Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Build Your Brand in Digital Age

We are absolutely inundated in news and information. On all sides we are being hit from the left and right! Information flying everywhere and from all sides between the election and the economy, the weather and the price of fuel. This massive message pounding is due, in good part, to the increase in channels of communication, mostly in digital communication. The internet and all manner of things digital have made it almost impossible to escape what's going on in the world. This has created a host of challenges and opportunities for Marketers and Advertising managers and everyone else responsible for the care and growing of brands. With all the new terms and jargon and the changing dynamics, questions abound. How do you cut through the clutter? How do you get your customer’s attention without being perceived as a pest? How do you get consumers engaged and wanting more? How do you take advantage of digital tools and tactics you are hearing about and deliver better brand?

Back in my youth, which was literally years ago, there was traditional advertising; you know 30- or 60-second TV spots, print media of magazines and the newspaper. Those of us who grew up on branding and advertising during those days came to accept this linear form of branding. We could pick it up, put it down or walk away from it quiet easily, thank you.

Well, the digital world is here. Marketing has moved from a linear customer in control of the message to a very nonlinear and digital technology where we see the message weather we want to or not. While traditional advertising still plays an important part in the branding equation, it no longer drives everything else. That's because modern consumers aren't sitting en masse in front of their TV sets being told why one brand of cereal is better than another.

To start with, there is no "mass" anymore. Consumer segments are more fragmented than at any other time in marketing history. TV is neither the most obvious game nor the only game. Companies are re-evaluating how they spend their branding dollars. It is harder than at any other moment in the history of branding to break through the marketplace clutter, to get people to pay attention to you and to focus on any thing let alone you, for very long.

Instead of looking at branding as a linear attack, marketer’s putting the brand right in the middle. They are not thinking about how the media should drive the branding but how the brand should drive the media and every other form of brand experience for the customer.

Michael Mendenhall, CMO of Hewlett-Packard, said "Many companies continue to look at marketing in conventional ways -- from a mass-market point of view. Branding today is not about the media; it's about the idea. You need to dismiss the conventional way of thinking and start with an understanding of the value of each communication channel and how -- or whether -- it will engage people. The idea should be the organizing principle, and it should inform everything you do to help consumers grasp your brand promise in whatever channel you're reaching them: the television, the blogs, the banner ads or the word of mouth.”

So where are you, what are your weapons in the new mulitchanel digital age?

Larson note: The need to understand multi-channels importance and effectively manage a brand across them does seem to be increasing in popularity I am struck by the change in how consumers can be introduced to a brand. Do I hear BLOG? Typically it will be in some form of mass media, but not necessarily an advertisement (could be a review, a product placement—intentional or not). Do I hear Social Media? The interesting shift is in the consumer's experience. They may hear about the brand from many sources before the brand owner's message reaches them. This seems to be the real change. The advertising message is coming after an impression has been created. Brand managers who don't understand this are operating from a point of weakness. If you don’t know what is out on Main Street about your product your dead meat! Traditional communications channels can no longer have an advantage based on their primacy in linear position in the customer communication life-cycle, heck some people never read a newspaper or look at network TV.

Ask about our Blog and Social Media Marketing services.

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Telesales & Target Marketing Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

No comments: