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The Great Brand Dilution

The Great Brand Dilution

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Published by Brian Solis
For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.
For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.

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Published by: Brian Solis on Oct 07, 2010
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12/24/2010

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By Brian Solis, blogger at  BrianSolis.comand principal of  FutureWorks, Author of the new book 
Co-Author 
and  
For decades brands basked in the glory of control,control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed asemblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connectionsbetween customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. Thismovement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.Fueled by the socialization of media, content and connections served as the foundation for this newdemocracy and “we the people” ensured that our voices were heard. Social Media would forever change the balance of power within markets, placing the fate and stature of brands in the words andactions of consumers and the people and groups that influence their decisions. Brands didn’t just“lose” control of defining impressions, businesses lost the ability to govern shared experiences.Suddenly people enjoyed the freedom to publish their thoughts and the capacity to earn prominencein these fledgling social ecosystems. No longer was it an era of brands saying what they wished usto think; it was now clear that people were in control of their impressions and more importantly, how,where and when they shared them.
It’s no longer about what we say, it’s what they say about us now that counts.
Sometimes truth and reality awaken us to a new reality. And in this case, everything changes…for the better.Contrary to popular belief, social media didn’t invent conversations, it just allowed us to organize andsurface them. But, when we look at the importance of branding, the mechanics and methodologiesfor defining, protecting, and growing the brand profoundly change. As such, the value of brands areat risk of dilution based on the aggregate of shared experiences by the new social consumer. And,
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
perhaps the greatest challenge that faces brands in addition to dilution, is the inability to right itscourse in real-time. As media democratized, the meter for establishing prominence started to accruevarying levels of influence for its participants while many businesses missed their calling. It’s not toolate for brands toengagehowever, the difference is that everyday people have earned greater reachthan some businesses within these social channels.
The Evolution of Brand Marketing
The medium is no longer just the message. In social, the medium is the platform and as such,people now represent both the medium and the message where reach is defined by a blending of the social graph, the context of the story and ensuing connections, and also by the state of the attention apertureof those to whom we’re connected. Simply stated, social media is changing brand marketing and forcing a (r)evolution that will unfolddifferently within each organization.MiresBall and KRCResearch recently conducted a study that found 4 out of ten brand marketers believe that social creates challenges to maintaining brand integrity. In addition, more than a thirdbelieved that social networking affected brands to the point where marketing strategies wouldrequire new thinking. This new direction however, is rife with new challenges as well asopportunities.
Belief that Social Media Creates New Challenges for Protecting Brand Integrity, 2010
 Belief that Social Media Provides an Opportunity to Reach New Customers
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
Brand marketers realize the importance of social media, but they’re unclear as to how it canspecifically help with engendering loyalty.
35%
believed social lends to loyalty, but
30%
disagreedand another 
35%
were neutral on the subject. While marketers were split on loyalty, over one-half agreed that social media serves as bridges to reaching customers and prospects.
Update the Brand Style Guide
The study also revealed a growing concern among brand marketers on how they engaged withconsumers today. The consensus was that in order to successfully connect with consumers in sucha way that reinforces brand attributes, representatives require training, messages, andempowerment.When it comes to brand dilution, consumers aren’t alone in their endeavors. Brand representativesand the lack of a prevailing strategy, mission, or purpose in social media causes the breakdown of branding and messages directly from the source. At the moment, a disconnect exists between thebrand, its representatives, and consumers in social media. This disconnect starts with understandingthe brand’s voice, presence, and personality and what it is it needs to say to the varying roles of thesocial consumer.I refer to this series of fragmented touchpoints asThe Last Mile. And in order to establishconnections with individuals in their domains where they are in control of their experiences, it takesempathy combined with value, reinforced by branding elements that strengthen the story, theengagement, and the resulting activity. Without first defining the brand in these prominent socialnetworks, how can we expect it to thrive and flourish let alone inspire consumers?To prevent the dilution of our brands in social media, everything must begin with revisiting andrevising thebrand style guide.This style guide must be embodied by brand representatives where engagement is clearly led not by the “brand you,” but instead the brand “you represent.”In an era where brands are both created and co-created, defining our brand, its meaning, and itsvalue and humanizing it, will set the stage for collaboration and brand concentration.Losing control in an era of socialized media and equalized influence, actually gives birth to animportant form of empowerment. With a new found ability to listen to conversations tied to brands,products, and experiences and also analyze associated sentiment in real-time is stirring and
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis

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