Anyone who has any knowledge about the public relations industry knows that social media has become an immensely useful and widely used tool. One way that these media have proved to be especially useful is in their application of corporate branding. Corporations can and do use social media to not only build brands but also maintain them.
In regards to this practice and field of study, there are three prevalent trends that occur across literature:
- Branding Building: It is important for all corporations to establish a strong, unique brand. Establishing a brand, especially in the online space, ensures that an organization stands out from competitors. This is especially important for corporations that may be selling products similar to those of other companies.
- Public Perception: This is one of the driving concepts behind public relations. PR practitioners are employed because they are responsible for establishing trust in publics, especially consumers. Therefore it is our job to ensure that publics not only like our brands, but trust them and view them as positive forces in their life. Social media are extremely useful tools when it comes to influencing public perceptions.
- Reputation Maintenance: Finally, once a brand has been established, both online and in the digital space, it is important to maintain it. Social media enables corporations to socially listen to what publics are saying about their organizations. They also allow corporations to respond. Being an active and responsive listener goes a long way in maintaining reputation. Publics are more likely to trust and react positively to brands that are active on platforms, and this trust is especially useful if and when a crisis occurs.
One company that demonstrates excellent public relations, especially in regards to social media and branding, is Chobani. Having grown up in Smyrna, NY it was truly awe-inspiring to watch this national yogurt company rise from the ashes of a dilapidated building in Edmenston NY. Since its establishment in 2007, the company has grown into a large corporation that focuses on natural ingredients and an authentic lifestyle.
Recently, in May 2015 Chobani launched its newest campaign: Love This Life. The Love This Life campaign did not have a start and end date, but rather, has acted as a re-branding movement to elevate the brand status of this company.
As seen above in Chobani’s Twitter cover photo and description, the campaign slogan and what seems to be the corporation’s new slogan is “To Love This Life Is To Live It Naturally.” The campaign, which focuses on authentic ingredients and life moments, is composed of several social media elements such as videos…
and the hashtag #LoveThisLife.
The company has done so well with this re-branding campaign that even some of it’s publics have taken notice.
Through this campaign, Chobani has done a great job utilizing social media to not only communicate to publics but also to communicate with them. It has taken a positively-worded hashtag and phrase and made it the focal point of a new brand identity.
By sticking with the authentic viewpoint the company was founded with, the corporation has successfully used social media and the three trends to elevate it’s status and maintain it’s already positive reputation.
In conclusion, there are a few main takeaways that PR practitioners should keep in mind when using social media for corporate branding:
- Brand is especially crucial for corporations and social media are extremely useful tools when managing and creating these brands.
- Three of the most important aspects of corporate branding are brand building, public perceptions and reputation maintenance.
- To successfully manage brands through social media, corporations must ensure that all employees creating brand content are unified and speaking as one voice.
- It is also important for corporations to identify their target audiences and ensure that these publics are listening socially.
- Through successful social media use, corporate brands can be enhanced, ensuring positive public perceptions and excellent reputation maintenance.
Corporations such as Chobani demonstrate the power of successful public relations, specifically when it is put to use on social media as a means of branding.
As free channels of open two-way communication, social media are not only widely used by individuals and corporations but are extremely useful tools for corporate branding. Smart, effective use of social media can result in significantly stronger brands, both online and off.