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Understanding a brand and connecting it digitally

Brand Marketing


By: Jarred Mailer-Lyons

Brands have been around as long as there have been things to sell. The term ‘brand’ originated from the stamp carved onto a product to certify its purity, authenticity and origin. Branding in the modern sense only began to play a significant commercial role with the advent of mass distribution in the latter part of the nineteenth century.


A brand for every intent and purpose is considered a promise - a promise that it will help the user make (or save) money, look better or feel great. But a brand does not signify the intrinsic quality of a product, the brand itself is the quality and experience as perceived by its user.

Where some marketers are still having the conversation about brand promise, equity, and image, the more traditional approach has been replaced with a new discourse about building platforms, proving utility, interaction and entertainment. In essence, digital media is changing the branding game, shifting the focus from print, radio and television to a multidimensional, 24/7 real-time medium that allows for marketers to reach audiences on a micro-targeted level.

As a result of this hyper connected world, online interaction through social media results in direct engagement with the consumer, for example reacting to consumers’ comments, complaints and compliments or proactively driving discussion. This is a far more effective method than the old-fashioned customer surveys, feedback requests and focus groups.

This exchange is the consequence of the kind of market knowledge that brands pay dearly to obtain. This constantly evolving and highly accurate insight into why and how people are responding to brands and their services, and explains why synchronisation with online brand strategy is an imperative part of the success of a business / brand.

Within digital media, a key difference from established media channels is that new innovations and applications are practically limitless, and for those brands that are willing and able, it is possible to break new ground in communication channels on a regular basis.

Even though there has been a significant rise of digital media playing a vital role, old (traditional) media is still relevant, the only difference is that it needs to be delivered faster. It’s therefore worth noting that the growth in importance and usage of digital media has not overtaken existing media channels and made them redundant. It has however opened up a world of new branding opportunities which can be driven by media channels working together in an integrated way.

If conversation is able to create customer loyalty, then the objective for every brand message should be to increase customer allegiance to the brand, its products and services in the long term.


Mark Campbell
T: +27 11 234 2882
www.twitter.com/owlhurst
www.twitter.com/MarkinSA

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