Social media, and the internet in general, are largely “blind” media.
They can be frustrating, time-wasting and inefficient.
Entries and enquires about wide-ranging but pertinent topics, products and services elicit countless responses, most of which are irrelevant and unappealing. Information overload abounds.
Use of SEO's (Search Engine Optimisers) simply cluster companies, brand and service names, among large, often spuriously ranked groupings.
Being on the shopping list has very little quantifiable and lasting value. Nor does the standing of being “first amongst equals”.
Establishing and sustaining unique, differentiated presences in the marketplace is difficult.
In the brave and new world of digital, mobile, on-line, multi or omni-channel reality, the importance, nature and value of effective branding is deepened and broadened.
PROMOTE BRAND NAMES
Investments in brand names have strategic and tactical implications.
Recognisable, well defined and promoted brand names, that have a consistent and conspicuous presence, enjoy almost unassailable competitive advantage.
Traditional mass media channels are fracturing. Forced choices between channels and brands are redundant options. Integrated multi-channel (or omni-channel) communications are imperative, because it is difficult to select a single medium and to analyse its effectiveness among targeted audiences.
Interestingly, the most effective, most profiled and most heavily used social media are brand names which have entered the general public lexicons and been transformed from nouns to verbs. Think, Google, Twitter and Facebook, each of which now implies actions being taken by followers and users of the respective social media brands.
Moreover, these social media icons have been their own promotional product platforms.
BATTLE FOR THE MIND
Since its creation in 1969, by advertising and marketing leaders Jack Trout and Al Ries, the concept of “Product and Marketing Positioning” has been the foundation of all great advertising, marketing, merchandising, promotional and selling strategies and campaigns.
Astute business leaders and product managers were quick to learn that the battles for market share, revenue, profits and competitive advantage were not being fought in the streets, the marketplace or economy, but rather, in the minds of consumers and clients.
The mind is a dark void, free of the external visual, aroma, touch and spatial stimuli.
Visual merchandising professionals often refer to “scotomas”, that is, “store blindness”. Consumers simply do not see, perceive or respond to product displays, signage and attractive visual presentations.
The innate nature of on-line and social media is brand blindness. For those who overcome these barriers, filters or distortions, better times and competitive advantages await.
Positioning and reinforcing the brand name in the mind of the customers and clients through effective use of promotional products is fundamental.
In many instances the mind is uni-dimensional. That is, it brings to attention one brand... the first brand... the brand that wins the battle for the mind.
The widespread disillusionment among business leaders about the lack or spasmodic return from investments in on-line and social media is best addressed and redressed by effective cross-media promotions, that heavily accent brand name promotion.
At the forefront are, or should be, promotional products in their many guises and applications.
On-line, and in business life, it is better to be first than it is to be better. Those who are first (in the minds of existing, prospective and past customers and clients) do not have to contemplate being better. In marketing, first is an absolute. The first company, product, service or person is recognised and often accepted as the universe. There are no comparative measures.
SHARE OF MIND
The long-held adage in advertising of “share of mind equals share of market” is a truism which should be pillar for promotional products.
In short, all business people need to recognise, respect and adhere to the principle of getting there first and staying there. One effective means to that ideal is promotional products.
CONCLUSION – NO CONFUSION
To achieve “cut-through” in marketing and advertising it is important to avoid clutter and distractions.
Promotion products, by their very nature, are focussed, specific and brand oriented.
Accordingly, they are an important, pre-emptive and complementary component to an effective integrated and disciplined multi-channel mass media campaign.
So go on, do your job. Go out and promote that which works well in the contemporary market place... brand names and promotion products.