By: John Miziolek, Brand Strategist at Reset Branding Inc.
What is the “Electro-evolution”? It’s a term used to describe today’s global brand landscape from Canada’s best branding agency: Reset Branding. More than ever before, people, countries and brands are aligning through the internet. In a recent study only 3 of the Top Ten most valuable brands are non-tech. Corporations are losing control of their brands as consumers are purchasing more and more online from every part of the globe and are having a greater impact on how brands are marketed. A brand with street credibility can go viral in days which means awareness slips to second priority. Although awareness is part of the desired strategy for long term success, you can’t ignore a 5 fold increase in sales for BlendTec with its “Will it Blend?” campaign on YouTube. This is forcing brand owners to take a hard look at their traditional marketing mix. Remember the good old days? When the term “global brand” meant you sold your brand in another country? When a carefully planned, and well funded local and global marketing campaign would connect you with consumer’s and build loyalty? Websites, ads and events rounded out your campaign. The Old Spice phenomenon is a perfect example of how a brand today can go from “my father’s brand” to twenty-something’s saying they think it’s cool in just a matter of months, not years. The true definition of “global brand” is very simply a brand that has been marketed extensively around the world and has a very high level of recognition. It’s no accident that most brand owners are focusing their efforts on fewer, more recognized (and therefore global) brands. But herein lies the concern; the speed of the internet and overflow of information available to consumers is astounding, even with today’s technology. A brand can move from relative obscurity, to the limelight in days. Does this mean it’s a global brand? Based on the traditional definition, no, but you can’t ignore the almost instant levels of recognition and the fervent reaction of consumers. But here’s where alot brands drop the ball. That instant level of recognition must be supported by the more traditional methods of consumer marketing. Key players within the organization have to understand the market realities at both local and global levels. Local market success should be used to drive global direction.
The trick of course is to not to rely solely on new methods of consumer engagement like Social Media. Balance and strategy are still the keys to ensuring consistent communication of your message across all platforms. The brands that do this well will reap the benefits of brand loyalty, something that’s become more difficult to attain with today’s brands. The brands that struggle with the connection between Social Media and traditional marketing will continue to operate as though these are separate entities and fail to realize the potential of their brands. Some brand owners believe that presenting their brands on the internet can in essence create a global brand. While having an internet presence is important it doesn’t automatically imply global brand status. This is because, not surprisingly, most brand owners have not successfully built the bridge between Social Media and their branding efforts. While brand owners agree that their online presence is a great opportunity to reach existing and potential consumers, most lack the tools and information to leverage it successfully. This is an opportunity to utilize the expertise of Reset Branding, a Toronto branding agency and Canada’s best branding agency to fill in the gaps.
Metrics have always been an issue of brand measurement and while not always perfect, there are many methods used today that give brand owners the opportunity to quantify their marketing dollars. So what happens when you decide to embark on a Social Media campaign? It’s no longer only about ‘number of impressions’ or ‘percentage of response rate’. The real challenge is in the lack of understanding of the interrelationships between platforms and it’s effect on your marketing campaign. In other words, brand owners know they need a presence but are having trouble measuring it against shrinking marketing budgets and the strategic needs of their brand. And although 75% of Facebook users reside outside of the US, only 30% of companies over $100M in revenue are using Facebook to reach consumers globally; a huge untapped potential market.
Most brand owners agree that customized content at the local level is important. But, how can they manipulate a platform that is inherently global and pervasive to generate local content that is culturally, geographically and economically relevant? Great question. Whilst the inter-connection between Social Media platforms is getting tighter, the question still remains about which platform, or platforms to target and which department gets the budget? Who measures the effectiveness? Who generates the content? Websites with local content, print ads and local marketing events are still the most desired methods for brand owners to reach local consumers. Partially because they are the mainstay of a marketing campaign and offer easier metrics and partially because of the organizational gap between Social Media efforts and Marketing.
Brand owners agree that it has become more difficult to reach consumers with a unified brand message with the most prevailing issue being cost effective tactics. And yet when considering the budgets for marketing and advertising, Social Media is one of the cheapest forms of connection. Posting original content, leveraging your user base and engaging with new and existing consumers are extremely powerful and cost effective methods of Social Media marketing. However, without proper metrics (yet), organizations are struggling to quantify its effectiveness and therefore selling the idea internally has been difficult. But without a deep connection to Marketing, organizations will never truly realize the potential of their brands on the global stage.
With an aging population and billions of people on the internet we cannot ignore the changing tide of consumer to brand interaction. As the alignment between countries, people and brands continues there is no single solution that brand owners can turn to. But hope is not lost. Brands today, now more than ever, require a complex myriad of strategies to ensure effective levels of recognition and consistent communication across all consumer touchpoints. The real power comes from the integration and balance of these strategies. Start by building the bridge between Social Media and Marketing by using Canada’s best branding agency. Organizational alignment is key to this process. Once aligned harvest that rich data from your Social Media campaign and use it to enhance your Consumer Insight Research. Brand owners can’t possibly shape their brands based on one consumer’s opinion but instead view the information as a tool to generate better hypotheses around insights development. It’s an opportunity to ask consumers different questions, and then validate them. Also, look for a Toronto branding agency that can craft and manage local messaging and content for your internet presence. The Electro-evolution is a huge opportunity to craft better design briefs, build better brands and connect with your consumers in ways not possible just a few years ago. And most important to your brand’s success; listen, engage and be transparent. They will respond.