Since most of my work deals with branding and value creation, people keep asking for explanations and engaging in conversations about different aspects of branding. I am going to start a series of postings about branding. I would like people to have a place to access content and contribute their own demonstrated expertise or questions in this arena.
Social media has brought branding and identity to the forefront because of their role in value creation. Branding is the process of organizing and identifying the vision, values, and integral behavior of the people involved in delivering the value net created by their exchange. This not only includes people in the brand’s working organization, but people who engage with the brand outside that organization. This is why social media has made such an impact on this process. People rally together and may use the brand as an accessory of their own – to either support what they’re doing or to connect with others. If the brand’s working organization has not identified them in their value network, they cannot capture the value that these people create with the brand. This may not be transactional value, but may be value creating human, social or conceptual capital.
This is why meaning plays such an important role. Social media is all about people and their content in different contexts. People take different aspects of a brand and remix it into their content. Since this is not necessary a transaction, the working organization does not count it as a transaction, nor do they follow what other value gets created with their brand. Elements of our brands are weaving their way through different communities and creating new ways, new ideas, and innovative opportunities for the working organization – if they were aware. Old accounting methodologies and old ways of thinking are keeping many brands from capturing the innovative value of their brands.
The insurance sector is a great example of this. People working for insurance companies are stressed out, de-motivated by quotas that are continually being pushed higher and higher, and facing customers that are unhappy with the premiums they pay and the lack of service they receive. What’s happening here? Insurance companies are only concerned with transactional capital. They continually miss many opportunities to grow their human capital, social capital and conceptual (knowledge) capital. Actually, they lose on these 3 levels of value creation because they lose the value that gets created by their people developing themselves and making new kinds of contributions to the organization, whether through the creation of social capital or conceptual capital, by developing new intellectual property with other people inside the working organization or with existing or potential clients.
Everything is connected now. The brand organization’s value net is only limited by the people responsible for its development. We have the tools. We have the knowledge. We have the processes. What we are missing is a presence or consciousness at the management level to recognize opportunities. This is what innovation is all about – creating the space to experiment and recognizing opportunites.
Traditionally, management spends most of its time clearing the path of everything that gets in the way of the devices that generate transactional value. The business model is set up to support these operational systems and their related organizational behavior. Change costs time, effort and money – and isn’t worth the investment from their perspective.
This kind of thinking and behavior And…it is very quickly becoming very old world. Branding has the processes to recognize and capture value on many levels. Commerce has only one thing in mind – devices that generate money.
The sooner we take the opportunities to learn how to put social media to work for us, the sooner we can start a value trail that leads from personal development into human capital, and that leads to better social networks growing social capital, and that creates knowledge sharing and development of ideas into conceptual capital. Once that value trail gains momentum, it grows into a value stream that generates transactional value.
We need to give the brand a job to do - create value at every contact point on all levels.