Over the past couple weeks I have been searching for an “anchor client” that would be interested in hiring me to use Social Media as a Reputation Builder, versus traditional Advertising. In working with these potential clients I educate them how to understand the importance of engagement and interaction, and then I strive to push them to reach outside of these traditional marketing barriers to develop interactive strategies to enhance their brand. Is your brand ready for Social Media?
One resource from a major cosmetics firm felt that social media was a great thing, but did not want to disclose information about the products, or moderate discussions about its brand online. This sort of protective sensibility works to possibly insulate this company from knowing what people are saying about their brand, but it does not stop the conversation from happening.
Counter that with the response I received from Vera Bradley. They actively pursue individuals to join their communities (note plural) to have discussions and an open dialogue about their products. They engage in industry segment discussions and have a true passion to support their consumers through good works and charity events which are prominently displayed on their corporate website and associated blogs. Why is Vera Bradley spending so much time, effort and expense to reputation build versus straight-up advertising?
They understand that their relationship with their customers is much more important of a commodity than just their sales dollars. During a time of economic instability, those companies that have bonded with their customers are fairing much better than those that rely on simple-minded one-time adverts. The executives all the way down to the marketing interns must understand and grasp this in order to successfully implement the Social Media strategy. I think Vera Bradley definitely has the potential to reap the similar rewards that Zappos and the other Social Media mavens have.