Recently three CB&A team members, including myself, had the opportunity to attend the annual PR & Social Media Summit held on the beautiful Marquette University campus. Ideas from over twenty speakers filled our notepads and Twitter feeds with the latest trends in PR and social media. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing what we learned with the rest of the CB&A team and with you!
The event began with a keynote from Paul M. Rand, CEO of Zocalo Group and author of “Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business.” The premise of both his presentation and book is: “a brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it’s what consumers tell each other it is.” In fact, 91 percent of consumers make recommendations about a brand or product after having a positive experience with it.
So how do you make your brand highly recommendable? Rand presented six lessons that factor into the equation:
- Develop a clear, purposeful story of how you want people to talk about your brand.
- Live your brand.
- Be human, transparent and live up to mistakes quickly.
- Stay engaging and interesting.
- Regularly evaluate and evolve – but stay true to your core.
- Structure the entire organization to be recommendable from the ground up.
Social media has become a powerful tool for employing all of these lessons. Eighty percent of all brand conversations are driven by six percent of consumers, and many of these conversations occur via social media.
Consumers looking for recommendations are turning to social media more and more frequently. Of 16 to 24 year olds, 71 percent seek customer service only through social media. In turn, this trend is impacting online search results, as seven out of eight criteria that Google uses for search rankings come from social content.
Creating a recommendable brand takes a great deal of premeditation and carefully calculated execution, but one thing is certain – social media remains a driving force.