The Brand Convection Model

Published 28th of March 2014 ,

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That awkward moment when you ask your boss what your job actually is.

That’s actually how it all started, a conversation between Craig Rodney and myself about what my job entails, after nearly four years as a Community Manager. When he asked what I meant, I simply stated, “Is my job to make the community care about the brand, or to make the brand care about the community?”

It was a tough question; we hadn’t considered that it could be both.

Everybody out there preaching the social media game tells you the same thing: brands need to listen and engage. You need to grow communities through great content marketing and repurpose it across all platforms. You need to curate influencer lists and build relationships with these people. Yes, you have to do all of these things, but there’s something missing still, something absolutely critical to social media – you have to care.

Caring isn’t as simple as sympathising with your customers when they complain on social media. The true essence of caring is that, as the community manager, you commit to representing the community within the brand. You have to put in the hard yards to help your client improve their products, services and business. They must become a social business.

We’ve found that through good content and community management (facilitating conversations between brand and customers) a ‘bank’ of knowledge and insight into the successes and failures of your client’s product or service starts to form. What we realised is that there is a phenomenal amount of information available to you if you know how to get it and, more importantly, if you and your client are open to hearing what your community has to say.

The function of reporting is to translate these insights into recommendations, not recommendations on how to change your marketing to ‘mask’ the complaints, but actual recommendations on how the business can improve. Our responsibility also doesn’t end with the report, we also need to work hard to find champions within the client who understand the value of these insights and who have the power to effect real change.

It turns out the original question was quite profound. Only part of our job is to represent the brand to the community, it’s vital that we represent the community to the brand. It is not longer important enough for us to only listen, we have to care, and caring implies driving change within the brand where possible.

To this end, we’ve developed the ‘Brand Convection Model’ at Cerebra to help organisations understand the flow of insight from customer to corporation, and how listening moves to caring.

Reece Jacobsen