Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘brand promise

Do Commercials Still Matter for Brands?

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For decades, the process of building a brand was pretty straightforward. Make a product, spend millions on TV spots to communicate the products selling proposition across the country, then enjoy the profits.

To the dismay of traditional marketers, this method of brand building is quickly fading.

At a conference in Toronto last week, new age marketers Mitch Joel and Seth Godin derided the old forms of advertising and challenged marketers to bravely try new methods. More tellingly, the VP of personal care at Unilever, Kathy O’Brien, recently said in an interview that “The world has moved on. I think consumers have moved on, and we need to get past [TV spots] to figure out what the next way of talking to consumers.” The fact that Unilever, one of the most successful traditional branding companies, is saying this shows how significant this shift is.

Taking the lens that the ‘brand is the business system’ helps explain why traditional advertising doesn’t cut it anymore. A TV commercial doesn’t show how the rest of the business system is able to deliver on the brand promise. Social media, on the hand, is able to demonstrate this and has become a key tool in delivering the brand promise to consumers.

Out of the ongoing conversation that brands have with consumers on various social media platforms is reams of data on how they should be running their business. A lot of tweets on a new product tells a company to up their production to avoid out of stocks. Debate in the blogosphere helps companies refine their offering and improve their products for consumers. This is only two examples, but the use of social media to deliver a brand in a way that TV commercials can’t is abundantly clear.

This is not to say that commercials have no value for brands – simply that they are no longer the ‘be all and end all’ for branding. Awareness is still important, but not enough by itself. It is the tip of the iceberg, that then needs to be supported through new media channels so that the company can deliver their brand promise across all touch points, not just what they show on a TV screen.

What do you think? Are TV commercials still relevant?

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Written by benwisebranding

March 8, 2010 at 8:51 pm

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Toyota’s Brand Revisited

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Previously, I had posted about the opportunity that Toyota had to salvage their brand amid recalls that have reached an unprecedented scale.  Other brands have managed this in the past, such as Maple Leafs Foods or Johnson & Johnson. Toyota could have acted quickly to remedy the situation and communicate to the marketplace how seriously they were taking the problems.

Alas, Toyota missed their chance and now their brand is essentially in a free-fall.  The apology from Toyota’s boss, Akio Toyoda, was generally seen as lackluster. The recall has been slow and the details to consumers have been scant. All of this tells Toyota’s consumers and partners that the problems just aren’t that important to the company.

A brand at its essence is a promise to all stakeholders, consumers and otherwise. Toyota’s promise was about operational excellence and innovation. For the foreseeable future, this promise will carry no credibility in the market. Their perceived ability to be flexible and move quickly is gone. Their public image is shot. In sum, a once mighty brand, that caused terror in their American counterparts, is badly damaged.

What do you think? Will the Toyota brand ever recover?

Written by benwisebranding

February 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

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