A little bit of marketing knowledge tells us that branding is anything that is used to identify or distinguish a product, service, or company. Brands can be anything. They can be a name, a slogan, a sign, or a symbol.” Ultimately, a brand is a perception,” says William Daddi, senior vice president at Magnet Communications in New York.
Traditionally, the branding aspect of a company was given to the marketing and advertising professionals. Where the consumers were bombard with messages through more time-honored forms of communication such as television commercials or newspaper and magazine ads. However, recently consumers are turning to more grass roots and more modern forms of communication such as social networking sites and word of mouth where customer-to-customer relationships are key. The public relations practitioner plays a major role in developing these consumer perceptions, thus opening the eyes of the business community of the idea and opportunities that the public relations field offers the branding business.
Through the use of promotional tools and publicity customers can shape this opinion. Also, affecting this opinion is the customer’s relationship with the company, product, or service. This relationship is built on trust and the public relations practitioner helps to foster this connection between the customer and the company. Fostering these connections with the consumer helps to shape their product, service, or company’s identity.
One example that came to my mind when I think of using public relations and social media to help brand a company is the following Dove Commercial.
Social Media and Branding
The traditional promotional tools that companies use are having to be re-thought and updated to fit a more “modern” customer. Social media networks have opened a new outlet for branding to be used and have been the key to this update so far. Take twitter for example, there are so many companies that use this site for strictly advertising and a lot of my professors say that ” twitter will be nothing but an advertising network in the next five years,” but where will it really be used for? Only time will tell.