Be the brand.

I’ve recently read some postings lamenting that brands used to be built by memorable TV moments. Back when life revolved around your favorite TV series, three network channels and brand campaigns dominated the timeslots. Before microwaves, digital recorders, cable and the Internet changed our viewing habits and behaviors.

According to national and Indianapolis brand strategists as well as some market research gurus, gone are the days of sitting down for a family meal before gathering around the TV for the evening. Now, our lives are fuller and busier. We are on the run and eat out more, record our favorite shows and watch them at our leisure while fast-forwarding through the commercials.

We can even watch our favorite TV series or program by ourselves on our smartphone or tablet – anytime and anywhere. And the Internet gives us news, information and entertainment at our convenience.

So where does this leave branding?

Same place, same brand channel. If you want to build brand value and preference, you still need to invest in relationships with your customers. You need to find ways to help customers relate to your brand.

And yes, it still takes time. It takes aligning customer touch points to build brands moments – in person, on the phone and online to create lasting customer relationships.

For the most part, you couldn’t rely totally on TV branding campaigns anyway because if people didn’t have the same experience with the product or service then the advertising was useless. Likewise, you can build the most incredible brand experience on the Web, but if people don’t come to it then it is useless.

The brand connection is different on the Web. It’s more than having a quality Web design, Facebook or Twitter page. People are interested in a series of interactions, created by questions and answers. We see something. We discuss it. We try to find out more information, from mostly independent advice. The combination of searching online and seeing banner ads works together with the aim to create what is called “conversation with the brand.”

We learn by repetition and experience. And people who engage with your online ad or video, seek it out online and share it with friends are actively interacting with your brand and investing real emotional involvement.

The beauty of online branding is when it drives offline conversions. The more your digital marketing seeks to be compelling and emotional, and make customers feel something for the brand over just tracking each click through, the more success you will experience.

But remember, like TV advertising, digital marketing is only one channel and one touch point. You and your employees have to represent the brand attributes and be the brand.

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