Probably nothing so far has had the kind of impact on branding as the rise of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Shyam Mohan Krishna (MBA 2009), Branding Manager for Nespresso Singapore, shares a little bit about his bout with branding on social media. This internet-savvy professional made his way from intern to the post of Brand Manager in January 2010 after less than two years with Nespresso. He attributes it to his strong IT industry background, especially his stint with Cognizant Technology Solutions in India.
When and how did you get onto the social media network, and what has it been like for you?
I am very active on the web; have been since 2006 or 2007. I find Facebook and Linked-In the two most appealing tools on the internet. But when I started my foray into social media, I used Orkut which was popular then in India and Brazil. It is a social networking website owned and operated by Google. However, I migrated to Facebook when some friends invited me to join that network. Eventually, more of my friends migrated to Facebook so most of my community ended up being there. As it was too much trouble maintaining multiple social networking sites, I decided to stick to only one social networking too, and Facebook is it. I have not looked back since.
Why do you prefer Facebook?
Other than the fact that all my friends are now on Facebook, I feel there is a certain level of user-friendliness on Facebook – maybe that’s why everyone is on it. They have integrated many features and have many applications.
One particular feature I like is the Family Tree. I can get all my relatives onto Facebook, and we can map and build a family tree from there. Anyone who then joins in can also start his own offshoot. It’s quite fascinating and keeps us engaged. That is really great for social networking and building relationships.
Social media helps you to get in touch and stay in touch. It’s as though all the information is there in a snapshot, and you can quickly update yourself on what’s happening with your friends and network.
Do you experience the phenomenon of Facebook encroaching into your professional life?
I maintain separate networks for personal matters and professional ones. Facebook is for personal networking while Linked-In is for my professional life. While I note that Facebook is slowly beginning to cater for professional networking, I feel it’s dicey mixing social and professional networks. Many companies have started to go on Facebook to check on people’s profiles outside their professional arena so people have to be careful how they project themselves on these media – it is a form of branding.
But do you use Facebook as a tool for your work?
Yes, Nespresso is one of the brands that make use of social networking media, especially Facebook. We use it to get consumer feedback because it is an interactive medium and allows us to get in touch directly with consumers. It is a powerful viral marketing tool. If you have just a couple of fans on Facebook, the word will spread very quickly and all their friends will be in on the news.
When Nespresso brought in George Clooney as our brand ambassador, we launched it on Facebook and used the Facebook community to engage the public. We even had an online George Clooney advertisement campaign where the public could choose their preferred ending to the advertisement. We did it through our fan base on Facebook, sending a personal message to all our fans to take part in the campaign. So Facebook is useful for campaigns for brand building, brand awareness and identity.
But a not of caution is that all these measures have to be well-managed, with regular updates. That is the challenge.
So how do you use the internet professionally?
Linked-In has plenty of inbuilt features for professional networking so it is fantastic, great for building contacts and keeping in touch with people from your industry. When you are moving towards middle and senior management positions, it allows you to build a good circle of connections. It functions as a platform where I can contact people in order to seek advise on my profession, gather information, compare notes with people who’ve “been there, done that“. You can also track the career changes of the people you know, and it’s nice to be able to see how people are progressing in their careers.
Would you approach someone purely based on the social network media?
I avoid making cold introductions myself, although I am open to receiving such introductions from other people. I prefer to get in touch with people through referrals, even say through the MBA alumni members. So I have something like that as my starting point. I suppose it depends on your personality, whether you feel comfortable making cold introductions.
It is really up to the individual how you want to use the power of social networking media.