Branding is a marketing focal point that has seen its time come and go, and now only serves as a menu item for marketing firms to sell to their clients. Countless millions (billions?) of dollars are spent each year “building the brand,” but this outdated strategy for business growth has been replaced.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as
A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Now contrary to the headline of this post, I think it is wonderful to have a powerful brand, but creating a staff meeting to talk about brand, or worse, establishing a line-item in the company books for branding is a cancer that will eat away at your resources. It robs you of time, money, focus and energy, all of which could be better used to pursue gaining business for the company (which is the intent of building a brand, correct?).
Branding is about creating a reputation among consumers that serves to make your company prominent, and it is often times an ambiguous expense which companies maintain because the leaders are scared to kill a sacred cow. Branding is the impetus of the funny commercials and witty marketing, we see during the Super Bowl, but it only serves to make the leaders of the organization proud of being the “talk of the town” for a few weeks. Branding has launched many marketing firms reputations, but the money thrown at this dated strategic concept would be far better utilized in an online engagement campaign.
Online Engagement Creates The Reputation That You Seek
Imagine an organization which traditionally throws $1M a year at branding. What would happen if they would invest that same amount of money into hiring a small team of copywriters to work in conjunction with the entire staff of the organization to produce thousands of pages of online content? If this content centered around the answers to consumer questions, wouldn’t this company gain strong traffic to the company website and immediately start to build a reputation among the prospective customers of the company?
Of course, there would be no cool TV commercial or giant billboards or even witty banner ads on the internet to make the company leaders look good, but the benefits to the bottom line and the enhancement of the company reputation would be staggering. This company could begin building a “forever” marketing program by producing content that would be visited for years to come, the gift that keeps on giving.
Once the company has developed superb content, the game of engagement begins. Without great content, the company website has little to offer a consumer who is only beginning the process of “buying” whatever the company sells. It is this dynamite content that stimulates the opening rounds of questions from the consumer (engagement) and also serves as the gravity that pulls prospective customers to the giant sales vortex that company wishes to fuel.