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Social Media Marketing. WHY?

Social Media Marketing. WHY?
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So I’ve been told that each of us here at IDEAS will now be creating a blog entry every so often so it can be shared via social media. Social media marketing. Hmmmm…I really didn’t get it. I mean, WHY would we spend time creating data for sharing on social media platforms? Marketing is the means to the end, i.e., sales, right? In fact, according to Merriam-Webster, the very definition of marketing is:
a. the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service
Well, unlike companies with common off-the-shelf products, our message is a little more complicated than “Buy this thing from us.” It wasn’t clear to me how social media marketing helps us sell anything. Then I was told that I simply needed to tell a story that exemplifies our brand…who we are…our thinking, our creativity, our view of the world, and who we are collectively as people and as individuals that can put a human face on our business of creating brands and designing experiences.
I decided in the wee hours of the morning this morning that the best way to do that is to help you understand how we think about brands and what it means to live the brand you have created. How better than to tell you a story of a time we used our own brand (and our values in particular) to make a critical decision. So, here I am, up at 2am, typing this while this story is fresh in my brain.
I think first, it might be important for you to understand how we think about brands in general and how our values play in our everyday dealings. So, first a little brand primer…
At IDEAS, we think that a great brand ensures that you have a clear, accurate, consistent, sustainable story to bridge your reason for being with your audience’s reason for caring. When we are branding or re-branding a company, product, or experience, we work through our proprietary process that starts with Culture Mapping…which is mostly listening to the current state of what the people inside a company are doing, thinking, and believing about their company. Then we facilitate what we call a StoryJam™ where a group of about thirty people come together and create stories about the ideal future state…what they want the company to be and do. From there, we go behind the scenes and do some story analytics and come up with a core story, a brand charter, and a whole list of action items that help a company get from the current state to the future state they described.
The key to making the action plan (how you get from the status quo to the future) is that brand charter. You see, how you behave, how you make decisions, and what you do in the future state is framed by the brand charter, and values are at the base of it. Values are the unswerving core principles and foundation of the organization…the bedrock of a brand. They don’t change over time. Not ever. Not even if it means you could make more money if you did something that was counter to those values. Now, the story I promised you…
Like the cobbler whose children went barefoot, when you help others do branding, we sometimes fail to follow our own brand charter. When we do forget, it never turns out well. But I digress. Let me tell you about a time when it worked perfectly. We were working up a bid on a job that we were pretty sure was ours. There was really not anyone competing against us, so we knew we would win if our proposal was simply reasonable. We were all sitting around a table talking about the proposal when Mary Anne asked two questions. “Are we SURE we want to do this job? Doesn’t it go against our own brand values?” The job, you see, would have been helping to market tobacco. We knew we could do a great job of it, and it would have made our company’s financial goals for the year…maybe even two or three years into the future. But, Mary Anne was right. It went against, not just one, but almost all of our values which are: integrity, respect, community, quality, compassion, and openness. This job wasn’t something we wanted to be known for! It wasn’t something we wanted to do every day. And don’t get me wrong…there was no “holier than thou” attitude. At the time, Mary Anne herself was a smoker! But this job just wasn’t for us. Needless to say, we didn’t pursue the work because our brand values simply pointed us away from it.
In the long run, it was the right decision. Of course, we went on to pursue other jobs that we were suited for and that were suited for and aligned with our brand. So, if blogs are good at helping telling the story, you hopefully better understand a little bit about who we are, I’ve helped to put a human face on our business, and I’ve created some social media marketing fodder that was worth your time.
How does your brand charter help guide you and your work mates to live your brand every day? If it doesn’t, maybe you should call us. We could help you out with that!

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Kelly brings more than two decades of experience in education, training design and development, organization development and executive coaching to the IDEAS team.