Brand building: Focus on brand needs, not fads

Fiona McAnena

Ever had a boss who habitually seizes on something another business is doing and says: "Should we be doing that?"

Social media is causing the same insecurity complex in the digital immigrant generation. Questions often asked include: how many Facebook friends does the brand have? Is everyone moving to Instagram? Will being on Pinterest make us cool? Can we do a partnership with Foursquare? Or, more likely, Now that we have our Facebook page/Twitter feeds/app, how do we monetise them?

This is a bit like walking down the high street, considering everything you see: passing Thomas Cook (do I need to book a holiday?), past the newsagent (do I need a newspaper?), past the funeral director (do I need a funeral?) – other people are in there, so maybe I should be too.

Of course it's useful to look around. It's a great source of ideas and it's good to be aware of competitors' activity. But only you know your business strategy, your proposition and your target customers. Facebook and Twitter don't. They have their own. (You're one of them.)