Advances in digital technology have opened new avenues for advertisers, from social media to ad targeting focused by traditional segmentation, A.I. tools, and more. But in this increasingly crowded digital landscape, advertisers are finding it challenging to make their voices heard – particularly when consumers don’t want to listen. With the growing number of advertising limitations and ethical considerations, many companies are questioning whether brand strategies still matter. Despite these external and internal obstacles, building a clear and motivating brand and media strategy is more important than ever if companies want to develop lasting consumer loyalty and drive growth.
With as few as three words or seconds to make your brand’s story count, companies have little room for error. Every element of the brand’s story, including imagery, language, design, and media selection must be chosen with prime targets’ values and most desired experiences in mind. Insights into targets’ emotional decision drivers are the key. If advertisers approach digital marketing without a clear brand and media strategy, they risk being blocked or tuned out. Furthermore, overexposure or the wrong kind of marketing will leave consumers with an increasingly poor impression of the brand. Developing a clear and motivating brand strategy, based on in-depth knowledge of key targets’ aspirations, will guide messaging and focus a company’s future growth and innovation bets.
Successful digital marketers execute a clear brand strategy by identifying and engaging their target audience with the right message in the right media. In 2016, the R-rated superhero film Deadpool launched with a very limited marketing budget, and smashed expectations by developing an innovative marketing strategy led enthusiastically by Ryan Reynolds. The franchise’s on-brand marketing spanned from inane Twitter commentary to ridiculous emojis and absurd videos. On Twitter, Wendy’s – the nearly 50 year old fast food brand – has become popular with a new, younger generation for its skill in crafting sassy tweets roasting individuals and the competition alike, refreshing the brand’s appeal. Nonprofit Be The Match used humorous banner ads and gifs on Reddit and Twitter to recruit the underrepresented demographic of 18-to-24 year old men to be bone marrow donors. The strategy resulted in + 280% increase in the needed donor type.
However, companies that rush into digital marketing without fully vetting the strengths and weaknesses of their strategies risk failure, or worse, having their failure go viral. In the new digital age we live in, not all press is good press – and strategies that come off as old and out of touch can sound the death toll for a brand. Failure can be as simple as choosing the wrong medium their advertising is deployed in, because strategies must reflect the Values and Aspirations that motivate their target from end-to-end.
Successfully digital marketing links deep insights into consumers’ motivations and messaging research to ensures that digital misfires do not define their brands. Target research will lay the knowledge foundation, particularly by reflecting the Values and Aspirations that motivate prime targets. In today’s digital age, this knowledge building foundation will help to ensure that companies build effective brand strategies that engage their prime targets.