Brands: What’s so important?

While cleaning out my home office, I cam across a very old ad crammed in the back of a file. The ad shows an old-fashioned business curmudgeon, sitting on a desk chair, staring at the viewer.  The copy for the ad reads: 

I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s products.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now—what was it you wanted to sell me?

The ad, published by McGraw-Hill was aimed at marketing executives.  McGraw-Hill was looking to get ad dollars for its many print publications.

In my current role, I don’t place ad dollars in print publications.  I live now in the fast-paced digital marketing sphere.  Yet, this ad resonates with me more than ever.

McGraw-Hill ad hammering home why branding is so important

The web continues to proliferate. The birth of the modern web is commonly believed to be in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau proposed a ‘hypertext’ system.  In less than 30 years, the web has grown to 1.8 billion websites.* 

How do prospective customers find your company?

Brand marketing is vital. Factories make products. But, customers buy brands.

The social climber wants to be seen driving a Mercedes Benz. The hipster wants others to notice her converse sneakers. 

The list of examples is endless.  Picture a WalMart store. Now think of Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. McDonald’s or Ruth Chris.. Mercedes Benz or Ford. 

Brands power the B to B space too.  Remember the expression “No one gets fired for hiring IBM.”  What comes to mind when the executive team brings in McKinsey? 

Experts argue that 60-70 percent of the sales cycle is completed BEFORE a buyer contacts a company. To make a short list in the B to B space, buyers need to know your brand. 

In the digital space, this translates into two possibilities. 

  1. Your brand is well known and a perspective buyer looks for you.  Perhaps they know you from a previous purchase or an analyst report.  Perhaps they’ve seen traditional advertisements about your products or services. You make the short list because you are known.
  2. They can find you in cyber space. this means that you rank in search for your products and services. Perhaps you have an excellent blog that showcases your company’s expertise.  Maybe your experts or executives are often written about on other websites. 



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