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  • Posted by: Nora Geiss on Thursday, January 31 2013 07:26 PM | Comments (0)
    Nora Geiss

    Nora Geiss, Director, Verbal Identity & Digital, Interbrand New York will be participating in the first panel discussion of the morning, “Megatrends: Driving Brand Growth in the Social Media Era” at The Conference Board’s Corporate Image and Branding Conference in New York City tomorrow, February 1, 2013. Nora shares her insights heading into the discussion.

    Social media shines a light on human nature. It reveals what we think is worth sharing, how we view ourselves (and how we want others to view us), and how we make decisions. Social technology is unlocking new windows into human behavior, feature by feed by metric by meme.

    I couldn’t be more thrilled to join our friends Lee Hornick (the Conference Board), Jonathan Baskin (author of Tell the Truth: Honesty is Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool) and Kathleen Shouldis (VP Marketing, IBM) for a panel discussion tomorrow morning on the big trends driving brand growth in social media.

    Here are some of the big social trends we have our eye on – and what they indicate will be coming up next:

    Beyond content to consumption

    Social sites are moving beyond mere destinations for social activity to becoming hubs of discovery and purchase. 2013 is shaping up to be the year that content marketing and consumption of product come together.

    The Facebook + Spotify partnerships point to social as a place to consume music and Facebook showed us how that could come to life by testing the "want" button. Up next could be books and movies directly downloadable from a friend’s feed, or click-to-purchase data embedded in b2b infographics.

    Retail brands like Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret and financial brands like AmericanExpress are getting the jump on this social commerce category. The question is how social sites will approach it - exclusive partnerships between sites and brands? Or social commerce for all, challenging the Amazon behemoth head on?

    Realtime web is closer than you think

    ChatRoulette may have been a faddish web crush, but its flame of popularity was proof that users will engage with real-time content – now you see it, now you don’t. These days, all the cool kids are using SnapChat, real-time photo texts that disappear in seconds (at least for now – don't get too cocky kids) and Facebook’s Poke and Twitter’s Vine are fast following with their own version of flash content.

    Big business conducts social listening to stay on top of issues and opportunities as they happen. Publishers who get the net use leading-edge services like Chartbeat to measure and optimize engagement while their readers are reading. And Realtime is putting their latest $100 million to work reinventing the Internet to operate in, you guessed it, real time.

    Social demands new approach to achieving brand strength

    The new standards of immediacy, frequency and transparency set by social media add complexity to achieving the ideals of brand strength:  in particular, elements like consistency, understanding, responsiveness and protection become harder to achieve. How can brands better structure their teams and their approach to meet the demands of a social world?

    In-depth immersion in brand and social strategy will need to become commonplace for teams that today, enabling people across departments to interface with communications teams and facilitate the social experience from fresh perspectives.

    Companies who adopt a “brand-as-hub” mentality that places a sense of urgency on a brand-driven culture training will be light years ahead when it comes to achieving success. This kind of thinking and approach will enable teams to move with greater speed and agility to live up to the ever-higher expectations of the connected consumer.

    Tweet us @Interbrand and Nora Geiss @kittiegeiss to weigh in. You’ll find more great conversation with #tcbci.

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  • Posted by: Ruchika Joshi on Friday, February 26 2010 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

    At the third annual Marcus Evans Internal Brand Engagement Conference in Miami, FL on February 22nd and 23rd, ironically the looming question was not how far internal brand engagement had come, but rather how organizations still needed to define its role. Some of this was evident from the attendees present (largely communications professionals) and the content presented. Mostly it was evident from the dialogue between attendees.

    Conversations at the conference bordered around better and greater ways to communicate. The whole notion of engagement seemed to have slipped a little from focus. Few were able to define what happens after communication and how employees are being rallied to deliver on the leadership agenda and business strategy. It's time to evolve internal brand engagement to become a more strategic vocation. Having said that, the conference was a good representation of the challenges and opportunities that exist for internal brand engagement.

    1: Internal brand engagement is not yet tied to organizational growth.

    Until internal brand engagement is tied to revenue and thereby growth, it will not really get the kind of attention it deserves. We went through this cycle with the whole notion of brands. It only became a priority to CEOs when a tangible value was attached to it. We need to go through the same rigor with internal brand engagement.

    Interbrand identifies internal brand engagement as the process of activating an organization-through its employees-to deliver an exceptional customer experience that ultimately drives choice, loyalty, and premium value. Like customer experience, which can be measured and is attributed to organizational growth, internal brand engagement needs to be viewed in the same manner. This is one of its biggest challenges to date.

    2. If we have to define a role for internal brand engagement, we need to be intentional about who leads it.

    Is there any wonder why internal brand engagement is relegated to an exercise in communication? Those who are leading the charge are internal communications, marketing, and a handful of HR professionals. The approach to internal brand engagement so far has been finding leaders who communicate to employees at large, as opposed to finding leaders who directly engage with employees, and thereby can affect and influence culture and the customer experience.

    3. One size does not engage all.

    We would argue that customer-facing employees are not the only ones determining customer experience. Everyone is customer-facing. The definition of customer may change based on the role that you play.

    HR "customers" are new recruits and current employees. Accounting "customers" are other accounting personnel in other organizations.

    Any internal brand engagement process needs to segment employees based on their role in delivering the ideal customer experience and then train them accordingly.

    4. Time to walk the walk

    Finally, the whole notion of internal brand engagement needs to be about behavior change. It isn't enough to talk - it's important to train, measure, reward, and create greater accountability.

    Internal brand engagement is activated when employees truly understand, believe, and live the brand. Words like engagement, change, and transformation, by their very nature, imply a continuum. It's a constant journey or cycle, if you will, of understanding, believing, and living that engenders sustained change. That in essence ensures that employees are able to deliver on customer experiences to drive choice, loyalty, and premium continuously. This is what delivers on growth. This is what defines strong brands.

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