A Brand’s Purposefully Driven Life in the Social and Digital World

Like all human beings, brands are born in this world with an opportunity to be great. And there is no dream for any business owner but to see its brand thrive amongst the noise that is emerging in the world today.

Developing strategy is as tedious and a challenging task more so as it is now than it was 10 years ago. It involves a lot of research and identity building that requires a marketing team and quite a bit of financial resource. Big companies know that you can’t put a price to a successful branding. After all, their baby is worth betting their bottom dollar just to stand out effectively amidst the marketing clutter.

In an article, “The art – and science – of creating a brand name” by Susan Krashinsky for The Globe and Mail; it described the lengths of which a brand name undergoes in its stages of creation. ING, a well-known financial institution had combed through more than 3,000 brand names, filtered it down to 300 meaningful ones for management to consider. Then when it got to the top 40 names a legal team stepped in before the Tangerine name was borne.

 “Just how important is a name? My simple answer to this is, nothing will be used for a longer period of time or more often than a company’s name,” Mr. Placek said. “It’s not just a creative exercise. It’s a strategic one.” Read more about the article here.

By now, the products and or services are to be embedded alongside the brand name. But there is still the involvement of more brand marketing. A brand at its early years needs to find its identity. This will be fostered by consumer interaction tests, experiences and touch points with of course the come up of expectations that consumers will take the brand positively. Otherwise, recycle the process. We know there is too many mee-too’s out there that is why a brand has to deliver a clear sense of what it stands for, what differentiates it and how it behaves.

Positioning is the very key that ignites the life out of the brand and for consumers to identify with the brand. The ultimate goal of strategizing a position is to keep the products and services situated in the minds of customers and target audiences. While positioning strategy is a lot like rearing a child, it also involves lot of time and developing analytical strategies for a company to see the success of a its marketing efforts.

There are many formulas to the positioning strategy but one that stands effective, when executed well, is the psychological difference. It may not be a sensible approach but it is more resilient than functional differences. Examples are Harley-Davison, Coca-Cola, and Apple.

Apple Ad Campaign 2013

No one can deny the success of Apple’s brand position. The brand instils a strong and appealing view towards its consumers and their products’ elegant and ease of use interface has always been their message over the years. They have proved to be consistent in their promise and true to their identity. Apple delivers a range of product devices, computers and digital content services and have been a leader in the elegance and the user experience category.

“Apple’s brand position has evolved, but today’s brand is still consistent with these early promises.” – excerpt from Apple’s Branding Strategy, Case Study by Marketing Minds. Click here to read more about this case study.

Another brand-building tactic that we should not discount today is the use of emotional intelligence. What this entails is to go beyond the visible product features and the common perception to cater the emotional concerns that matter to the audience.

In this day and age, people care so much about the brands they love. A dominant model is to understand what triggers the audience emotionally. I am not referring to the emotional ads that we have come to know about from disruptive advertising. I am referring to emotional intelligence in the aspect of what makes a brand human and how it sticks to the truth and to be continually truthful. It is a strategic way where brands must be able to analyse and make use of emotions.

We also know that the current advances in technology are making connections so much available, the digital age is an avenue for people to express their thoughts and emotions through online interactions. Emotional intelligence raises the brand value, social branding and brand purpose. All of which are essential key themes to the digital and the social world.

With this in mind, we look at scenarios of how brands are reshaping because of the influence of social and digital streams.

Drive My Brand: FIAT’S Search for Success written by Jonathan Crocker reports that even a small-car market targeting US consumers after being under the radar for 28 years can still be penetrable. How they were able to succeed was strategizing their brand through paid ads using search.

FIAT 5000

 “FIAT’s presence on the search results page really helped drive undecided shoppers’ consideration of the brand.”   –excerpt from Drive My Brand: FIAT’S Search for Success

FIAT elevated brand awareness and influence perception through their online strategy. They studied digital consumer behaviours (desktop vs. multi-screen shoppers), adopted a two-fold approach bidding on specific “retention” and “branded” terms to reach out their target audience. The result was a year-on-year sales growth between 2011 and 2012 over 120%. Read original article at Think with Google.

Another remarkable case is one of Dove’s. It is the most influential online movements to date, The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. It originated by Ogilvy and Mather in 2004, there were two versions of this ad campaign to promote self-esteem and leadership programming amongst the teenagers with the collaboration of Girl Scouts of the USA. The YouTube video was a sensation with the first two videos hitting well over 35 million views within two weeks.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

This campaign was not profit driven but committed to strengthening women’s self-esteem. Dove is an example that is successful at its brand purpose. Its message was loud and clear: Inspire women to have a positive self-image.

This campaign still ripples to this day. Dove released different versions of its campaign and after 10 years Dove launches Fake ‘Beauty Patch’. Even at its 10-year mark Dove is still the most watched viral ad ever. We can’t easily sum up this phenomenon of brands thriving digitally, in just one take.

We know that online media is perpetually changing and consumers live only for the moment. But a brand’s purpose in the digital realm still ring true as it was in the offline world except with the help of digital strems– it has the opportunity to be more resounding than ever.

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Photo credits IMAGE 1: Idris Motee. May 12, 2013. “60 Min Brand Strategist NEW”. http://www.slideshare.net/imootee/60-min-brand-strategist-new image slide 10 of 16 Photo credits IMAGE 2: photo by Timothy Musa from unsplash.com

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