3 More Challenges to Managing a Brand on the Social Web

Today's post is prompted by a Mashable post "6 Challenges to Managing a Brand on the Social Web" shared by my friend Gary Walter.

Here is my response to Gary's question "are there more you can think of?":

I hope the first guy was misquoted. ''Be everything to everyone'' means you're anything but yourself. I agree with the transparency, especially upon screwing up, and think he and/or the editor missed the mark.

Congruence is the key to what was said about making sure internal personnel know what external message to communicate. Same thing applies to individuals. And by being congruent you can *never* be everything to everyone.

It's much more useful to polarize people and increase the gap between lovers and haters of your brand and to make sure you get as many people your brand touches out of ignorance and indifference as possible. The clearer you are on who the lovers of your brand are the less time/money/energy you'll waste on the indifferent and the haters.

Another area they missed was choosing your allies. The alliances you make define your brand as much as the actions you take. As one mentor said ''we're Jets and they're Sharks.''

In many ways, this turns into an issue of congruence as well. Knowing who you are and what you stand for (and against) makes alliances easier to choose. If there is no way for me to serve your brand lovers, or vice versa, it is obviously not going to be a very good alliance.

Which leads to the last piece I think they may have skimmed, but didn't clearly hit: being client centric. Yes, you must cultivate the relationships, but even then it needs to be based on a win-win-win situation, not just because you've mandated that ''we're customer focused'' or the horrible platitude that ''the customer is always right.''

By keeping the people you serve at the center of the planning and execution, you'll not only have a clearer plan but you'll develop stronger brand lovers, etc. "You cannot serve two masters" + "in order to get everything you want in life help others get what they want."

And all of this applies equally well when applied on the personal level, as a small business, as a corporate entity, or as a church. Any time you're serving others it becomes a marketing and sales situation. Marketing to let people know who you are, whom you serve, and in what capacities. Sales to get people to take action for their own benefits.

What do you think is missing from my additions to their list?