Based on a research study by Daniela Langaro, Paulo Rita, and Maria de Fa ́tima Salgueiro
It’s no secret that social media has moved mountains, and has created a plethora of new ideas in the world of branding. The correlation between using social media sites and branding has always been an integral factor in utilizing the different communication and marketing skills this generation has to offer. Something so normal and monotonous like scrolling through social media feeds now has more power and value than we as a society of communicators could ever imagine. Branding nowadays cannot be fostered within a company without some sort of media and online presence, and social media happens to be a somewhat “free” platform for building a brand. The article “Do social networking sites contribute for building brands?” clarified a lot of my assumptions as a Communication Studies student on how different areas of social media serve different organizations. While a lot of my discoveries and observations were not new, they have expanded the way I think about social media and branding as a whole, and as two equal parts that help one another in the world of communication.
Before considering the advantages of social media, let’s discuss branding. Branding, by definition, is “the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design”, and a brand alone is defined as “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name”. So, we can conclude that while a brand is the product or idea being promoted, if the act of branding isn’t successful, the actual brand may not be of as much value as it could be. These two individual elements of branding and an actual brand depend on each other for quite a lot.
From these ideas, companies build the image and vision of their “brand” and formulate ways to continue the branding process in different, creative ways. For example, almost anyone can identify the “target” emblem included in the retail store Target’s logo. People identify with the logo, and immediately think about what the logo means to them by associating it with a time or place they engaged with the Target brand, and then decide if they like it or not. From here, all of these interactions with branding can be broken down into subcategories including brand awareness and brand attitude.
Brand awareness, as defined in the article “Do social networking sites contribute for building brands?” captures the potential availability of a brand in the mind of the consumer (Langaro, Rita, and Salgueiro, 2018). In the same article, brand attitude is defined as the evaluative dimension of brand image. Customers, potential or current, develop their own evaluation and judgements towards a brand by what they see and interact with. Having a presence on social media heavily affects this interaction and can provide a leg up for companies looking to engage more with different audiences. This can make a company or organization more competitive as well. The more a brand image or brand in general is shown in an appropriate way, the more association, knowledge, and popularity the brand will attract. This is why an online or social media presence is so vital today. Because social media is so relevant, why not utilize free promotion and improve the image of a company by establishing an online presence on a social media website?
When it comes to branding, organizations want their personal image to be immediately identified and simple enough for people to remember. This is most often achieved by visuals and resonating cognitively with the organization’s potential or desired audiences. Brand association, brand quality, and brand knowledge are all benefits of using social media to boost any image or brand online (Langaro, Rita, and Salgueiro, 2018). When a company posts regularly on popular social media platforms, it now has individuals associated with and educated in it’s brand based off of the brand’s online presence, which is an essentially free outlet to promote or improve branding. Organizations now see the value and necessity in posting daily on social media sites and looking into analytics because it can show an organization exactly how people are interacting with their brand.
One can realize quickly that branding is a very broad element in the promotion of a company, business, or organization. Branding is not just simply “branding”. Branding is developing a certain image within a brand, connecting other people and things to the brand, showcasing the brand in a way that will connect with others and display the right idea to customers, and the list goes on. When one analyzes the purpose of branding, so many layers can be found within it and its purpose is ever-changing. One thing that isn’t going anywhere, though, is the constant yet rapid growth of the internet and social media. Companies should continue to use social media outlets for brand communication. They should stay current on evolving social media trends, and how the company can adjust and grow with a technologically-charged society. Taking advantage of the online community can work wonders in the world of branding.
Written by Natalie Oldani