How Brand Managers Can Use Social Media Analysis To Improve Branding Campaign Results
You won’t find anything you are about to read in your social media scorecard!
I recently wrote an article on Brand Republic discussing brand perceptions using social intelligence analysis. In this post, I want to expand on the idea that effective brand management is as much a social science as it is a creative art. The brand manager today is an expert in the category, the competition, and the consumer. The only data source that gives you insight into all three of these areas is social media; however, most companies still haven’t figured out how to really use this asset to inform brand strategy and business planning.
Armed with the right toolset, brand management can begin looking to social media for new answers and new ways to turn speculation into a science.
Here are some of the most valuable areas I’d recommend brand managers apply a social lens:
1) Uncover consumer brand perceptions
Social media conversations offer a cornucopia of consumers response to a brand’s advertising and messaging over time. However, monitoring the social sentiment alone does not provide the nuances of consumers’ underlying emotions and affinity to a brand. Social analysis contextualizes the online conversations to provide a deeper understanding of consumer perceptions of a brand and how they evolve over time.
2) Gain new product category intelligence
Social media can aid brand managers’ quest to assess the level of consumer awareness and degree of adoption as new technologies and products evolve. As the world’s largest focus group, analysis of online conversations can uncover new category and product insights for more effective marketing campaign strategies.
3) Assess brand impact relative to your industry
A brand can better shape its response and prepare for financial implications associated with a brand crisis with a comprehensive understanding of its public perception over time. But there are often broader consequences to be considered, and the wealth of social media data published each day offers a multitude of opportunities to measure and strategically respond to these impacts.
4) Uncover and commercialize latent brand potential
What drives consumer purchasing intent? What are the personalities and likes of the people that discuss your brand? Social media analysis can discover the characteristics of target audiences providing deeper insights into media planning and campaign strategies.
5) Gauge the emotions consumers feel with your brand
Social media is a rich cache of emotional needs and aspirations. As we know, standard assessments of positive and negative sentiment are simply incapable of capturing degrees of emotional engagement. Social analysis can uncover the underlying nuances of how your audience is responding to your messaging give rise to opportunities to monetize new forms of online brand engagement.
6) Inspire new customer acquisition & retention programs
Retailers are searching for more ways to better understand what drives their customers to shop at their retail locations versus a competitor’s. Social analysis can provide a deeper understanding of store-specific expectations. Uncovering the nuanced purchasing motivations and switching behaviors are key developing effective acquisition and retention strategies.
7) Learn about your competitors’ appeal & differentiation
Which brands stand to win in a competitive field of consumer shopping options? Why do consumers favor one brand over a competitors? Which marketing and advertising approaches promise success? Social monitoring analysis offers brand managers a wealth of data intelligence on competitors and their customers.
8) Drive brand extension strategy
Launching a brand extension without significant market research can be a risky proposition. Brand managers, using social media analysis have the ability to analyze the context of online consumer opinion with individual product categories discover the nuances into consumer perceptions.
9) Poise yourself for preemptive positioning
Brands have a unique opportunity to use social media data to gain a strategic advantage over the competition — if they use it in the correct way. Consumers use social media to tell us how they feel and what they want so that brand managers can achieve the level of granularity or accuracy that is actionable for the business.
10) Plan & execute an effective rebranding campaign
The Smart Rebranding with Social Intelligence (SRSI Model) outlines a new path companies can take to execute research-driven rebranding initiatives that will help sustain the long-term competitive advantage of the brand. By uncovering the factors that drive favorable and unfavorable customer experience and brand perception, the SRSI Model empowers firms to make informed brand strategy for a product or service and align repositioning efforts with consumers’ desired value elements.
11) Identify & track key reputational risks
Reputation is a daily discussion topic in brand management. As you strive to build brand continuity in the rapidly evolving digital and social landscape, what are the risks to your brand’s reputation that should concern you most? Through social media, we have seen first-hand how consumers can forge new mental linkages with an unfavorable trait, creating an unexpected spill-over effect into other areas of the business.
12) Inform & evaluate sponsorship and endorser selections
In the world of marketing, there is no formula for best fit for corporate sponsorship. There are many factors that contribute to the hiring of a celebrity endorser or the sponsoring of a marquee event. Social media offers a unique means to help determine whether a potential suitor will successfully appeal to your target audience. Current (and past) online discussions around a particular event or celebrity mirror the tone and experience with which you may want to forge a brand association.
13) Optimize brand portfolio strategy
Operating in a fierce competitive environment where constant innovation is a requisite of survival, companies constantly search for new ways to gain a strategic advantage over the competition. Developing and implementing a winning brand portfolio strategy is one of the most challenging tasks for businesses, and one that is often complicated by the fact that no single unit owns management of the entire portfolio. Which brands are perceived as leaders and laggards in their respective markets? Are you allocating sufficient brand-building resources to the brands with the highest potential? Tuning in to the world’s largest focus group comments on your and your competitors’ brands can uncover new opportunities that warrant additional marketing spend and investment.
14) Understand how holiday ad campaigns influence sales
The traditional shopping experience on Black Friday can significantly motivate consumers to turn out after Thanksgiving. However, the shopping atmosphere that motivates some shoppers may repels others. A deeper understanding of how consumers react to a brand’s past holiday campaigns can be a powerful tool in developing new campaigns. Social media intelligence can be a valuable explanatory variable to help your marketing team understand the degree of brand affinity generated by your past, current and future holiday creatives.