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The cool factor vs. measurable interaction

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Gabriella Rackoff

Part of the fun of working at an agency is the debating that happen in our open-concept office. I love a good friendly argument. One recent debate centred on the value of joining a somewhat niche social network instead of the more obvious choice that would probably get our client more measurable interaction.

Specifically, this debate was about Pinterest and The Fancy. Joining Pinterest all but guarantees followers, likes and repins – lots of them. But do these contribute to building a brand, or is Pinterest so saturated that all of this activity essentially becomes meaningless?

I have two main ideas about this. The first has to do with how media affects brand positioning. The client in question here offers an exclusive, high end product. Media placement should reflect that. It’s the difference between being in a high end fashion magazine that costs $25 and one that’s $5.99 at the supermarket checkout.

One will get you far more exposure and more likes, as in the reader thinking, “I like that.” This person may aspire to the brand, but he or she isn’t a likely customer. The reader of the high end magazine is more likely to think, this is a brand that gets me. That reader is more likely to want a piece of the brand and make a purchase. Similarly, throwing a private party might defeat the purpose if you want as many people as possible to know that you throw parties. But if you’re looking to maintain an air of exclusivity and connect with people you know will promote your brand, a private party will mean a lot more to those you invite.

The second thing I want to bring up is the secondary goal of brand building. Customer acquisition is the big one of course, but what about the customers you already have? A lot of advertising is geared at making people feel great about about the things they already bought. Think of a glossy double page spread for BMW. People already know the brand exists, and probably nobody will buy the car because they see the ad. The ad simply reinforces BMW’s desirability.

Social media is great for customer acquisition, but it also reinforces brand values for people who are already happy customers. Many of your Facebook and Twitter followers have likely already bought, or they may already want to.

If someone thinks they bought an exclusive, high end product, you don’t want to do anything to make them question their purchase. Happy customers tell people about their purchases, and those people have a better chance of being in your target audience and making a purchase themselves.

Brand building and getting as many likes and followers as possible generally go hand in hand, but given that likes don’t guarantee purchases anyway, sometimes it might help your brand to rise above the noise and do something that just makes you look really cool.

Gabriella is a Creative Director at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter @gabriellainga .

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