Brand Advocacy: A Big Game Super Stunt Revisited

Brand advocacy. Not always what you think of when talking Super Bowl ads. These days advertising’s big game typically features big name celebs, crazy stunts and social media gimmicks. And big brands, asking for trouble. (Dodge, I can’t even. Waiting to see how Kraft’s family social media campaign plays.)

Big Stage, Big Rewards, Big Risks

A few years ago now-defunct media site Gawker tricked social media bots during the Super Bowl, throwing a wrench in Coca-Cola’s social media advertising campaign. Quickly the posts about the dangers of automating social media, about trying to manipulate it for business and corporate gain were plentiful.

On brands: “They exist solely to distract, deceive, and manipulate us out of our money,” Sam Biddle wrote (also Gawker).

While I don’t demonize all brands as uncaring, self-centered evil behemoths, he’s not exactly wrong. Business is about sustainable business, it’s about providing jobs and paying salaries, pleasing shareholders and Wall Street. Companies make stuff, sell it, convince people that parting with their hard earned money and precious time will make them smarter, less stinkier, more happier.

Every year, there needs to be more “WTH was that?!” and “omg somebody is getting fired!” spaces. Yikes.

Everything a Brand does is Business

Brands aren’t our ‘friends,’ especially when they limit social media to “sell! buy! sell!” and think an automated chat bot passes for customer service. I know business is about money and profits, rewarding the suits and shareholders, paying for big money ads vs. front line employees. That typed…

As a ‘Communications is how Business is Done’ minded professional, the post references the exact kind of brand advocacy most companies dream about – not just a word-of-mouth sales machine, true brand advocates. People who like, post, support a company; people who convert others because they want to, because they feel that brand offers value that makes their lives better. As fans did for Coke.

It Has to All Work, Together

Post big game, there’s always winners and losers. Perhaps urban legends, or true cautionary tales about websites crashing because it could handle to demand, or call centers being overloaded. A business planned for the ad, but not the real campaign to type nothing of what Twitter – then the media – has to say.

That hits the big and the small of what Integrated Communications is: Social Media working with Customer Service; PR, corporate communications collaborating with brand advocacy, well beyond mere publicity; HR and Employee Relations (and Employee Advocates!); the people shaping a brand’s story, making a company better.

Reputation and relationships are key to achieving strategic business goals. FTR That’s my approach and what I’m looking for in an internal communications position. Because that’s what works.

Big game ads: what works, what risks aren’t worth it? You tell me.

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