With new technologies (web2.0 as we call them collectively), the focus has amplified on “Brand experience”.
This might be a newer phenomenon for B2C companies, but for B2B companies, this existed even before new technologies had surfaced. Infact web2.0 is rightly said to be a socially driven phenomenon, facilitated by technology.
B2B saw Brand experience in forms of Events, trade exhibitions, seminars, round table conferences, breakfast meetings etc. So the concept remains the same – engage and interact with the client and prospect to increase favourability.
However, with the new generation which demands more “control” and “interaction” than ever before, traditional branding activities to build brands might not suffice for long.
Need for the hour is “Brand Participation” which goes a step ahead. It’s not only about providing a brand experience, but enabling the audience in participating with the brand and being its stakeholders. This allows them to have an emotional connect with the brand, something that helps brand truly differentiate itself from others.
So are Blogs and user forums the only way for audience participation? In B2B scenario, there are many more things which can be done besides these.
Microsoft, Cisco, Shell, to name a few have done this in a good way. Yes, the way is to associate the brand with an Issue/idea and pass the power to comment/write/educate/discuss to the audience. When they interact closely with the issue or idea, in some way they interact with the brand. The Idea is to make audience evangelists of the issue and grow from Brand engagement to Brand interaction and to Brand participation!
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