Cultivating Brands in a Digital World
The digital era has redefined what it means to create and sustain a brand, writes Bob Greenberg, CEO and chief creative officer of R/GA in AdWeek. The challenge is to create engaging experiences across multiple digital touchpoints that cultivate the company's branding goals and respond to the user's needs.
For example, Greenberg notes the role that Nike's Ballers Network Facebook app has played in facilitating engagement between the Nike brand and its consumers. The team at Nike looked for opportunities to better serve basketball players, and found the role of facilitator to help connect players and find open courts. Similar to their work to connect runners, it's a great move by Nike to identify opportunities to build engagement through facilitating connections with their core basketball audience.
Greenberg goes on to make two more important points:
- Brands cannot be created and managed in a top-down approach. In today's era of ever-expanding digital touchpoints, brands need to be fluid and flexible to extend into spaces that are often more shaped by the consumers than the company.
Though consumers may be adept at tuning out traditional, top-down marketing messages, they're proactively using technology to conduct their own brand research to decide whether or not to pursue a relationship. Like flipping through profiles on Match.com, consumers are searching for brands that are right for them. In addition, whether spurred by a user review, a Google search, a brand site or a mobile application, technology has created multiple entry points to engage with a brand. And although it may be hard for marketers to predict that entry point, it's a safe bet the interaction will be digital. In fact, consumers' first interactions with brands are commonly through digital technology.
- In a Web 2.0 world, branding has converged with design and advertising. While both design and advertising bring their respective skills and tactics to the branding table, the disciplines have become so intertwined that they are best used when working together.
Creating engaging interfaces requires a high level of urbane design. Unlike traditional practices where brand identities are conceived byand implemented by ad agencies or design firms, the best digital branding happens when the process is completed from conception to execution by one agency. That agency can ensure the brand system is dimensional - working across more channels, executions and applications including animation, functionality and the little beeps you hear when you click on something.