Ms. Chitnis, do you think that the rapidly changing social media content has influence on people’s judgement of who they really are? Why is that?
Personally, I feel social media does have a growing influence on our day to day lives. Take Instagram for example, with a plethora of bloggers and influencers out there displaying their lives and favourite brands (which often includes sponsorships) in such lucrative set ups; it is hard not to get influenced. The line between reality and these curated lifestyle images is very faint after all. Seeing these beautifully curated content, we often get distracted from reality and desire what is shown to us. As a result, we forget who we really are.
How do you define the success of an online brand today?
The true value of a brand is the extra value (usually, monetary) that a customer puts on your product service because of the brand name. For example, how much would a Nike shoe sell for if it didn’t carry any Nike brand identifier? Nonetheless, different stages of a brand growth are measured differently. As an early indicator, the higher your brand’s positive recall the more successful your brand is. Think about it, Apple or even Nike are brands that are recognised to such an extent that their names pop so easily in our mind – and in a positive sense – without even needing a trigger in front of us such as a logo or a tagline. To measure success of an established brand, one of the most important measures is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) where you ask the audience how likely they are to recommend your brand to a friend. On a scale of 1 to 10 any one who rates 6 or below is a detractor and 9+ are promoters – people who will always recommend your brand to others. The % of promoters minus the % of detractors is your NPS.
How to connect brands to world culture?
A diverse world calls for a diverse storytelling need. This diversity can be achieved by understanding the market your audience is in and by being aware of what its daily happenings are. We live in a transparent world thanks to the internet. Businesses can use easily available information to stay connected with its audience. Let’s take for example the recent “Black Lives Matter” movement. Brands that understand why this movement matters to its audience can help support them in it, thereby creating a deeper connection with them vs. just that of a consumer and seller. At its core, cultural connection is all about empathy, engagement, and awareness.
Do you consider developing communities as one of the most important aspects of marketing in the digital age?
Yes! While it is not the only important aspect, it is one of the most important ones. Communities help build your brand by organically promoting it – reviews, social features, etc. Their positive word-of-mouth promotion is very valuable. Think of them as your family – always there to support you when you need it, to nurture you and grow you into what you are truly capable of!
How to focus the online content on building relationship with the customer?
To use content as a relationship building tool, you need to first clearly identify who your customers are and where they spend most of their time online – is it Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, or somewhere else. You then need to look at the style of content that would appeal most to: one – that channel and two – your customer. Once you’ve got this information you work on designing your content – make sure it makes your customer feel like they are being spoken to one-on-one and that it’s not a mass message. Keep in mind, engagement is key! Try to have two-way conversations with them – it helps make them feel heard. After all, at the end of the day, that’s what we want. It also helps keep the engagement going! It’s also the piece that most brands miss. Regardless your content, if you can make your audience feel authentically heard to, it pays great dividends. As an example, many social media marketers have moved from reacting to negative comments or complaints from their customers on the channel, to positively and politely responding. But in most cases, it is quite obvious that those positive replies have been a copy-paste job. As a result, the replies lose their authenticity and the customer doesn’t feel heard at all. Keeping this in mind can help your brand create more effective content, even if not the most creative.
In the end, brands go through a journey from awareness to resonance. This journey is nothing but the evolution of the relationship a brand has with its audience – from a newbie to fandom. The online content must bear in mind the stage a brand is at. To picture it differently, imagine how you’d react if your boyfriend wanted to move in with you on the very first (or second) date! Few marketers understand, measure and appreciate the brand stage before executing their strategies. To get a sense of what these stages are and how to navigate them, check out MyBrandClass.com, which brings together the best of 2 B-schools, 4 countries and 6 industries.
/Editor at DiTech Media/