In client meetings we often hear, “I need something that will have our sales at full capacity by next month.”
Well wouldn’t that be wonderful? But we get it.
You’ve put countless amounts of time, money, sweat and energy into your business and there is nothing worse than have it not be giving back all that you have put in.
Here is the problem: branding is a marathon and not a sprint.
The cult brands (i.e., brands with “customers who can be described as near-fanatical, true believers in the brand and may feel a sense of ownership or vested interest in the brand’s popularity and success.”) of the world, such as Nike, Starbucks, or Google did not appear over night. Their brand equity (i.e., a brand’s power produced from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time) has taken years to grow.
Nike? 52 years to be exact. Starbucks? 42 years. Google? 17.
While building a great brand won’t take everyone that long, the secret to success is always the same: emphasis on long-term returns rather than short-term results.
Brilliant brands aren’t built on gimmicks
It is a misconception that a brilliant marketing gimmick or two-minute segment on the news will give you a huge impact on your potential consumers. Often times it does give you a jump in notoriety and recognition. But as quickly as that attention comes, it goes.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. You only used one touchpoint
Consumers today require multiple touch points (any interaction point between a consumer and your brand). They wont buy a product or service – or think about buying it – until that brand has reached them through multiple interfaces.
For example: Perhaps a consumer first saw you on Instagram, then they attended an event that you sponsored a week later. And a few days later a friend mentioned how they had just bought something amazing from your local store, so you viewed their website to find out more.
This dedication (and long-term investment) to your consumer not only takes into account the number of touch points they used to engage with your brand, but how they perceived your brand as well.
2. We live in an ego-system
Yes, we live in an ego-system. It is what our industry is calling, “the newest market.” It describes how the world now revolves around each consumer. Over the last few years, we have become conditioned to think and feel this way. And we have expectations and standards for every brand.
We expect each brand to:
have a website that is easily accessible, mobile-friendly, and containing all the information we require
have (at minimum) Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that are not only consistently updated with intellectually-grabbing content but also with incredible visuals and high-resolution photography
understand our consumer needs (from pricing to colors and availability) and adhere to those
And lastly, we expect for brands to inspire us.
We want a brand to make us feel like a better version of ourselves: healthier, better looking, smarter, more established, stronger, more efficient and on and on.
If you are thinking that short-term strategies are going to impress and hold your consumers, think again. Consumers are smarter and more demanding than ever. Think long-term branding strategy instead of a short-term advertising campaign. Attention does not equal love. Loyalty does.
How are you setting up your company for long-term brand success?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Ally McIlwraith is the Partner and Co-founder of Park Avenue Communications, an Edmonton-based brand strategy and experience firm that works with clients to develop influential brands, built on thoughtful creation and sophisticated strategy. Connect with @parkavenuecomms on Twitter.