In the era of Brand Democracy, you need to make the customer the hero of the brand story. And that requires not a choice in media, but a choice in mindset.
As marketers we have to realize that managing brands is ineffective because what customers say about the brand is more important than our official brand narrative. Brands are no more than collections of the stories told by customers.
We can no longer control and manage brand conversation like we used to. This is the era of Brand Democracy. You can win by letting go.
If your customers like you, be afraid, be very afraid. You might as well be invisible. In the modern attention economy, customers only recommend and talk about brands they love.
Big Brands want total control of the narrative. They want all the benefits of the Social Era without any of the commitment. It doesn’t work. You need to let go. Here’s how you can do it and create awesome marketing at the same time.
From Apple’s 1984 to the Pepsi Generation, stories are powerful tools for marketers to help people join the dots and connect with a sense of belonging.
Marketing is a promise, a promise that the story you’re going to tell is about the customer. Don’t break that promise, even if it’s only 3 seconds of their time that you’re going to waste.
In this modern media landscape, brands don’t have to be the hero anymore. And there’s the good news. Being the hero is risky: it costs a lot of money and is often fraught with failure.
The goal of social media isn’t to convert every touchpoint into a sales opportunity but to make social media a part of customer lives.
The measure of marketing success in the Brand Democracy model isn’t awareness, as it was in the era of Brand Management, but as Seth Godin points out, the extent to which “people will miss it when it’s not there”.