Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

The one thing you must get right when building a brand


Harvard Business Review



Publishing details

Harvard Business Review 2010 December 2010

Authors / Editors

Barwise P;Meehan S


Publication Year



It's wrong to think we're entering a world in which traditional marketing activities will become irrelevant. Yet the scale and speed of social media make it urgent to get the branding basics right. Remember the internet-fueled backlash against Dell's flammable laptops and Kryptonite's expensive but easily picked lock. The obvious danger is failing to keep pace with social media developments. An equal, less obvious danger is getting distracted by them and losing sight of the fundamentals. Brands should exploit new media's possibilities to deliver on four basics: offering and communicating a clear customer promise; building trust by delivering on it; continuously improving the promise; and innovating beyond the familiar. Virgin Atlantic does this by, for example, scanning travel websites to learn what people are saying; including travel tips from crew members on its Facebook page; communicating with customers on Twitter in rapidly changing situations; offering a taxi-sharing system to enhance its brand; and maintaining V-Travelled, a site where customers exchange stories and advice while they plan a big trip. As they experiment with social media, companies should gain customer insights rather than simply try to increase sales, capitalize on the media's speed and reach while protecting the brand's reputation, and carefully follow the unwritten rules of customer engagement online.


Social media; Brand management; Innovation

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.