Never doubt your identity: how to monitor a brand in the online world

Ambera Cruz has four steps for monitoring your brand in the online world.

This article originally appeared in The Identity Issue, our October/November issue of Marketing mag. 

 

ambera cruzBrand identity is something that everyone wants to get right, and it goes without saying that it impacts who uses your product or service and why. While it’s important to be consistent in how you portray your brand through outward activities such as marketing, advertising and social media, the challenging part is influencing the conversations outside your business that are happening on social networks.

Often there is a disconnection between the conversations and sentiment in the news versus social media. This can be attributed to the fact that social media is an uncontrolled forum over which we often have no sway. With that being said, you can still ensure you’re positively impacting your brand identity from both inside and outside your business. Here’s how.

 

1. Equip yourself with the right tools

Magazine print issue theme badge MK1610 IdentityA big part of controlling the tone and key messaging of your brand in the outside world can be alleviated by utilising various monitoring and engagement platforms.

Media intelligence has become a powerful space that can help determine anything from your share of voice in the market to net tonality in media messaging both online and in social media. By understanding the key spikes in your activity you can see the impact of every campaign you run and the e ect it has on your brand.

Often you can utilise dashboards or reporting metrics to evaluate your brand’s identity, homing in on everything including hashtags, brand slogans and products. The best thing is you can also do this for your competitors as well. By comparing market leaders with a similar target audience, we often find our point of difference.

It can also reveal other things like social media users making up their own hashtags to represent how they feel about a brand or situation.

Effectively, this gives you a good foundation to evaluate whether or not you need to revise your strategy and, if so, how you can leverage what you know about your competitors to stay ahead of the pack.

2. Find yourself key industry advocates

There is no question that the power of word of mouth is the best there is. Businesses now have every reason to find the biggest and best to promote their brands. By identifying and forging authentic relationships with key influencers within your industry, you can make a genuine appeal to their audience. This not only adds credibility but can potentially extend your brand’s reach as well.

Traditionally, businesses would target journalists through a very manual process: what they’ve done before or simply word of mouth. However, now we can pinpoint journalists who have reported on a specific topic, industry or issue in any part of the world. This is great if you’re wanting an influencer for something quite niche (such as research on a specific bug in Central America) or if you’re looking to refine the number of influencers on a much broader topic such as make-up.

Up-and-coming social media influencers are becoming an integral part of many different companies’ social media strategies, especially when marketing to Millennials and Gen Y. When using a social media influencer you really need to be sure you want your brand’s identity to be associated with that influencer.

3. Evaluate your sentiment

The old saying that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ may be true when we’re talking about share of voice, but it may not be the case when we’re looking at how your consumers perceive your brand. Monitoring the sentiment toward your business is essential in understanding how your brand is perceived and how someone’s experience can turn their affinity from positive to negative.

While sentiment is often an elusive metric to measure, and it may not be the main focus of your brand, overlaying this alongside share of voice, the trending themes of your key messaging, hashtag counts and your campaign activity helps to build business strategies to ensure you have a holistic understanding of your brand’s identity in the outside world.

 

4. Prepare yourself for the worst possible scenario

While we all wish we could manage everything when it comes to our brands, we may not always be able to do so. That being said, having a good plan of attack for when or if something goes wrong on social or mainstream media is the next best thing. Having access to instant alerts on key aspects of your brand can help ensure you’re across what is being said about your business in real time. This allows you to respond quickly to any crisis or event that may trigger a negative sentiment toward your brand.

More and more we’re seeing news stories break on social media before the news, so having the ability to monitor, track and respond to this is key. We’re also finding that certain campaigns or stories can have a very negative reaction on social media, which builds momentum quickly. Those who have access to exactly what is being said are armed with the best tools to ensure they can evaluate the best strategy, to address and retain a degree of control of the conversation, to minimise any potential negative impact.

At the end of the day, your brand’s identity isn’t just dictated by how you position it in the market, but also by how the public react to it. Campaigns and events can affect a long-standing strong brand perception in minutes. Nevertheless, by equipping yourself with the tools to monitor, track and measure your brand, you can ensure you find influential advocates in your industry and respond as well as analyse negative press. Being aware of these changes and what drove them can help you manage your brand’s identity in this consumer driven world.

 

 

Ambera Cruz looks after marketing at Meltwater

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