Without brand advertising, you’re planning to lose

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded  |

It seems like brand advertising has taken a back seat to product advertising. And, it may not be for the better. When Ford comes out with a new model, they tout the features and benefits of the car. When Blackberry comes out with a new phone model, they promote the technical advances and new capabilities. Or, when PepperRidge Farms introduces a new flavor of cookie, they swamp the grocery store isles and newspaper inserts with additional marketing efforts.

All of these examples have millions of dollars of advertising behind it. Many will say that brand advertising is unnecessary in today’s market. It is now all about 2.0, the next generation of the base model or flavor. I disagree. Yes, it is important to advertise your new model or flavor. That’s just part of innovation and staying relevant. What isn’t being addressed is in the absence of”new”, what do you have to offer customers? Nothing? Think about it this way, Target, Starbucks, Apple, even Google, have built their companies on brand advertising, not promoting specific products or services. So, why would they think that, once a brand is established, they no longer needed to advertise what their brand stood for beyond the stuff they provided? All of this product-centered advertising doesn’t do anything for the brand. It may move units, but after the “new” wears off (which happens more quickly today than it ever had) now what? Most of the time the “new” product didn’t really do anything for the brand’s long-term innate value.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s new media, online, offline, traditional, etc., without brand advertising, all many of these companies are getting in the rat race of always having to come up with version 3.1 to their competitors 3.0. In the end, no one really cares that you are Blackberry, because RIM doesn’t really seem to care about what Blackberry means anymore. Now, they are in the commodity race and loosing out to brands who do care about what they stand for (Google and Apple) beyond the stuff and services they provide. To keep in our example, Blackberry created a powerful brand, not on new phone models, but on marketing a brand that stood for “THE solution for business on the go” (They took that crown from Palm, who fell into the same trap of promoting only products, not including brand value).

Companies do need to keep innovating and delivering new offerings and putting marketing muscle behind it. But, equally important, they need to advertise why their brand has meaning and value, even when they don’t have the latest, greatest model out there. That’s how power brands are created and kept at the top of the hill.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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