Brands are historically hardwired to communicate in one direction. Ever since P&G invented brand management in the 1930’s, brands have been designed to hammer home their single-minded propositions as efficiently as possible.
The first steps into social media can be tricky for brands, because they have to put down the megaphone and engage in conversations. Unlike a 30-second spot, we can’t control consumer conversations to be “on brand”. This can be difficult particularly when conversations turn negative.
One of my favorite social media examples this year came from UK Tampon brand Bodyform. In October, Bodyform was criticized in a humorous way by a Facebook user for “lying” in their advertising about what happens to women when they get their period. The comment received over 100,000 likes and over 4,500 comments.
Many brands might have ignored the conversation and waited for it to go away. Bodyform took a different tack and responded directly to the Facebook user with a very funny video mock-apology.
Bodyform brand controller Yulia Kretova described the response. Their social mindset is relevant to any brand trying to be successful in social media:
“We found Richard’s post very amusing and wanted to continue the positive dialogue around periods that this generated. Working with the brand for 5 years breaking down the taboo around Bodyform and periods has always been a challenge and I hope that we have started to address this. Carat has created an original and uniquely personalised response, brilliantly PR-ed by Myriad, allowing Bodyform to quickly engage in consumer conversations in a meaningful way.”
Bodyform listened, responded quickly, and enabled a conversation without trying to dominate it with brand features and benefits. Social media can’t suddenly make an antisocial brand social. The social mindset has to come first.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away one signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. I’ll pick one comment. Thanks!)