The Social Brand: Do not say what you do, do what you say

Posted on September 16, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Part Two of our interview with Joan Jiménez, a Spanish brand angel and a creative multidisciplinary branding 2.0 consultant.

Social media has been presented as the new paradigm of communication between organizations and their customers or users. But some brands are not getting the results they expected with their presence on the Internet. In your opinion, why is there a discrepancy?
The gap is due to a lack of awareness of the new reality. The energetic, economic, environmental, communication and social scenes have changed, and we cannot apply the old answers anymore. We need to learn to ask new questions. This new reality requires an open mind to the constant changes we are facing in order to first recognize them and then use them properly. We live in an uncertain world in which everything is connected to everything, in real time.

What is the most fundamental change involved in the new culture of conversation?

The most transcendental change is to understand and accept that from now on, our actions are our communication and therefore management of communication can be effective only with a committed and aligned organization. I believe that no great brand can be managed effectively in this new reality if the company’s leadership team does not accept their role as brand leaders.

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There are companies, institutions, and brands that believe social media is a risk to their reputations and refuse to have any involvement with it. Why do you think it is essential for brands not only to have a presence in this social setting but also to participate actively in this particular social scene?

Social media is not  just a symptom of how little companies have adapted to a new competitive landscape. Social media represents not only an extraordinary instrument of communication and conversation, but also a new place to position your brand and do market research in real time.

Companies must understand that there is a physical reality and a digital reality, which together form a new playing field that is very different to the one we were accustomed to. The first thing managers must do every morning, in the same way they read the newspaper, is to connect with the world, so that they have the information they need to make their decisions. Information is power, you simply need to look and listen to what is happening inside and outside the company and then use this information according to your goals.

How are an identity and a good corporate reputation built and maintained in social media?

 ”Simply” by being aware of and being consistent with our internal and external reality, humanizing the company and aligning what we think with what we say and what we do.

When talking about the ROI of Social Media, you say: “The return on investment you’ve made in the social media is merely the positioning you have achieved for your brand in this new social environment.” Should we stop understanding the ROI of social media in terms of economic benefit?

You cannot ask the impossible. We must learn to be realistic and accept the limitations that we face and flow with them. Social media is a place to build relationships, links, and contacts that can lead to doing business. A good metaphor is to understand social media as an exhibition center. The return on social media cannot be measured in economic or quantitative terms but in qualitative results and in terms of social influence. As I always say, what matters in social media is not counting the kisses you receive but feeling the love you receive.

From your own experience in the social sphere, what do you think are the three basic principles a digital media or online marketing professional should always remember?

– First, branding (being, identity) and then the marketing (selling, market).
– Do not say what you do, do what you say.
– Open your mind and your ego.

Amelia Rodríguez is the Team Leader in the Barcelona Dow Jones Media Lab.

Interview translated by Matthew Stephenson.

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