06/27/2012 06:00 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2012

How to Build Social Brand Equity by Giving It Away

I'm often asked how to create big brand equity. My best answer is "give it away."

Hold a free micro-webcast and answer your customers questions. Host a quick rush-hour cocktail party and tweet it out. Surprise your customers with a 'free' gift or coupon to something they're not expecting. The ideas are endless.

Do it socially, so everyone has a chance to participate. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pinterest it, blog about it. Create a video about it. Or not. But think about how you can delight your customers when they least expect it.

Why? Because giving it away becomes the touchstone for spreading the word. It's like a pebble in a pond that creates ripples. Those ripples could trigger something unexpected, something that makes a huge difference.

If you're an agency or even a startup, hold a brainstorming session to think of the best way to give brand equity away -- and then reward the team or the individual for coming up with the idea.

If your building a personal brand, think of something you can give to your community, customers, constituents, or industry that is valuable.

Building social brand equity is a bit different than the old days. In the old days it was all about the brand itself -- is it unique, memorable? What's the brand personality?

Today it's about the brand becoming a center of gravity and 'pulling' customers, believers, fans, advocates, and evangelists in by sheer force. Not manipulation, but because the brand's promise and vision is so compelling it attracts voluntarily.

Create your own golden ripples. Start by giving it away and see what happens.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension. Email her at