I think a lot of people still assume that branding is as it was once upon a time. It was simply putting your logo out there constantly and showing your logo associated with a positive emotional state.
So, let’s get clear about the difference between direct response advertising versus branding.
Coke is a great example. Coke don’t do direct response advertising – they do branding.
In a Coke TV commercial they have these situations and scenes where it’s social and it’s high energy.
The sports wagon hits the top of the sand dune, it’s a beautiful sunny day there’s not a cloud in the sky, they’re at the top of the sand dune and kids jump out and throw their clothes off. You’ve got these beautiful girls in bikinis and hot guys in boardshorts, they’re having fun and they’re joking, grabbing an esky out of the back of the car and they’re running down the sand dune towards this big beautiful beach and this scene is producing all these emotional ties.
Then at that clincher moment, they’re peaking the visuals, they’re peaking the sound and the music, they’re peaking the energy and the combustion of that connect to nature and then comes the close up of the…pssht of the opening up the can and… glug, glug, glug…and the tagline comes out, ‘Everything’s better with Coke!’
Now that to me is the old school branding and for a lot of companies that have multi-billion dollar budgets, that’s actually a branding strategy that should be part of the mix.
When you’re a small to medium size player, where the dominant media is social, you’re not playing with TV. You’re playing with Instagram, you’re playing with Facebook, you’re playing with LinkedIn, you’re playing with Youtube, and you’ve got to understand attention is what builds brands. You gotta be producing information, producing content, producing media.
If you’re building a brand on social media…
The number one gun is attention – the number two gun is the right kind of association.
The mere exposure effect
The mere exposure effect is a psychological phenomena whereby people tend to develop a preference for things because they become familiar with them.
When we look at this thing called the mere exposure effect we’re trying to get in front of someone with our brand at least ideally 15 to 20 times in a given period of time.
This phenomena not only creates positive preferences but also negative. If you’re putting your brand in front of someone in the right emotional context it creates a positive influence. It creates a positive association. If it’s done in the wrong context it’s going to create a negative perspective, it’s going to create a negative influence and create a negative sentiment.
It really is about, how do I create and construct content that I deliver to my market that speaks directly to them? That speaks directly to that demographic to that psycho-demographic, that age group.
Or, how do I produce content? How do I produce threads of content for each one of those demographic? Perhaps you have a range of different demographics.
You might find that you’ve got a number of different segments, you might have a strong segment between the ages of 25 to 35 year old single males, and then you might discover you’ve got a strong demographic between 22 and 42 of young mums, as an example.
Utility content as a branding vehicle
You are producing content that is of utility nature, and that content by design is going to provide some form of a value.
By them seeing value in what it is you’re producing you’re gonna have their attention and they’re gonna be watching it and that is where subtle brand play will really fall in to it.
Just by virtue of them watching a video and they can see the name on the page they’re watching the video on, that’s a level of branding.
Then you start getting into the production branding side of things where you start creating a style, a look and a feel to your content that everytime they see that type of video they say, ‘That’s Kerwin’s video’.
You can start producing branding through intro’s and outro’s, and branding through personality. Personal brands are a huge part of 21st century branding.
The equity in any brand, is the association that brand has with the market that is familiar with it.
We’re looking to build positive equity because if you build up positive equity over a period of time then that really primes people for direct response.
Direct response marketing and brand awareness marketing
Direct response is an art that’s become almost forgotten in many ways.
I was a copywriter. My first job in marketing and advertising was writing direct response copywriting. I was writing classified ads, newspaper ads, radio, TV, little slots where I was creating content where the number one goal was to create a sale.
You’ve gotta understand the difference between direct response marketing and utility or brand marketing. It really is critical that you understand the difference or you’re wasting valuable effort, time, money and more importantly…opportunity.
Opportunity to build strong brand awareness, association and sentiment.
Direct response is all about making the sale. How do I go straight for the jugular? How do I get this person straight into bed and get things rocking and rolling?
Where as branding is more about building value over time through the distribution and delivery of high value content that creates this relationship.
I’ll give you another example here.
There’s a number of furniture brands that are very good at direct response marketing, and they’re known for having the sales and the cheap stuff. And they’re always going out of business and that kind of stuff.
But the challenge that I see that a lot of those brands have is the sentiment.
