Why You Should Build Your Brand Based on Reality—Not Advertising Campaigns

20846299 - typography illustration poster of brand management wordsMarketers are understandably concerned about building and protecting strong brands. An Economist article from a few years ago discusses the power of brands.  “Brands account for more than 30% of the stock market value of companies in the S&P 500 index, reckons Millward Brown, a market-research company. Everyone knows that a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt costs more than a polo shirt; Coke without the logo is just cola.”

But, brand-building efforts are sometimes misguided–focused more on the trappings of the brand (e.g. logos, colors, taglines, key messages and advertising executions) than what really matters: who are you really?

A poor product or service cannot become a powerful brand. It simply won’t happen.

We need only take a look at Interbrand’s annual report of top brands to see the truth in this statement. Several well-known brands topped the list in 2016: Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. They also topped the list in 2014 and 2015! In 2013, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and IBM held the top four spots, but Microsoft was fifth. Holding those top positions doesn’t occur by chance.

So how do they do it? Certainly not through advertising campaigns alone.

It is not uncommon for organizations to lament their lack of success in standing out successfully from competitors. Many conduct extensive research to see how they stack up and, when there’s a gap in their competitor’s favor, they can be quick to point to the trappings of their brand, rather than the reality behind the brand.

“We need a new ad campaign!” “We need to get out there on more social media campaigns.” “We need a new logo.”

And, they may spend a lot of time and effort investing in those trappings only to be disheartened, once again, when the next cycle of marketing research is unveiled.

Some years ago I was fortunate to work for a very strong healthcare brand that, year after year, demonstrated its strong brand position relative to competitors. I used to wonder whether the competition was doing the same type of research (I’m sure that they were…) and how they were responding to the results. Often it seemed that their response was focused on creating more ads, running more ads and holding more community events. Unfortunately, those efforts only work when there is truth behind the claims.

Brands aren’t built on advertising campaigns. Brands are built on reality, and they are supported by advertising campaigns.

That’s a very important distinction.

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st century marketers.

We’re actively seeking new clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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