February 16, 2009

branding's new architecture

As mentioned in my last post that I would highlight a noteworthy case of IMC being supremely implemented, I have to mention Bob Greenberg’s recent Adweek column, Branding in a New Dimension. Bob makes some interesting and insightful points, especially in regards to Apple’s branding. When talking about IMC we focus on all consumer touch points and the ability to create an intertwined unified branded experience. Bob makes a great point that in today’s landscape the consumer is most likely to enter a brand experience digitally (where the relationship is created). With this in mind we know that there a vast amount of digital entry points which need to all be working together. His Apple reference is key because no matter where the consumer is activated (application, web property, mobile, etc) Apple’s use of design and user experience is harmonious with everything else they do. Meaning that no matter where the consumer is or where they are navigating the look, feel, and functionality is of Apple brand features, usability, and attributes. He makes a great point that it is the collision of advertising and design, which should be strategically developed as one. “How the brand behaves in the digital space is quintessentially Apple. The novel way a user interacts with the devices is as much a component of branding as the logo is,” mentions Greenberg.

And although IMC takes in consideration all facets of communication such as PR, TV, event, etc it is the increased significance of digital in the consumer experience. Digital has more efficiently bridged and linked other areas of communication to make our job, as marketers, a more efficient and effective process. Take PR for instance, the explosion of blogs, digital connections, consumer-generated content, and social media has blurred PR’s traditional philosophy and approach to where new strategies contain heavy digital/Web 2.0 play. Being in a digital atmosphere, the point of PR’s action to the consumer’s activation with the brand experience is only a click away (not be cliché).

What the article does not get into is how brands are effectively bridging gaps and developing activation links from other traditional touch points. I am speaking more broadly beyond simple mobile tagging or URL mentions in print and TV to a fully synchronous design and experience. For instance, TV creative is not truly integrated because there is a link for a user to check out or a coupon they can sign up for. It is designing the commercial to carry the same aesthetics and functional attributes that are utilized in the digital atmosphere and culture of the brand. Because the consumer is most likely to enter the brand experience digitally, the initializing motivator (TV commercial) should be rhythmically consistent with the consumer’s proactive digital action and experience. I think this opens up unlimited creative and innovative opportunities through all touch points, which few to no one are currently employing. Creativity is still the most important factor in branding.

Now all you have to worry about is how you will develop a robust engaged community of brand participants after getting them there…to be continued…

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