Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's the Brand Silly!

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The rise of Search and Social Media has triggered a lot of crazy assertions about the future of Marketing...for the record I define Marketing as any outbound communication a company has with their clients or potential clients.

You hear statements like..."Can Traditional Media and Social Media co-exist?" or "Search advertising reaches the consumer closest to the purchasing decision so therefore is the best."

I believe these statements are fundamentally flawed since it is all about the Brand silly! People want to focus down to one specific medium like Social Media or Search Advertising and say they are the best! Those people are missing the bigger picture. Building a Brand takes multiple marketing mediums working in concert. The smart marketer understands the strengths of each medium and chooses the ones that can best achieve the Brand's predetermined goals.


Traditional Media like TV and Radio help to build a Brand's image and perceived experience for the consumer.

Social Media like Twitter or Facebook allows a Brand to enter into a two-way dialogue with their key consumers.

Search Advertising allows your Brand to be in front of potential clients at the moment when they are closest to making a purchase.

The above list is only the tip of the iceberg for a Brand's marketing options but a GREAT start! By utilizing just the Marketing Mediums listed above a Brand can do the following:

1) Build an image in potential consumer's minds (Traditional Media)

2) Drive sales at an online or brick and mortar location (Combination of Traditional Media, Social Media, & Search)

3) Develop two-way communication with key consumers (Social Media)

The mediums to market a Brand have been transformed tremendously over the last couple of years due in large part to the explosive growth of the Interactive space. Even though some mediums may have changed the core marketing philosophies behind building a Brand have not. Having new mediums to market a Brand does not mean the old mediums are obsolete instead it just provides you more opportunities!



  1. Great post Jeff! You hit the nail right on the head. Especially your closing paragraph. Like we were talking about last week - the question of "Can Traditional and Social Media Co-Exist?" - shouldn't even be a question. They NEED to co-exist. Companies cannot build their brands on one medium alone. Building your brand is about identifying your competitive advantage and then determining the correct combination of marketing mediums to establish the brand in the marketplace and continuing to re-inforce that message. This requires a combination of mediums to not only reach your target audience, but to raise awareness and position your brand among the consumer as the only solution to their problem.

  2. Juli,

    Thank you very much for the comment. GREAT additional points. I am hoping someone can show me how to build a Brand through the use of Search Advertising:)

  3. Hey Jeff,

    I would love to see someone show you how to build a brand thru search's not likely to happen. Branding, is a process, and takes time, several avenues, and above all else: consistency. Consistency is absolutely lacking from search advertising. But I digress...

    Stay with me for a second. This statement is fundamentally flawed: "search advertising allows your brand to be in front of potential clients at the moment when closest to making a purchase." (Eer - that's my imaginary buzzer going off).

    Branding does not equal advertising. Branding has ALREADY happened, before the consumer is at the "buying" stage. Effective branding is what happens when top of mind awareness is created so that (optimally)YOUR brand is the very first and only choice that exists in the consumers mind...prior to even heading to the store, website, etc. The choice has been made - they already believe Pepsi to be the soda leader before they go to Safeway, who they believe to be better than Albertsons, to buy that soda...

    When people are in the buying stage - the branding stage - the one that creates awareness, has already happened. As a PR, advertising, and marketing person (in many different variations over 15+ years), I've sat on all sides of the table. We're all trying to figure out how to crack the golden egg wide open. With the multitude of arenas people get their information from, the different places they spend their time...branding becomes much more challenging as the messages can become completetly diluted.

    As Al Ries will tell you - the top brands advertise AFTER they become top brands. They already have top of mind awareness...and they want to stay there and keep reminding us. But advertising does NOT build brands, and that in my opinion, includes search advertising.

    My two cents. I think you're a rockstar and you should keep going out there and kicking butt and taking names!

    All the best,

  4. Zoey,

    AWESOME Stuff!!! One point...Marketing allows a Brand to be discovered. You can have the best Brand in the world but if you are not known then you will not succeed.