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How can you build a valuable, differentiating Social Brand?

by Contagious Team

An extract from The Social Brand explores why although it’s important to be social, it’s also just as important to find out what it is that you — and only you — can give.

The Social Brand - Transforming Your Brand to Win in the Social Era is written (anonymously) by a marketing director at one of the world's most prominent brands and is published this week.  

Defining your brand mission

Every company has its own way of capturing the brand essence or positioning of the brands it owns. For instance, Procter & Gamble uses 'brand equity', PepsiCo uses the 'brand pyramid', and Unilever uses the 'brand key'. Each of these methods is based on the old marketing-era term 'positioning'.

Positioning is basically the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their “target market”; advertising is the tool they use to create this image.

The way companies position brands today goes back more than 40 years. The business challenges they face today are in no way comparable to those in the 1960s and 1970s — but, oddly enough, the rationale behind the need for positioning today is exactly the same as it was then. Jack Trout first wrote about this new form of marketing strategy in 1969, making the case that the typical person is overwhelmed with unwanted advertising and has a natural tendency to discard all information that doesn’t immediately settle into a convenient (and empty) slot in their mind. 

Today’s superclutter has made it outright impossible to find that convenient, empty slot in anyone’s mind. Positioning documents like the ones mentioned above focused on questions like 'What kind of a brand world do we want to create in the minds of our customers?' (How does the company want to position its product or brand and communicate that positioning?) That’s not good enough anymore.

Instead, ask: 'What kind of a world do we want to create with our brand in the lives of people who are important to us?' In other words, companies need to create a social brand by defining a mission and then actually taking on and fulfilling that mission.

Defining your Social Brand mission

There are three key elements to a brand mission: insight, personality, and mission.

1. Insight: the need you set out to fulfil with your product and brand.

2. Personality: the way you go out and fulfil your mission, with what personality traits.

3. Mission: the mission you take on as a brand. What do you want to make happen in this world?

The Social Brand  - Transforming Your Brand to Win in the Social Era is written (anonymously) by one of the UK’s leading social marketers. The author has worked in marketing and media for more than 15 years on more than five global brands. The book is published by The Social Publishing House on 7 April. 

The author of The Social Brand has been responding to Contagious' followers over Twitter. For a chance to win a copy of the book tweet @the_socialbrand with what you believe the biggest challenge is for brands and agencies in social media?