Is Your Brand Name Ready For The Social Era?

23Aug09

Branding is by far one of the oldest marketing science. Branding techniques have involved a variety of psychologically relevant approaches, such as plain naming, visual branding, acoustical (think Intel)  and video branding (think of the MGM lion roaring) and trademark slogans we all remember. But as we move from push into a social branding era, some interesting challenges have come to life for brands and their designations as they embark into consumer based branding.

The Conversational Monitoring Challenge

As brands embrace online conversation and social media, some will be faced with an interesting challenge while performing discovery tasks and seeking to define a reliable universe of keywords and topics they can track against. Interestingly enough, some of the biggest brands will find that their conversation is  quite difficult to find, let alone track. Consider names like “Apple”, “Palm”, “Sun”, “Lee”, “Wrangler”, “New Balance”, “Simple”, “Vans” and many more. Sifting through online mentions of these words leads to a significant amount of noise.

Stating the Obvious: Names that Can Be Found

Social media metrics and conversational listening will have profound impact on the creation and use of brand names. Companies will more heavily rely on names that can be uniquely found and tracked online. And realizing that big brands can’t just change their names, they might rely on a set of  “sub-brand” names to keep better tabs on their social mentions.

But Names Aren’t Everything

Solving the naming problems only takes you half of the way. In fact, very often, challenges around a brand’s name(s) or even the vocabulary defining a company’s services cannot easily be dismissed through naming alone. Luckily, conversational monitoring has evolved. Give it up to the real social media pros to perform topical discovery on a variety of tools, and zero in on your brand’s conversation. A few of the tricks…

  • Term proximity: Use a tool that can perform proximity based matching. An easy example would be to search for “Wrangler” in proximity of “jeans”, “denim” or “wear/wore”. Most tools only offer inclusion and exclusion filters, which fall short of being useful unless you are able to match by closeness.
  • SEO Search Terms: While most sites today do not factor online conversation in their choice of search terms and keywords, those terms can be extremely useful in conversational discovery. Because search terms (if done well) are the most likely way consumers “call out” what they’re looking for, these terms are also most likely to appear in conversation.
  • Word Clouds & Heat Maps: Word clouds or heat maps provide a quick visualization of term weight and volume. While the substance of the conversation behind popular words may not seem interesting or actionable, it is important to consider its volume and to follow through the use of certain words in order to uncover the trending topics behind them.
  • Blogs & Microblogs are not equal: Keep in mind that while many conversational monitoring tools blend results from blogs and micro-blogs, discovery should preferrably be performed on each independently first. Micro-blogs force condensed conversation, leading to sharper use of key terms vs. “noise” terms. Taking a quick spin at a simple Twitter search looking for brand mentions can give you a better sense of what you’re looking for.

Start Listening!

Whether your brand name is unique or you’re likely to find yourself drowned in chatter, start listening today. Discovery is the process of uncovering conversation, topics, influencers, trends and so much more. It can be challenging, and will only get more daunting as conversation amasses every single instant online. If you’ve gotten passed discovery, congratulations. Now’s the time to define your listening metrics and track agains them. Listen, learn, engage, repeat.

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