of a brand that help suggest, or help grease the skids, if you will, for those consumers to feel a certain way, but after a certain point we have to give up control over that baby and it’s what they bring to the brand.
So in social media, the difference is instead of standing up here on the mountain and broadcasting to the world the message what I want them to get, and for them all to go running to the grocery store, well that’s completely changed. I have to come down off the mountain and actually have a conversation with those individuals one-on one-even.
Look for Social Marketology in your bookstores or online available beginning in June 2012 to really understand how to incorporates social media within in the context of larger organizational goals.