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Social media and other advances in networking have brought Brands closer to their customers. There are several online communities available for companies to converse with their consumers, but just because your invited to the party doesn’t mean your going to take someone home. Open dialogue is a huge responsibility and transparency can be difficult to govern. Two-way communication should not be taken lightly because your reputation is perpetually on the line. Delivering a mission statement is poetic, but backing it up takes character.

Today the most successful companies are ones who embrace the fact that they are not in full control of their Brand story. Social media has given everyone a voice, and these individual voices have become as relevant as the voice of the Brand itself. This is why the conversations between consumers and companies are more important than ever. If you’ve ever gotten past the first date and into a women’s heart you know the importance of a casual conversation. Because your next date will be at her parent’s house where you will undoubtedly be left alone with her father to duke it out on the battlefield of open dialogue. The same is true with Brands communicating with their customers. Whether commenting on a blog or interacting at a checkstand, the consumer is always watching.

Being yourself is not always as easy as “just being yourself.” Brands are held to a higher standard and therefore must reflect their best image at all times, which can be difficult because maintaining tact is tedious.

“Campaigning is poetry, governing is prose.”

Dave Allen Director of digital media, NORTH