Social media creates modern, world class brands. These brands are created because social media allows a marketer to engage customers over many “touch points”. These multiple touch points allow brands to become “friends” with their customers and to create personal relationships with customers. The creation of these relationships is the way that a modern brand is created. This is the change that social media has brought to modern marketing. As a poll conducted by The Economist in April, 2009, tells us, “People no longer believe in advertising any longer–they believe in their friends”. Creating a brand is done by developing a friendship with an organization’s customers. How is this done? It is done by the use of multiple touch points. How does a marketer use “multiple touch points”?

To answer that question we have understand the nature of Social Media. Social Media has created a “perfect storm” for a marketer. To create strong brands a marketer needs scale and a presence. To create a world class brand, a marketer needs a lot of customers, and they need a place where they can meet that huge number of customers. Social media platforms allow a marketer to do this. Approximately ¼ of the world’s population belong to a social media platform. Facebook, if it were a country, would be the fourth largest nation in the world. Many of Volgers kopen these platforms are integrated with one another. Five billion impressions are shared by consumers online annually about products and services according to Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, Forrester Research analysts. This means that social media platforms provide a common meeting place for a great many people to meet and to communicate.

Scale and platform has changed how people, especially people in a global economy, communicate. In new media, brands are created when one person communicates to another person, usually their friend about a product and its benefits. “Friends” have a conversation and brands are recommended. This recommendation among friends creates world class brands. Social media has evolved modern marketing from a “push” world, in which products are produced and pushed on consumers to a “pull” world in which consumers dictate to marketers what the consumer wants.

Social media has created more touch points–places where marketers and consumers–“friends”–engage. This has changed modern marketing. New media can create and develop a brand overnight. Two primary examples are the Ford Fiesta and President Obama. No money was spent on an advertising campaign for the Fiesta. Ford created a social media campaign that lasted 6 months. This campaign involved many touch points. Instead of conventional advertising, Ford’s campaign revolved around posts, video, blogs, and texts. At the end of the campaign, the Fiesta possessed 38% brand awareness in its target market. In the first week that it was available, the Fiesta sold 10,000 units, an unusual number for a new car. In contrast, Ford had spent millions on a conventional advertising campaign, spread over 2 years for its Fusion. After all that expense, the Fusion had a little less than a 38% awareness number. In the case of President Obama, in early 2007 he was virtually unknown with no money, but he won the Presidential election in 2008. Social media branding does work. For a brand to be created, consumers have to know about the brand, and they must perceive it to be different from other products in its marketing space. They have to be convinced that the brand will add something significant to their life. To buy the brand, in a social media age, consumers have to be comfortable with the brand in the same way that they are comfortable with a friend. This is what happened in Fusion and in the Obama campaign. The key to social media branding is the wise use of touch points.

To create a modern brand, a marketer has to make their brand to become almost like a real person–a brand must be someone you can trust, someone you enjoy hanging out with. This is why multiple touch points are critical. The more contact that is made the more the consumers become comfortable with the brands. Branding a product is just like developing a friendship with someone. In our human relationships, the more we get to know someone, the more that we trust them. The more we trust someone, the more we are willing to overlook their shortcomings. In a group of people, we choose our friends, and we decide whom to hang out with, even though we know our friends have shortcomings. Our friends, in real life, have brands. We have trust for those people, so we develop relationships with them. This is how our brands are to be created in a social media age.

There are two sources that do a good job in explaining the dynamic of this trust building and how it relates to modern marketing. The June 2009 issue of The McKinsey Quarterly, written by David Court, Dave Elzinger, and Susan Mulder, describe “The Consumer Decision Journey”. The Harvard Business Review of 12/10, written by David Edleman, explains the use of multiple touch points in an article entitled “Branding In the Digital Age”.

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