The People Side of Online Brand Management

In today’s multi-screen culture, the growing integration of online technologies and offline channels is changing the process and expectations for brand management.

An integrated approach to strengthen the lifetime value of a brand goes beyond marketing and advertising. It is about the people side of brand management, how brand managers respond to real-time situations, and how evolving changes are incorporated into the process and measurements of success.

Reactiveness can be easily mistaken as responsiveness in online brand management. There is a common misbelief that an approval process is an adequate substitution for an online monitoring protocol. Some brands create social media pages without a defined target audience profile for their content or microtargeting strategy.

As changes and conversations take place in real-time, a reactive strategy often creates confusion, and results in a brand culture that centers on minimizing risks, rather than maximizing opportunities. Consequently, brand managers commonly prioritize compliance with directives over engagement and initiative.

A responsive approach should begin with clear definitions of the target markets and specific strategic goals. An online monitoring protocol with action steps to manage responses in the evenings and weekends is a simple step to provide clarity for cross-functional teams, and establish accountability for the reporting process.

Additionally, a responsive strategy should include built-in flexibility to incorporate constant changes into the process and measurements of success. A detailed messaging plan with design mockups is a great way to streamline approval process, and provide flexibility for brand managers to effectively manage real-time situations and changes.

The overarching goal of online brand management is to establish brand differentiation, and it is validated and measured by user interactions and actions. A brand strategy that does not prioritize its people side undermines its differentiation, and does a great disservice to its brand.