Branding is critical in a social media era because there is an explosion of products. Each day, the average consumer is engaged with 3000-4000 messages. Your message and product has to be chosen from this explosion, to the exclusion of the other products. Branding is about perception. A marketer must be able to define, in the minds of their customers, their product in absolute contrast to all the other products in the market place. How does a marker do this? One way is through their content strategy.
The music industry is a good bench mark in learning how to create a brand through content. The music industry is flooded with material. In our social media era, any kid can produce a song in their bedroom, upload it, make it available on their Facebook or MySpace Page, and then put the song video on YouTube. If the public likes the content, a rock star can be created overnight. This is how Justine Bieber was created. His brand was created because the public “liked” his content, and decided to embrace it.
I have been observing a brand in R&B music which we shall call K. In this article, I want to explain how this artist is creating a brand through her content strategy. I hope the reader can draw analogies from the music industry and apply it to their particular business. In the Social Media Era, a marketer creates a brand by doing three things. A brand has to be re-positioned, branded, and positioned. In K’s case, she has a strong brand in ballad and Gospel R&B. The basic demographic for this space is young kids. K realizes that this is not a lucrative market for her. People become rock stars because they want to make as much money as possible. K realizes that to reach maximum earning potential, she is going to have to move into the more lucrative Dance R&B space, which has a young, professional demographic, ages 18-34.
K did what most marketers do in a social media era. Marketing spaces quickly change. To reach potential, brands must constantly reposition themselves to function in the most lucrative markets. Just like any brand, K now faces a problem. Because she is now repositioning herself into a new space, K must create a new brand for herself. K’s solution to this dilemma explains how modern brands are created. Social media is a “conversation among friends”. Brands are no longer created by one-way conversations. They are no longer created by advertising campaigns or tours by the singer. They are created by friends recommending a product to another friend.
The paradigm of modern branding has changed. Brands are created and developed by customers. When people “like” something, they recommend it to their friends through blogs, posts, and videos on a social media platform. This is incredible when you think of it. Companies have to give their brands over to their customers, and let the customers develop it. In the social media era, the material has to be visual, attractive, engaging, fun. The benchmarks for social media campaigns have been the Ford Fiesta and Obama Campaign of 2008. In both cases, supporters took over the brand, and with engaging material, simply shared this material with their friends.
K understands the social media era. She has decided to create her new brand through her content. K has created an immersible song and video. The song has a pinging, dance mix which people can’t get out their minds when they hear it. The video is extremely visual with many attractive male and female dancers, doing a very attractive dance sequence. K’s branding strategy is to make this song and video available on her Facebook and Twitter Page, plus on her own personal web site. She has made downloading the video and song simple. K is going to do what Ford and President Obama did. She is going to make her material available to her supporters and encourage them to share it with their friends.
A key point in branding through social media is an understanding of Reed’s Law. This law explains why social media is so virile. Put in simple terms, in a network of just two, when something is shared, the networks of the two actually create a network of 1,092. Attractive, visual, content that engages is a significant key in creating a strong brand in the social media area.