Building Brand Bridges – Old Concepts Revitalized by Social Media
Posted on June 17, 2011
Recently, I was trying to explain the importance of branding to a client and, as I do on occasion, I blurted out a made-up word. Turns out, this word was really insightful, at least visually. (Usually, when I blab out random words, they are nonsensical and are followed by intense fits of laughter.)
My client, a real estate partner in Princeton, NJ was trying to figure out how to tie social media into their current marketing strategy in order to connect with younger clientele. I was explaining that everything you do, especially online, represents the brand and can quickly tarnish or elevate sentiment depending on how your audience perceives your authenticity. There needs to be a connection (engagement, entertainment, content, etc.) between the consumer and the brand, which is simple enough to visualize. So it’s easy to see how I blurted out “brand bridge,” and therefore I am relieved of all future teasing.
Bridges, at their core, are structures that fill voids enabling two ends to be connected. Bridges (typically) aren’t natural structures, and therefore have to be designed, planned, budgeted for, marketed and utilized by the end user.
What I’m trying to get across is that the content that you are providing to your audience has to be desirable, unique, and relevant. You can’t drive an 18-wheeler over a bridge built for walking. Obvious, right? Well, similarly, the content has to fit the audience that pertains to the brand. This takes a decent amount of research and creativity because you don’t want your bridge to collapse. And if you’re building your bridge with the wrong materials, it will not uphold. (And you want it to look pretty too, right?)
I feel that the term “brand bridge” could take on a lot of meanings, but should be focused on the broad concept of creating the connection between brand and consumer. These SM and PR concepts that are buzzing around now are nothing new, in fact they’re quite old. In the late 1800’s, Ivy Lee, who is considered to be the founder of modern PR, tweeted, er, said that companies need to have dialogue with their customers. They need to be truthful (authentic), give people what they want (content), and employ a two-way communications mentality (engage.) For an old guy, he’s pretty smart. He totally gets it. There was a joke somewhere in there.
Successfully connecting brands and consumers is harder than it sounds. It’s more than simply getting on Twitter and Facebook. It’s more than putting social icons on your website. It’s about a lot of things, actually. It entails putting time and money into strategy, research, and implementation, while making considerations for finance, recruiting (HR), sales, marketing, and PR. But most of all it all comes back to satisfying your audience and customers. Marketing 101, right?Building Brand Bridges - Old Concepts Revitalized by Social Media by Zack Sylvan