Social Media Strategy

Ad Agency Training: Can the Agency be the Voice of the Brand Online?

Bottom Shape

Krista Neher

Oct 15 2010

I ran a private corporate training session a few weeks ago for ad advertising agency….  These types of training sessions are always  great – not only because I get to help agencies understand social media and internet marketing, but also because I always learn something by the questions that they ask.

Can the agency Tweet for the brand?

The most recent question I had from an ad agency – I can create great traditional ad campaigns even when I am not “in the target audience”. Why do community managers have to represent the target?

I responded and asked him if he would star in a commercial for his clients.  He said no.  That essentially is the answer – it isn’t about whether or not you could create great tweets, it is about whether or not it you are the best “face for the brand”.

I used to work at Procter & Gamble, who had a similar philosophy about marketing.  An individual could work on any brand by developing an understanding of the customer and applying marketing principles.   Men worked on marketing tampons and people with no kids worked on pampers.

But, when it came to the face of the brand, on the website, in commercials, etc. the best person is someone who the target audience can relate to.

Tweeters Should be a Real  Person – or an Obvious Character

The community manager or Tweeter for a brand should be a real person – someone who is similar to the target audience and who they can relate to.  In this age where everything is online, brands should not take the risk of creating an artificial character and pretending the person is real.

The Community manager should be a real person who is passionate about the brand.  This leads to more natural relationships (which is the point of social media).

Alternately, if the brand has a mascot or character the agency could create an account as the character and manage that brand.

The key is that in the age of authenticity it is vital for brands to find someone who can be authentic and really relate to the audience.

So what role does the agency play?

The agency can still play a role in managing social media accounts.  Specifically in the creative (running contests, creating memes) by creating tweets that match the brand character and equity, by developing the content plan and strategy and by coaching the community manager.

The agency should play a large role in working with the community manager on creative and providing guidance.

Anyone else have thoughts?

One Reply to “Ad Agency Training: Can the Agency be the Voice of the Brand Online?”

  1. This is exactly the problem I have with clients that want us to manage social at Royall Advertising. The main thing I can tell them is please have goals. These clients come to us without understanding what they want to accomplish on social. Then expect them to create a business model for them. I think a strong ad agency can make branding fun with great content. I highly doubt they should be relegated to memes and contests only though. But great illumination of an ongoing debate.

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