They’re very good at getting people in, based on the sentiment that you’re gonna get a bargain. But the customer service, the relationship, the follow up, is so poor because of the area that they play at.
They actually do more damage to their brand long term and as a result they have to rely constantly on direct response.
See if you’re constantly relying on direct response, you’re actually not moving into the area of farming which is the most profitable playground. This is where you harvest clients based on the brand, not based on the media.
And what I mean by that is, you don’t always want to be waiting for your customers to buy everytime you throw a piece of direct marketing in front of them.
You want your customers to buy anytime they think of you, your product, your service. They want to buy exhibit A, and the first thing they think of, click… is you. They don’t need a piece of direct response content to be put in front of them.
Create a top of mind brand
The way that you create that top of mind awareness is by publishing content on a regular basis.
Visual content – we’re talking videos, pictures, infographics, audio content. Get your content into podcasts, articles, text content, long form articles on LinkedIn, blog articles – taking everything you do and get it transcribed.
Make sure you’re attacking all different forms of media, all different forms of format and most importantly doing it with a perspective, ‘I’m gonna create content that is of service.’
Solve people’s problems. I think this is the challenge that a lot of people have. They think the more they solve people’s problems through their marketing then the less attractive they’re gonna be.
What I’ve discovered, and I’ve always known this, what we’ve discovered at a very high level with our business is the more we help people, the more demand and the more desire that we create for people to actually just throw money at us.
To the point where people get slightly abusive if they ring us or send us a message and they want to buy something and they’re in a foreign country and we have nothing to sell. They actually get quite upset. And as much as that is shocking commercially, ‘Oh my God we’ve got nothing to sell.’
It’s also entertaining that on some level that you can create that kind of desire for a product.
High levels of desire for a product or a service, simply put, reflects…
Supply and demand.
You’ve gotta understand, when you look at Nintendo Game Boy, Tickle Me Elmo, Cabbage Patch dolls, any of these products, that these toys that have been used for a limited release psychology. Apple products are another example of this.
Whenever you create a high level of brand demand people will go to any extent to access to the products.
Every christmas people have punch ups in toy stores when limited release products get dropped on the floor. The pallets are opened and the plastic gets ripped open.
I’m not condoning that kind of behaviour but the market psychology is interesting, what is it that you have to do to create that level of demand whereby people will actually get into physical altercations in order to get access to your products? Where people will be physically or verbally abusive who normally would be model citizens, church going citizens? What is it that drives that kind of behaviour? And, it is desire.
Desire drives demand. And what is it that drives that kind of desire?
It’s a connection with the association of what that product is and what that product gives you, and your media is the bridge. And the more you publish and the more content you put out there, the stronger that bridge becomes.
Until all of a sudden, you don’t have a bridge you have a super highway of connection between you and your audience, whereby the moment they think of you and the moment they consider buying your products and services they don’t need a piece of direct response content put in front of them. They just immediately respond and they want to buy by virtue of the branding that has been done.
The net effect of branding
My version of branding? The stuff we’re doing in here right now is a bit different to other people’s version of branding, it’s the look, the feel, and the tone and everything else.
For me it’s, ‘What the association when someone sees your brand in the marketplace? What’s the association. That’s the impact.
The net effect of branding is the association people have when they look at your brand.
They look at your brand, they look at your Facebook page, they look at your Instagram page, your logo, your product, your service…
Do they even f***en know… who you are?
And if they do know who you are, what is first, top of mind thought and association? What types of conversations are people having in and around your brand?
That to me is the net effect of branding.
I got asked the other day, ‘How can I build my brand while still helping others along the way?’
For me that answer is obvious. The way you build a brand in 2018 is by helping people.
So branding in the twenty first century, branding in the social-age for me, really is about helping people if you’re going to be doing it at a high level.
And by the way, branding will make direct response a lot more impactful. It will give you a much stronger ROI by virtue of creating that positive sentiment, to a point where sometimes once someone’s got a strong relationship with your brand, they’re on that super highway of connection, then some people might need a direct response piece of content put in front of them in order to respond and want to do business with you, and buy your products and services.
In my opinion, you can’t do one without the other in this day and age if you want to do it effectively.
That’s branding in a nutshell…
That’s branding 101.
That’s it. I can go home now.
P.S. This is the most value regarding branding I’ve published. To reinforce this content watch Hey Kerwin #29 now.
We also talk vacations and the return of investment of social media.