Social Media is “Happening” to Your Brand (Whether You Like It or Not)

About 5 years ago I met with luxury watch manufacturer, Breitling. I love this brand, and have owned a Breitling watch for 14 years. I wear it daily.

I approached the company with the idea that if I could speak to the decision makers I would most certainly convince them that if it were done properly, they could leverage the awesome power of social media to change the game of selling luxury watches. Connect with brand advocates like myself, I told them, and you’ll tap into a community that will do the marketing for you. Offer them the tools to communicate how much they love you, and they’ll have a field day.

This is precisely when something interesting happened. The most senior executive in the room said to me

“well, this is fantastic Chris, but we don’t “do” social media”.

Truthfully, I understood what she was saying, and I certainly respected why she was saying it. They’re a luxury goods manufacturer. The impression is that social media is all fun and games (literally). That there’s no place for luxury goods.

I thought for a moment before responding.

I turned to my laptop which was projecting on the wall to four other executives in the room. I logged into Facebook, typed in the name of their company and found an active Facebook Page with over 18,000 fans of the page. She seemed shocked. The administrator was a gentleman from Jordan. It was obviously not a company sanctioned Facebook page, but my point was made.

Whether you like it or not: Social media is already happening to your brand.

It’s up to you to join that conversation. If this company had decided to invest in an appropriate social media presence they would be able to engage a built in audience that’s already expressing interest, and passion for your product. The fear that engaging with this community will dilute your brand equity is silly. It will only enhance it. As long as you engage appropriately.

Yes, Breitling eventually took my advice, and now have a Facebook page with close to 400,000 likes on Facebook.

Oh yeah, even though they’re a luxury brand means nothing. People that buy luxury items like to engage in social media too. They also like to find their favorite luxury brands in the environment where they spend most of their online lives: Facebook and Twitter.

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