The period between the 60s and 80s is largely regarded as the ‘Golden Age of Advertising’. During this period, brands leveraged the mass media, and built characters round their products to establish connections between brands and their audience. Essentially, that marked the beginning of connecting personalities and brands. Infact, different brands were symbolized by attributes of the personas such as celebrity figures, especially sportspersons and artistes that were used in adverts.
As good as this was and lasted, the dynamism of humanity soon came to the fore, as the development and growth of the internet, in the last decade of the last millennium, changed everything about branding. With the expansion of the digital space, the rules of brand involvement and engagement changed, and have not stopped. Today, brands and people who manage them accept that the space for brand expression is no longer local, but now digital and cluttered, and accessible by anyone, from any part of the world.
There are no more exclusive markets for any brand. Dominance or good market share is still possible but every brand, even the one in a pole position, has its work cut out for it. With the rise of social media, people communicate much more frenetically – the volume of messages people consume per day is off the charts. Therefore clear, repetitive messaging (visually and with the written or verbal word) is paramount. The digital space has put more pressure on brands. The marketplace now requires more than mere brand awareness which is mostly what advertising does. Brand awareness is, basically, how well a customer is able to identify particular traits of a specific brand, such as their unique qualities.
However, the cluttered marketplace means brands will only thrive where it is able to establish a solid brand differentiation. The first and the most important way that a brand will stand as a top of the mind recall is when it has its own distinction. The brand that will excel glocally (operating locally but achieving global mileage and acceptance) is one that plays its differentiation card, within in the cluttered space, very well. Differentiation is the perceived distinctiveness of the brand. Relevance is the personal appropriateness or connections it makes with an individual. Esteem is the regard for the brand itself and knowledge is the understanding of what the brand stands for.
Promoters and people behind a brand that harnesses the advantages of technology and ideas also have to be unique with their presentation and marketing scheme to help separate their brand from competitors. They have to ensure that the differentiation is relevant to improving the brand. At the back of their minds should be the relationship with the audience and market
Brand differentiation births engagements and experiences that can result in loyalty and produce a reference point between a brand and its competitors. Brand differentiation is achieved through the creation of memorable experiences, display of positive brand values, telling of important brand stories and building brand personas.
Last line: According to top digital brand builder, Daniel Khaibe, “Your brand can’t just mean something anymore, it has to be experienced. Major brands are making major invests in creating brand experiences and tools that allow consumers to interact with a brand through Apps, touch screens, in-store kiosks, and so much more.” Khabie advises, “Don’t just build brands; build your brand as a utility that your customers can leverage.”