Marketing, communication and all the sub-specialties of these two disciplines, mentioned by Philippe Deliège in his book*, work to ensure that a brand is recognized on a market by an audience and generates support, even desire, which engages the purchase. Because, ultimately, a company, beyond its social responsibility which must of course be considered, has the objective of making profits. The brand is one of the vehicles that will facilitate the work of salespeople. The extension of the playing field of advertising in its various offline-online forms (radio, TV, press, poster, display, etc.) to the use of social media has precisely enabled brands to be embodied, no longer only by managers, but by all of the company’s employees.
The totem base brand names
Brand names are meant to inspire. In BtoC, in particular in retail, there are many “first name” brands: Paul, Céline, André, Colette, Morgan, Marie, Jules, Zara, Michel & Augustin… which tend, by this choice, to humanize the company . Other brands aim to convey the values or a mission of the company.
Two examples, which I know well, perfectly illustrate the embodiment of a totem brand, as described by Philippe Deliège and the resulting quest for meaning.
In 2016, the founders of Golem.ai chose a mythological reference for their brand name, which since then has often been revisited by popular culture. Indeed, in Jewish mysticism, the golem is a humanoid being, incapable of speech and shaped to assist its creator; a being that activates and deactivates by the word inscribed on its forehead: “emet” (truth) and “met” (death). The choice is obviously not innocent and the storytelling seems to flow naturally when we discover that the company operates in the field of artificial intelligence – more particularly that of natural language – and that it specializes in the analysis of words. It is therefore easy for the employees of the young start-up to identify with this protective and philosophical image.
Another example, with Odigo, the French editor of contact center solutions in the cloud (CCaaS). Founded in 1986, the Société du Journal Téléphone (SJT) took the name Prosodie in 1998. An evocative choice of name for a tech company. specialized in voice processing with voice server, voicebot and contact center solutions. Prosody meaning the inflection, tone, tonality, intonation, accent, modulation that we give to our oral expression. In 2019, Odigo becomes an autonomous brand and changes its visual identity at the same time as the company becomes one of the leaders in the field of customer experience in Europe. Etymologically Odigo comes from the ancient Greek, οδ-ηγος,-ο which means ‘guide’. A guide is an element that serves as a benchmark, one that shows the way and inspires confidence. A particularly meaningful choice for a company that supports companies on the path to a better customer and employee experience. A nice analogy also for a solution that routes customer requests (regardless of the channel) to the most competent agents. Obviously the choice of a brand name, as simple as it is, requires all of the employees to be on board, with a history and keys to understanding. This is one of the missions of the marcom teams.
Totems and tribes
There are no totems without tribes, without followers. The natural tribe is made up of employees, it can also be made up of customers, fans, etc. but we speak more often of communities**. Tribes need an inspirational leader, if not a totem mark.
Marketers are rediscovering this term thanks to the book “Le temps des tribus” by French sociologist Michel Maffesoli (1988), and also with “Tribus – We need you to lead us” (2008), by the former head of direct marketing of Yahoo and serial speaker Seth Godin.
The term tribe has also been widely popularized by start-ups and particularly by the recruitment platform Welcome to the Jungle, which uses and abuses this term throughout its pages to describe companies. It is now necessary to want to join a tribe and its rites, to ensure the good cultural fit. In the same way, consumers are increasingly looking for meaning: they are not just looking for a product but a story, in which they want to believe.
This is why supporting employees – the members of the tribe – in this brand storytelling is so important. In the rites of appropriation, the on boarding, often managed by the HR teams, is a crucial moment for the assimilation of the company’s messages, their adoption. The consistency of the brand with its vision, its mission, its raison d’être and its values will also be challenged by the teams. With a well-defined brand, employees and salespeople in particular will be able to take on corporate messages, in order to amplify the company’s share of voice and extend its footprint on the networks.
Of course there are brand advocacy platforms, to automate the publications of employees on social media, but we are beginning to discover the limits of these approaches that are not very personalized and too automated. Similarly, some use practices such as engagement pods***, activation, in growth hacking mode, of micro-community, formal or informal, with the aim of deceiving social media algorithms. However, in this crisis of lack of differentiation, the ambassadors are struggling to stand out, with a prefabricated message that does not interest their audiences. But ultimately the most profitable, in the long term, is to equip employees with the skills necessary for communication and conversation through social media. It’s important not to skip steps, especially in an economy where brands and products are monitored, rated, rated, recommended and so on. (Glassdoor, G2, Gartner Peer insights, Trustpilot…)
We must put an end to the race for audiences, to the false promises of influencers, to the illusion of magical marketing; the world needs positive and responsible marketing, which does not abuse the artifices of growth marketing to respond to consumers in search of values and answers to their needs.
Author: J.Jean-Denis GaroDirector of CMIT, Head of Product Marketing Odigo
*Deliege, Philippe, Become a #BrandTotemRights and Duties of #PersonalBranding, 2022
**The consecration of informal communities. Forbes. January 15, 2021 https://www.forbes.fr/technologie/la-consecration-des-communautes-informelles/
****The announced death of engagement Pods on social networks? eMarketing. 06 January 2020
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