4 Principles For Strengthening Your Social Brand

A social brand is a transparent brand, and that’s just what consumers want. They’re tired of being lied to with offers that are too good to be true. They’re sick of being interrupted with irrelevant ads in their daily lives. They get enough of it from tv commercials and website popups. So when they visit their favourite social media sites, they expect brands to behave and be tame. Consumers want a less bombarding and more personal experience.

Your brand is reflected in everything your company says and does. And when you ‘say’ and ‘do’ via social media, that reflection travels at the speed of a browser refresh and amplifies louder than a thousand clicks of a share button.

Practicing these four principles will help you strengthen your social brand communications across all digital media.

1. Remember your brand’s core values

Whenever you sit down to craft a message, write an email, update your fan page, send out a tweet, or respond to a commenter, think of your brand’s core values and personality. Before writing a single word, ask yourself: will this help or hurt the brand? Is it congruent with what the brand stands for? Stay aligned and relevant, and you will communicate your message more appropriately.

If you’re just getting your brand onto social sites, then start by listening to your audience first. What are they talking about? What are they sharing with their friends? What questions are they asking? Once you get to know your audience’s interests, questions, and frustrations, you can begin interacting with them and offering up the type of content that they’re already sharing.

2. Help your employees believe in your brand

Absolutely everyone in your organization holds the responsibility of reinforcing your brand. If your people don’t believe in the brand’s vision and values, then they won’t be able to properly interact with outside parties. If they confuse or offend your customers somehow, it will only damage your image. This translates to the offline world as well. Employees must understand and agree with your brand before they can go off on their own and talk with consumers, partners, investors, suppliers, distributors, and the media. Make it a habit to consistently praise and reward actions that show brand responsibility.

Workers come and go. On average, a person holds a job for around two to five years. Somehow, it is up to you to make sure the brand’s culture is passed down to the newbies, like a legend is passed down to younger generations one conversation at a time. The experienced workers who understand your brand may be gone tomorrow, and the fresh ones that join have no idea what’s going on… until you educate them. Ongoing internal training is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page and your corporate culture doesn’t weaken over time.

3. Build relationships and create brand advocates

A social brand has to be social. Period. Throwing up a Facebook page with your logo on it and getting some “likes” is merely a half-assed attempt at social branding. It takes deep two-way conversations with consumers, and the building of relationships. Some companies use social media mainly for customer service, and it works wonders for them. For example, of all the tweets sent out from Whole Foods Market on Twitter (@WholeFoods), 85% are responses to customer comments, according to Bill Tolany, Head of Integrated Media.

Offering special treatments or incentives to happy customers can turn them into brand advocates. If a customer already likes your product or service, and you treat them right, they may start to share your vision and spread your message for you. What’s more, brand advocates naturally influence the opinions and buying behaviours of their family and friends, because that’s who people trust the most.

You could even think about starting your own brand advocacy program. Check out the Ford Fiesta Movement, in which 100 “Fiesta Agents” across the US get to drive a Fiesta for 6 months, complete monthly missions, and share their experiences in various ways. You can also check out the Microsoft MVP Program, consisting of around 4,000 teachers, artists, doctors, engineers, and technologists who share their know-how with huge online followings.

4. Respond properly to negative feedback

A social brand is an exposed brand, open to negative feedback and criticism. But dealing with negativity in the right way can turn a critic into your next customer or an angry customer into your next number one fan. The results of negative feedback depend entirely on how you deal with them. Handle them well, and you become a star; ignore them, and you might as well hang your logo on the corporate wall of shame.

We can’t be all things to all people, so you’re bound to receive complaints in one form or another. When an unhappy someone posts a complaint about your product or service, others tend to follow along and add their two cents as well. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this. It can snowball out of control unless you respond properly. However, if you say something wrong, it’ll make things worse.

One of the best and easiest things you can do is simply offer help (or maybe an apology) to the original complainer. It shows that you care about how your customers feel. And as customers, we love that sort of thing, don’t we?

