Social study finds marketers falling into “anti-branding” trap

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 28 May 2015

Companies are playing in the social space, but new research from The Korn Group has found that getting it wrong can almost amount to “anti-branding” and lead to more harm than good.

The report, 'Social Media and Digital Advertising – Trends, Rights and Wrongs' looks at how consumers feel about brands in their social media sites. It compiled research from group discussions in locations across Sydney and Melbourne with participants reflecting a mix of backgrounds and ages between 18-55.

The Korn Group social researcher Neer Korn said one of the key outcomes of the research was the amount of branded communications that were seen as “interruptive.”

“The really perplexing outshoot of all of this was that a lot of the communications on social media and digital were seen as interruptive, in your face and disruptive,” Korn said.

“To me it was almost 'anti-branding' because it was the brand getting in your way. If you're a brand, you actually don't want to put off your consumer – but that's what a lot of them end up doing.”

Another insight out of the study was how consumers view different social channels. Korn said Facebook advertising is being increasingly viewed as a more “negative” space, given the proliferation of trolling and a growing dissatisfaction with the way people present reality on the platform. However, he said it is seen as practical and necessary for most people, almost akin to a community notice board.

In comparison, platforms like Instagram and Pintrest are seen as “inspirational” and “aspirational”.

For this reason, Korn said brands who want to use Facebook to communicate need to have a “reason to be there as just being there, on its own is meaningless”.

“You have to be part of the space and that means understanding the difference between saying what you want people to know and saying what people want to hear,” Korn said.

However, across social media platforms, Korn said it was important for brands to ensure the environment is matching the brand ethos.

“What we saw was that brands the went beyond the brand itself and understood what its personality was, what it stood for, what lifestyle it is associated with, cut through much clearer,” Korn said.

“Marketers really need to be looking beyond the numbers and the likes, and really consider whether the brand offering complements the environment.

“There is a need to think more about how to enhance the user experience if brands are to be successful in the social media space.”

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