Had the opportunity to meet and chat with Trey Reeme at SWOMFest. He works for a credit union and a recent post of his succinctly answered the question:
"If you’re not first doing something compelling in the real world, don’t bother getting into social media."
TDECU's "Young and Free Texas" project is a prime example of doing something both useful and compelling. And guess what, it's not about a product or even a brand - its about supporting an audience at its core, emotional level.
As the economy shifts from consumption-centric to something else (and I'm not sure what yet), the focus of marketing should be on understanding what the long term benefit of the relationship is. For some products, e.g. cars, electronic retailers, etc. - the answer might just well be that there isn't a real reason. Companies that can't answer 'what benefit do we deliver and what are we known for' are likely to be roadside litter. >