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Brands And Digital

Brand Building In The Digital Now


Digital Age Branding

About a month ago, I wrote an article on “The Thin Brand Line.” Truth be told, lines everywhere are thinning. Even at SXSW, perhaps a glimpse into the future is inferred by this quote from Elizabeth Dole, Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell, “There was a whole convergence between [the Film, Music, and Interactive parts of the conference], reflecting that to consumers, it’s really the same thing now.”

Similarly it’s true in the way brand stewards and managers now look at traditional and digital; no longer are they co-dependent, they are fully symbiotic.

Brand building originates in the core of the brand, radiating outward in all directions like a lighthouse beacon. The radiance carries brand purpose, brand higher/social purpose, and positioning at intelligent wavelengths specifically tuned to create resonance with consumers.

Digital Age Brand Strategy

Surrounding the core of brand is a series of progressive layers which Isra Garcia calls, “The Human Business Ecosphere.” It illustrates how brand essence travels through several layers of possibility, defined by the goals and opportunity that usually occur within a given layer.

  1. The inner core represents
  2. The outer core forms a business layer in which the brand conducts business in the market. If there is no business, there is no brand.
  3. In the social business layer, audience becomes community, and the brand gains reputation and influence.
  4. At the cross-media layer, offline and online begin to comingle in a complimentary and integrated manner, amplified by the social layer. Brand experience and activities like sales, lead generation, and conversions occur here.
  5. The final layer is the human interaction layer. It is farthest from the core of the brand. For the brand to develop and nurture a relationship with consumers, it needs to connect on a human level by demonstrating authenticity, values, empathy, trust, transparency. This is where the brand essence, which has been radiated outward from the core, is either absorbed by customers, resulting in a dynamic convection loop driving back to the core and strengthening the brand. Or it is not absorbed and radiates out into the void.

Tom Doctoroff, Asia CEO for J. Walter Thompson, says, “It’s time to achieve a harmony of opposites: between the clarity of positioning and the dynamism of consumer engagement; between long-term brand equity and short-term tactical messaging; and between emotional relevance and results driven by data-driven technology.”

The essence of a brand can evolve, but interaction points and available technology do not change the essence. The quickest way to grow out of sync with consumers is to radiate brand essence at the wavelength that is most exciting for the technology, and forget about the human interaction layer where the convection loop comes back. As my hero, Simon Sylvester once said, “Our choice is to follow where the technology leads and leave consumers behind, or make technology work for humans.”

The Blake Project can help you with your social engagement strategy. Email us to find out more.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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