Building Your Unique Brand Online
The idea of creating a ‘Brand’ is certainly not a new one. We are all familiar with thousands of well-known brands which have been a central part of our lives for decades.
However, with the advent of our connected world, and social media driven presentations, the nature of brand building has essentially shifted.
From the classic days of advertising, where large and small brands would compete for our attention on T.V, Radio, Bill-Boards, Cinema and of course Newspapers we were all a bit like passive recipients of a one-way communication stream. We might have decided to block that stream out, but it was always there waiting to assail our senses on some other medium we selected.
Well, I do not need to inform you that our society has changed somewhat with the mass acceptance of the internet, and the new media types which have flourished, and gained our attention in different ways.
I often speak about the ‘Two-Way’ dynamic of online culture. This is not just me trying to be clever, or to impress you with my academic language. This shift in the dynamic of narratives we engage with is really critical to understanding our present day situation. Those that truly do understand it, succeed in reaching people, those who refuse to work with this two-way dynamic are doomed to be ignored.
I see this playing out in the real world.
From ‘Bob’s Plumbing’ Facebook page which is just presenting sales messages, and telling all visitors what a terrific Plumber Bob is, to large soft drink companies committing the same error of communication presenting T.V style adverts on their Facebook page. And then of course their marketing metrics show the CEO that Facebook is ‘not for them’.
This is pretty stupid.
We are not dealing with just another ‘Electronic Bill-Board’ Jeff!
The dynamic and culture of Social Media can vary according to which platform you are playing on, but in every case we are dealing with a two-way exchange.
This is an opportunity to build a relationship, you don’t just stand there shouting at people how bloody marvelous your business/product/service/whatever…is!
This brings up the whole topic of how much our society has changed.
Like most people who use a ‘Set Top Box’ for example, I rarely watch free-to-air T.V anymore. When I do, I pause the channel at the first advertising break, and then fast forward through millions of dollars worth of advertising. Thanks guys, but I prefer to watch my movie, not your ‘message’. Most of the time I view movies on Netflix, or some other option, in my own time.
I really don’t think I am unique in doing this.
Building your brand these days involves a multiple of steps, it is an ongoing and daily event.
Everywhere I look there is a large failure of many people to respect the culture of social media – people insist on presenting dreary sales presentations, they gain a measure of involvement, but fail to understand the opportunity, I’m sorry guys but most of you are pretty bloody hopeless on social media.
Those who gain traction do so because they can recognize that it is people they are speaking with, not metrics.
Brand building has evolved, as all things do evolve and change, and the game today is not the game of your grandfather.
The essential parts of building a brand: Establishing relevance to a specific market, still hold true but the ways in which this is executed are now very different.
You do not have to believe me, or to consider me to be a ‘thought leader,’ I think you can gauge for yourself the truth in what I am saying.
This is nothing to do with ‘going viral’. If I see another meme being posted by a smart Alec offering ‘Viral Marketing’ I will scream.
Targeting, identifying exactly who you are talking with – this is the credible path. Don’t be seduced by extrovert flim-flam merchants who proffer the usual dross.
The mechanics of brand building are all about communication, and we know that the best communication is always a two-way process.
Take a look at the people who are actually doing it right. Reverse engineer the process, I think the major problem in Australia has been that we just haven’t understood the significance of this cultural shift. We have disrespected it.
I speak with ‘ordinary business people’ quite a lot.
Even at the highest levels I am seeing an unwillingness to understand.
Until we can truly see that people are changing, that their behavior demonstrates this change, we will continue to struggle with every aspect of brand building online.
In articles such as this one, in videos being produced by sincere pundits and in digital media circles which have integrity, you will discover the same message – you can label it ‘Disruption’ if you prefer.
There is a push to trivialize digital media, here in Australia many are seeking to claim authority, there are not too many who truly understand the scope and potential of what is taking place.
In real terms the survival of what you do is at stake.
Embrace the two-way dynamic, build a rapport with people, communicate, listen to what they say, respect the opportunity.
It’s up to you really. I hope I have provided some measure of insight, I do not think anyone has the empirical formula for brand building online, but those who respect the communication opportunity of internet culture will gain more traction.