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20 Oct


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Should You Consolidate Your Brand Online?

October 20, 2011 | By | No Comments

For franchises, large brands with multiple locations, or an umbrella or parent brand, questions may arise as to how to approach online presence and communities. We know that having a web presence is important, but how should that web presence appear for a brand with more than one location? Is it a good idea for a brand with multiple locations or offerings to consolidate its social media efforts to a select mix of branded communities? Or is it better to allow individual locations to have their own communities in social media?

Consolidation of social media accounts might be considered a positive move for these reasons:

  • With a single brand presence, the teams involved with managing and creating content for the pages day to day have fewer social profiles and their associated communities that need maintenance.
  • A single brand presence might also help you build a larger, less splintered fan base for your brand: You can concentrate on bringing all fans of all locations in to a select few online branded communities. But, having a larger community may come with its own community management challenges, such as the balance of local content and moderation of many users.
  • Having unified social media communities may also help you build a stronger presence for the overall brand name and a clearly identified place where customers, fans and others can reach out to the brand.

On the other hand, embracing individualism with a split social media presence has its own set of possibilities:

  • Allowing each location, franchise or sub-brand can allow the unique personality of specific locations to shine through – it’s more “local” for the community.
  • With multiple online communities and brand presences, individual locations have the ability to customize and manage their own presence according to their community’s needs, with guidance from the larger brand. But, this also means that individual locations must be trusted to manage the communities and keep them up to date and within brand standards.
  • A differentiated brand presence can also avoid cross-association or mixed brand messages with sub-brands or partner brands. For example,  a chain of auto dealerships may not wish to consolidate under the main brand ABC Auto if they manage several individual stores with different manufacturer partner brands, such as Kia or Mercedes-Benz, which have different customer bases.

What do you think? Do you think consolidation is a good idea, or is it better to have multiple communities for multiple locations? Or, is it better to create a strategy that embraces a combination of both?

Jennifer Muñoz is Director of Operations & Strategy Analyst with Social Strategy1. She contributes blog posts weekly and can be found on Twitter @getaJenny. Want additional strategy insights? Follow us on Twitter at @sstrategy1.

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