Being engaged with social media is vital for brands today, and while many are embracing the digital revolution, substantial improvements are yet to be made to build a brand with a distinctive social identity, according to a recent study sponsored by Weber Shandwick in partnership with Forbes Insights.
“Socializing Your Brand: A Brand’s Guide to Sociability” outlines the research conducted online among 1,897 senior executives from high revenue companies across 50 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
According to the research, global brand executives believe that sociability is growing rapidly as a contributor to a brand’s overall reputation, from 52 percent today with a projected estimate of 65 percent three years from now. Yet, a large majority (84 percent) report that their brand’s sociability is not yet up to world class brand standards, despite the fact that nearly all of them (87 percent) say they have a social media brand strategy.
The study found that being a social media brand means interacting with target audiences and creating original content that heightens the interactive experience. Brands get their communities of interest engaged and develop meaningful ties over shared passions or common interests. They demonstrate a genuine interest in what their audiences say and listen carefully to responses. World class sociability rests on the collaboration of the entire organization to integrate the brand personality across all communications channels. Therefore, brand managers need to be prepared to accept all the risks that come with the rewards of venturing into this new era of customer engagement.
Socializing Your Brand – The Risks vs. The Rewards
Global brand executives consider that the rewards of using social media outweigh the risks, by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Among the rewards of social media, global brand executives count strengthening customer loyalty, improving brand recognition, helping locate new customers and prospects and improving customer service.
“While there are inherent risks in socializing a brand, it is no longer an option to go without a social presence. Now, more than ever, executives need to harness this opportunity to connect with customers, facilitate a conversation and encourage feedback. Their reputations and livelihood depend on it,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist, Weber Shandwick.
Shandwick and Forbes Insight clarify their study by defining “Nine Drivers of Leading Brand Sociability” in this well-designed infographic: