When big brands think local
This week sees the third Local Social Summit in London. I’ll be there, curating a panel of great thinkers sharing their views about what happens when national (or international) brands start connecting with their customers at a local level.
Think about it.
The marketing team sit in an obscure corporate headquarters and create the rules around which the brand gets portrayed by the company. Often those rules create absolute positions – fixed views of what people should understand about the brand – that seem to have missed the shift in expectations that the social explosion have started to create in their audience.
Now consider the challenge they face when it comes to interacting locally with that audience. I’d argue that you can’t successfully run that from Corporate HQ – but even if you try to, for large brands, that means a substantial team of people being involved.
And, unlike the typical large organisation, your customer won’t distinguish between ‘Marketing’, ‘PR’ or ‘Customer Service’. They won’t conveniently direct their social call-outs to the part of your organisation that you’d really like them to take it up with. The Social Phone (to borrow a phrase from Radian6) doesn’t come with an IVR menu. (Maybe that’s one reason people go social rather than telephone customer services).
So if that marketing team have any chance of meeting that challenge they need to figure out how to corral the organisation’s responses to the social phone. And so do PR. And Customer Service. And so on.
That means combining a degree of enablement, mentoring and strategy to equip the people on the ground with what they need to respond. And that runs counter to the established wisdom of old-school marketing. Or PR… etcetera.
I’ll be joined by Duncan Ogle-Skan of EMO (who advises his clients’ how to do this), Leanne Tritton who runs PR & Communications agency ING Media, together with Alistair Watts of Hand Picked Hotels and Janis Prescott at Mini UK, both of whom do this for real.