In our last blog we talked about the 3 Legged Stool as a metaphor for the stability and success of a branded community. Again, the 3 Legs are:
In this blog I’d like to focus in on the role of the brand. One of the brand’s core objectives is to provide its customers, markets and audiences with and exceptional experience as they visit this destination to view, engage and share. Another key objective is to insure the brand creates a value exchange these audiences can create, gain and share real value as it relates to the brand’s product/service offerings. Valued content can also be related to the participant’s persona or attitudinal segment and not necessarily solely to product usage. This means understanding what your customers and markets interests or passions are in order to build meaningful relationships. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in subsequent blogs.
The Short List
The following represents a short list of key responsibilities and functions of the brand within their community.
Reputation Management – Monitoring brand conversations and sentiments across the social web. Having policies and procedures in place to engage responsibly with audiences.
Forums – Provide important and timely information regarding products/services. Allow for customers and audiences to freely engage in conversations about product/service functionality, attributes and improvements.
Thought Leadership – Positioning your brand as a thought leader regarding brand category and interest.
Promotions and Offers – Delivering timely offers and promotions bringing not only financial rewards but also exceptional experiences to be shared. We’ve just mentioned a few key functions above. What are your thoughts? What are you observations?
Push vs. Pull
As you begin to think through the development of your branded community, it is important to remember the brand needs to create a pull strategy. This is part of the essence of social media marketing. More often than not, we see brands stuck in a push strategy, when it comes to the activities associated with their community. We see a heavy emphasis on on selling messages not sharing messages. We realize though, as you launch a community it is extremely difficult not be involved with push tactics. The brand is trying to jump start the community and most of the initial posts and activities are being pushed by the brand to generate awareness and then engagement. But over time and through testing, the brand needs to keep focused on creating an exceptional experience and delivering on the value exchange proposition. Keeping this strategy consistent will allow you to move seamlessly from a push to a pull strategy and to establish a solid foundation for your community to be built on.
In our next blog we’ll be taking a look at the 2nd Leg of the Stool… the role of Influencers.