I recently encountered many conversations about “brand ownership”. One was in Mediapost and the others, well, I cannot even remember if they were podcasts, blogs or actual conversation (once again, the effect of media fragmentation on media memory).
The conclusions of all these conversations were that consumers are the real brand owners, managers and communicators. My professor, mentor, friend and media legend, Charlie Warner always stressed that people like and trust people like themselves (this was one of the things that he brought in his Media Selling textbook but, he knows that it is true in life overall).
This statement may sound obvious but, its implications are tremendous. When judging a brand people place as much emphasis on the wisdom of crowds (if not more so) than on advertising and marketing messages. Being a search marketer, this fact is very important to me as, now matter how much I bid and how great my copy is (which it always is J ) there is always the possibility of natural rankings containing some type of negative messaging.
Enter Search PR.
To my fellow search marketers, do yourselves a favor (if you do not already). Listen to the Hobson Holz report, Inside PR, any PR blogs you can find and do everything in your power to not just understand SEM but, to understand SEPR (Search Engine Public Relations).
What I mean by this is, it is just as important to police the natural rankings and make sure that you are pleasing the public (as they are the true owners of your brand) as it is to pay for placement.
I will write more about this subject but, I woke up this morning to get ready for my big move to my new apartment and began to search for flat panel monitors at PC Richards. Although I did not see anything negative on Google I thought to myself how easy it would be to dissuade me from every going to PC Richards if my eyes caught a glimpse of something negative about the company in the natural rankings.
With so many options these days, I have not time to be loyal!