Paul Legutko’s discussion:
“……, but simply the fact that someone is staring at your company logo and creative for a certain period of time. This has an inherent branding value, and “branding” is something both marketers and management understand……high-volume sites can have significant brand-equity.”
and Jim Sterne’s response regarding brand impact, awareness and brand character attribution, can further be applied to the way major corporates are using the power of social media to garner brand dividends.
Coke, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Proctor and Gamble, Nike, Nissan, Pepsi are part of a trend where a large number of corporates are creating online communities and social networking sites, taking advantage of the interactivity that the internet as a digital medium provides, to capitalise on the huge number of cybersurfers.
With humongous volumes of visitors on these sites, organisations have successfully mingled CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT with increasing BRAND FAMILIARITY and distinction and focussing on solution importance, to try and create CUSTOMER LOYALTY.
Hindustan Unilever’s( India’s biggest consumer goods company) brainchild Sunsilk Gang of Girls, promoting the shampoo brand Sunsilk, has a total of 579899 members in 34122 gangs. This has evolved into a huge medium where people participate, give their views and are really bonding with the brand. By discussing commonplace issues like hair care, shampooing and conditioning, hair tips, hair biology and hosting hair gurus by tying up with hairstylists like Javed, Sunsilk GOG has struck a chord with the readers. By tying up with leading magazines like NewWoman and Cosmopolitan,and Marjorrie Orr at Astrology.com, Sunsilk GOG has been able to delve into areas of interest for women ranging from beauty tips to love quizzes to astrology and with Monster.com to cater to their career aspirations. Typically catering to the youth interests of today, members can even watch funky music videos, download wallpapers and screensavers and participate in exciting contests, Sudoku and word search games.
With a traffic rank of 25,500 the Proctor and Gamble brainchild Beinggirl aims at engaging the female segment for P&G’s products targetted for the female community. By giving females an opportunity to discuss issues close to their hearts, without giving up their identities, P&G has been able to provide a medium for interaction and developing relationships with its customers thereby facilitating brand loyalty. About 62% of the clientele of beinggirl is from China and 14% from the U.S.
Most of these sites, especially those catering to niche audiences, use the skills of online community managers to nudge the conversation, seed chat forums with threads, recruit others to take a lead in various topics, and monitor the dialogue
Nike’s joga.com for football lovers, Coke’s mycoke.com and Pepsi’s pepsizone for young adventurers out to network, share photographs,videos,music and have fun, Nissan’s community for car lovers discussing car models and their features……the list is endless……
Agreed that there are no ways to quantify brand loyalty as a result of such ventures, but as Paul said, as long as larger number of visitors can identify brands , logos and products, garnering brand dividends as a result of such endeavours is a foregone conclusion.