Friday, October 9, 2009

Why Integrated (Insert Marketing or Brand) Is Backwards Thinking - FOLLOWUP

I read a review about the integrated marketing conference (see my previous blog) in the KC Star this morning. One quote in particular by a conference organizer got my dander up: "Your brand is not what you say about yourself. It's about what others are saying about you." She was referring to the impact social media has today on brands.

I guess she'd better get busy alerting the folks at Google, Nike, Volvo, Ritz-Carlton, OnStar, Coca-Cola, EA Sports, BMW, YouTube, Victoria's Secret, FOX Newschannel, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Verizon, Maytag, Apple, etc., etc., that they should shut up now and stop force-feeding their respective messages about safety, driving experience, conservative values, freedom, dependability, etc., down our throats.

But let's not let facts get in the way. Like, virtually everyone of those brands I listed, that continue "pushing" out to consumers, dominates it's category.

I get that social media has changed the landscape of marketing. It can create groundswell, both good and bad, and you should have the cup against the social media wall to know what's being said about you. But I liken it to producing a commercial: When editing, you start with the offline or basic edit followed by the online or final post. You would never go to air with just an offline edit. So, why would you make decisions based on social chatter that has no controls in place for the sample, weighting and statistical accuracy?

If you are seeing or hearing things about your brand in social media venues, by all means, investigate. Just substantiate it. The woman in the article also noted that blogs are influential but lack credibility. I too have seen this in research. To draw a parallel, in a study conducted a couple of years ago by my former employer, Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., a question was posed to Millennials (also loyal viewers of) about The Daily Show, and if it influenced their political points of view. It was an overwhelming, "no." One respondent went so far as to say, "it's on Comedy Central after all." People are smarter and savvier than marketers give them credit. Aren't Facebook and Twitter really just condensed blogs?

Building a brand has always, and will always be, a joint venture, driven by the company first. That's because a brand is a promise. It's the company that initiates the handshake. Smart companies do their homework first by finding and exposing the gaps - and unmet or under served needs - in the market place, then reaching out. The consumer's role is to help dial in, and articulate back, important things like what it means to them, if it's satisfying their desires, if it's fulfilling the promise, if it's veering off course, competitive perceptions, etc.

These are my Guts Feelings.

Kurt Bartolich
Founder/Brand Internalist
Guts Branding

1 comment:

  1. It truelu is about the promise and being intentional about your promise as I discuss in my book ; Branding Backwards. You can download a free copy at my blog : .

    I would value your feedback

    Mark allen roberts