Thinking Beyond 15 Seconds: Brand Building In the Digital Age


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So here’s a scenario: you just launched your new app, and to promote the launch, created a hilarious YouTube video featuring a hamster eating miniature food. Unexpectedly, your video gets shared by thousands of people, retweeted multiple times over, and becomes a top Facebook story. At current count, the video I mentioned – – now has over 9 million views.

Now that your brand has created a viral sensation, what are you going to do when your 15 minutes of fame (more like 15 seconds in today’s hyper fast sharing world) are over?

Invest In PR

It’s awesome that you hit a lottery in terms of visibility on your first try, but to build momentum for your brand, invest in relationships with journalists, bloggers, influencers, and most importantly, a public relations strategy. Did your organic cat food ad strike the right chord with cat lovers? Make sure that cat outlets like Modern Cat and I Love Cats receive free samples so that they can write product reviews about your brand. Identify pet food websites that are on the first page of an “organic cat food search,” and reach out to them. You need to ensure that your brand is still in your relevant audience’s mind, once the viral wave has died down.

Don’t Let One Hit Wonders Define You

What do’s 2000 Super Bowl commercial, The Knack’s “My Sharona,” and the directors of “The Blair Witch Project” have in common? Give up? They’re all one hit wonders. notoriously overspent money on their 2000 Super Bowl commercial, only to collapse when the tech bubble popped. The Knack’s follow up albums never reached the commercial success that their “My Sharona” single hit. Finally, the directors of “The Blair Witch Project” haven’t found acclaim since their influential indie sensation. You don’t want your brand to pigeonhole itself on one successful ad, video, write-up, etc. To become successful, a brand can’t repeat a formula, or rest on the laurels of previous work.

Have a Consistent Message

Nike is the best example of consistency in its brand. When you think of Nike, you don’t think of just Michael Jordan, their spokesperson and Air Jordan inspiration. To their fans, Nike means rising above your limits, pushing yourself, and getting past failures to make that goal/shot/win. The “Just Do It” campaign features everyone from tennis champion Serena Williams, pop star Ellie Goulding, and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. Nike has successfully stayed true to its brand by repeating a simple message: “What’s stopping you from being great? Just do it.” Here’s their 2008 commercial to drive home that point.

Create A Strong Product Line

This is the most important takeaway. Good marketing is nothing if it doesn’t have a strong product to back up the messaging. Don’t get overhyped by your own marketing success.Your product is the most important marketing tool that you have, and if your product isn’t up to snuff, all that PR will get you nowhere fast. Check out this ad by Goldieblox, a toy geared to teach young girls engineering skills. Great ad right? The ad is creative but also drives home the message that this product is different from the typical “girls toys” available right now, and can teach girls to be future inventors and engineers.

A brand needs tools to have staying power amid all the noise of social media and competition. To become and stay a memorable brand, you need to have: a strong product or product line,  an authentic and consistent message, the ability to keep creating and not becoming known for just one thing, and investing in public relations strategies and relationships.

By Courtney Lee

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