Daivd, this was very insightful. It inspired me to share a question I had – “Why are customers’ behaviours and interests through social media influencing trends (social & cultural) in the market?”
This led me down the path to writing a research paper that examined the adoption of strategic change in organisations to embrace social media and engage with customers. As part of the research undertaken, a change framework was used to help formulate recommendations for organisations to successfully manage the change social media brings and measure its return on investment (ROI). Many organisations are already investing in social media without a clear understanding of the nature of change it brings and how they can determine business value from social media. If organisations are going to commit time, resources, and budget to social media the investments must be justified.
As you suggest, "in order to employ social media effectively a brand needs to deliver extraordinary functional, self-expressive, or social benefits." Today’s organisations have recognised that an offering that is innovative and differentiated is a way that truly resonates with customers. However, since customers’ behaviours and interests have changed, organisations struggle to adapt to customers or prospects that are no longer passive consumers, but active participants in sharing information, insights and opinions about brands, products and services. They are using social media as a conduit to channel commerce.