Branding is for Old-School, Madison Avenue, Creative-Guru, Marketing Geniuses
Non-ROI-measureable marketing practices are a throwback to pre-Internet days, when advertising and branding were built upon a house of cards. Creative geniuses in their black turtlenecks mucking about in their black boxes creating "BRANDs" that turned commodities into classics, high school dropouts into gazillionaires, lemons into lemon Meringue.
But they still exist. The House of Cards still exists. Why? Because it takes a long time to disrupt stuff. The house of cards WILL fall. When customer behavior is measured, advertising dollars WILL be spent on those practices that deliver return. Period.
The traditional concept of branding is the last throwback.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What's your mission-vision-culture statement?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
If you were a dog, what breed would you be?
If you were an amplifier, how loud could you go?
Pulse check: the World has Changed.
While branding has always been about "relationships", the engagement rules, the ethos, was communicated in one direction (message) and replied to asynchronously (buy/don't buy). As Patrick Vlaskovits might say, the medium was the message. The content was (perhaps subconsciously) heavily influenced if not determined by the medium (TV, radio, newspaper), not the product per se.
That particular relationship doesn't really exist anymore, other than with perhaps, internet technology laggards.
Disruption strikes like a Boa, but digestion takes a long time.
As if you couldn't guess where I'm going with this, the relationship between "brands" and customers has changed dramatically as the channel has changed from one-direction to multi-directional. It is both synchronous and asynchronous, it is both real-time and time-lagged, it is one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many.
Where's your creative genius to figure all that out?
Branding MUST be redefined to encompass the new reality. Brand loyalty is not simply based on logos, tag lines, and consistent messaging. Brandaneers will say "it never was" and then ask you the questions above to help you produce a color palette. It's always been about relationships, they'll say, as they bid to manage your social media stream and proceed to spew one-way "relationship" drivel.
Consumers are powerful and power-hungry. You will be crushed as quickly as you will be venerated. You'll get the peak of the TechCrunch Bump, but just as quickly, the despair of the TechCrunch pit of "well that sucks, none of the those clicks were give a shit about my product."
So what is a "brand" exactly? And how are you going to evolve your thinking about the purposeful exercise of "branding"?
These are the questions that Jeremiah Gardner and I attempt to answer in The Entrepreneur's Guide to The Lean Brand."
For startups, purposeful branding requires a deliberate effort to establish an ongoing relationship with customers based upon providing value. The brand must represent the achievalble promise that your business makes to its audience, plus the shared aspiration you have with your customer to achieve change.
This is actually pretty heady stuff. And yes, if you're producing a "take-a-pill-and-be-wonderful" product, this isn't for you. But we can fit any business into this model, whether you're a startup, a small business, a life-style business, or a Fortune 1000 company that is committed to creating true value in society.
Are you one of those?
If so, join us on our journey to discovery how we create passionate customers through new branding, fit for this new age.