In his groundbreaking 2009 book, “The Shift,” Scott Davis identified a pivotal shift in brand strategy, from “controlling the brand message” to “galvanizing your network.” Much of this shift is due to the emergence of social media as a powerful new customer advocacy platform.

Social media has given consumers and B2B customers unprecedented power to reshape brand messages without guidance or consent from the brand. Because of this power, the brand must “galvanize its network” to be in touch with its customers every second: gaining awareness of their issues, taking them seriously, and taking decisive action to achieve customer satisfaction and maintain loyalty. In other words, it’s more important than ever before to be vigilant about brand alignment, continuously assessing and addressing the gap between brand promise and brand performance

Does this shift imply that brand messaging as we know it is dead? Or instead, does it mean that it’s time to get serious about addressing the true scope of brand: not just brand promise, but the entire customer experience from awareness through loyalty. It may even mean that the customer AIDAS model (Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action, Satisfaction) now works both ways. The brand needs to allow for the fact that customers will use this model in the “back channel” of social media to publicly evaluate the brand’s promise vs. performance.

With today’s digital media, it is now possible to achieve what we refer to as “real time brand alignment metrics.” A future version of 9align Message Mapper software will incorporate real time brand alignment metrics capabilities, where users can actually see the alignment gap (what your messaging says v what your stakeholders say) on a near-real-time basis.

What do you think? Is brand messaging dead? Or will it continue to be essential to help guide customer conversations and galvanize networks? Is the objective of brand messaging changing from “puffed and buffed spin” to education, relevant information, and customer-driven positioning? Will this shift force brands to take more seriously alignment between brand promise and performance?  Blog it here, on frenchonbrand. Feel free to retweet!