4 Reasons Digital Matters to Your Brand

Courtesy of Will Lion on Flickr

Courtesy of Will Lion on Flickr

It continues to amaze me how many brands do not invest in digital, choosing instead to stay with the safety of traditional mass media (ie TV and print).  When asked why, you will hear a lot of different answers, but none that haven’t been proven wrong time and time again.  Digital is measurable.  Digital can provide solid ROI.  Digital can drive trial and awareness.

But if you are still struggling with justifying your digital investment, I think there are 4 important reasons digital should matter to your brand:

  1. Digital enables relationships and community
  2. Digital tells a story around your brand
  3. Digital is a key part of an integrated campaign
  4. Digital builds brand equities in new ways

Enables relationships and community: Must marketers grew up in a world of one-way communication where you push a message to consumers.  The power of digital is that it allows for a two-way conversation where you can build a relationship and cultivate a community around your brand.  This allows for a deeper interaction with users of your brand.  It’s a relationship that will last much longer than the :30 seconds of a typical TV spot.  In mass media, you pay for every :15 or :30 seconds of interaction.  But in the digital world, the opportunity for interaction has no time limit based on media buys.

Tells a story around your brand: Marketing has always been about telling a story around your brand.  The creative challenge has always been doing so on a one page print ad or in a :30 TV spot.  Digital throws away these chains, allowing a brand to create a truly deep story about the brand.  That is what makes the marketing behind Halo 3 and others so amazing.  These brands have recognized that they can bring their most passionate brand advocates deep into the story of the brand by harnessing the unlimited potential of digital.  In turn, they create a story and experience deeper than any TV spot could ever deliver.

Is a key part of an integrated campaign: While I preach about the power of digital, I’m not saying that traditional mass media should be abandoned.  After all, it is still the most cost-effective way to reach the largest number of people.  However, digital should be seen as a way to extend a marketing campaign.  At minimum, it is a way to extend the reach and frequency of a campaign beyond the point of TV wear out / point of diminishing returns.  At its best, it can serve as the center of an integrated marketing campaign, allowing mass media to drive the highest potential consumers into a deeper story or community (see points above).

Builds brand equities in new way: Brands are constantly trying to establish a strong brand equity in the hearts and minds of consumers.  Digital allows new ways to express and reinforce these equities.  For instance, FedEx launched a “virtual delivery” campaign on FaceBook.  FedEx has always aimed to own the equity of “fast delivery” and now this campaign allows them to extend that equity to “virtual delivery.”

If you are interested in these reasons digital should matter to your business, you can view my presentation on the subject at SlideShare.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is an excellent topic and answer. But, I’d equally love to hear how you’d answer that from the P&G perspective.

    As a start up that offers a digital product that I’d think brand marketers would love – persistent presence with your online customer, an immersive branded experience and the ability to leverage existing web development. (We make custom browser themes that put brands into the browser – screenshots can be seen at http://www.brandthunder.com/gallery) This is still a very tough sell with traditional brands.

    Sports teams and music labels get it – and maybe they’re just used to engaging their fan base more. But, I’d think CPG would like the controlled environment that allows a deeper connection with their consumer.

    What am I missing?

  2. says

    Dave:

    Thanks for the reply. My impression is CPG is more focused on a new trial from a non-user than creating a deeper relationship with an existing customer.

    And, I get it for some of the commodity products, but feel there's opportunity left on the table when you look at brands that support an emotional connection to something else — Pampers to parenthood, IAMS to pet care. It would be limited to the brands that have the cache to be invited into the life of the consumer because they represent something bigger.

  3. says

    Kevin – You hit the key word when you said “fan base”. Entertainment properties are naturally going to be more compelling when you are talking about something like theming your browser. Same thing happened when people had the idea to them your IM window, MySpace, page. The simple fact is that most people dont really want to always be looking at Tide, Secret or Pantene.

    While they might be loyal users of the brand, chances are that it isnt something they are so passionate about that they want to show it off all the time. Entertainment will always be an easier sell on this because it is easier to market those brands.

    CPG brands are challenged to drive more towards Brand Utility, finding a way to improve the lives of their consumers.

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