Your product and service is your brand?
I spend a lot of time with companies whose key focus is to work out how to continue promote the product or service they're selling, yet they all miss one huge point.
Let me give you what I hope is a relateable example;
I play Golf, Zzzzzzzzzzzzz, for some that might be boring as hell, for others it's something they can relate to, and depending on the level of expertise determines how much they continue to invest in themselves, and the game.
So, let see how I would get on if all I did was talk to you about the golf clubs, kit, golf balls and other items needed to torture myself each week whilst paying for the privilege of it via my annual membership fee, I would do this because I'm getting paid by a few brands to promote them to you.
I show pictures of my latest putter, how it's shaved a couple of shots off my game, I talk about how my latest driver has given me the ability to hit the ball further than I've ever done before, which became possible because I'm now using a different kind of Golf ball specifically designed for my standard of play. I even show pictures and talk about some of the great facilities at the Golf Club I'm a member at.
If your a golfer all this might sound interesting and enticing enough to encourage you to go and buy something, if you have no interest in Golf you'll have switched off from me a long time ago - unless we share other interest that is!
If you've got this far in the blog, well done because this isn't about Golf, it's about storytelling.!
The reality is I fall into the 85% of the worlds amateur Golfers with an average handicap of 21 who play this ridiculous game week in, week out. We're what's known as 'enthusiastic' golfers, which if you also play the game will know that's a euphemism for not being very good at it but it's something we thoroughly enjoy.
Example continues; If you got to know me on a personal level and played a few rounds of Golf with me you would realise that whilst I'm a guy who promotes a lot of stuff about the game, my own game doesn't quite live up to what I talk about e.g. I don't really deliver on what I'm saying in my pictures and post - sound familiar?
Chances are you would share that info with other players in the club house, who then don't want to play with someone who can't 'walk the talk', and doesn't deliver on what he/she promises so to speak.
This is what companies are doing every day when they use 'social media' to advertise and promote good and services. They forget that being on social means that it's not just what you say about YOU that other people are 'listening' to, but they can also listen to other people who have already experienced your brand, product and service.
Golf for me is a 'social' first and sporting experience second, sure I want to be better and by being myself (tell it as it is) I get lots of free tips, lessons, invites and mutual laughs from other people who can relate to, and share my pain - it's all very genuine.
We spend an average of 3.5 hours each time playing the game in all weathers with our focused serious head on, we then spend another 2 hours in the club house sharing tales, smiles and laughs of our game, we do this with same people who we've just been on the course with for 3.5 hours, and guess what - they all share those stories with other people in the club house, they might even share those stories with other folks at work who are also 'enthusiastic' golfers.
The point I'm trying to make here is that when your involving yourself in social media try telling stories about the industry first, not you, your brand, your products or services - because effective branding is about consistent, relateable authentic story telling.
Branding animates your product, your company, your employees, and your clients or customers. When branding is strong and a company consistently focuses on the values that their story embodies, their products or services can become part of people’s lives. In the best cases, those companies can actually influence the culture of an entire business sector and beyond.
Good marketing will bring people to your product or service, hopefully in sufficient numbers to keep the doors open. But marketing alone will not keep them coming back. It won’t create a bond between you and them.