Branding in a brave new world

Branding is something that executives and marketing types love to talk about, advertising companies love to shout about, and most people know very little about.

The problem is not only that branding is one of those insubstantial wispy things that are hard to measure, it’s also changing. Fast.

Take this quote, for example:

Consumers demand marketing that’s based on their needs. Saturated by thousands of advertising messages a day, marketing-savvy consumers recognize and reject the overt “brand building” tactics of traditional advertising agencies in favor of relevance. As a result, marketers that attempt to build brands based on emotion, design, and charisma are more likely to undermine their efforts and underestimate consumers than they are to succeed.

This is from an article at Evolt that argues that search engines are your customers. What the author really means is that people will believe that your product/service/company is relevant to them if it places well in search engine results.

Traditional brand executives and marketing people don’t have a clue what to do with this. For them, the Cluetrain Manifesto is an actual train, and the light at the end of the tunnel is a locomotive’s searchlight.

For them, conversations with clients, in public, in the open, in ways that are saved and displayed to others, are deathly frightening.