Social Media: Join the Debate!



Brandchannel’s social media debate series has generated a lively discussion about how social media can help, or (as the case may be) hinder, marketers’ efforts to communicate brand values more effectively. Here are a few of the many thought-provoking comments posted by our readers — click through on the links to read more, and share your thoughts. For an interesting counterpoint, don’t miss the blog posts and comments on the “That’s Debatable” social media series on And stay tuned for an analysis of where social media is heading.

Does social media have value?

“Like the rise of the website, developing a social media presence has become the new ‘must have’ (or This Year’s Model, Costello fans). The key is not just to have, but to understand, how it fits into your overall communication strategy.” Andy Barker, Creative Director, InTouch Marketing 

“We’re in the early stages of a seismic shift in the way we consume and communicate and, crucially, our industry has yet to bottom out a consistent set of meaningful metrics.” Neil Perrott, Director, Katapult[more]

“Marketers have never enjoyed better access to the hearts and minds of consumers, so the ball is in our court as to whether we use it or not. In my opinion, those that don’t will be left behind.” Sean-Bradley Bell, POS Controller, The Creative Counsel

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Will social media weaken or strengthen brands?

“WOM and checking with the ‘expert friend’ has always been in play. Social media has made it faster and systematic. It’s much better now, for companies as well as consumers, since they can assess the force and its impact better. There is no escaping social media. Companies can only understand it and learn to use it to their advantage.” Jasravee Kaur Chandra, Strategic Planning Director, MasterSun Consulting

“The important thing it can do is amplify the weakness or strength of the brand. Strengthening of brands is still with marketers and how they want to portray their brands AND the consumers, who are the ones who decide if they will accept this or not. Social media is word of mouth in digital format. It can strengthen the brand if it is strong in the first place.” Titus Arce, Group Account Director, Dentsu Philippines

“The real debate should be whether brand managers can ‘control’ what goes out through social media to protect their brands from the negative. Despite all his power and contacts and influence, Simon Cowell couldn’t stop his X-Factor winner being prevented from enjoying the Xmas No 1 spot (in the UK charts) by a massive anti-X-Factor campaign conducted via social media. No one really knows why (or how) some videos on YouTube, for example, get millions of hits and others do not. Until this answer is known, social media is a loose cannon.” Peter Bonnici, Brand consultant

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What will social media branding strategies look like in the near future?

“Social media will play an increasingly large role until organisations can no longer ignore it. Marketing and brand strategies will change fundamentally as users control and develop the brand rather than marketeers. The most successful will be the companies who influence this in a positive way through engagement while not censoring what people say about them.” Debbie Staveley, Director, bClear Communications

“In the future, brands will increasingly use the social media space to generate ideas that people would like to share, thus creating a viral effect. Social media will also be used for low-cost and most trustworthy market research. I agree with Debbie Staveley. It’s true that consumers will increasingly control and develop the brand; brands should just try to be as involved in the game as they can be!” Simrat Sawhney, Branding Enthusiast, Social Media Evangelist

“What is at stake goes way beyond ‘branding’ everything–which is still the old ‘push’ way–and will revolve around creating some kind of co-ownership of the brand, spanning anywhere from dialog to co-creation. More than ever consumers will ‘own’ ‘their’ brands!” Veronique Gautier-Vencat, Brand Consultant, VGV

“Many consumers now see (engaging with brands on the social Web) as their right, one they value and will defend. Brands that abuse this relationship by duping customers into shilling for them will lose. Brands that create advocates by engaging in a meaningful, productive dialogue with consumers will win. That was true before social media and still is.” Steve Smith, Partner/Planning, Firehouse

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We’ll post more responses throughout the week – follow our social media debate series by clicking here.