Being a social brand means talking to people as a professional human, as if you were talking to them face-to-face. With pretty much any company and any type of response, you’ll want to keep it friendly and helpful, but at the same time, feel free to let your brand personality shine through. Then, before hitting the send button, get a second pair of eyes to check your tone of voice. Align your messages with the vision and values of the company. Continually educate your employees and make sure they are with you 100%.

Post-capitalistic Free Market Society, How Can US Be Rescued (Part V) – Economy, Work and Retirement

Here is how a technological democratic society operates. We will be looking into the application of equality of opportunity in four areas of capital, labor, state and technology. This is the heart of democracy, because, there cannot be any kind of real democracy without having economic democracy.A. CapitalTo democratize the ownership of capital, the principle of equality of opportunity prohibits unjust enrichment. It simply means that no person receives property without giving in return a comparable compensation. This is known as the principle of unjust enrichment. Its application establishes the property ownership and relationship in a democratic society with the following consequences:1. Inheritance. Inheritance is the highest cause of inequality of opportunity. It leads to class stratification. It is the first factor in creating an unjust society. Since anything received through inheritance is free and without comparable compensation, it amounts to an unjust enrichment. If it elevates the opportunity of the beneficiaries to the extent that it creates unequal opportunities, it cannot be allowed under the principle of equality of opportunity. The proceeds from inheritance go into the Public Consumption Fund, a public organization, to be spent in providing vital services to society such as education and health care. The result is that as the rich individuals die, their wealth, to the extent allowed by the principle of equality of opportunity, is transferred to this organization and used for public good. Gradually wealthy families, which enjoyed a very high opportunity under capitalism, disappear while their riches are used to enrich and enlighten the masses as a whole. In a span of a few decades, society ceases to have any super rich. The ruling capitalist elite dies and with it disappears its dominating economic and political powers.Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution embodies the concept of equality of opportunity. It only needs to be specified to apply to economic and social aspects of life. The process of transition will be peaceful. It requires Congress to propose a proper amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying the application of equality of opportunity to economic, political an social aspects of life. Since the amendment, if ratified, would prohibit inheritance, for the stage of transition, Congress should specify a figure for maximum inheritance such as $5 million. This will insure the ratification of the amendment since only 0.7percent of population has wealth in excess of this amount. The result will be equalization of the wealth within the limit of $5 million. Decades later when minimum national inheritance level will increase disparity will be negligible or may be readjusted then to guarantee full equality of opportunity. [1]2. Profits. As presented before, as globalization progresses, free trade market economy causes the kind of keen competition that continually cuts down the profit margin leading to its virtual elimination.[2] The profit motive remains still there but rarely materialized. At this stage, estimated to materialize in four to five decades, the society’s levers of power- the multinational corporations, the military and their politician and bureaucrat supporters and collaborators- are eliminated from power status. By the coordinated efforts of local groups all over the country, equality of opportunity prevails, the economy and social structure are reconstructed for efficiency and justice. The production in a cooperative way focuses primarily on people’s primary needs. Every able person participates whether in neighborhoods, communities or work places. People work for a few hours a day having ample time free for leisure, art, music and other creative work and enjoyment.3. Labor. Regarding labor and workforce, there is a very basic distinction between capitalism and technological democracy. Under capitalism, the capitalist controls land, capital and technology, and employs labor from the market. Under technodemocratic economy, the workers own and control the capital and all other means of production. The principle of equality of opportunity controls the process of ownership of capital and prescribes its democratization. It materializes the total private ownership of the means of production and distribution to the extent never achieved before. It prescribes that the ownership of capital be gradually and systematically transferred from the capitalist to the workers. For clarification, it must be noted that the term worker in this concept embodies any person working for the capitalist from top management and professionals down to the unskilled workers. Under this concept, while each worker receives a regular wage, he is also given a certain specified amount of shares of the firm where he works. Thus from the time he receives his first pay, he starts to become a part owner of the firm. As the years pass, the worker continues to accumulate capital and increase his share of ownership. As the big capitalists die, their share of stocks revert to the Public Consumption Fund and from there is placed in the stock market for sale. These shares are purchased by different institutions, public institutions in particular, and gradually transferred to the workers including public employees along with their monthly pay. Some is also purchased by individual. [3]After four or five decades, the capitalist class as we know today, disappears and the ownership as well as control of capital and production firms become wholly transferred to a new capitalist class the same as the working class. From there on as the retired workers die, their share of stocks go to the Public