Similarities exist between politics and marketing. Indeed, politicians are marketers, and citizens are customers. Consumers’ share of purchases, not unlike the count of votes, is a reflection of a brand’s power. And brand campaigns, like political campaigns, have historically been one-way communication.
The shift in the balance of power from marketers to consumers mirrors the shift in the political landscape. Marketers have lost a significant degree of the control they once held over their brand’s communication as consumers increasingly take the lead in discussing products and brands online.
Just as the governments strive to retain votes, corporations need to adapt to the social age to maintain and grow their market share.
The formation of social cloisters and the spread to misinformation further complicates marketing efforts. Marketers must respond with speed to protect their brands from fake reports that could damage their reputation, and they must ensure their messages penetrate the cloisters they target.
While brand missions are not as potent as political ideologies and the business of making soap, soda, or soup may not attract as much attention as governing a country, marketers do face considerable risks and challenges. They do not have the luxury of time to reflect and respond. Consumers can easily switch allegiance from one brand to another on their next purchase occasion.
To succeed in the social age, marketers need to learn and adapt. Of utmost importance is the need to listen, connect and respond to the conversations in a way that protects and promotes their brands.
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