Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Brands and their own social networks

+ Facebook. MySpace. Bebo. LinkedIn. Orkut. DeviantART. There's a plethora of social networking sites out there. And brands are now jumping on the bandwagon. Earlier this year, Sears launched MySears and MyKmart which they call interactive platforms to "allow customers to share their insights, experiences and product reviews."
And now Lane Bryant, plus-sized clothing store once part of the The Limited empire, is doing something similar with the launch of their Inside Curve which they describe as "an ambitious social community with up-to-the-minute insight on style, trends and behind-the-scenes features."

Supposedly it is available now through the Lane Bryant site, although the one banner they had promoting it down at the bottom of the page near the footer doesn't click to anywhere. And this rotating banner is the only way it seems they are promoting the fact that they have this community. Not a great way to start off. Perhaps they figure the bigger push will be through their email database. A google search lead me to find it at InsideCurve.LaneBryant.com.

The company already has a Facebook and Twitter presence and is hoping the new site will increase interaction. I'm sure there are some who are passionate enough to sign up for yet another site, but will it help them make a dent in their most recent quarterly results of a 13% decline in same-store sales (as of May)?

I wonder the same thing for MySears and other brands that attempt to create their own networking site around the brand, rather than using existing networks that people are already on and using as a way to bring people together around the brand.

As a citizen of the internet, would you be more likely to interact with a brand on a network you are already using or would you prefer to have yet another place to join? I suppose it depends on the technographic of the audience as well. If they are into signing up for places all over the net, perhaps you have a good chance of success--although signing up for a network and participating in it are two completely different things.

Granted I will give props to these brands for trying. But I'd also hate to see people get a bad taste in their mouths for social if these sites are not as successful as they probably expect them to be.

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