Consumption Fund and placed in stock market and finally purchased by different institutions and gradually transferred to the new generation of workers along with their pay. For the shares that each worker owns, he receives dividend which continues to increase as he continues to accumulate more and more stocks. Each worker is entitled to full benefit of ownership of his stocks except that they are not transferable to others but can be exchanged with other non-transferable stocks of other institutions on the stock market for the purpose of diversification of their ownership. This non-transferability of the stocks is prescribed by the principle of equality of opportunity and, as it will be presented later on, income from these stocks takes the place of social security and old age benefits for the owner during the retirement period since under technological democracy there are no public welfare programs such as social security, medicare or food-stamps or else. Health care and education are the only programs available free for all, funded by the Public Consumption Fund and not the government.4. Position Classification. Position classification is a technology developed for organizing, classification and equalization of similar positions. It describes the responsibilities of each position and corresponding financial compensation range. Under this technology, positions are classified vertically as well as horizontally. This system is applied nationally and universally to all available positions. Horizontal positions are those requiring similar levels of skills to carry out job requirements. However, these positions may not be similar in the kind of functions and skills they require. For example, medical doctors, lawyers, and top administrators all require a high level of professional skill, while functionally they are quite different from one another. They may be placed horizontally in one category and entitled to the same range of compensation. The same applies to clerical or other class of worker. Vertical positions are classified from the lowest to the highest.Technology of position classification was created primarily for the purpose of increasing and controlling productivity as well as providing equitable pay systems, similar pays for similar jobs. This technology is not new; it has been used in every industrialized society by its public sector and by all major, medium size and some small private institutions. However, each institution has its own independent position classification and corresponding pay system. The national government, each state government, major city governments and giant corporations each has a position classification of its own. There is no uniformity among these systems and there are injustices. Furthermore, a great variety of small businesses do not have a classification system yet these are the institutions employing the majority of the working class people who are not subject to any standard of pay and are generally exploited. Under technological democracy all these systems are brought under one umbrella with the same standards of positions and corresponding pay system. However, such a monumental classification is not done in detail by a central office. This would be an impossible task. The national government through the Position Classification and Pay Commission, a branch of the National Economic Council, establishes a general classification of positions, a system somehow similar to the present national classification. Then it requires each institution , private or public, large or small, to establish its own position classification and pay system within the framework established by the national classification and pay system. A copy of this classification by each firm is entered in Technodem website available to everyone including every employee in the institution. The Technodem will check this classification against the national system and will inform the institution about discrepancies for correction, if any. This classification is put into operation by the corresponding institution until it is objected by the Technodem or the regional classification council.[4]The systems are reviewed each year by each institution as new technologies develop, certain positions are abandoned, new positions are created or functions of some positions are modified or changed. Position classification under one national model system has several benefits.1. It harmonizes and standardizes all available positions, private or public.2. It equalizes the pay system, similar pay for similar jobs, regardless of race, color, sex or whether a worker is a union member,3. It eliminates the union bargaining and thus eliminate unionization for economic purposes.4. It simplifies position and pay classification at the institutional level following a standardized and updated national model.5. It democratizes the work system by providing equality of opportunity in similar positions with similar pay.6. It allows regional agencies, through Technodem technology, to supervise the proper and uniform application of national standards.7. It allows discretion in each institution to proceed with its own position and pay classification.8. It gives each employee an opportunity to evaluate his position requirement and pay level in comparison with the national standards and, in the case of discrepancy, petition first his institution and then file his petition with the Technodem which will examine the complaint instantaneously and respond to it. If the institution did not resolve the issue according to the Technodem advice, he then can petition the regional classification council which will usually go along with the Technodem finding. By this way position classification in each institution is scrutinized by its employees and brought to the level prescribed by the national standards.5. Shared Opportunity and Full Employment. This is a very important principle of democratic employment opportunity. The application of the principle of equality of opportunity requires that those having a higher level of employment opportunity share it with those lacking such opportunity at the same position level. This refers in particular to unemployed workers seeking employment. Of course, at every skill level, those employed have a higher opportunity than those unemployed. The