This is the fourth in a series of posts in response to the predictions by some that branding, and specifically the branding of cities, is obsolete because of the disruptive qualities of digital media and that this also means there will be no future role for DMOs.
The fundamental principles of branding have not changed. Brands are still about making and delivering on a valued, differentiated promise. Smart organizations have always known that brands reside in consumer’s minds, not in their corporate headquarters or factory. They have never been simply what products and places say about themselves. Brands have always been based on perceptions and feelings irrespective of how they have been formed. The touchpoints where and how people form their perceptions have been amplified by the digital world and now sit outside of the total control of the brand owners. The most important component of successful brands has been the delivery of the experiences they promise. That hasn’t changed.
The congestion, noise and abundance of choice in the marketplace means that brands must stand out and represent distinctive values and benefits. Even peer reviews are often totally contradictory and can be making it harder not easier. Building and maintaining trust has always been important and will continue to be the key force at work. Brand relevance and success still demands that destinations have meaningful differentiation, outstanding experiences and a robust brand platform to guide programs. The days of trying to be all things to all people are over. And there’s no room for generic and bland brands. There never was!
Digital innovations have expanded the methods that brands can communicate and engage people. I think Charlie Wrench, Chairman and President of Landor, was right on the money when he said, “The digital world has not changed the principles of branding but rather has magnified everything we know to be true about building a great brand.”
Marketers now must adjust to, and choose from, more media channels and more brands clamoring for attention. The new digital assets enable deeper consumer insights, narrower targeting, narrower messages, greater influence, and the ability to reach customers and make the sale at just the right time. Therefore you must consistently deliver outstanding experiences at every critical touchpoint. This is where DMOs must play a more active role in designing, facilitating and monitoring experiences across partners and touchpoints.