Brands, explain yourself!

This is such a period of amazing transformation for brands, the advertising industry, corporations, media and consumers. Each player not only has to make sense of a new marketplace but has to remake themselves in order to thrive. Finally they have to let others know about it or they’ve wasted all that effort.

The same goes for me. Today I’m launching the grown up version of my blog. Originally I built it like a Rube Goldberg machine using spit, masking tape and learning on the job (much to the horror of the professional coders). But thanks to great work by Scott Clark at Buzzmaven, we rebuilt it the right way this time.

Now this wasn’t just a coding exercise. Like any brand I had to sit down and ask myself some hard questions (those ones I spent most of my life avoiding). Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want my contribution to be? Only by asking these questions can you represent your brand to others clearly and consistently enough for them to be able to decide if they like you, want to remain loyal to you or talk about you to friends.

If you have kindly read my blog for a while, you would have noticed that the sub-head under my name kept changing. That’s because I kept thinking about these questions while I was driving, in the shower, staring out the windows (a passion of mine!). After a dozen or so attempts I settled on “The business of social transformation” and today’s launch seems like an appropriate time to explain what that means.

When I use the word social it applies in three different ways. Firstly, in the sense of social media which includes platforms, networks, applications and technology that impact the way that all of us are communicating on the web. Secondly, social refers to how technology is changing our interactions. Finally it refers to social change that include brands creating conscionable products or services or outreach, cause marketing, CSR, civil society, government/private sector/non-profit partnerships, foundations, non-profits – whatever form positive social change takes.

Why this is important to me is because I believe brands have an enormous role to play in enabling social transformation by embracing new communication technology and tools such as social media that are changing the cultural landscape. So, in a nutshell and after a bunch of thinking, the focus of this blog is the marriage of social media, technology and social change and the creativity and business that drives it.

As always, I look forward to your input on anything I share, and please bring things to my attention that seems relevant. I hope this explanation helps demonstrate the process every brand must go through in order to be self-defined and resonate in a marketplace. Thanks for your continued support.

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