principle of shared opportunity is employed to equalize the situation. It requires that those who have employment, in order to provide for equality of opportunity, forgo a small part of their employment opportunity by giving up a small part of their work, say one hour per week, and thus provide employment opportunity for their unemployed fellows.For example, if there is a 100 million work force and each worker gives up one hour of his weekly work, nationwide 100 million work-hours amounting to 2.5 million full time positions will become available to those unemployed or new comers. [5] It needs to be noticed that unemployment in technological democracy has a different character. Everyone starts working part-time when he reaches 15 years of age and completes his professional or technical education while working. So work under technological democracy has a transitory character and is an individual right. Sharing opportunities provides for continuous employment, causing stability in the market and thus eliminates a major cause of recession by providing job security for working years. The inflationary process will also be prevented since there will be no monopoly firms, no price increase to maximize profits. Giant corporations will automatically divided into many smaller firms, and competition in the market will be tense, more realistic and free. This decentralization and dispersal will take place because once workers receive controlling shares of a giant firm they will tend to eliminate the superstructure of the corporate bureaucracy which did not produce anything and had also lost its unproductive use. Then, workers’ desire to have voice in the production process will tend toward dismantling the giant corporation into smaller entities in which the policy-makers will be directly attached to the operation of production and each worker can feel his voice and power over his institution. The same will happen to the branches or affiliated firms abroad. They would want to be independent especially when the superstructure in domestic country becomes abolished. Thus the era of giant multinational corporations will become history as a stage of transition from monopolistic international capitalism to competitive technodemocratic economy. The old motto that “small is beautiful, controllable, more democratic,” will become materialized.6. Old Age Benefits: Unlike the welfare programs instituted under the existing capitalistic and socialistic systems, there will be no retirement or general welfare programs under the technological democracy. First, each individual will start part time work at the age of fifteen. His income from the work will be sufficient to pay for his living expenditures, since he will have no education expenses because it will be free for everyone at all levels. By the age 21 he will finish his college education (exceeding in value over an M.A. degree at the present) and will be employed full time. Each individual will be required to work for at least 30 years in order to provide a sustained and sufficient income for his old age period. It is estimated that if each worker receive the company stock equal to 25% of his pay, after 30 years, when he retires at the age 52, he will accumulate enough capital from the stocks and their accumulated returns to receive an income of around $30,000 to live modestly but comfortably considering that health care and education will be free and individual taxes will be very small. Most of taxes will be collected from production firms. However, while the individual retires from the official workforce, he does not retire personally. Being only 52 years old he has many years of active life to contribute and be productive in social, political and economic fields. These could be either voluntary or income producing. This retirement after 30 years of service is mandatory in order to maintain equality of opportunity in workplace, and in no way deprives individuals from pursuing productive activities of their liking. It has also several important benefits: first, it provides vacancies to new workers entering the market, second, provides the retired workers with many years enjoyable and intellectually productive life; third, provides for participation in the political process where required qualifications for election is high and the service is temporary. At retirement, each individual would possess knowledge in humanities and social sciences far above the present Ph.D. level as a result of over thirty years of continuous graduate education, making him highly qualified to hold public or elective offices. Beside this, every person has also over Ph.D. level knowledge in his technical or professional field.[6]Thus this required retirement is technical rather than real. The individual who is highly educated and experienced at this stage of life, may get engaged in many different kinds of work such as art, music, creative writing, counseling, political or economic activities individually or in partnership with other retired persons. Since top policy making positions in regional and national government are temporary with four to six year terms, it will be an excellent opportunity for the post-retirement life. Under technological democracy the individual worker is made responsible to hold and take care of his own retirement stocks. That is why the stocks he receives monthly from his firm are non-transferable, while he can exercise all other benefits of ownership including annual returns from them during his lifetime. Particularly, that working people would be hesitant to run for political offices since this would interrupt their working process and financially have negative effect on their future promotions as well as their retirement benefits.
.References:1.Reza Rezazadeh, Technological Democracy: A Humanistic philosophy of the Future Society, 1990, pp. 192-1942. —————-, “Globalization and the End of Capitalism,” http://www.democracywhere.com also in http://www.ezinearticles.com3.—————-, Technological Democracy, opp. cited, pp.194-1984.—————-, Technodemocratic Economic Theory: From Capitalism and Socialism to Democracy, 1991, pp. 184-186. http://www.democracywhere.com5.Ibid., pp.186-188, 205, 235.6. Ibid., pp. 188-190, 219.Dr. Reza Rezazadeh1080 Eastman Street, Platteville, WI 53818Phone: (608)348-7064

