I’ve been thinking a lot about brands lately and how they need to change in the new marketing reality in order to survive. Many things have changed: what defines a brand, who defines a brand, the roles communities play in defining and establishing a brand. Brands are still very important, maybe more important than ever, but brands needs to shift their focus from attention to loyalty.
The old marketing world told us that getting the attention of people, engaging them in your brand world, will ultimately lead to consideration and purchase. Since it’s becoming increasingly harder to break through the clutter, most agencies focused their efforts on getting attention at any cost: Takeovers, Pre-Rolls, Interstitials, etc. And, as we all know, they are losing the battle: abysmal CTR’s and undesirable ROI’s coupled with apathy towards advertising. Focusing on mass attention barely works and will not work in the long run.
The future of marketing is getting attention through brand loyalty. I’m not talking about CRM or other top-down connection programs imposed by brands. In some cases they might achieve the business goal of repurchasing, more often than not based on lack of alternatives or convenience.
Traditional brand loyalty exists when people have a high attitude the brand. In the new marketing reality, this high attitude has to be developed through building relationships with people. Not marketing to people, rather practically and emotionally connect businesses with people. In many ways, a practical, efficient connection with a business often leads to an emotional connection. (My Infiniti Service Manager has done more to build my relationship with the luxury brand than any glossy brochure, commercial or banner ad.) These connections are not restrained by information transmitters or reach mechanisms. Frankly, the only limit imposed on these connections is based on organizational issues within businesses.
Seth Godin says it best in his new book ‘Meatball Sundae’:
“Feel free to get all excited about the neat things you can do with the New Marketing. But be prepared to fail. If you don’t get your marketing in sync with your organization and your product, game over.”
People are starting to define brand loyalty by the degree businesses enrich their lives. This encompasses all brand touchpoints: Service, Retail, Emails, Customer Support, etc. People expect a string of connectivness from all touchpoints. It can be practical, efficient or, at best, emotional. These connections turn into relationships and, ultimately, brand loyalty.
Brands will matter more than ever. And a brand can’t be developed in a vacuum or through brand exercises. Good brands always were organic expressions of organizational structures, vision and passion. Future great brands will be developed and nurtured through relationships.Because everybody has a seat on the brand table today. Make them feel at home.