5 Key Takeaways From @BrandsConf

By Michele Weisman The power of Twitter is fleeting. Last week I tweeted “Happy Hanukkah” to Jeff Pulver, founder of @BrandsConf. To my surprise, I was personally invited to attend the inaugural @BrandsConf as his guest.  The event explored the "humanization of brands" and the underlying effects on businesses. Despite being a newer event, @BrandsConf was filled with great content. In case you missed it, here are 5 key takeaways from the event.

1. “Make out” with your customers.

According to Saul Colt, today’s large organization cannot connect with its clients on a deep personal level to the same degree that a smaller and more nimble company can. This allows smaller and more nimble businesses to obtain and maintain brand loyalty with customers.  Colt truly believes that the desire and the butterflies you get from a first kiss is something every brand should try to recreate with its customers. Taking out time and energy to get to know your customers is not only the right thing to do but is also good business.

2. Connect with your audience.

Dan Lewis is the voice behind the tweets of the beloved children television show, Sesame Street.  The show’s target audience is toddlers, most of whom are not on Facebook and Twitter. However, Sesame Street engages with its younger audience as well as its older audience through character tweets and viral video spoofs. Grover has made a splash on YouTube mocking the Old Spice videos. More recently, Cookie Monster has applied to be the next host of SNL. When parents are involved in their children’s educational experience, children learn better. Take a lesson from Sesame Street and connect with your audience!

3. Keep yourself and your company in balance.

It is a delicate balance to be a professional representative of a company and to maintain a personal presence on the web. Amber Naslund, VP of Social Strategy for Radian6, passionately believes a balance can be reached by symbiosis, a relationship that is derived on a mutual benefit, and open communication. Naslund urges all employees to aim to be indispensible at your company. This can be achieved by surrendering your ego and wearing as many "hats" as possible.  Being human in a corporate context requires individual human participation.

4. Truth, transparency and trust.

The branding model of traditional marketing is based on a closed system. Social media marketing leverages the power of transparency. Author Hank Wasiak believes that you must be willing to be open with your brand, employees, business partners and consumers. Resist the urge to be selective and in control with what you publish.  Transparency is the best differentiating competitive advantage a brand can adopt since being open is harder than being closed.  Our mission at Likeable Media is to help build more transparent, responsive and likeable companies, nonprofit organizations and governments.

5.  Human brands and emotional decision making.

People relate best to brands which adopt human characteristics. It should come as no surprise that 95% of human decision making is emotional.  Eric Weaver, Director of Digital Strategy for Tribal DDB, believes it is important for a brand to be likeable, approachable and engaging. Whether it is a traditional television commercial or Facebook status update, the media message must have an emotional hook. Knorr Sidekicks, an extensive range of side dishes, connects with its consumers through Salty, an empathetic character with both emotional and social appeal.  The marketing campaign starts with a traditional broadcast commercial.  Sidekicks continues the conversation online via the Salty YouTube channel, which allows the humanization of the brand to come full circle.

@BrandsConf provided knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects that the real-time Internet will have on brands and business. What do you think is the formula to humanizing a brand? How would you make your brand more personal? Share in the comments section below!