From Elaine Cheung, Vice President Corporate Marketing:
As vice president of Corporate Marketing at Brocade and with the recent launch of Wingspan, I thought it would be fitting to provide some insight into my views on social media, particularly in the way it's impacting and transforming the marketing discipline.
As a pure B-to-B company, we have struggled with both the concept and the process of becoming completely immersed in the vast and growing world of social media. But after a great deal of investigation, discussion and reflection, we ultimately decided to take the plunge. It wasn't because it was the “thing to do” or because we have a vested interested in generating more traffic on networks. We do. But even as a B-to-B company we saw the value and the opportunity to more directly connect to our customers and partners through social media and its persistent and two-way dialog format.
As a marketing team, we recognized that we needed to add social media to our marketing mix to help build our brand value and develop relationships that are crucial to business. The types of social media Brocade has recently adopted includes a substantial remodel of our Brocade Connect online community site, our new blog called Wingspan, participation in other networking industry blogs, chat rooms and message boards, as well as posting videos on hot topics on Brocade’s YouTube channel.
We want to better connect with our end-users to understand your business needs which in turn will help drive us toward greater innovation. Sometimes, the interaction will challenge us and that’s ok – in fact, it’s a good thing. It means we’re having the open dialogue we want to have with our customers and partners. And, hopefully Brocade is up to those challenges. In this sense, social media is an extension of Brocade’s dedication to customer and partner loyalty. It is simply another medium to use to connect to the many end-users and partners around the globe quickly and efficiently. It doesn’t replace the business relationships that many of our customers and partners have with Brocade sales, professional services, support and administrative staff. It is another tool we can use to keep you up to date on what we’re doing in real-time and for you to share your thoughts, input and opinions in a candid and fluid manner.
For example, one of our first uses of video on YouTube was to announce the close of the Foundry acquisition. Getting our CEO on regular TV to talk about the acquisition was not feasible. And yes, we could have just had him send a message via e-mail or a post a comment and static press release on our web site. Instead, we had him do a short video explaining the rationale for the acquisition and how it would benefit customers over time. By having you see his body language, hear the subtle shifts in the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes was vastly more engaging, informative, and, ultimately, more real than just having the written communications.
Candidly, Brocade is just getting started in this area. We have a lot to learn as do many B-to-B marketers. Understanding what the right mix of traditional and new social media outlets and vehicles work best for you and Brocade will take some time. In addition, we recognize that there is an element of risk to driving fully-meshed public communications, with little or no control. We have already received some “energetic” comments on our YouTube site, but we give as good as we get and look forward to even more.
Just like how the world of social media is constantly evolving, our approach to innovative marketing campaigns will continue to change. This is a learning process for us, but I’m very confident in our ability to standout as a forward-thinking, envelop-pushing company. I’m looking forward to this adventure and I hope you will join us for the ride.