Bubbles, Carbuncles and Brand Management

Hello…It’s been a while.

Courtesy of Buffer I’ve just come across the “two-minute rule” to defeat procrastination.

This is the result.

My last post touched the concept of brand buoyancy and the role of bubbles. Some 18 months on (Is there an Olympic event for procrastination? – I think I am a contender!) I have gotten around to moving it on a bit.

Firstly, thanks to Faris & John W for feedback.

John W added to the idea by pointing me to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ conceptual design for Bulk Carrier Ships, which reduce frictional resistance between the vessel hull and seawater using air bubbles produced at the vessel bottom. along with high-efficiency hull form and enhanced propulsion system.

This seems to fit well with the initial analogy and has the added dimension that it not only improves buoyancy but in doing so it also enhances performance. However there are other dimensions to consider that are crucial to this effect. The effect of the bubbles is as nought without the “high-efficiency hull form and enhanced propulsion system”. How might we develop this.

Over the last 18 months social has been adopted by the majority of brands as an integral part of their communications mix, and this is seen to have been followed by the (faster) recognition of one of the key challenges (that the growth of social and fragmentation of consumer attention has stimulated) – the need for a coherent, responsive and ongoing content strategy. The “bubbles” are no longer just the interactions between the brand and the consumer in social channels, but now include anything created by the brand or consumer (about the brand) that can be shared, whether we want it shared or not.

The good…
Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 16.00.11

….or the bad

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 16.03.43
Courtesy of eConsultancy.

In this context the “high-efficiency hull form and enhanced propulsion system” can be seen as the client (and sometimes their agency partners) listening and responding rather than just talking. The focus for brands has moved from buying impressions, to creating expressions – its own and those of its customers.

That said, as Facebook reduces the reach of organic posts, more brands are responding by employing more “traditional” tactics.

In the context of content creation this would relate to a brand’s ability to look beyond just being present in the ‘right’ media channels or supporting the right devices.
As Brian Solis observes “earning relevance is more than the adoption of new technology or launching endeavours in the latest social platform or ‘app of the week’. The checklists for making content spreadable are numerous, and mostly consistent – the simplest is from Faris – make your content awesome. That may sound intimidating, but I’d argue that the JetBlue example above meets that criteria in the context it was created, and the impact it had on the customer, and hence his desire to share it. (vs of course the BA example!)

Jeff Bezos’ view is increasingly apposite: “Your brand is what other people say about you, when you are out of the room”. Brands are increasingly recognising the need to invest time, energy and resources across the whole customer journey, which is of course circular, social and more public – rather than stepping out of the room before or once the customer has bought what they are selling.

The customer journey funnel of old took us to the points of loyalty and loyalty and arguably inferred that these things would arise as a result of a product or service performing well enough to encourage repeat purchase – in the context of person to person recommendation or criticism.

Image courtsey of Meltwater


Image courtesy of Meltwater

Social media has changed all this and the “brand bubbles” created by consumers can far outweigh those created by the brand itself. Which brings us to the final analogy of the day.

Brand barnacle, which if ignored or left to build up can not only slow a boat down, but can also ultimately cause severe damage.

barnaclesonboat-300x172

You can paint the hull to reduce the speed at which barnacles build up, but as always prevention is best, and is also one of the features of Mitsubishi’s MLS system.

In brand world there a monitoring and management systems that help deliver better and faster customer responses, but ultimately it’s down to the quality of the response as BA found to their cost.

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