A common concern among brand owners and marketing leaders is where to invest their money to build a meaningful, profitable brand. In the attempt to maximize returns on marketing spend, many clients turn to their advertising agencies for recommendations. It’s no surprise clients are often advised to advertise more and to pump dollars into other services offered by the agency!
However much they experiment and spend on these methods, at best what they create is a good ad campaign that runs for a few months and increases awareness and sales for the short-term, thereby appeasing any “brand worries” for the moment. At worst, it could do some real long term damage, creating clutter and mixed messaging that results in customer confusion, fatigue, or cynicism towards their product and company.
When it comes to developing strong brands, no advertising campaign or PR blast can create that profitable aura the great brands have nurtured for years. While one should not entirely dismiss the role of advertising in growing awareness and positioning a brand, it is in fact, one of the less important factors in shaping consumer perceptions and attitudes. In fact, studies have shown several factors like ‘product’ and ‘packaging’ to have much greater impact on brand than advertising.
Advertising’s impact is often temporary creating a ripple that lasts for a few months or years. The difference with real brand building, however, is much more lasting. A brand is built from within, woven into the very foundation of the company and expressed in every aspect of its product and service offering.
From global brands like Apple to Asian examples like Banyan Tree, it can be seen that the brand is brought to life primarily by products, services, and employee behaviors. These brand see advertising as the last layer, used to announce and reinforce to customers, the values and offerings they already experience while doing business with the company or using its product and services.
What do these financially successful brands do that sets them apart? They walk the talk. They invest their budget not only in announcing, but in actually doing and delivering.
Yes, making changes in these components of ones business requires time and investment. There is always a temptation to take a shortcut ‘” to turn to advertising or PR alone to create a spike in awareness or sales that would help the marketing department shine for a month or two. However, only investment at the level of product, packaging, and identity brings long-term impact and growth.
A simple analogy we use at Span Consulting to make the point: Imagine you suffer from fatigue, low energy, and overall poor health. There are a couple ways you could address this:
1. A quick shot of coffee, red bull, or even a cigarette might give you an instant rush. Problem solved! — But in the long term, such “solutions” will have no positive impact, or will even be potentially harmful.
‘” OR ‘”
2. Begin to make changes to your diet, exercise habits, and overall lifestyle.
Of course this is no quick fix, but the effects are true, with lasting health benefits for a lifetime.
Too often, brand owners and marketing managers spend all their money on the equivalent of coffee and cigarettes, and then wonder why they don’t see positive long-term results or have any real brand presence! The solution to this challenge lies in some introspection: Are focusing on a short-term marketing cycle ‘” always looking for the next quick fix? Or are you looking to build a long-lasting, healthy, profitable brand?
Span Consulting is a research, strategy, and innovation consultancy based in Singapore and Los Angeles. We help brands identify and reach their full potential by taking them from “the way it IS” to “the way it COULD be”.
To find out more, visit www.spanconsulting.com