Keith Errington

marketing strategy
07860 267155

Why Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn make good company

We are moving towards an era where organisations will simply have to behave themselves.

A lot has been written about the increasing influence of social networking on marketing and the way an organisation interacts with its customers and staff.

It is clear that a major change is taking place, with marketing in particular no longer being driven by pushing messages onto all and sundry. Now we have a customer driven paradigm where users dictate what information they would like to see.

Social networking has enabled organisations to listen to customers and respond in a way that has not been really possible before. But what if we take all these developments to their logical conclusion?

I believe that we are about to see an age where organisations will have to become moral, ethical and well, basically well-behaved. Corporate cultures will have to change and corporate governance, fair trading, best practice and ethical operations will gain a new importance.

As organisations are discussed, recommended and criticised online, in an infrastructure which anyone can access and search – any potential customer, investor or job candidate will be able to see an organisation’s track record, get an idea of their culture and judge them good or bad.

Choices
This will force organisations in two directions – some – financial institutions perhaps – will become more and more secretive – hoping that a complete lack of communication will stem the tide of opinion and comment. 

This approach is clearly unsustainable in the long term, leading to a whole range of problems – distance from the market – a sense of distrust from customers in the absence of any information – and even groupthink on the part of the organisation’s leaders as they lack the feedback they would otherwise be getting from their customers.

The more enlightened organisations will move in the opposite direction – encouraging openness – developing watchdogs and engaging with the online population to help improve their practices, products and ultimately, their standing in the world.

So maybe social networking and web 2.0 will actually achieve what no amount of legislation, protest and preaching have yet managed – a world in which organisations act for the best interests of the planet and its people.

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Trust, reputation & branding

We all know branding is essential on the web - but why?
The reason is that it links to trust through reputation. Next time someone asks you why branding is important, here’s a quick explanation.

Trust

There is no single more important commodity in business than that of trust.
It takes time and effort to establish and yet can be lost in the briefest of moments.
Every person in every part of an organisation has to work to engender trust in the customer and a single action by a single person on a single day can break that trust and undo many man-hours of effort.
So trust must be nurtured and maintained and preserved at all costs.
When doing business on-line, the importance of trust is multiplied by the remoteness and impersonal feel of the Internet.

Reputation
Gaining trust is easier if an organisation has a reputation – and a good reputation is priceless.
When looking for an information source on the Internet one may find many hundreds of potential web sites – what makes you choose one over another? Reputation.
It is an organisation’s reputation that gives authority to the information.

Branding
To leverage – or make the most of – this reputation you need branding. Branding helps the customer associate the organisation with the reputation.
By being able to recognise the organisation behind the current message quickly, easily and even subconsciously you are making the connection between the message and the organisation’s reputation implicit – as the customer trusts the reputation, so they trust the organisation, and therefore the message.
Little or poor branding confuses the customer and they no longer have confidence in either the organisation or the message.

Strong branding allows you to recognise an organisation quickly and easily, triggering an associated feeling about that organisation’s reputation which leads to an evaluation of how much you trust that organisation.

Without branding you cannot leverage reputation and trust.
Without reputation you cannot engender trust.
Without trust you cannot do business.

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