DDB chairman Keith Reinhard on the perils of digital distraction | Brand love stories

Technology enables brands to learn more about consumers and reach out to them in innovative ways. But according to Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus at DDB, brands have become too distracted by “shiny new objects” and have forgotten how to truly connect with consumers.

In the fourth episode of Oath’s brand love series, he explains how brands can tackle the tsunami of technical innovation and get back on track.

“We have become so obsessed with tools that we’ve forgotten about the basics,” he says. “There’s still a difference between a click and a true connection, and between a one-off stunt and an enduring brand story.”

The challenge lies in avoiding the temptation of chasing after every new technological development while staying true to a brand’s authentic purpose. Not an easy feat – but Reinhard has some tips, as he explains to The Drum in a follow-up interview.

“Brands that wish to re-establish a lost emotional connection with consumers must go back to the basics: First, revisit and refresh the brand’s story. Next, make sure that the story resonates with people the brand wants to connect with,” he explains. “Then commit to that story long term and use the platforms that best fit the story and connect with consumers.”

He adds: “Just because we have myriad channels and platforms doesn’t mean we have to use them all. Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, has neither a Facebook page nor a Twitter handle.”

For Reinhard, a bigger consequence – and perhaps risk – is the “short termism” attitude that technology has brought about.

“We’ve always known that brand building requires a long-term commitment. But technology now claims to measure the effectiveness of any message immediately, which makes it much more difficult for a brand to commit to a long-term strategy,” he says.

To gain more insights, watch the full interview above. See last week’s episode here, as MediaLink’s chairman and chief executive officer, Michael Kassan compares brand interactions to personal relationships.

Brand love stories is a video series by Oath, home to 50+ media and technology brands, exploring the nuanced aspects that connect customers to brands they love, with keys insights and perspectives from some of the best minds in the industry.

Catch up on all the episodes here.