In the world where technology has allowed us to be exposed to marketing messages from countless brands whether small, medium or large, the battleground for customer attention gets more crowded. The danger and pitfall for many brands, especially for the small and medium ones, is their sometimes-stressful need and focus on making money versus engaging and fulfilling their customer needs/wants. This isn’t to negate that having sales goals is imperative, but to identify where the true emphasis and PURPOSE should be to generate long-term success for a business.
Financial goals are necessary, but where the issue occurs is when that is the driving force behind the brand strategy. Don’t mistake this for ignoring the value of generating cash-flow and ensuring a return on investment. The tunnel-vision of money or a financial goal as brand strategy inhibits the ability for brands to connect with their consumers in a meaningful way. When you negate human connection, you minimize your brand value down to transactional exchanges that are easily disposable when a more attractive offer or competitor presents itself.
Startups, small, medium, and large business need to stop and remember why they started their business in the first place. Hopefully, it hasn’t been just to make money and if it is then you need to recognize the short-term vision of your business and set up an exit or acquisition strategy to someone who sees the customer value within your business. Neglecting why you created your product or service in the first place is neglecting the human aspect of your brand. If it's always been about making money, then your brand is just a vending machine. You’re providing a service or product in exchange for a monetary deposit.
Relationships drive business, our economy, our country, and our world. We thrive or deprive as human beings because of the network of relationships we create or lack thereof. Embrace the reason or find a valuable reason why you developed your product or service and that will be the start of leading your business to focus on how to transform people’s lives. Translate that DREAM into a brand mission with values that are driven by PURPOSE and ACTION. Don’t ignore the very thing that separates us from all other life and technology on earth. Be human!
Are we blinded by the pleasures of technology and ignoring what lies beyond? Technology continues to evolve while discovering new ways of doing or not doing things, and at the same time making it easier for us to overindulge. Is the innovation within technology clouding our judgment and exposing how we go on autopilot to feed our own human instincts?
We are in an era where there is more information and data available at our fingertips than ever before. We can educate, train, or entertain ourselves at any given moment throughout the day. We can obtain 15 seconds or more of fame without earning or auditioning for a role and maybe even get paid for it. We can become an author, videographer, photographer, reporter, or journalist at a basic level and attract an audience equivalent to a magazine or even TV impressions. We have become technology co-dependent by inviting listening devices into our homes to help us turn on our lights, appliances, music, and search things we want to know or buy. The exchange of information and usage of data is endless - we can donate, talk, view, debate, share, encourage, search, market/re-market, embarrass, date, demean, fight, bully, brag, etc. all in a matter of seconds with a click, swipe, tap, or just by the command of our voice. What's the cost or personal exchange that is consciously or unconsciously happening?
Introducing the "Digital Dichotomy", we say we want privacy and no ads, but at the same time we give up our personal information for simple conveniences and access to information or content we want (i.e. entertainment, gaming, news, etc.). In addition, we share and post our personal highlight reels or whereabouts. Knowingly or unknowingly we've given up our data and privacy in return for ads we say are intrusive.
Our digital preferences don't reflect our online behavior or actions unless privacy and intrusive ads are the topic of conversation or incorporated into a survey. We could even look at statistics saying that the younger generations are more prone to share personal data, but it's not always the case unless someone who is older downplays their usage/consumption in fear they will be looked down upon by their peers. Remember? - for Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers growing up saying "I'm busy" has always been a badge of honor.
Where does this Digital Dichotomy leave us and how will it shape our future? On daily basis, individuals and companies continue to experience the repercussions across various platforms (i.e. social, mobile, banking, retail, etc.) where personal data is not being protected appropriately, or it is being misused and/or hacked for monetary gain. Where is the threshold for society? What does privacy even mean anymore?
In a world where technology has made communication and the exchange of information an open platform we need to redefine what privacy is. On a personal level it may be more subjective, but for the world, we need new overarching standards. Some companies and platforms are recognizing this and beginning to help change things. We are still in the infant stages of recognizing the inconsistencies and negative results of our actions. It's easy to point the finger at the companies because they create attractive technology, but society at large is responsible. Similar to the revolution in the type of foods we eat consumers/users must participate, no actually demand the change in privacy and ad intrusion by having the self-discipline and the voice to communicate when enough is enough.
BRANDING & MARKETING
Welcome to the Envision Brand Marketing Blog Spot and the very first blog post!
When creating a name for my agency I deliberately chose to put the words "brand marketing" in the title because they are the ingredients to the capabilities and services Envision provides. They are also essential to the marketing and advertising industry because they encompass the who, why, what, when, how, and where. Unfortunately, these two words either get confused as one in the same or they get ignored/forgotten under the pressure and impatience of creating a profitable business. So what's the difference between branding and marketing and why are they important?
Branding and your brand are the WHO, WHAT, and WHY, and it must consistently identify, define, and verbalize what you dreamt about creating for your business before you made it a reality. To take it a step further, the brand is the identity that is perceived by an audience; it's a noun, a person, place or thing. Branding is the specific actions and characteristics the brand embodies on a daily basis (internally and externally). Once brands have taken their dream to reality I've noticed in my 17 plus years in the marketing industry that the brand and branding tend to take a back seat to shiny new social trends and marketing tactics. This clearly ignores the WHY and focuses on HOW, WHEN, and WHERE, which leaves out the foundation and unique value as to why a consumer or business would be attracted to purchasing your service or product in the first place. Your brand should organically live and breathe within every aspect of your company; without branding, you're just pushing or selling services/products in hopes that people understand your WHO, WHAT, and WHY.
Once your brand and branding are established you can then, and only then, begin developing internal and external marketing. Marketing by definition is the relationship builder between the brand and the intended target audience. But similar to dating and finding "the one", you flounder unless you know who you are, what you have to offer, and why it's valuable to someone else. Not to mention you need trustworthy support and advocates to help you grow while holding you accountable.
That being said, marketing encompasses many different aspects in order to develop and implement it with success. The Business Dictionary provides four (4) key elements called the Four P's, Product, Price, Place, Promotional Strategy, which summarizes how marketing is organized and executed. Each of the Four P's requires special attention and research to construct leading to the intersection where marketing meets strategy to formulate an execution plan. What's crucial and sometimes overlooked in the development of the marketing strategy is the "brand". A marketing strategy must be led by the branding and be integrated throughout or the return on investment (ROI) will be unsuccessful.
The topic of brand/branding versus marketing has many layers and can spawn off into many different conversations, but this blog is to clearly identify their differences. The relationship of brand vs. marketing must coexist if a brand business wants to thrive. The BRAND is the story and the BRANDING and MARKETING are the storytellers. \
Thank you for taking the time to read the Envision Brand Marketing Blog. Feel free to leave thoughts, comments or question regarding Brand vs. Marketing.
D. Banks - Owner & Chief Brand Marketing Officer of Envision Brand Marketing, LLC