For the first time ever, a company’s vision is becoming just as important as the company’s product.
When I think of a brand like Victoria’s Secret, I don’t think of the products they actually sell. I think of their social media campaigns, their fashion show, and their infamous supermodels who have become more than just faces in their catalogues.
When I think of a brand like Patagonia, I think of the company’s founder, a climber and environmentalist named Yvon Chouinard. I also think about the inspiring emails I receive from Patagonia every other day about climbers and athletes around the world who do amazing things – wearing Patagonia, of course.
Plenty of companies reflect the same branding values as Victoria’s Secret and Patagonia. Think about Apple and Facebook – do Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg immediately come to mind? These companies have all successfully branded either their CEO or their company’s vision instead of placing emphasis on advertising their specific products.
I’ve noticed this concept trickling down to smaller brands as well. Businesses in Chapel Hill utilize social media as a tool to build relationships with customers, and when they don’t have a strong social media presence, they fall through the cracks. (I mentioned this in one of my previous blogs as well.)
As an APPLES service-learning intern for two organizations, I know that to improve a company’s PR, the first thing we do is brand the company based on a person or a vision. For the UNC Learning Center and the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the two companies I’ve been working with, my team didn’t even consider changing or improving the companies’ products to build up the clientele and brand awareness. My peers and I have been focusing solely on building the brands’ social media presence and creating a concept that will stick with viewers.
Social media has made this publicity model easier than ever. Campaigns are shared among millions of people on a daily basis, and people become loyal to brands without even knowing it. It’s easier to become loyal to a person or an idea than an actual product.