Many businesses view Social Media as a free advertising tool, when what they really need (and have at their literal fingertips) is a branding tool. Advertising is not the same thing as branding. Of course, it can be – but won’t you be surprised to find you have an unintentional branding campaign going on?
You may just be sending unintended messages like:
- “All we care about is telling you how to spend more money with us”
- “We just want everyone to know we think our product is the best”
- “We are self centered”
or – more often …
- “We don’t really know who we are or why we do what we do”
The conversation goes something like this one I had on my way to the office today. “I hear you want to participate in our art show! That’s great! We really hope it brings us more business because these are tough times. We have been advertising in lots of places, but people just aren’t see us as an everyday restaurant / bar. Word has gotten out that we are just an ‘event’ location.” (branding) She continued to tell me about the new equipment shipments coming in in a very practical sort of way – probably more in reference to the money they were spending during tough times. (branding)
Without asking, I was confided in. Listening is a good thing! (branding)
I had some ideas and was already presented with lots of material. But I waited. (branding)
So after discussing the details of the art show, I offered to take a look at their Facebook fan page and make my recommendations free of charge. (branding)
Whatever you do and say. How you act and react all send a branding message. You brand without meaning to. You telecast to anyone paying attention what you’re about. This happens when we let fear rule. When we forget to let our passions direct us. When we don’t take the time to let others in on our purpose or convictions. When we fail to focus on the “why” of what we do.
I hope I get to hear ‘why’ this restaurant exists. Why it looks the way it does. Why history is so important to its owners. Why it is they do what they do.