Originally posted on Blue Focus Marketing website by Cheryl Burgess, excerpts below:
In just a few short years, social media has grown into a tremendously powerful marketing tool. However, as the old saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The proliferation of the digital bazaar has amplified consumer voice, allowing users to directly influence the public perception of a brand. In many cases, this is a boon to marketers, who can rely on these brand ambassadors to extoll the virtues of their favorite brands and directly influence the buying decisions of other members of their networks. As easy as it is for someone to sing the praises of a brand, consumers are perhaps even more willing to share their negative experiences with those same online communities. And, unfortunately for the brands on the receiving end, the negative messages tend to gain traction much more quickly than the positive ones.
The Power of Story
Social Brands must become experts at telling their unique brand stories, and they must learn to do so in a way that is both relatable and authentic. The brands most successful at relating to their consumer base will not only gain tremendous cultural capital, they will build their cache of another invaluable stock: forgiveness. Melinda Partin, in her Fast Company article “Brand Storytelling: Connecting with Your Audience,” observed this important trait of brand storytelling: “Apple has clearly done the best job in winning over the hearts and minds of users. But the company’s phones can be buggy, and they don’t do all things well. However, the form factor and user interface design, the application innovations and the philosophy of the company have created such a powerful story that people want to be a part of it.”
Cultural Capital Through Social Responsibility
To help users identify with a brand’s message, Partin adds, those brands must understand how their products can fit into their consumers’ lives. Having a flashy product simply isn’t enough in today’s globally connected, socially conscious community.