If content is King, then who would be Queen?
The majority of successful brands on social networks have adopted one of three clear strategies: Passion, personality or transparency. Passion brands share the love with their audience – we love what we do, come join us in our enthusiastic, positive messages and associated content because you are like us (or want to be). Passion brands do not necessarily show love for what they sell; Redbull is a classic Passion brand, sharing and showcasing their passion for extreme sports and adrenalin pumped activities, because who wants to click Like on the taste of that sugary, fizzy, energy drink?!
Personality brands have constructed a character and maintain a strongly defined voice, sense of humour, music taste and content plan – Skittles is a good example. I think of these brands as having adopted the 21st century version of the old company mascot, as seen by many food & drink brands from the 80s – we all remember Tony the Tiger.
Transparency brands are those which use social media channels to deliver accountability – openly sharing information and available to contact directly. Customer service is a key element of the value of Twitter for brands – companies such as BT and O2 use 140 character posts as a live chat to look after customers on a one-to-one basis, yet doing so in front of the wider Twitter community. British Petroleum took an almighty kicking via social media after the oil leak in the Gulf, but instead of putting up the corporate shutters, they set up a dedicated Twitter profile for the disaster, regularly updating with developments from the clean up and replying to all @mentions. The decision by a British High Court judge to allow live tweeting from The Sun phone hacking trial saw the British justice system adopt the benefits of the transparency strategy via social media earlier this year.
In the Advanced Twitter training course I gave last week, one of my students asked if brands must choose just one of the three strategies. Committing consistently to one of these strategies will strengthen the brand and bring focus to content creation and networking activities. In reality brands use elements of more than one of these strategies and the question from the training room made me think about the best combinations.
If content is King – who would be Queen?
Fellow social media marketers hail content as King of the successful social media strategy, therefore we must consider who would be Queen. All rise for the Queen of Personality. Brands need not adopt such an extreme version of the Personality strategy, but they do need to present a character and act like a person, not like a robot / marketing manager (delete as applicable). What music does your brand personality listen to? What does it consider important? What does it find funny? All these questions and many more are asked at our brand workshops, where we break down and then build up the personality which is both appropriate for the brand and appealing to the target market.
British brand owners and marketing teams I find often have a default setting to limit the amount of personality they express, a reflex I attribute to our deep rooted cultural commitment to avoid offending anyone, mixed with the generally held opinion among marketers that brands should not court controversy. I agree it is positive not to alienate people, but brands without a definable personality risk speaking with an inconsistent voice and attracting no-one with their apparent blandness. Many successful British brands present a fairly stiff personality and partly thanks to Mr. Bond, this is a trait the English in particular are known for, the world over. Understated is cool, cynicism is intelligence – just ask Burberry – the other half of the leadership team for social media success is a defined brand personality.
Content is king and personality is queen. Let me know on Twitter if you agree with this social media coronation.