A brand has a voice, but do we want to listen?

A brand has a voice, but do we want to listen?

With the buzz that surrounds social media unlikely to lose any of its momentum any time soon, more and more companies are seeing a social media strategy as the ‘must have’ item for their brands in order to deliver their message to the world. Plenty has been written about the pitfalls of creating a strategy without enough background research, so are companies learning from the mistakes of those who have gone before them?

With so many ways in which your brand’s message can be transmitted to the marketplace using social media it has become so important to ensure that the content of the message is consistent in order to get the maximum cut through for the brand alongside traditional marketing plans.

Talk and Listen with Social Media

Social media has given brands a ‘voice’; an ability to talk and listen to the marketplace. By utilising tools such as Twitter or Facebook you can ‘talk’ to your market and deliver your message straight to those who want to connect with you. Therefore it’s imperative that what you say via these conduits is what you want them to be hearing.

The Right Way

Since its launch in 2004, Jetstar’s branding has positioned the company as a low cost provider of air travel in Australia across all media platforms.  Since their move to utilise social media they have embraced Twitter to continue to deliver their message of low fares and great deals to its followers. The methods may have changed but the message is still the same. Below are Jetstar’s latest tweets integrating their core branding message, with reference to their ‘amazing deals’ and ‘hot fares’ as well.

Jetstar

Charles, the Talking Orangutan

In the last month, ING Direct has introduced us to an Orang-utan. Billy Connolly with his distinctive Scottish accent has been replaced by an Orang-utan called Charles. Brands change tactics all the time and replace figureheads, but why is the approach taken by ING Direct so different?

According to a statement released by ING Direct’s head of Branding and Communications, Christian Bohlke, “Charles’ role will be to show Australians there is a better way to bank. He is an independent thinker who doesn’t want to deal with the practices of the mainstream banks.” A reasonable approach and something which you’d expect to be delivered by Charles as the new ‘spokesperson’ for the brand.

Another Way

A social media campaign has been launched to increase awareness of Charles as the new face of ING Direct, complete with his own YouTube channel in addition to the now almost obligatory Facebook and Twitter pages. This is where the message that Christian Bohlke wants us to digest is lost. Below is an example of Charles’ Twitter feed (replicated also in his Facebook feed).

Charles_writes

 

What message is Charles delivering to us? Certainly not ‘showing Australians there is a different way to bank’ as far as I can make out. His messages need be more closely aligned with the objectives of ING Direct to draw any real benefit from the social strategy. What reason do I have to follow Charles? My response to this feed is a simple ‘so what?’.

As impressive as a talking Orang-utan is,  I’d be much more inclined to follow Charles if he was to give me savings tips or provide answers to any questions which I might have around banking. Give me a reason to follow you Charles. You won’t hear Jetstar telling you about the price of fish in China but you will hear them telling you of their ‘Everyday Low Fares’, the brand’s core message and in the deals that they offer, this being the reason to follow them.

At last count, Jetstar was followed by 10,718 people and Charles, 103
At last count, Jetstar was followed by 10,718 people and Charles, 103. Although a relative newcomer to the Twitterverse, it’s hardly an impressive start by ING. I know success can’t be determined on the number of followers you have but it does go a long way to getting your message to the market.

Although the means of delivering your brand’s message may have become more flexible and numerous with the social media revolution, if you fail to align the core message that you are trying to deliver to current and potential customers, then you are failing to take advantage of what potentially are the strongest marketing tools at your disposal. If ING Direct are to be successful with Charles as the voice of their brand, then what he has to say will need to change, otherwise he’ll be heading for extinction like the rest of his species. Charles talks, but do we want to listen?

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