Social Concepts

Branding Success

Posted on: April 5, 2011

What does Snooki, Pauly D, and the rest of the cast of Jersey Shore have in common (Besides that effervescent oompa-loompa orange glow)?

You may hate these Jersey folks, but their doing one hell of a job at branding themselves across the nation. Their branching off to other tv shows, spin-off series, and making the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

This actually has no relation to social media, I just really like Jersey Shore and wanted to use it as an example. Because when you analyze this trio, it does perfectly prove that branding is everything. That branding can take you to the next level. That you can brand success.

Branding is important. There, we made the Jersey Shore analogy work.

One of the primary mistakes that brands make when utilizing social media for marketing is their lack of personality and interaction through that medium. They focus strictly on marketing their brand, rather than connecting with their fans or followers. This mistake is quite common among industries and brands that have a strong presence on social media. There’s nothing unique to them that makes people gravitate to their brand.

If you ever read an O’Dwyer article, you’ll find that it frequently stresses the need for brands to use social media appropriately and LISTEN.  It’s important to build a connection with the public, because when that falters, your brand is at a standstill.

A widely recognized example for a business recognizing the importance of listening through social media is Starbucks. Three years ago, Starbucks created an online community called “My Starbucks Idea.” In it, users are able to submit their ideas to Starbucks executives. The company takes things a step further by implementing the idea, and showing its consumer-base that they’re listening. They engage merely by sharing and executing ideas.

But although Starbucks is attempting to show that they’re listening, a closer look can reveal it to be a vapid marketing strategy. Last year, Starbucks claimed that out of their 80,000 shifts into a new direction, 50 of the ideas were consumer-driven. Marketing bloggers took a closer look, however, noticing that some of the ideas were essentially re-gifted. One post from Brand Autopsy found that only eight of the ideas were actually new; the rest were already in Starbucks’ pipeline, or were simply revamped from its old practices. And some of the ideas Starbucks addressed as new were not executed entirely. Consumers complain that in the end, asking for customer input and not necessarily acting on it is worse than not asking for their opinions, at all. They also fault Starbucks for the PR driven responses they issue when engaging with their consumers; it’s not as fluid and organic as it should be on social media.

As the customer mentioned above, asking for input and not acting on it is WORSE than not interacting with the public for their ideas. This will only hurt Starbucks’ brand

It’s difficult finding a clear-cut balance between monitoring what a company puts on the web, and how closely they engage with their audience. But at its core, a company that listens well to its customers and acts accordingly with them will always have a leg up on their competition, and will always have brand marketing power.


2 Responses to "Branding Success"

First, Linsey, I love this post. You described so perfectly why brand management is important and I agree. I have never seen an episode of Jersey Shore, but I can definitely tell you who Snooki and Paulie D are. So in comparison to companies, I completely understand why it’s important to keep your brand on the up-and-up online. Your post reminded me of some of the 19 “New” Rules of Social Media Copywriting in that you spoke on the company’s need to listen. Nowadays, if companies aren’t listening to its customers, likely the customers aren’t coming back to the company. Domino’s seems to be a company that has learned that lesson in that they look to social media to see what the customers want and then produce it in their pizzas. That’s brand management – maybe Starbucks should take some tips.

“Effervescent oompa-loompa orange glow,” priceless. I admit I was not a fan of Jersey Shore, I thought it was annoying and stupid, but after the continuous repeats on MTV and everybody else I know going gaga over it I decided to take a peak. I think their branding is exactly what caused me to sit for an hour and watch Sam and Ronny fight over nothing. These pseudo-celebrities are taking over our televisions. Why? Because they are marketed so well that you just want to watch them even when they are as terrible as the Jersey Shore cast.

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