What has social media done to branding?

I watch a lot of TV. Inevitably, I watch a lot of TV commercials.

And perhaps I’m growing old and have already started reminiscing about the good old times… when TV commercials actually featured company websites.

Within one show, I have seen multiple commercials that had a call-to-action to a social media site, such as facebook and youtube.

I posted about a month ago asking Whose Commercial Is It? when commercials place more attention to an iPhone app than having a good service / product.

At that time, I commented that Coldwell Banker’s execution was an interesting approach. They integrated the technology message with their superior service message. Technology, including apps, would just be another way for them to service you better. Today, they employed the same approach with www.youtube.com/coldwellbanker. It was just another way for them to deliver valuable information. However, I questioned if this was necessary. Couldn’t the video live on their own branded website? Well, at least youtube gave you the ability to brand a “channel” completely and entirely. So, I guess if you had to pick a social media site, youtube would be a good choice.

On the other hand, www.facebook.com/hgtv was, in my opinion, less successful. The commercial did not point you to HGTV.com for more design tips, etc. There wasn’t even a “be a friend with the designers” type message. The website was just there. What’s the point? Why? In addition, in case you didn’t know, there was no way to brand a facebook page.

So, yes, I ask, what has social media done to branding?

Though, Coca-Cola demonstrated that there is a way to be both social media savvy (is that a phrase?) and be mindful of your brand equity at the same time. They launched their own version of short URL with cokeurl.com, fully branded. This allowed them to be friendly with social media, while making sure that their brand got all the attention it deserved.

So, my conclusion is: Being savvy about social media is great. But being involved with social media is at the end of the day a tactic. Social media marketing is just part of the marketing mix of a given marketing campaign. But any good marketing campaign has to be good at the basic. And the brand will always be the foundation of any marketing campaign. You have worked hard to build your brand, and your brand, hopefully, will last forever. Marketing campaigns, and the associated marketing mix, will change. Never compromise your forever for the sake of now.

Photo credit: Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog – 08/15/08, originally uploaded by DavidErickson.


  • Thank you for your comments!

  • In instances where there is a new medium for your message, it’s easy to get caught up in the medium (in this case social media) and forgot about the basic fundamentals of brand building in the process. Companies need to take extra care as they navigate the still not clearly defined social media channels and how they work best for their particular business.

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