Do you love LinkedIn? Are you a fan of Facebook? Do you adore Amazon? The chances are that online you have a brand which you are strongly connected with. And you will defend that brand with all your might – even if you don’t logically want to accept you do. Yesterday, someone argued against me saying that Amazon was often more expensive than other online stores and that besides, they relied on a bunch of suppliers who are not always that good on customer service. “How dare you,” I thought…! “Amazon are amazing,” was my feeling. What was happening in this friendly discussion was the fact that someone was attacking something to which I have a strong sense of affiliation and that thereby attacks me. When people “diss” your favourite brand, they are – in effect – bringing in to question your choices, your powers of selection; they are impacting upon your self-esteem.
This may sound somewhat far-fetched – after all, you buy a “Coke” in a bar simple because it is commonplace, easy to say and so on. You don’t have such a strong association to a sugar-laden fizzy drink do you? Wrong…! New research shows that we often have much stronger brand affiliations than we might think. And that when those brands are seen in a negative light, we think negatively about ourselves too. When your favourite football team loses you feel it is partly your fault – no matter how much you rationalise it to the poor goalkeeping…!
What this really means is that if your business can obtain a strong online brand with several fans, you will gain much more than you might at first think. You will get a ready army of people who are willing to defend you when the chips are down – not because they want to support your brand but because they are defending themselves and their own choices. When you have strong brand affiliation for your online business you will get a system of support which is emotionally-based, which goes against logic and which is immensely powerful as a result.
So, perhaps, the “big guns” of Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook – and, yes, Google – have the right idea; relentless establish your brand and your weaknesses end up being forgiven, perhaps ignored. far too many smaller online businesses focus on sales, lead generation and so on. Their long-term survival may well be more dependent on something they cannot measure – the self-affirmations going on in the heads of their loyal fans. That may be more important to your business than the analytics you get from Google AdWords…!
In other words, get loyal fans for your business and you will find it easier in the cut and thrust of competition because so many of those fans will leap to your defence – apparently to defend you, but as this new study reveals, really to defend themselves. That is powerful.
- Facebook fans are irrelevant: Marketers want the social hybrid (venturebeat.com)
- Prepare for Battle! Online Brand Protection Tips From #SESSF (aimclearblog.com)
- 4 Reasons Google+ Brand Pages Will Be Better Than Facebook’s [OPINION] (mashable.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+