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Social Trends Indicate Big Changes Coming for Brands

Posted by: Nora Geiss on January 31, 2013
Nora Geiss

Nora Geiss, Director, Verbal Identity & Digital, Interbrand New York will be participating in the first panel discussion of the morning, “Megatrends: Driving Brand Growth in the Social Media Era” at The Conference Board’s Corporate Image and Branding Conference in New York City tomorrow, February 1, 2013. Nora shares her insights heading into the discussion.

Social media shines a light on human nature. It reveals what we think is worth sharing, how we view ourselves (and how we want others to view us), and how we make decisions. Social technology is unlocking new windows into human behavior, feature by feed by metric by meme.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to join our friends Lee Hornick (the Conference Board), Jonathan Baskin (author of Tell the Truth: Honesty is Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool) and Kathleen Shouldis (VP Marketing, IBM) for a panel discussion tomorrow morning on the big trends driving brand growth in social media.

Here are some of the big social trends we have our eye on – and what they indicate will be coming up next:

Beyond content to consumption

Social sites are moving beyond mere destinations for social activity to becoming hubs of discovery and purchase. 2013 is shaping up to be the year that content marketing and consumption of product come together.

The Facebook + Spotify partnerships point to social as a place to consume music and Facebook showed us how that could come to life by testing the "want" button. Up next could be books and movies directly downloadable from a friend’s feed, or click-to-purchase data embedded in b2b infographics.

Retail brands like Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret and financial brands like AmericanExpress are getting the jump on this social commerce category. The question is how social sites will approach it - exclusive partnerships between sites and brands? Or social commerce for all, challenging the Amazon behemoth head on?

Realtime web is closer than you think

ChatRoulette may have been a faddish web crush, but its flame of popularity was proof that users will engage with real-time content – now you see it, now you don’t. These days, all the cool kids are using SnapChat, real-time photo texts that disappear in seconds (at least for now – don't get too cocky kids) and Facebook’s Poke and Twitter’s Vine are fast following with their own version of flash content.

Big business conducts social listening to stay on top of issues and opportunities as they happen. Publishers who get the net use leading-edge services like Chartbeat to measure and optimize engagement while their readers are reading. And Realtime is putting their latest $100 million to work reinventing the Internet to operate in, you guessed it, real time.

Social demands new approach to achieving brand strength

The new standards of immediacy, frequency and transparency set by social media add complexity to achieving the ideals of brand strength:  in particular, elements like consistency, understanding, responsiveness and protection become harder to achieve. How can brands better structure their teams and their approach to meet the demands of a social world?

In-depth immersion in brand and social strategy will need to become commonplace for teams that today, enabling people across departments to interface with communications teams and facilitate the social experience from fresh perspectives.

Companies who adopt a “brand-as-hub” mentality that places a sense of urgency on a brand-driven culture training will be light years ahead when it comes to achieving success. This kind of thinking and approach will enable teams to move with greater speed and agility to live up to the ever-higher expectations of the connected consumer.

Tweet us @Interbrand and Nora Geiss @kittiegeiss to weigh in. You’ll find more great conversation with #tcbci.

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