Siddhartha Mukherjee: IRM will govern Brand Communication Health

06 Dec,2018

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

Ignorance or deliberate, irrespective, even today, we continue managing brand communication without the missing link. While the industry is flooded with acronyms like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), Partner Relationship Management (PRM), etc. there is no holistic and centralised console of managing all stakeholders and brand custodians. In other words, there is no holistic understanding and therefore approach to the terms ‘Influencer’ and ‘Influencer Management’.

 

The missing link is that of a thought process or approach. What the Industry needs today is a centralised Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) matrix. It will be the mainstay as far as Brand communication and its management is concerned. In fact, if I can take it one step forward, this very phenomena will speedily erase the already blurring borders between Paid and Earned Industries.

 

For further clarity, below are some Q&As:

:: What is the definition of Influencers and their Management?

Influencers are not just the New Age personalities who we see nowadays on Social Media. Neither are they the Bollywood or Sports stars. They are not just the politicians or social workers. The definition is much larger but realistic. The study needs to be not just on the persons but also possible reasons or scenarios which can influence a Brand Health. So, the subject of Influence needs to be split into a) Reasons of Influence b) Influencers. The moment we look at this approach, we get a completely fresh perspective on how we should approach Brand Building and its Sustenance. With this, CXO configuration within an organization will automatically get fine-tuned.

 

With this, under Influencer category, anyone starting from vendors (stationery guy), journalists, employees, investors, customers, distributors, retailers, anyone can be potential influencer. Under reasons of influence, experience at the office reception, showroom, online purchase portal, after sales, financial performance, employee conduct, spokesperson quote, any and every touchpoint can be potential reason for Brand Influence.

 

How will they impact a Brand?

It is simple. Brand is created to fulfill a promise. Business ROOs and ROIs are directly dependent on brand delivering that promise. Therefore, management of Influencers and Influences on Brand Health are clear KRAs and KPIs for Board Room occupiers.

 

So far, this subject has received a complete step child treatment. Every organizational corridor has looked at this holistic and critical business subject with different levels of disinterest. Which is precisely why, crises have been plenty but successful management has been few.

 

A centralized approach to manage the Influencers and Reasons of Influence will always keep the business ROO and ROI far from the red zone!

 

:: What is needed to manage them?

> Centralised Database, Archive & Insights Mechanism

> Re-alignment of Client-Agency Relationship

 

:: What do we need at an industry level?

While there is plenty one can do at a ground level, but such realisations get impacted Top Down. Industry Bodies or Associations can mobilise thought leaders. I can only hope that someone in some industry forum will think fresh and invite similar fresh thinking for actual execution…not just lip service!

 

 

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