Branding Brightening with New Media Boom
“Coca Cola sells more because our love of a particular brand is as important as our love of flavor.”
There is a misconception when the word, or variations of the word, “branding” are spoken of in common conversation; Branding, when thought of in historic contexts, harkens people to think of a memorable logo: the NIKE swoosh, the weird looking D in Disney, or the golden arches of McDonalds. In reality, branding are the thoughts, feelings and ideals of the company associated with their public image. Personal branding, with the advent of New Media technologies, is becoming more common and will only continue to increase as the technology of the public increases.
In the book “Marketing Communications: Integrating Offline And Online With Social Media,” P.R. Smith and Ze. Zook define branding as “an intangible, legally protectable, valuable asset. It is how a company or product is perceived by customers…,” and they view branding as a continually long term process, something that cannot be done without forethought: “Think of them like people they need to grow and be nurtured. After that, relationships can last a lifetime and beyond…”
In the November 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Soumitra Dutta writes about the individual’s personal social media strategy in the article “What’s Your Personal Media Strategy?”. Dutta argues three points: they provide a low-cost platform to communicate who you are inside and outside of the company, they allow the individual to engage rapidly and simultaneously with the community in a transparent and direct way similar to what they expect out of their personal relationships, and they provide instantaneous feedback.
According to Dutta, there are three realms which really build off of the three aforementioned points. The first elaboration delved into communication, “Social media also help executives engage with an array of contacts—both internal and external—in order to strengthen and leverage relationships; show commitment to a cause, profession, company, or product; and demonstrate a capacity for reflection instead of just action.”
The second talked about corporate interaction and offered a paraphrasing of Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, who blogs regularly on his company’s internal network: “He describes the blog as a “fantastic tool” that allows him to get beyond “corporate speak” into a direct dialogue with employees. Verwaayen believes that this open and clear communication positively influences their motivation and support for him.”
The last part talked about the learning from each other, offering this quote from an example “This not only improved the strategy but also helped bring everyone on board, thereby smoothing the implementation process.”
Lastly, in regards to the Dutta piece, there are three points left to consider when planning your own social media strategy. Those points are the following:
Dutta says if you can answer those questions you can “help you choose the right combination of platforms and decide how much time to devote to each.”
In “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms The Way We Live And Do Business,” by Erik Qualman, the need for social media is examined as is its rise to cultural dominance. Qualman says, “In the future we will no longer look for news, the news will find us. That future is now.” This concept intrigued me. Why I found it intriguing is because it can be easily translated to the individual. Employers look for employees every day and are bombarded by countless resumes with very similar qualifications. The advantages of social media, for better or worse, gives your voice more power in the search. It allows the individual to take grasp of the employer’s computer screen, their looking glass into the realm of infinite knowledge, and explain why they are the right person for the job in a fashion that isn’t as constrictive as the traditional resume.
A research brief from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, written by Robb C. Sewell, Michele Martin, Savannah Barnett and Christine Jenter, shows that employers are beginning to make social media scouring a big part of their job search. They cited a Jobvite survey which recorded 89 percent of human resource managers using or planning to use social media in their current job search. The survey also recorded 64 percent of employers claiming they successfully used the platform:
“Employers are finding it is faster, easier, and more cost effective to advertise their jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn, and are searching LinkedIn’s member profiles for employees who best match their needs. They are also advertising job openings on Twitter and driving applicants to their own Web sites to apply. Finally, employers are utilizing social media and fledgling companies like Social Intelligence to screen job applicants by exploring their online lives and histories.”
There is an example of how social media branding can be used in the research brief that I thought I would add in because it really illustrates the simplicity of how branding one’s self online can lead to employment. They talk about a student, Jessica, from New York University, who was finishing up her Bachelors in journalism and had her heart set on working in San Francisco. On March 9th she took to her blog and wrote a post addressed to San Francisco employers, urging them to hire her (and explaining why, citing her work and qualifications already posted online). Shortly thereafter, her professor at NYU tweeted a link of her post out to his followers and within two hours of the initial tweet, Jessica had six interviews with San Francisco area employers. A month later, she had a job offer. In June she was in San Fran, making $45,000 a year with a variety of benefits.
Colleges, particularly college career services according to the Heldrich brief, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for a social media presence in the post-college scour for employment. The Heldrich brief suggested those service centers should bring the student in to do the following:
There are one billion people on Facebook, 500 million people on Twitter and four billion views on You Tube daily. No more statistics, analytics or anything ending in itics needs to be cited. Those numbers speak for themselves. Social Media is how the modern world communicates with everyone. Employers know this and job seekers are beginning to take advantages of the social media benefits, as this paper states. The only question is what will be the next way people communicate their new ideas?