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by Jaz Naeem
July 25th 2013 by Jaz Naeem

Halfords vs. Wiggle – the difference between a social brand and a social business

Jaz Naeem, Analyst: What is it about being a social business that has contributed to Wiggle’s healthy increase in revenue of 37% in 2012 in comparison to competitive giant Halfords’ growth of only 8.2%?

Halfords IS a social brand; it commands a healthy presence across five social platforms with a large following on Facebook and Twitter, and as a brand advocates itself perfectly by actively engaging with its online users. However Halfords is NOT a social business. Halfords fails to communicate with its consumers in ways that increase the brand’s reach, encourage engagement or raise awareness.

Good social business equals increased revenue and higher brand value

It’s not just simply about your social media practices. To be a social business is to have a business that internally sings to the same tune by means of ordered and structured communication. The measurement of which can be aligned to business results that are tangible and result in brand value growth.

Looking at revenue of both brands from 2011 – 2012, Wiggle has increased 28.8% more in 2012 than Halfords. Measure this to the comparative operational profit difference of 1.7% in favour of Wiggle and consider that Wiggle was founded in 1999 (Halfords was established in 1892) and it is possible to align the increase in social growth to Wiggle’s increase in brand value.

Wiggle is a social business and this means financial success and growth

 1.    Better knowledge sharingOutcome: efficient resolution of customer queries

Problems and solutions are dealt with directly in social media, the process is streamlined and service operators are directly accountable.

 2.    More connected employeesOutcome: rapid customer service issue resolution

Solid infrastructure for effective communication across the whole of the business creates a good environment for problem solving and dissolves any silos that may occur due to a lack of information.

Wiggle provides a good example by communicating directly through internal social media messaging, like direct messaging on Twitter.

 3.    Increased innovationAction: agile product and services evolution 

Employees empowered by communication are more likely to invest their energy within their work.  This gives the opportunity to multiply the skill-set of your employees and the possibility for a brand to evolve together.

 4.    Improved brand reputationAction: activation of brand advocates internally and externally

The transparency and swift response of customer issues demonstrates a business that reacts to customer needs, by meeting customer expectations.

Halfords often fails to resolve issues online. This breaks down the transparent and visible communication between consumer and brand.

 5.    Lower operating costsAction: shared resource and increased productivity

Streamlining communication internally and externally via the means of knowledge sharing, problem solving and innovation.

 6.    Deeper customer relationshipsAction: consumer/brand collaboration

Wiggle collaborates with the audience by means of shared communication where Halfords broadcasts with little engagement.

Internal activation of social business builds a better understanding

Once the social barriers of a large organisations communication are tackled, there is an opportunity to activate your own employees to resolve issues autonomously, to create new structures and work with consumers to build a new relationship that lives up to consumer expectations.

The result of which is financial gain as demonstrated by the majority of the Top 100 brandz who have all adopted agile reactive social business practices in order to guarantee growth within the challenging economic climate that is the reality of the future.

Read the full article on Marketing’s blog.