Building Brands for the Connected World

Today’s post is based on a report – Building Brands For The Connected World, A Social Business Blueprint by Facebook based on a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting, February 2012.  This is just a summary of the 16 page PDF I downloaded and stored in my resource folder.  You can find this PDF here

In a previous post I talked about product funnels.  Today I’m going to tell you that the funnel is an outdated model that inaccurately reflects the reality of today’s consumer journey in three significant ways:

1.  Most importantly, the journey must be described from the consumer’s point of view, not the marketer’s.

2.  The journey to customer loyalty is not linear, but rather is a continuous process of exploration and interaction.

3.  The journey is not isolated to just one person at a time — the entire connected world influences it.

The new process looks like a circular motion (see the graphic above) of learning, investigating, purchasing, and interacting.  The product funnel can still be useful for planning products and services, however, it is no longer relevant as a marketing plan.

The process is completely influenced by social media.  Consumers hear about new brands and investigate via social media.  When it comes time to buy something, consumers increasingly consult their friends via social media. Then, they expect to be able to interact with the brands through social media after the purchase.

What this study concludes is that in order “to succeed in the connected world, marketers must create connected brands:

Brands that continuously engage with people when they want, where they want, and how they want — particularly through social media.  To do so, they must first reconcile the gap between modern consumer behavior and outmoded marketing tactics. Then they will take the six steps outlined in this report to incorporate social marketing into their brand-building strategies.”

To win in the connected world, marketers must:

1.  Articulate the brand’s social identity so the brand communicates with a unique, compelling, and authentic voice.

2.  Connect with your best and most likely customers by giving them a reason to like or follow the brand in social channels.

3.  Engage people by making brand communications more participative and personally relevant.

4.   Influence people by inspiring and enabling people to share messages about your brand with their networks.

5.   Integrate social into the brand and product experience to make it more cohesive and useful.

6.   Rejuvenate the brand by using insights from social channels to monitor the brand’s health and improve the brand experience.

To begin building a connected brand you must have a vision for what it means to become a connected brand.  Ultimately, you must ask how you can gain a competitive advantage by becoming a connected brand.  It will also require you to reassess how your company allocates resources, develops strategy, and formulates budgets.  To jump-start your journey, use the questions below, provided by Forrester in the study for Facebook to identify opportunities to build a connected brand.

Answer the follow questions to identify the gaps that need to be filled in all six steps in order to build a connected brand:


•  What about your brand is inherently social?

•  Why do people engage with your brand and talk about it with friends in the real world?

•  How could social media help you fulfill your brand promise?


•  Have you created a hub for your social identity that expresses your unique brand personality?

•  Where are you currently reaching people that could be leveraged to form a connection (i.e., your website, email newsletters, mobile experience, in-store experience, etc.)?

•  What are you doing to motivate people to connect and how are you offering them a better experience once they connect?


•  Are you creating content and communications that are highly relevant to your audience and aligned with your brand?

•  Do you build content and communications that encourage participation and sharing?

•  Do you respond to and communicate with your community?


•  Do you motivate people to participate in content and generate stories about their experience with your brand?

•  Do you encourage people to share their stories with friends through actions, recommendations and reviews throughout the customer life cycle?

•  Do you use paid media to ensure that content gets distributed to the friends of your connections?


•  How could you leverage the information people share with you in social channels about their preferences and friends to create more personal, relevant, valuable and engaging product and marketing experiences for your customers?

•  Are you building programs and experiences across the customer life cycle to be social from the beginning, rather than adding social on at the end?

•  Are you using social to create a more cohesive experience for your customers that can plug into your CRM and customer service programs?


•  Do you have a process for surfacing and sharing the consumer insights and learning from social channels back through your organization?

•  Do you use social media to monitor brand health and customer satisfaction?

•  Do you use social media to identify new product or marketing opportunities?

The report says that 51% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or brand after liking them on Facebook.  How active are you for your business on Facebook and other social media?  After seeing this report and considering the questions above, have you identified any gaps that you can fill to better build a connected brand?

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About the Author

Lena - November 7, 2012

Thanks for sharing and for the questions, I was thinking of improving my facebook page and interaction and I realized I really need to do that!
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    Julia - November 7, 2012

    My pleasure. Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s always good to re-evaluate our business and make updates and changes as needed.

Mary - November 8, 2012

This is an amazing overview of the process. Love the questions. Thank you so much for posting this great resource. 🙂
Mary recently posted…Get The Tools You NeedMy Profile

    Julia - November 8, 2012

    I’m happy you found this article useful. It does make a lot of sense, especially for those of us who have a heart-centered approach to business. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment.

Amy Putkonen - November 9, 2012

Yeah, toss the funnel. Who needs it? The problem with social media is that many small business owners find it challenging to run their business and be on the social web. I agree that it is important, but how do people get around that obstacle?
Amy Putkonen recently posted…Those Who Know, Do Not SpeakMy Profile

    Julia - November 9, 2012

    Good question Amy, one I’m pondering myself. I think that one has to integrate social media as a business practice. I know the blog challenges take up an enormous amount of my time – not only writing a relevant post every day, but commenting on other people’s posts. Social media and blogging is the bulk of my marketing right now and I can’t afford not to spend a lot of time with it.

    The thing about social media is that you have to “be there” yourself in order to build and maintain relationships. I think it becomes less of an issue once you have a BIG email list. You only need to post once or twice and the folks on your list who believe in you will do the rest.

    The funnel is really just a part of the business plan and is essential as such, but as Roy Ackerman pointed out to me, the funnel is more like a fly trap and I don’t really like that approach. I’m thinking of how to schedule it and have been watching other folks. My friend Adam Urbanski, and he really has become a friend, has Marketing Monday where folks can promote themselves on his site and on that day, his followers do all the work on his site. I’ll let you know if I come up with a plan that takes less time and works.

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