How to respond when Social Media attacks your brand? (via Mashable)

Just as I was writing about my terrible ordeal with the telemarketer for the iStrategy2010 conference (on Social Media, no less) [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3], I stumbled upon this helpful article via Mashable: How to respond when Social Media attacks your brand?

It’s a great article with real case studies of how three brands were attacked via Social Media and what they did to respond. Here are my key takeaways:

  1. Stop the attack before it escalates. It’s very easy to jump on to the “bashing bandwagon.” You must realise that social media is essentially a network, with implicit assumptions of trust and credibility (by network members), and a built-in capacity for rapid dissemination of news. Think of what that means when people start bashing your brand.
  2. Listen to your customer. Social media is social. You’re in a dialogue/discussion now. Gone are the days of monologues or one-way conversations. These days, the customer has the tools that empower them to be heard… so start listening for real!
  3. Have a plan. Crisis communications and issues management is no longer just about managing print and broadcast media. Now, anyone and everyone with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn can spread the news. Make sure you have a plan that takes that into consideration.
  4. Monitor social media. Set up some capability to monitor social media channels. You’ll want to know what’s being said about you and where so that you can respond quickly.
  5. Engage! As I said, social media is social! To earn the right to be heard (and therefore respond to allegations), you must participate in the conversation!

Which Came First – The Name or The Meaning?

Does the name create the identity, or does the identity give meaning to the name?
The answer: yes.

I can’t remember how exactly I came across this article, “Your Name Goes Here“, but I remember the question that drew me to it – “Which came first, the name or its meaning”, in relation to branding and brand values.

As a brand practitioner, I’ve seen both approaches:

1) The Egg Came First – i.e. Get a brand name, any brand name… then make it great.

This is where proponents will argue that a great name, even though it sounds silly at first, will eventually be great because of the efforts towards building it – fleshing out its values, demonstrating its brand personality and building off the strategic brand platform. This is probably why you see a host of odd sounding names – most notoriously among creative agencies and internet start-ups. Hey, I bet “Google” sounded really dumb before it became the #1 super-giant for web search today, right?

From personal experience, I notice that this is often the approach if you’re on the organisation/client’s side.

2) The Chicken Comes First – Determine the strategy/values/platform/direction, the get a name that embodies it.

Often, this approach is for people who don’t like to “put the cart before the horse”. These are practitioners who need a lot of insight and research before they are able to prepare the brand strategy… which will them guide them as they work towards namestorming. Hence, the name often embodies everything that the brand should stand for – these are “meaningful” name, often with a great brand story and/or history behind it.

From personal experience, this is often the approach taken if you’re the agency/consultant. It’s easier to “make the case” with the client when you have solid “research/data/foundation” to work from.

So which way works best? Does the name create the identity, or does the identity give meaning to the name? I agree with the article, the answer is: yes.

What do you think? Would love to chat in the comments please.

BFM 89.9’s Brand Story

I like brands, but I love brands with stories. I think having or knowing then sharing your brand story is very helpful in getting your audience to relate to you better. So, it was a pleasant surprise to stumble across the brand story of BFM 89.9, Malaysia’s only business radio station, written by none other than the founder himself, Malek Ali.

I particularly enjoyed the insight into the need for a great and agile brand platform – it makes brand building so much easier and coherent later on!