How Digital Marketing has Transformed How We Think about Branding
Branding and Advertising
Throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, the approach to branding and advertising was largely prescriptive – we agreed on brand positioning and target market, agreed budgets, developed a communication plan….and then rolled the campaign out to agreed platforms including TV, Radio, Outdoor and Print (newspapers, magazines, bus wraps). Digital Marketing wasn’t even a “thing” at this point.
What is so interesting looking back at this process, is that the ‘marketing communication’ work was more or less completed before even one consumer interacted with the brand. Certainly there would be follow up consumer feedback, brand awareness measures, readership and listenership figures review, but it is fair to say that once the campaign was launched, the input from marketing was minimal.
I recently read an article which captured ‘old marketing’ very succinctly:
• The brand was developed
• The brand was prepared
• The brand was presented (to the market)
The control of the brand and the communication rested totally in the hands of the brand owner/agency. Potential consumers/users were ‘presented’ with the brand and could chose to accept or deny its proposition. But they could never really interact or engage with the brand in a meaningful way.
The Onset of Web and SEO
Move forward five years to 2000; while the world of on-line communication was just beginning to be appreciated, no one had any real comprehension of the impending desruptive influence that that digital would bring to the world and branding. Companies were beginning to understand the importance of web and SEO to a lesser extent, but many wondered if it would ‘stick’.
Companies were beginning to understand the importance of web and SEO
Enter the Integrated Digital Marketing sensation of today – the most revolutionary, consumer-centric, iterative marketing communication mechanism ever. Post 2004, with the advent of “proper” social media channels, better internet speeds and e-commerce, the digital age exploded.
From a branding perspective, the biggest impact was the change in brand ownership – this shifted from companies to consumers; a brand was no longer a visual entity with which we hoped the customer would connect, but a piece of their everyday lives that they could engage with at a much deeper level than ever before. Through social networks, with Facebook and Twitter taking the lead, ‘everyday consumers’ created a brand dialogue that was candid, fresh and like nothing the world had seen before. Suddenly the world had a platform to share their opinions and their brand experiences – both good and bad.
Suddenly the world had a platform to share their opinions and their brand experiences – both good and bad.
The World of Corporate Brand Engagement
The world of corporate brands responded to the world of digital a little more slowly than the general public, perhaps driven by the illusion that engaging meant loss of brand control; it didn’t take them long to realise that there really was no choice here; it was a matter of engaging or becoming irrelevant. Most prudent companies chose engagement.
The obvious next question is…”so if Digital Marketing is so powerful, how come so many companies don’t see the benefit of it?”
Marketing Communications Agency
As a marketing communications agency in business since 2006, we have worked with our clients through the transition from ‘traditional only’ marketing to digital marketing; we have seen what works and doesn’t work from a digital perspective. We have helped our clients get significant returns on their digital investment through a process of campaign development, implementation and adaptation. Two of the most important factors in understanding and maximising the investment from digital marketing are (1) Target Marketing Profiling and Segmentation and (2) Key Word research, analysis, understanding and application. Get those elements right, and the return on investment will follow.
Where to go with Digital?
With so many companies unsure about where to go next in their digital journey, we have decided its time to dispel some of the digital myths, time to provide some insight and guidance to companies seeking to take the next step. Every month, we will take an important element of digital marketing, and explain how to approach this in a simple, yet effective way.
Next Month’s Feature: Profiling your Target Market