As part of the DIMAR project, we try to develop new tools and concepts to exploit interactive digital marketing more efficiently in sales, marketing and product development. This post presents some of our latest insights on how to use social media in the corporate brand communication of industrial companies. These results were driven with netnographic methods from a case study of a global LED component manufacturer.
Corporate brand communication is needed in order to let your company’s stakeholders know who you are. In any setting, corporate brand communication is a balancing act between three factors: stakeholders, messages and interactivity. Here, we stepped things up a notch and decided to map corporate brand communication through social media in industrial setting. This combination of topics delivered interesting insights to industrial marketers and we are happy to share the key findings with you.
The academic way to present research findings might take a while to grasp on but the most important thing here is to take a look at the picture below and to try to understand its layout. We have put the company in the middle, as it is the place where the communication usually starts. Next up is the grey layer, which describes the stakeholders; in social media the customers and marketing partners. The arrows describe the different kind of messages that flow between the company and stakeholders. This is how we would normally describe corporate brand communication.
When we take corporate brand communication into social media, it is no longer only the company and its immediate circle of stakeholders who are involved. Instead, social media presents the opportunity to add another layer, the end customers, into the picture. The end customers are actually everyday consumers who before were not part of the industrial corporate brand communication.
What we call this is breaking through the traditional reach of business media. Corporate brand communication particularly via social media allows industrial companies to get a hold of their end customers. Communicating all the way to the end customers gives access to market intelligence, which can then be used in any desired way by the company. Moreover, if and when the company succeeds in interacting with the end customers an opportunity to create derived demand is born. Deriving demand means creating more need for the end products, which will ultimately result in higher demand for the products or services of industrial companies.
The best way to interact with the end customers is to take a step further away from the complex and highly technological business and vocabulary. Most often end customers will react to the idea behind the business operations and products. Why is it that we do these things? What drives our company? Do we have a cause, something we would be proud of manifesting? These are things that consumers can grasp on and relate to. In other words, it comes down to the personality of the company and not so much on the positioning (functionality). For example, try to imagine what kind of a person your company would be and tell that story to your followers.
Oulu Business School