"It's not the car but the people I meet along the journey that I remember," Thomas Frank, creative director at MaxMedia Design said to me a few nights ago. We were party chatting at advertising.com's welcome-to-Atlanta bash. His words resonated with me. It was a flash of an idea that captured the essence of what ties social media to what marketers like to call the brand experience.
Developing a brand experience is much like creating a mosaic. It requires that each customer touch point is first designed to be its own unique experience. Then each element must be carefully integrated into the design that is then pieced together to form one cohesive image. There you have it ... a carefully developed world for your customers to enter into to take away the best of your brand.
Or that was how the brand experience use to work before the disruptive world of blogs and YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and social networks came into play. Our customers are tossing those carefully crafted mosaic pieces into the air and making their own brand experiences.
The now famous Coke Mentos fountain video was more than a fun science experiment. It was an explosion of how two brands' images could be impacted by this new easy-to-use and easy-to pass-along technology.
We can share our creations not only with our closest friends but with friends we don't even know. Our friends and friends we don;t know want to stop their busy lives to watch what their friends have developed. Why? Because they're our friends. So consumer generated messaging get our attention sometimes faster and with more impact than the million dollar campaign.
"It's not the car but the people I meet along the journey that I remember," said Thomas. In that very same disruptive world of blogs and podcasts and videos and social networks brands have the same opportunities to expand our journey and introduce us to their people. It's the people who are the heart of the brand ..not the logo or the jingle .. who make the brand experience the real thing.
Can you do that without including social spaces into your marketing mix? Of course you can. The customer service people, the sales people, the accounting department people... all impact the customer journey.
But in a world where your customers are playing fast and hard with your brand, why wouldn't you want to join that game, too?
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