Branding In A Digital Age

Branding in a Digital Age shares an interesting collision. Six years ago a great post by McKinsey partner David Edelman – Branding In A Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money In All The Wrong Places changed our perspective. David’s brilliant post and discussion about the new customer decision journey on the McKinsey website makes an impression. Branding In A Digital Age is an exploration of David’s ideas.

Bynder’s Branding Trends Report

Bynder’s Branding Trends white paper discovered at Brand Quarterly makes a great supplemental to David’s posts. Bynder is a branding and marketing automation platform. Bynder interviewed hundred of Brand Managers to create their trends report. The report shows the kind of worry and paranoia expect edin the middle of a marketing revolution.

We loved this quote from the report:

In a data-driven era, it’s been recognized that ROE (return on engagement) is a more powerful indicator of whether content is successful or not. Recent studies have proven that higher engagement on content led to lifts in brand awareness, brand opinion, brand associations, brand trust and, and likelihood to purchase.

While return on engagement is much harder to measure and quantify, social shares, comments, and blog subscriptions can give you a good indication if your audience is engaging with your content.

Return on Engagement

We agree. Return on Engagement (ROE) is a key metric for branding in a digital age. Knowing how content makes customers feel is difficult. Marketers assume too much. Likes and shares are rarely fully representational. And then there’s the 1:9:90 Rule is

And then there’s the 1:9:90 Rule problem.

We know 1% of visitors to a website are likely to engage at the highest level sharing User Generated Content (UGC) and advocating to their friends. 9% of visitors like to share especially when content comes from the 1%ers. 90% of visitors read. How can we extend the likes, loves, and passions from our most engaged 10% is one of the questions keeping team Curagami up at night.

The 1:9:90 Rule describes a massive self-reinforcing engagement filter bubble. We talk to ourselves about ourselves. “We are going to fly the plane (our website) right into the side of a mountain and feel good about it all the way in,” an impressionable Director of E-commerce said years ago. My statement was about the inability of KNOWING anything in a digital age and I wasn’t that young :).

We can see the “not knowing” frustration in the Bynder report as this quote illustrates.

We will continue to see the rise of content marketing as yet more marketing, and branding budgets will be devoted to the production of quality original content. In the ad-blocking age, the creation of engaging content will be increasingly important as brands battle to gain consumer attention in a crowded marketplace.

A HubSpot report noted that 73% of people prefer to get information about an organization through a series of articles rather than in a traditional

With this in mind, it’s no wonder why 73.5% of our respondents claimed that they are under more pressure to deliver more content in 2016. Consumers increasingly prefer engaging and informative content over more traditional forms of interruptive online advertising.

With 70% of respondents investing in native advertising and 60% in user
generated content in 2016, brand managers clearly see the need to
engage their audience more than ever before.

Brand Management Pressure

Brand Managers are under pressure. They know traditional marketing is going, going or already gone. Brand Managers grope for blue oceans once so easily found. TV feels like a dead man walking and print is already dead. How do we make markets today? What do we do?

Bynder Brand Trends Channel Chart image

There is a reason Chief Content Marketers have two-year average tenures. Companies burn through brains looking for the magical thinking needed to thrive in the middle of a digital revolution. Uber, WaNeLo, and AirBnB mashed up existing ideas with dramatic simplicity. These “clean slate” brands reinvent the past with today’s technology to win hearts, minds, and loyalty online.

Fortune’s 10 Most Disruptive Companies illustrates the point.

  1. Uber: The Year’s most highly valued startup (mashes TAXI with Smartphones)
  2. Airbnb: The world’s biggest accommodation company (turns spare rooms into cash with intelligent reputation analytics)
  3. Facebook: The new face of mobile too (makes college facebooks available for all)
  4. Red Bull: Taking content marketing to an extreme (multichannel marketer with ability to see, test and convert the next generation)
  5. Snapchat: 2 billion pictures and videos disappear daily (better more visual and collaborative twitter that disappears fast)
  6. Apple: Creating magic in wearables too (mashing up music, movies and TV)

1 – 5 – show another HUGE trend – the need for empowering your community with cool tools your tribe will use in surprising ways. Create a great ASK and listen to what happens to discover today’s “blue oceans”. Don’t create the wrong kind of marketing and pitch your tent in all the wrong places. Listen to David, Fortune, Airbnb, Apple and Red Bull and realize your company, like all companies, is a media company now too.