01 April 2005

Building brands

Not long ago, leisure time distractions were limited, media choices were few and reaching consumers was relatively easy. It didn't take much for marketers to use the mass media to create brands. Marketers knew that an advertisement in a daily newspaper, a billboard on a well travelled highway or a radio ad during prime time would reach enough of the right consumers. In other words, and because of limited competition, Marketers could cost-effectively reach a significant portion of the population and allow customers to self-select at the point of sale, when they were ready to buy.

Trying to build a brand this way today is exactly the wrong way to build a brand. Competition is immense, consumers lives are highly complex and full of distractions, obligations and multiple options. Furthermore, consumers are more knowledgeable and cynical. Consumers have been let down too often to believe that a camera really can work on Mars or a car can play football.

Successful customer-centric marketing understands this and as a result, successful marketers in the customer economy of today and the demand economy of tomorrow, will focus on building strong, mutually-beneficial relationships between consumers and brands over an extended time period using all touch points. The retention of profitable customers is key to brand building.

Although advertising is still an important component of brand building, if your agency suggests building your brand only with advertising, fire them.


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