Guest Post by: Laszlo Kövari

I was hesitant to write yet another post on “social media”; I really think that writing about such things means contributing to the hype and as we know hype always misses the point.

Also: the most important points about this question have already been made by much smarter people.

Maybe I can add some value by emphasizing one particular point that applies mostly to established brick and mortar companies (as opposed to pure internet startups)  grappling with the question of “what should we do about facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.”.

Luckily the answer is pretty easy:  F’get about it! Nothing!

Nothing good can come from such a question. Chances are you have much more important issues to deal with.

Ultimately it’s You and your Customers; … and everybody in between!


- your company needs an identity. Hey: you may not have one!!! Chances are if you can’t explain it you don’t have it. This has a lot to do with purpose, patterns, style, awareness, etc.

- you need a brand; a brand with a foundation of course (your identity), not as the abstract result of a couple of off-site exercises somewhere in Dubai or some mountains with celebrity guests, open bar and fireworks; … for the record: I am not an enemy of open bars with or without fireworks!

Regarding your customers:

it’s scientifically proven that customers (especially if they’re consumers) do not give a … don’t really care about your company; if anything they like to thrash companies. They may care about your brand, if it’s real. Truth is: they like to thrash brands, too.  It’s not companies (they’re all in a significant crisis, including yours), not brands, but identities that connect with each other. Not all brands are based on identities, but all identities provide solid foundations for brands. So what connects you with your customer? I can tell you: it’s not your brand! It is what makes your brand!

OK, now an example.

I am not going to use examples from difficult fields, like technology, financial services or chemicals for example because it’s too early in the morning for these; I will use the low hanging fruit: fashion!

Fashion focuses mostly on the style element of identity (others are purpose, patterns, awareness). This one element alone is enough to create passionate connections between consumers and brands. If for example glamor is the appropriate style element for the purpose -be it conscious or unconscious- of the individual customer (there is no such thing as an individual consumer) whichever brand captures glamor more successfully, will be chosen and two identities will connect. Again: the customer may connect with the brand, but has a bond with the purpose! And so does the brand.

Back to social media:

Imagine what would happen if a fashion brand managed to expand its awareness from the style element all the way to the purpose.  Better put: if an identity in fashion managed to expand its awareness from the style elements all the way to the purpose. It would be a revelation! A cause!

In such a case this identity would bond with customers almost organically, having the same expectations, speaking the same language, valuing the same things.

When such bond exists marketing terms like segments, consumers, and various combination of these will lose their meaning; and so will of course the mechanical thinking behind these terms and the behavior that tries to maintain them, etc. No bond, no clue! No clue, tons of segments.

So back to social media:

it’s clear that what to do on twitter from this aspect is a 3rd grade question at best and certainly not the first one that should be asked.

Create a bond and this question will not even come up!

Image by: fredcavazza

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