Being social online is fast becoming critical to being a world class brand. Technology alone does not make a brand social. The reality is that internal strategy, planning, cohesiveness and comfort in the digital space must come first if brand sociability is to come at all.
Weber Shandwick partnered with Forbes Insights to survey nearly 1,900 senior marketing/communications executives with digital responsibility in 50 countries worldwide to identify what makes brands social — and how.
Why brand sociability matters?
- Global brand executives attribute 52% of their brand’s reputation to how social it is today. They project it to be 65% in three years
- Global brand executives think the rewards of social media outweigh the risks by more than a 2-to-1 margin.
- One-third say quality of online presence or engagement is a prime driver of corporate reputation.
- A large majority of global executives believe their brand’s sociability is not yet “world class.”
9 Drivers of World Class Brand Sociability
- It’s not the medium — and it’s more than the message. World class brands are much more likely than the average brand to create original content. 45% of them create content specifically for social media purposes, compared to 28% of all global companies. World class brands depend upon much more than just the medium to make themselves social.
- Put your brands in motion. World class companies do more than experiment with social media tools. They apply their tools in more social ways than the average global company. For example, they are 44% more likely to offer brand-related mobile content, 43% more likely to participate in “check-in” apps, 41% more likely to do proximity marketing and 40% more likely to have their own branded YouTube channel.
- Integrate or die. World class organizations are much better integrators of brand personality — they are nearly twice as likely as other organizations to have a consistent brand personality across all social and traditional media channels and are much more likely to include a social media element to their traditional print or broadcast messaging.
- Make social central. 61% of world class brands have a dedicated social media strategist or manager, vs. 41% of all global brands. “The most important thing we can do is to centrally plan social media activities across all channels to amplify key messages.” — Global Executive.
- Listen more than you talk. World class companies fine-tune their messages to customers and integrate what is on their fans’ minds into their brand stories. Nearly twice as many world class brands have changed a product or service based on fan recommendations compared to the average global brand.
- Count what matters — meaningful engagement. World class brands place more weight than other brands on their number of contributors when measuring social media effectiveness. Social contributors are ranked #1 by world class companies but #6 by other companies as a key metric.
- Think global. Executives managing world class brands consider global reach as important as customer service as a driver of corporate reputation while the average global executive ranks global reach last. “Our social branding goals involve a very firm commitment to increase the recognition of the company’s globalization.”— Global Executive.
- Go outside to get inside. World class companies are nearly twice as likely as average global companies to engage outside support to enhance and measure their brand’s social performance.
- Be vigilant. To protect their social brand integrity, world class brands are always on high alert. Compared to the average global company, they are 85% more vigilant since Wikileaks has been in the news and are 58% more likely to be concerned about privacy violations.