It’s no secret that digital has dramatically fragmented the way users engage with brands. Facebook alone offers at least 5 different ad formats across desktop and mobile newsfeeds, a traditional banner ad, messenger and Instagram.
Even if you’ve just gotten to grips with digital, social, mobile, podcasts, programmatic, SEO, PPC, video (the list goes on), we’re now off the races with chatbots, AI, personal assistants, social commerce, voice search, VR and AR. And of course you can’t forget TV, radio, billboards, magazines and other traditional media platforms.
What’s a marketer to do when trying to measure, manage and maximise brands in this landscape?
Do consumers care? Of course not. They seamlessly move from one platform and content format to the next, generally oblivious to the headaches and pain you’re going through to present a coherent message that also fits the context.
By now I might’ve forced you to sit down in a cold sweat and rethink your career choice (“Why didn’t I stick to becoming an Astronaut?”, you’re probably thinking, “that would be much simpler!”)
The answer to complexity is simplicity.
As Tony Robbins observes: “The enemy of execution is complexity.”
Here’s how to take back control of your brand so you can measure, manage and maximise its value using a simple 4 pillar approach.
Pillar 1. Establish a baseline. You simply can’t measure chaos - it’s like chasing the end of a rainbow, evading your grasp every time.
So stop, take a breath, and decide on a baseline that is platform and technology agnostic (i.e. it shouldn’t be measured in ‘Facebook likes,’ ‘Google searches’ or ‘social mentions').
Good candidates are unprompted brand recall, brand consideration or purchase intent. With a single, consistent metric in place, you can now set a baseline to measure your brand’s health, whatever platforms and formats come and go.
Pillar 2. Be Platform Agnostic. This is important because if you focus on ‘easy to measure’ metrics (it’s very tempting) like social followers, earned media or even direct traffic, then you’re introducing a huge amount of channel bias, which doesn’t provide a true reflection of your brand’s health. This in turns makes it difficult to maximise it across channels, because you’ll naturally lean too heavily on the specific channel you’re measuring.
Pillar 3. Go Deep. Brand isn’t just a metric. It’s much more than that. It’s an emotional connection between you and your consumers. It’s a promise, a feeling, an expectation. You can’t measure that from clicks and shares. Even social sentiment analysis won’t give you the deep insights you need here.
If you really want to manage and maximise your brand, you have to know what consumers feel about your brand. That means asking them and taking a qualitative approach to brand.
Pillar 4. The Schroedinger Brand. Today’s great brands have to act like Schroedinger’s cat. That is, they need to maintain two seemingly contrasting states at the same time.
What do I mean? You need to be relentlessly consistent and coherent - it’s no good if 1000 people have 1000 different ideas about what your brand stands for.
Yet you also need to be as flexible and adaptable as an Olympic athlete, shaping and reshaping your brand message according to the myriad different formats, platforms and contexts that will characterise a consumer’s brand experience.
The best way to think of it? Much like a champion athlete, you need to maintain both a consistency of excellence and signature style that runs through everything; then allow your brand to adapt to different contexts and environments so that it gets the best out of them.
Measuring, managing and maximising the 4 pillars of brand success
In practice, the best way to apply these 4 pillars is by proactively taking control of your brand with an independent tool like Attest.
With robust, real-time and flexible brand intelligence you can establish and measure a platform agnostic baseline; dive deep into consumer sentiments, feelings and psychological drivers; and still figure out how your brand can leverage the unique aspects of a fragmented media landscape, based on direct user feedback on what they want.
After all that, you’ll probably be happy to hear it can be so simple.
Mark Walker, Marketing Director, Attest.