13. BRAND STRATEGY
The way brands come alive today, often called brand activation, has changed with the digital age. So much of a brand’s interactions with consumers are now in digital channels, with digital experiences at the heart of the consumer relationship, that it calls for a digital first approach in thinking about how a brand can be valuable to its consumers.
BE SENSITIVE TO THE DIGITAL REALITY OF YOUR CONSUMERS’ LIVES.
While an agnostic, consumer-centric approach to strategy and branding is always the right way to go, the reality is that most products and services are digitally centered in their interactions with their consumers. So it’s only smart to be thinking about how to bring the value of the brand to life in digital channels from the outset. This often means using technology to solve consumer problems, remove barriers to happiness, enable effortless consumer processes, and to look for innovative ways to re-invent the consumer experience in your category. The results of this mind set will enable your brand strategy to be sensitive to the digital reality of your consumers’ lives from the outset. That’s why having the insights of sophisticated digital strategists and marketers as part of the brand creation process is indispensable.
The importance of a strong brand in todays world is greater than ever before. The good news is that the investment required to create your brand and bring it to life is considerably less than what you would have to invest if you were to rely on advertising alone. While building websites, social media sites, content and other digital assets is still not cheap, it is not “here today, gone tomorrow” like advertising. Digital infrastructure makes a modern brand eco-system work, but unlike advertising these assets should last for some time. They create the possibility of staying connected to prospects, as well as customers, in such a way that you don’t have to pay expensive one-time advertising to reacquire the same people over and over again. In subsequent chapters I will go into how to build this infrastructure. The important take-away for now, however, is that this makes the case for a shift in focus and budgets from paid media to creating your brand and bringing it to life with owned and earned media.
DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE MAKES A MODERN BRAND ECO-SYSTEM WORK.
The process I’ve outlined above will give you all the elements you need to have a healthy brand. However, as with all strategic exercises, it will not mean much with out excellent execution, which begins with the subject of the next chapter: “Connect with consumers.”