Social Branding

“Building Social Brands” Slideshare and a Free eBook.

As social media has become a marketing and branding powerhouse in the last decade, for many there is a general belief that if you build it, they will come. That social media is the marketing panacea that will make your brand a standout in the marketplace. The truth is, it’s far more difficult than you think, and there are rules of engagement with your target audience that will help build your social brand.

Below is a really solid SlideShare presentation on the key building blocks of a social brand. In it you’ll find great information from the guys at WeAreSocial, about how brands drive conversation, building digital communities, adding value to conversation, going mobile, and much more. There is a link on slide 3 to download the free eBook that accompanies this deck as well. Or if you just want to download the book and skip the deck you can get it here.

Animated Twitter Ads, for Smart Argentina.

Twitter limits your posts to 140 characters, and doesn’t natively support video, flash, or other dynamic media solutions. This can be a bit challenging for advertisers who want to use rich content to promote their brand. That’s right not everyone feels that they can truly convey their ad message/brand message in 140 characters or less. So what do you do if you want to create an animated ad in Twitter? You get really creative, that’s what.

Take what BBDO Argentina did for Smart Cars Argentina. BBDO Argentina created the first animated Twitter ad that is built right into the Brands Twitter stream. If you go here you can see the animation in action by holding down the “J” key on your keyboard to see the animation scroll by. If you are lazy, watch the embedded YouTube video below. The ad works like an old school flipbook animation, creating a fun simple animated ad with a light story. It shows off the Smart’s commuter features like squeezing into a parking spot to small for other cars. What a great idea. So simple, and so much fun.

 

Google+ As Seen by Performics / ZenithOptimedia.

If you are curious about Google+, and Google’s plans for it, this is a great presentation from Preformics / ZenithOptimedia. The presentation looks at the new social network service, Google+, from a number of angles… What they are offering, the overall numbers, Google+’s implications for search, its chances of success, the opportunities Google+ offers for brands and more.

The deck is only 59 slides deep (still to many for any presentation, but digestible) and takes about 5 minutes to go through.

Don’t Go Talkin’ Trash About Versace on Facebook.

In today’s world if you are going to market yourself, and expand brand reach through social media you better be willing to put up with some criticism. Some brands get the whole “Transparency” thing, others don’t. The latest example of this is Versace.

Versace has pulled posting functionality from their official Facebook page. A page with more than 500,000 fans. Posting functionality was pulled after they began to receive wall posts openly criticizing the use of manual laborers to sand blast their jeans. A practice preformed in sweat shops, and conditions that are openly harmful to their labor force.

What is really pretty interesting about this is, that this kind of reaction is that it isn’t about just shutting down or moderating fans bickering or complaining about products or styles. It’s about shutting down any criticism of the company or brand as a whole. Rather than step up and try to manage what rapidly became a PR nightmare, they took the easy way out and shut down fan interaction with the brand. The only problem is, this kind of action tends to add fuel to the fire, rather than extinguish the flames.

Google+ Social Potential for Brands

If you were an advertiser, brand manager, marketer, or anyone with a product to sell which would you choose, Google+ or Facebook? Facebook continues to deal with privacy concerns, and Google, whose track record isn’t exactly what I would call squeaky clean knows more about your online habits than just about anyone.

If I had a product to sell, I would probably start banking on Google+. With so much potential consumer data moving through the Googlesphere it seems to make sense; and even thought Google is up against an 800 pound gorilla, Google + holds enough consumer data that brands will love to get in bed with them.

Know doubt all of this will hinge on Google+’s ability to manage its own privacy issues, and whether or not Google + will fail like Google Wave did. Google is desperate to become more social, and Facebook is going to have a hard time overcoming some of Google’s advantages.

Within hours after the Google+’s launch, you started to see a few, mainly tech-related blogs, creating brand profiles in the Google+ space. The thing is though, Google+ profiles aren’t really set up for brands, products or companies. Google+ profiles ask a bunch of questions that are far more applicable to actual humans. Things like are you male or female. This created some initial confusion in the social networking world, which was quickly addressed by Google VP of Products, Bradley Horowitz:

”Let me be clear – and I’m sorry if this wasn’t obvious – we are not currently supporting brands, organizations, and non-human entities in the Google+ field trial.

Supporting these non-human entities is an obviously great feature – we have no allergy to it at all! It’s just not part of the system we are currently testing.”

But if we look back at the short life Facebook has had, neither did thy when they first launched. I can’t believe that Google hasn’t already determined the potential of this network, and isn’t already developing ways to extend advertising reach within this space. Google is a smart company that truly understands the clout their advertising arm wields.

Here are some things to think about with Google+. Things that could be huge benefits to companies and organizations wanting to push their brand position.

Google Maps: Since many brands have physical locations, it makes sense to offer some type of Google Maps inclusion in Google+, especially when Google+ is optimized for mobile phones and tied to your online data.

Google Offers: When Google Offers rolls out everywhere, this will become one of the hottest points for companies and brands promoting their goods and services. Brands may want to call out active offers and cross populate them to other sections and pages based on your shopping history, and browsing history.

Google+ Sparks: This is a powerful feature that I hope Google continues to develop. In the right space, companies. organizations, or brands could feature Sparks related to their line of products or services.

Remember when your Grandpa used to cut articles out of the paper and send them to you? That was nice. That’s kind of what Sparks does: looks for videos and articles it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something to watch, read, and share. Grandpa would approve.

The Google +1 Button: Brands have official websites, and those websites can benefit from receiving +1’s right on their profile page.