Defining YOUR Personal Brand Image

Branding, creating, and maintaining your personal image can be a powerful tool in helping you become the type of professional that you want to be. But, why would someone want to brand themselves? Think about this in the way that you would think about how to market any product. If you were to market a new car you may talk about the cars features, such as gas mileage or how safe it is. You would also figure out who you are trying to market this car to. For instance, you would not want to market a two-door sports car to large family of six. Finally, when marketing a car, you will want to tell clients about the promises and guarantees that will separate this car from others like it. The style of marketing your personal brand is very similar.

You must market yourself by highlighting your individual features and emphasizing them to your potential managers and employers. You must know who in particular you are trying to target with your brand. And finally, what your individual brand message is and what you promise to accomplish in your occupation. By marketing yourself as a unique individual, knowing your target audience, and creating and maintaining your personal brand message and promise, you can develop a strong professional brand image. It is important to know who you are and what your existing personal brand is in order to further develop your image. Particularly, what makes you, you. By staying true to yourself first, you can begin to move your brand forward. Think about your personal beliefs and what type of person you are. These are the things that make you, you. Do not try to change who you are in order to develop an image. If you change and adapt who you are to create an image, you are not creating a personal brand image, but rather a generic brand image that will not allow you to emphasize what you offer specifically and on an individual level. Rather, you must grow your brand image from what you already possess. Focus on what makes you who you are and develop a professional brand image based on these existing attributes.

Once you have defined this personal existing brand, you can begin to address how you can make your brand different, set yourself apart, and grow your own unique brand image. For instance, what do you offer as a professional, and what can you bring to others? What are the skills that you possess that set you apart from the competition? These are the things that will make you stand out from others around you and positively grow your personal brand image. A positive attitude and confidence in your abilities and what you know you are capable of achieving are the first steps to developing your own unique and specific personal brand. Along with your individual attributes, it is important to develop skills that will help to set you apart from others around you. Focus on what you will do to go above and beyond the competition. This will help you to create that unique brand image that will take potential clients from possibly needing your services, to them wanting the services and skills that they know you offer. It is also important to focus on strong communication skills with your potential clients. This can be a positive step to boosting your personal brand by creating a strong relationship between yourself and your clientele, and will also help you to maintain this positive relationship.

Your unique personal brand image will set you apart from the competition for resources and help you to grow relationship that will last a lifetime. Finally, when developing your individual brand image, it is key to know what your message will be and what promises you can offer. You must put into place your personal brand values. These values are what services you can bring to your work situation and what you can achieve. Your message must focus on what you specialize in, what attributes in your unique brand image distinguish you from the rest, and your leadership abilities. This brand message will allow your potential clients to see who you are and know what they will receive from you and your work. Clients must also be able to see what your brands’ promise is to them. Your brand promise should focus on your commitment to service, what you can achieve for the potential customer, and finally, your individual reputation. It is also important to communicate to clients that you may not be perfect. Be honest with them. If mistakes have been made in the past, use these as a promise to clients that the mistake has been addressed, learned from, and will not happen in the future.

By creating your individual brand image, you are taking the most important step to success. Look at who you are as an individual, focus on what your unique abilities are, separate yourself from the competition around you, and maintain your brand through a commitment to service. Through these steps you can create and maintain a strong brand image that can lead to future benefits and success in your career.