Recent Entries in Branding

Fan, co-worker, and all-around smart fella Bud Caddell just wrapped up his presentation, The Fan Economy: Becoming Fan Focused
Check it out, pass it along, and remix it the hell up.

View more presentations from Bud Caddell. (tags: fandom media)
A few weeks ago, during a conversation about re-branding, a very smart, very fun friend said the following:

"I hate advertising, but I love marketing."

Here are some great visuals that contrast the two areas (also available as .pdf), discovered in a quick Google search for "advertising marketing difference": 
marketing_vs_advertising.gifOversimplified, yes, but very much on point.  Where marketing simply attempts to get a message across to consumers, advertising is almost entirely self-serving and rarely gives much of anything to consumers; at least not anything real or long-lasting.  Marketing - good marketing - focuses on building up a brand, which appropriately evokes a positive, mutually beneficial system, whereas traditional and even newer, cleverer advertising techniques tend to be purely disruptive.

This is not to say marketing is immune to criticism, or that all of advertising should be eradicated.  But if we think of the two as resting on opposite ends of the same balance scale, trends show marketing dominating, carrying much more weight as substantively more effective with consumers, and thus a much more effective market for the future.  In all likelihood, 2008 will be known as the last year in which advertising as we knew it existed and (barely) thrived, and 2009 as the first year of a potential rebirth.  No one can be sure if there will actually be any real adaptation, because again, looking back at the last few years, advertisers have not integrated well into new systems.  (Simply uploading your TV spot to YouTube does not, a viral phenomenon or digital strategy, make.)

Exemplifying the decline of advertising we need only look at the current state of two of media's most coveted channels: newspapers and television.  Newspapers circulation and advertising revenue are in catastrophic declines, and, likely escalated by the global financial crisis, in the last month of 2008 are beginning to collapse entirely.  There is little surprise; newspapers' death knoll had been declared years ago, in the midst of the first internet bubble.  Nonetheless, they collectively represent an aged institution, with an inability to truly innovate and adapt to revolutionary trends.

Television has now also found itself in a similar quandary.  With the rise of time-shifting, ad-skipping digital recordings, executives are sweating and the voices are crying out to transform old models into something more adept for the predictable future.  After all, television began as an advertising channel with content simply sprinkled in almost as an afterthought.  Over time, it's since tweaked the levels and structure of sponsorship communication, but the vessel's business model remains largely untouched, and almost entirely unprepared for the challenge it faces now.

Today, in this digital age, consumers are not only empowered, but they've become incredibly savvy, and with intense message filtration.  Offline, they have forgone purchasing tangible newspapers, shut out print advertisements, and are literally skipping TV commercials.  Online, they are blind to banners, deaf to ads.  By no stretch of the imagination should a  0.5% click-through rate be considered a success; it is a 99.5% failure.  Even American League pitchers at bat are held to a higher standard.

Marketing digitally, which stems more from a real function of communication, is evidence of adaptation in an ever-changing environment.  Brands need only to leverage channels and tools available for communicating (softly), to outreach to - not yell at - their consumers, and to constructively build themselves up.  Include a modest amount of advertising, sure, but be overly cautious with ad spending.  Focus on organic growth and cultivating real relationships with consumers.  Build the foundation and create passionate brand ambassadors.

The digital world is thriving because of marketing, not advertisements.  If the internet had a sign at the entrance, it would read: Turn away, advertising, for ye have no purpose here.