“Why is that?” usually follows, and I smile to myself, knowing this poor, unassuming conversationalist has no idea the spiel in which I am about to launch.
My love of Kate Spade does not stem from the incredible product line of shoes, handbags, and jewelry. No, Kate Spade has found its way into my heart for the incorporation of social media to perpetuate a brand personality.
Jennifer Aaker, marketing professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, defines brand personality as “a set of human characteristics associated with a brand.” She goes on to say, “perceptions of brand personality traits can be formed and influenced by direct or indirect contact the consumer has with the brand.” Essentially, a brand’s personality can be described in the same terms used to describe those of an acquaintance after engaging with the person in conversation. While I have never used face-to-face communication to interact with Kate Spade Inc., the brand’s use of social media has broken down the barriers between consumer and brand to allow me to participate in Kate Spade’s social network.
I follow Kate Spade on virtually every social media platform they use. The brand's tweets intermingle with my friends’ on my timeline, their photos infiltrate my Instagram feed, and their pins dot my Pinterest boards. This integration of an organization into my personal social network gives me a connection to the brand that could not be achieved by targeted advertising alone.
By plugging into the various outlets Kate Spade uses, I am allowed a “peek” into what “a day in the life” of the brand looks like. Kate Spade tweets cheeky phrases, uploads vibrant photos, and pins creative ideas; all reflecting the unique, human-like characteristics of Kate-Spade-the-brand. As I see the content the Kate Spade posts among the tweets and updates of my closest friends, I sometimes find myself regarding the company as another friendship. This integration into a target market’s social network fosters brand loyalty within the consumer. A brand’s use of social media allows for direct communication with those the company seeks to reach, as well as an opportunity to use this avenue to further perceptions of the brand’s values and mission.
Effectively integrating a unified social media strategy for a brand can be a “secret weapon” in marketing. By allowing target markets to invite your brand into his or her social network, you will have a unique opportunity to build a personality for your brand. As these traits and characteristics are communicated through Twitter posts, Instagram photos, and Facebook statuses, the consumer will begin to identify with the brand, fostering brand loyalty as a result. Just as Kate Spade feels like a friend I regularly engage with, other brands can acquire human characteristics through the use of social media.