Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  07 Mar 2011

MARKETING: Exploring Brand Attributes Through Social Media


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You may have a very clear idea about what the core attributes of your brand are, but can you be sure that the people that use your products and services see your brand in the same way? How do you know whether your brand is living up to its promise in the mind of your customer? This is where social media measurement has an invaluable role to play.

It enables you to measure in real-time what people across the Web are saying about your brand and what associations they make with it. This provides you with a window into the real perceptions, attitudes and feelings your brand inspires.

By analysing thousands of social media mentions, you can determine which brand attribute is most important to an audience, which attribute moves that audience most, which attribute is the least satisfactory to them, and compare these findings to your internal assumptions to answer the question 'is my communication strategy working?'

Think of Coca-Cola, which spends millions of dollars each year researching what people think and feel about its brand. The goal is to understand whether its branding and marketing strategies are succeeding in creating brand associations with the attributes with which Coca-Cola wishes to be linked.

Do customers associate the Coca Cola brand with its specific attributes? Do they think of it having an unforgettable, real cola taste? Do they think of it as revitalising, as good with any meal, as a social drink to be shared with friends? Do they recognise its intrinsic attributes, such as its great taste, ability to refresh and quench thirst, its high quality, its value for money?

To answer questions like these, most companies employ market researchers to embark on long and complex surveys and studies that take months to produce results. Often, the attributes are rigidly defined, as are the metrics that they are measured against. The report that comes in every six months is pretty much the same as the one that preceded it.

This is an antiquated approach in a real-time world and it doesn't offer much scope for fast and proactive action with regards to brand and communications strategy. It doesn't give you an authentic view of what your customers really think and feel about your brand. And it delivers information far too late for you to adjust your strategy in time for today's fast-moving consumer market.

But by building a robust, well researched and thoroughly tested keyword strategy and using an online reputation management tool, you can run defined terms against millions of social mentions daily to get an accurate view of what real people are talking about in real time. Beats running through a rigid questionnaire in a focus group setting, doesn't it?

Using these tools, you can build a powerful view of changing perceptions over time. And you'll also have your ear to the ground at any given moment so that you can quickly adapt your marketing and communications strategy if you need to.

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