Social Media Strategy and Branding: Modern Brand Is Created Through Crowdsourcing

Creating a modern, pre-eminent brand in our New Media Era is done through crowdsourcing by digital natives through user-generated content. Crowdsourcing is the act of a digital media follower (“a friend”, “a follower”), in spreading content. This act was traditionally done by a brand employee or contractor. In New Media, followers communicate the content that the follower finds interesting and engaging. It is communicated to a friend, using a social media platform, like Facebook.The “followers” and “friends” are digital natives. Digital natives are a demographic group usually between ages of 11-30. They have been brought up on digital technology. They enjoy and are comfortable communicating with their friends digitally, most notably through platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.User-generated content is the material that the Natives share with their friends. The content is created in the form of posts, blogging, podcasts and vblogs, videos, photos, mobile phone video, and wikis. Social media has reconstructed the paradigm on which modern marketing is constructed. Marketing has changed from a “push” situation to a “pull” framework because of social media.In Old Media times, an organization, created products, and pushed those products upon the public. One way advertising campaigns were constructed to brand the product. In our new era, it is a “pull” paradigm. In this new paradigm, brands and consumers have a two-way conversation. The products take on an almost human dimension. A brand and a customer become almost like human friends. The general public doesn’t believe the claims of Old Media advertising. People do believe the recommendations of their “friends”. Modern consumers “Pull”, from store shelves those brands that they want to buy—the ones that are their friends. The ones that their friends have recommended. The benchmark for modern social media branding are the Ford Fiesta (The Fiesta Movement), and the Obama Presidential Campaign.The nature of our era creates an interesting situation. This situation has to be understood by a modern marketer in order to create strong, modern brands in a Social Media Era. A company legally owns the brand. If a brand is to be created, in this new era, the brand’s followers actually take ownership and develop the brand. Followers “pull” the brand and develop it. Followers create the actual brand in New Media branding.The Fiesta automobile and Barack Obama campaign created world-class brands through crowdsourcing. In both cases, world-class brands were created, and created very quickly, when followers took engaging material from a Facebook Page and shared this content with their physical friends in the form of posts, text, video, and blogs. At the center of crowdsourcing, and the thing that makes it powerful as a branding device is that brand is created by friends recommending products to their friends. This is how brand is created in New Media.To understand why crowdsourcing is such a powerful vehicle, you have to understand The Consumer Decision Journey, a concept created by McKinsey & Co. McKinsey discovered that a purchasing decision is the end of a long journey of many touchpoints in which the consumer is engaged with the brand over many experiences. Modern brand is created when friends recommend to friends products through the material they create in blogs, posts, video, and texts. This brand awareness development is critical in the selling of products.McKinsey, through its Consumer Decision Journey, discovered that friend recommendation makes a product three times as likely to be purchased. Crowdsourcing creates the brand awareness that creates world-class brands. The brand provides the use of a platform. The platform is a hub, a place where followers can go to grab content. This can be a website or a Facebook Page. The content can either be created by the followers themselves, or provided by the brand. In crowdsourcing, the content is then sent to friends from friends.Ford’s Fiesta campaign, The Fiesta Movement, revolved around Digital Natives. Ford did not spend a nickel on conventional advertising. At the end of the six month social media branding campaign, the Fiesta had 38% brand awareness among its target group, and it sold 11,000 units in its first month of availability, in a tough year for auto sales.In Barack Obama’s case, he went from being a virtual unknown, to winning the Presidency. Much of the credit for the success of his campaign was his brilliant use of social media. It was this campaign that communicated to business just how important social media is in creating brand.Dean [email protected]

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