Hit-or-Mission: Are Social Platforms Delivering on Promises?
Written by Sam Baker
November 06, 2017
Even my most conservative acquaintances are familiar with the recent failures of social media. From the open acknowledgement that Russia ran disinformation campaigns during last year’s election cycle (even infiltrating Pokémon Go) to Twitter facing censure for suspending the account of one of Harvey Weinstein’s more vocal victims, the media platforms we use daily seem to be failing us.
When discussing these failures amongst colleagues and friends, a conversation arose around what Facebook’s actual brand was. We came to the conclusion that the platform alone is the brand. This contrasts with the perception of those who don’t work in the field, and who really don’t care about marketing for that matter; these folks have the opinion that the Facebooks, Twitters, and Instagrams of the world aren’t brands at all. Overall, there seemed to be a consensus that at best the actual branded statements of these corporate powerhouses might be something along the lines of “a guaranteed safe place on the internet to speak one’s mind amongst friends”—no more, no less.
Within the Masters in Branding program, some notable definitions of branding are program founder Debbie Millman’s statement “branding is deliberate differentiation” and Scott Lerman’s notion that a brand requires a “Compelling Truth.” Based on that, an organization’s mission statement usually serves as a reliable litmus test for a branding effort’s potential success.
I decided to take a look at the official mission statements of the two biggest social media brands currently in crisis; remembering that they have surpassed such iconic brands like General Motors and Kellogg’s in the public consciousness:
Facebook’s Mission Statement:
“Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
Given recent events, whether or not these mission statements are compelling, true, or differentiate themselves further than Switzerland does on the world stage are questions being asked by users. The users, as opposed to the high-level executives of the corporations themselves, have come to realize that the neutral brand positioning of these companies aren’t being lived up to-- and paradoxically their lack of resistance towards another country’s propaganda is mostly to blame.
I looked at one additional mission statement—the one belonging to my local driving range and putt-putt golf course— just to check for any compelling, true, and differentiating mission statements. It reads: Otte Golf and Family Fun Center is Truly a Great Place for the Whole Family.
See you on the golf course.