Monday, May 17, 2010
Brand building must based on sustained communication
As a society we’re obsessed with quick fixes, instant celebrity and immediate gratification.
The corporate sector, being reflective of broader society, is no different; too often it approaches everything from a short-term perspective.
* 'I will shake all the corners of the country' NOW!
* Make me an authority in marketing. NOW!
* I want to be featured in the media. NOW!
Even social media – a still-emerging but already powerful communications (r)evolution – is bizarrely often treated in the same way as a TV commercial or direct mailer i.e. another channel to broadcast a one-way sales message. Weird, but that’s the way it is in a world where senior executives at large organizations don’t take the time to better understand the seismic societal shift that’s happening around them.
All of which, of course, is counter to the process of building a brand. All of which goes against the grain of building a company’s name and reputation in the market place. While it has always taken time, forethought and considerable effort to earn and retain the respect and trust of consumers, the case has never been better than in today’s hyper-connected commercial environment where transparency and authenticity are the ‘king and queen’ of communications. It’s the same with marketing.
Build your brand and earn respect over time – inch by inch, second by second, day by day.
However, this does not mean you can’t expect results any time soon, or activate campaigns designed to spark interest in your brand. Far from it! The odd campaign – whether below the line, through the media or event-based will always have a better chance of working if it’s
properly targeted, strategically sound and based around a solid creative idea that resonates with key audiences.
However, campaigns will work more effectively if they’re added over-and-above to a solid base of sustained brand communications. I’m talking a day-by-day/week-by-week proposition – a drip-feeding of PR-driven activity throughout the year. What do I mean by ‘sustained brand communications’?
If PR is all about communicating with the people who matter most to your business, then basically we’re talking about any activity that sits under this broad remit. And communications shouldn’t just be with end-consumers but also media, and other influencers and stakeholders (the audience groups will depend largely on the type of company you run and who you need to talk with on a regular basis).One thing I know is that you can only earn attention by creating
and leveraging strategic communication platforms or tactical ‘conversation points’ designed to get people talking via multiple channels.
THINK: ‘traditional’ media – news, feature stories, column pieces and opinion pieces ‘drip-fed’ over a period of time to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs (By this I don’t mean having a showbiz artiste on breakfast club when you know very well that the only people watching the show are house helps and the CEO's who have TV sets in their offices.......Do you think they will connect with Jua cali?
THINK: ‘live’ media –speaking engagements, roundtable briefings, sponsorships /partnerships, events, forums,seminars and Expos. Betty Maina of Kenya Association of Manufacturers can attest to this; a round table briefing has long term and far reaching impact than all the traditional media simply because it is soft and direct. Remember the PM's round table with Kenyan manufacturers?
THINK: ‘social’ media – blogs, podcasts, video, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, 2.0-enabled website and online newsroom etc.
If it’s sustained marketing success you’re after (versus merely short-term campaign-based ‘hits’), it’s important to understand the power of building a solid foundation of
This requires brands to produce and distribute interesting and relevant content, share ideas and information, and participate in two-way dialogue with the broader marketplace – on and offline. Again, I reiterate this doesn’t mean you don’t run any tactical brand campaigns using advertising, direct marketing or any other mediums that work for you. But it does require a broader scope of thinking and a willingness to do the ‘little things’ in a
communications sense – again and again and again…