Brands and Social Media Noise.

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 Branding is about creating muscle memory around a selling idea. It’s not about the color of the idea. Or the smiling faces.  It’s not about the talent or the sing-songy tagline.  It about finding a powerful selling idea and organizing it in a way that consumers can play back.  It’s what good brand managers and their agents go to school for. 

What makes one hospital better than the next?  The stuff that’s been planted in your head.

Social media and its ability to make everyone a media mogul is having an impact on brand management.  The Brett Favre brand has just taken a major hit thanks to recorded cell phone conversations and some unseemly texts.  Sorry Wrangler Jeans. Social media created a torrent of unintended and, often, untended information about brands.

“Hi, I’m Amanda.  I’m from DDB Tribal. I teach clients how to use Facebook.”

As an ad agency kid in NYC I once suggested giving away free tee-shirts sporting our logo to bicycle messengers. Messengers were everywhere in NYC…in and out of some of the world’s most important marketing offices. My boss said “No, what if a bike messenger broke the law and got his picture in the paper.” Like it or not, that’s brand management.

The pop marketing psychology of the day is “Companies don’t own their brands anymore. Consumers do.”  I argued this point with the chief strategy and innovation officer at an IPG promotion agency earlier this year.  He agreed with the pop marketing thesis. I do not.  As social media allows more and more consumers to make fake ads and weigh in on products that others spend millions to build it becomes more important for brand managers to tighten up. We can’t silence the masses but we can friend them, hopefully program them toward our way of thinking, and maximize the share of message to noise.  

Find your selling idea, campaign it, refresh it, invest in it.  And manage it. Because social media for all its good can create noise that is not always brand and sales-positive.  Peace!