Loving the brand in the digital age

Woman in meeting room. Photo.

In a world of digital transformation, company investments in technology may very likely result in increased budgets, but what happens when this is at the expense of corporate branding?

Written by Trude B-J Margel, Managing Director, Itera Gazette

Being a part of the communications and marketing industry for many years, I have followed the innovation and creativity of digital development with great interest and curiosity. New technologies such as chatbots, automated services, and re-targeting have provided businesses with fresh opportunities to reach new customers. At the same time, technological development has also contributed to the fact that many businesses find their position threatened, causing concern for weakened brand awareness and relevance. Business leaders are told they must be digital if the company is to survive ever-increasing competition.

Technology at the expense of the brand?

In many cases, I find that the increased pressure on digital transformation has led to the transfer of budget funds from the marketing department to the IT department. I would go so far as to claim that up to 80 % of today's communication budgets go to digital development. This is fine if the digital investment helps to strengthen the company's overall achievements and has brand building strategies at its core. Often it does just that, as good technical solutions are crucial for the customer experience. But I also see that unilateral focus on digital development can contribute to a loss of brand awareness if differentiation and positioning of the brand is sacrificed. If the consumer loses a clear perception of what the company stands for, it could put the company at serious risk.

So, if we forfeit brand building in our digital transformation, this may very well lead to an eventual death of our company.

When technology and brand building work together, magic occurs!

Knowledge of the behavior of target audiences and targeted marketing to reach them is more important than ever. In the fight for consumer attention, good marketing strategies must secure customers at the moment of selection as well as long term. Marketers must make it easier for customers to navigate between the many available products and services, thus placing greater demands on building strong brands together with advanced technological touch points. A known player who learned the hard way, during technology's introduction, was Kodak.

Technology is an instrument towards ever-evolving successful development, not an end in itself. Those who succeed, combine the digital shift with loving the brand. When these two merge, magic occurs and users are presented with the ultimate experience that results in corporate growth. I see this again and again, working in a company like Itera, where designers, UX designers, copywriters, communications advisors and technical developers work together under the same roof.

Digital leaders must see the value of cross-disciplinary skills

Let's bring these discussions to the boardrooms, ensuring that digitization develops the brand rather than weaken it. Let's remind ourselves of the importance of brand building and continue to love the brand through every evolution. This is just common sense, but sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees!