To digitalize a brand is to transform it

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Five large brands have confessed that they will “invest more in social media in 2013”. The conclusions of Catalina Pons, Bea Bahima, Mireia Guix, Anna Martin and María Abad, digital managers (in the same order) at Intervida, Bacardi, Tous, Philips and Ford, invited by Epsilon to the First Exclusive Forum for Digital Managers at Esadecreapolis, confirm that social media is more than justified.

Does social media sell?

The Mecca of social ecommerce that obtains sales through social recommendations is currently overseas news in Spain. Even for Bea Bahima, social media is not the most efficient way to sell. However, it has become a common ingredient in campaign management, forming part of prelaunch briefings with stories of intrigue -as Ford has done-, or connecting “with the consumer in the regions we want to occupy”, explains María Abad. “Social Media doesn’t create direct sales, but it does create the possibility of becoming Top of Mind” was the general conclusion to this question posed during the Forum.

Social media in 2013

When these five women who are top level managers were asked about future digital plans for their companies, they were unanimous in the commitment to content as the main pillar of the digital strategy, particularly on Facebook and YouTube. “At Bacardi we will use social media to learn what our followers want and to give them the contents they are interested in, working by territory using simple 20-second videos” explained Bea Bahima. Ford is already investing in co-creating and making products using their consumers’ suggestions, and in encouraging their employees to be brand opinion leaders, whilst Tous intends to consolidate its international strategy by externalizing its digital management, to better connect with the markets. 2013 “is the time to engage by using information obtained from social networks”, adds Catalina Pons.

“Favourable opinions help us increase our product margin. This way we talk the same language as sales”, reveals María Abad, when asked how they justify their budget to management. “We ask of digital what we ask of communication”, adds Bea Bahima, who explained the case of fashionable entertainment venues that have not invested in maintaining a community and have seen how opinion leaders have made other venues more fashionable.

The social media management of a brand

“The key to digitalizing the company is understanding the internal processes and acting as a facilitator”, reveals Bea Bahima, who is responsible for this process after many years working for Bacardi. Mireia Guix adds that it is important to share the process with various technical profiles, with a communication vision. All of the speakers coincide as to the relevance of recruiting an internal community manager, who reflects the values of the company and responds creatively to its day to day work.

And they have their work cut out. Tous, for example, manages an international, bilingual Facebook page from Barcelona and 8 by local CMs, with who they share common contents and report their local proposals. Bacardi locally manages global pages on Facebook. And they all have a “dos and don’ts” manual for digitally managing the brand. “But the most important thing is to capture mails of followers so that you don’t have to depend on the channels where you are present”, concludes Bea Bahima.

Monitoring is one of the areas that will evolve most: “the challenge of monitoring is to make use of the information that networks provide”, says Catalina Pons. “Every two weeks we summarize what has been going on, on the network to look for solutions” explains Mireia Guix, “social media intelligence allows us to adapt our content to the different markets”. “At Ford we measure using specific security and design parameters, to focus on communication and verify that new followers are correctly affected by the brand attributes”, points out María Abad. “We look at the noise share in the market compared to the competition, we look for useful information”, adds Bea Bahima. “We have a lot of analytics but little intelligence, the key is to know how to ask for what we want to analyze”.

“Digitalizing a brand is an internal transformation” concludes María Abad”, it requires building teams, training, consulting, contents. Brands now work with an extra element: being interesting”. Something that an enterprise social network like Zyncro can manage in an internal and personalized way.

María Ripoll Cera is a digital communicator and promoter, as well as being a writer. You can find out more about this author on her Spanish website, which we at Zyncro highly recommend.