I’d like to pose a question for this post.
I may be deluded or totally off the mark with my answer so I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The question: is digital marketing destroying your brand?
What do I mean by this?
Well I’ve been wrestling with the direction that the marketing and communications industry is going in – especially with the over investment of budgets and resources in digital channels?
What do you think?
Where is the marketing industry going?
Have we lost the art of brand building?
Are we becoming schizophrenic in our marketing communication?
Has the digital disruption and the fact that digital marketing is now mainstream, actually only served to disrupt clarity of planning and the consistency of brand messaging?
To give a little context
We used to have big brand ads.
The Carlton Big Ad, The Qantas I still call Australia Home Ad, and who could forget, the old Tooheys How do you feel ads?
Yes the world has moved on with mobility, the advent of social media, smart phones, open source technology platforms and the burgeoning data footprint.
However just because we can deliver marketing messaging through automated platforms and hyper targeted contextual methods, do we need to be doing it?
And more importantly, how is all the messaging actually mapping to a consistent brand strategy?
Agile or schizophrenic?
We keep hearing that marketing, like development, has become agile. But all this feels like an excuse to be flexible, tactical, and open to tic-tacking based on opportunities as they rise.
It also feels like an excuse not to create a clearly mapped out marketing plan as a guiding force for all brand activity.
Maybe it’s forcing marketing communication to become schizophrenic – ultimately destroying brand equity.
To personalise or not to personalise?
Have you also noticed the rise of personalisation as brands strive to talk to individuals and engage on a mass scale?
Technology has given the power for marketers to personalise. However this often means personalising to a point where experiences, service and offers are so tailored that they are off brand, or outside the desired brand world experience.
Personalisation, if done well, can create powerfully positive consumer experiences. However the challenge for personalisation on a mass scale is to be united within a brand world context, rather than sit in silos of activity for sales, e-store or automation / triggered event, and CRM teams.
And above all, it must be authentic in order to create effective brand engagement.
The worst thing that can happen is to try and be so exclusive that all the focus is on a specific channel engagement and/or sales metric, which means brand saliency is diluted to the point where distinction is lost and a large volume of communications activity has simply become wallpaper.
There’s also a new sickness in town – surveying
And to take personalisation to a whole new level, has anyone received a survey from a brand recently?
There has been an exponential rise in surveying as it’s now so easy to implement. Polls in Twitter, Cards in YouTube videos, pop-ups on web pages, etc etc etc.
I’m starting to get sick of being surveyed as marketing; research and digital teams start putting surveys into every touch point like it’s the last chance saloon.
What happened to the thought of measuring impact and customer feedback at key moments in time?
Which means I would only receive a survey after reaching certain milestones, and not at every milestone, which at the end of the day just pisses me off and turns me off a brand.
Content flooding and the big switch off
And as brands move to create more and more content – just because agency partners say they need to, or that Google will penalize them if they don’t – we’re now being flooded with content.
So consumers are reacting by switching off, and turning away from brands that annoy them.
Don’t get me wrong; producing large volumes of content can be a great strategy. However it must be relevant to the target audience and ideally have clear calls to action to actually motivate behavioral change.
Have you achieved alignment?
So let’s get back to it. Is all your digital activity destroying your brand?
Are your social and community management teams aligned to your brand values? Are they building content calendars that deliver on consumer desire for the brand experience?
Are your customer journeys mapped out with relevant communication at each stage? And are they being measured and optimised against brand goals?
Are your data, analytics and insight generation teams prioritising activity based on the most impact for consumers of your brand?
Is your website optimal for mobile? Meaning can I actually watch your latest TVC – which you may have put on your website – on my mobile without it taking an eternity to load or being the wrong size?
Are your PR, digital, social, and direct agencies all clearly demarcated and working together to deliver communications that is ‘on brand’ and building your brand story?
Or are they all in different directions?
Bring back the big branding campaign to get cut-through.
However, have extensions of activity that can continue the story and build relationships through different channels, touch points and formats. And keep the extensions true to the brand and not based on a fad or the trend of the day!
All with the aim of creating amazing consumer experiences, growing your brand and the bottom line of your business, and satisfying your consumers. Move away from measuring efficiency, and lowest cost, and evolve to measuring marketing performance and value.
This will change the way you structure your marketing teams.
It will change the way you plan your activity.
And it will change the way you communicate between internal departments and utilise the capability of external vendors and service providers.
So, lets chat. Just add a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts, either on your business, or on brands that are doing it well or not so well.
Is your digital activity building or destroying your brand?
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