Kolkata Chapter of SMBTS made its debut with a discussion on a relevant topic – social media strategies for brand building. In an attempt to delve deep into the various domains of brand building through social media, the discussions zeroed in on brand management strategy, building brand reputation and the reasons behind brand fatigue. While talking on brand value and brand management Shilpa stated that social media is cheaper to market any product and it also saves time.
The respondents came up with their views on the necessity of building brand and that too on social media platform. From the fundamentals of brand building, the talk transcended to the changes that social media brought in the arena of strategy making. Reaching out to the prospective customers through social media, understanding their preferences, listening to their gripe and paying constant attention to individual customers came up as the positive tenets of online brand building strategy.
Referring to Tata Photon and its poor brand management approach, the negative publicity issue figured in the discussion. A brand gets the exposure in social media in disguise of anti-product promotion, which spreads like a viral on the social networking sites through the end users.
The question of staying ethical on social media and accepting the flaws of a weak product has also been thought as essentials of developing brand reputation. The reach of social media as a brand building tool and the concentration of only private players as users of this tool were brought into light by Ulhas. On the flip side, it was agreed upon that already established brands like Cadbury, Dalda have shown no or minimal interest in foraying into this realm since they are yet to realize its potential
Ulhas also shared his personal experience on branding a product through social media. He referred to a message which says, “Social media is bringing back humanity to the digital world”, in order to put forward his view on how consumers are becoming more and more important to the brand managers. In this regard, Samudranil added that everything in social media is considered a product and every organization needs to understand the potential of social media.
Focusing on how social media can help in branding of startups, it was debated that only diligence does not help the sellers to expand his market in the online world. Dhritidipa was quick to point out that the needs of the users can be determined easily through social media and brands can be customized accordingly. She also added that the startups need to be open to constant evolution.
Questioning whether social media is for weaker brands, Sanjib came up with his observation regarding two ways of building brands via social media. Firstly, one creates the product and after being sure about it, packages its well. The final stage is the launching of the product and using social media for its promotion. Secondly, the company puts forward the half-finished product before the end users through social media and wait for their suggestions. Citing example of Google, which still has some of its services in beta version, Sanjib pointed out that some brand managers unveil the product halfway through its development and with the passage of time they incorporate the ideas received from the end users.
The discussion went ahead with interesting views and counterviews on the longevity of brands and their relevance in this ever changing market. Brand fatigue was also given due importance. Nitesh and Samudranil argued that a brand does not lose its importance just because of its age-old taglines and it retains its market share even though it does not follow the social media bandwagon. Product is the key and social media is the catalyst that takes the product to the world and makes it known.