Social media gives consumers enormous influence. For marketers, there are some obvious advantages and disadvantages.
For anyone with a message, the big advantage of social media is reach. In the age of social media, stories can spread like wildfire. If your message resonates with an influential individual or group, if it is “cool”, then others will spread it for you. Tell a good story, and it may be shared with millions.
For marketing people, the major disadvantage of the rise of social media is loss of control. For companies and marketers, losing control can be quite scary. Marketing people like to “manage” brands. In today’s world, the traditional tools of marketing no longer allow us to control the brand. We have lost control of the message. The brand simply does not belong to us.
Yesterday, our brand was what we told people it was. Today, a brand is what the community decides it is.
This is radical change that will rock the world of marketing and branding to its core. The brand does not belong to us anymore. Even the story does not completely belong to us. We can begin it, and we can manage it to an extent, but it is largely our audience that will determine where it goes.