Do brands need an online personality? Does it have a single voice, or multiple voices? Can you mix the personal and the professional? Does the conversation need to be unique to a social media platform? These are some of the observations from this afternoon’s Media140 panel debate.
- “All brands have a personality“. (Kuss)
- “Social media is full of fake, full of fail” – a strong culture can give a strong brand personality (a la Innocent Drinks) but not all companies have a strong culture or brand. If someone listens and responds, you can begin to address the fake/fail, (Beevie) but listening isn’t enough – the conversation has to be turned into actions/results (McInnes)
- “It’s about how you use the personality your company has.” (Mortimer)
- “The brand is about the people who work in the company and how they buy into the company values”. Remember: some customers want a relationship with a brand, others just want information. (Baker – “not a marketer”)
- It’s about listening, and about responding to what you hear. It’s not about marketing, not about customer service, and it’s not just about Twitter – it’s blogs and other social media too. (Kuss).
- Openness and transparency: customer service is now increasingly public, which is hard for people used to doing things behind the wall. You need a plan for your people to deal with all the different social media they may have access to. (Kuss) More organisations need to formalise their use of social media. (Beevie). It’s not just a marketing, or a legal, or a HR, or a PR thing. (McInnes) Consumer Act 2008 forbids people not revealing their company role when promoting a brand. (Mortimer).
- The nature of the firm is changing – we are getting blurred edges around organisations. People can work for organisations but also have personal voices. (McInnes)
- Personality is no longer in control of the organisation – it is increasingly about the dialogue happening with their users or consumers. (Benvie) Organisations increasingly have numerous touch-points with their customers. (McInnes)
- Word of mouth has always been the most powerful influence on brands – now we have tools that really put that in the public domain. (Kuss)
- What about an individual’s personal brand? People may leave a company and take their followers elsewhere.
Panel discussion chaired by Gordon McMillan (Haymarket), with panelists: Candace Kuss (Hill & Knowlton), Drew Benvie (33 Digital), Will McInnes (NixonMcinnes), Ruth Mortimer (Marketing Week) and Richard Baker (Virgin Trains).