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”.
Brand Democracy means joining the dots, connecting the many to the many. Rather than identify individual needs, we need to be thinking how we can connect them to each other. How can we make our products more shareable and how can we make them better tools to connect through their stories?
For more than 50 years, we’ve become accustomed to media telling the story for us. When brands step back and gives us a platform to tell our own story, we are naturally suspicious; we wonder what to do, we look to others for answers. That’s why Brand Democracy isn’t going to happen overnight.