We all got it – BS. But what does it mean in your world. “Brand Substance” or the other thing? It’s really that simple.
In today’s world, there are endless outlets for your brand message that you do not control. Face it – it is time to acknowledge you can not control it – move on. But what you do have is strong influence on brand perception and this is where your efforts should be focused. Do not waste time and energy on the reality of losing control. Play the influence card right.
Requirement #1 – have substance and value for today’s market. Are you trying to preserve leadership in a market that is melting away? Do you suffer from technology testosterone building great devices while ignoring the changes of how users collect information?
You can build great marketing campaigns, but if your product/service lacks SUBSTANCE, you are left with BS. Throughout my marketing career, I have continually stressed the importance of having true value in the products I delivered. I have delayed launches, even when unpopular, demanding the product/service I owned was compelling. I am not talking about working to perfection. In Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book Rework, they emphasize “build half a product, not a half-assed product (p. 70). I agree with this (although there is much in their book I disagree with – for another time). You do have to get your product out there, but it must be compelling and meet specific needs of a target audience.
Almost a year ago, I wrote an article “Brands in the Age of Social Media.” I am very proud of this article. It is even more true today – one year later. Ford and Toyota are great examples of winners and losers and the relevance of substance versus spin. Social media takes appropriate care of things and reveals the truth. One company uses social media to proactively understand their target market and deliver value to them. One company strives to retain control only to realize they have lost it and their cover ups go viral.
This is why I am active in social media today. Because I am so tired of marketing spin and trickery. If you want to be successful and have consumers that love your product or service, build a product for them. Make this the primary focus. Don’t build something for the money. Build something for the people you serve. You might find that financial success is the residual of your effort. And if you are not convinced of this recommendation, remember: social media will unveil what kind of BS you have – “Brand Substance” or “Bull $hit.”