New, exclusively for members
Free Personalized Learning Plan
Find the resources that are right for you with a personalized learning planGet started
We take it for granted that digital channel management is a core marketing activity now, and yet our own recent survey highlighted that a digital strategy isn’t a ubiquitous component of everyone’s marketing plan, as much as we might think it ought to be. But, let’s say that it is, that we’ve all got a solid digital strategy, that we’re using frameworks like RACE - are we done? I’d suggest far from it - and that there is a bigger issue at hand blocking your digital success, which is often surprisingly "missing-in-action" and that’s a coherent brand strategy.
In fact, brand strategy is an obvious yet secret ingredient for modern digital marketing which most companies that I meet or work with simply don’t have an eye on, there’s no solution in place and amazingly some are barely thinking about it, if at all.
I’m not going to delve into the detail here, but to share as context as to what I understand, a brand is an external device, more than a recognisable name and logo, an internal identity giving it clarity as to what it is and what it does, the brands purpose including qualities and characteristics - the things that tend not to change. And lastly, the brand has a strategy to support its commercial growth and to guide its implementation; strategies can and should change. This last element is the bit that is most useful to inform your digital strategy.
A coherent brand strategy will, describe elements such as those below and importantly be questioned and improved as the market changes. Digital media give new opportunities to refine the brand strategy. Many brand experts and books will have variations on these very broad themes:
Without designing the brand strategy, how can you expect to make the right decisions, consistently? To execute and deliver communications and promotions digitally? I found that I’m not alone in thinking this:
“There is no viable digital strategy that isn’t integrated into your larger brand and business strategy.” Jeff Mancini, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, Interbrand.
We’re talking brand as a means to enable strategic and marketing integration. A consistency of focus and delivery where the brand strategy provides filters for decision making across all channels, content development and how platforms such as social media are used. For example, a professional services company will likely use Facebook for different reasons than a confectioner such as M&Ms...
To best drive choice, create loyalty, and command a premium in the marketplace, organisations would do well to consider that they are functioning in a post-digital era. This means effective integration of your brand across multiple on and offline touch-points is a pre-requisite to success, digital marketing is increasingly a dated if not misleading term. Consumers and users have more, integrated touchpoints than ever across ‘digital’, ‘offline’ and ‘mobile’ - where does each end? With mobile, and the work by Google on ZMOT we might say that we’re entering a post-digital era. We also have to foster community, manage user interaction and user-generated content as part of a growing brand footprint in on social platforms. The disparate nature of digital requires we know and leverage our brand as the primary asset behind marketing planning, agree? Is your organisation using digital in a way that aligns with your larger positioning?
I like Interbrand’s 10 components of brand strength as a means to start to see and shape your brand’s value, I’ve posted a graphic below too:
It’s time to focus on brand to drive both business and strategic thinking. Brand is the driver in your business. And digital is a tool-set for activating that brand. The stronger your brand, the better position you are in to deliver on these three essentials.
What say you? Anything that you’d add or challenge in the comments?
By Danyl Bosomworth
Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.
Start the discussion on our community and social networks
Recommended Blog Posts
How to meet today’s marketing compliance challenges with an online BrandHub Marketing departments are bursting at the seams with opportunity. Upstream they are in overdrive producing content for niche targets, using multiple agency partners and designers. Downstream, content needs to …..
Popular Blog Posts
Statistics on consumer mobile usage and adoption to inform your mobile marketing strategy mobile site design and app development “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” was the huge headline summarising the bold prediction from 2008 by Mary Meeker, an …..
Landing page examples and best practice advice Discussion of web design in companies who don’t know the power of landing pages still often focuses on the home page. But savvy companies know that custom landing pages are essential to maximise conversion …..
Use the RACE Planning System to get ahead in your digital marketing The first edition of my book Internet Marketing: Strategy, Planning and Implementation from 2001 included a popular template for creating what we then called an Internet Marketing Plan. Today, …..