Hey Brands – Got Substance? If Not You Got the Other BS!

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.”



Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Hey Brands – Got Substance? If Not You Got the Other BS!

  1. Dear Steve, thank you for this insightful message. I have been trying to get my products, book and doll, out for over 19 years, and for most of that time, protecting the integrity of my concept has played a major role. I am on my third contract basically because I refused to allow someone else to dictate how what I knew was best for my product to drastically change them, particularly in their basic appearance. Although I have made some suggested adaptations, there are some things I believe that as one who was given the vision I had to hold on to.

  2. Steve

    Always insightful and thought provoking, at we finally finding reality and truth or will there be a spin on that?

    Nice after the past 30 years to see trust, respect and loyalty becoming important again due to finance as well as consumers becoming active producers online.


  3. Jo Porritt

    Hey Steve!

    Great article. I completely agree. The technology shift we are in, and are going to still be in for some time to come yet is forcing brands to be honest, transparent and not hide behind smoke and mirrors, or BS!

    Long time coming, but this is where it’s at, and I for one believe it is here to stay. Once you drill down to the truth, there is nowhere left to go, but to just “be” everything you say you stand for.

    Social media democratises the buying process like never before. Strips it back to basics.

    Thanks for an insightful post, and keep it going!

    Jo 😉

    • Hey Jo,

      Thanks. No surprise you agree. I love the stuff you write as well and know we have similar social media views.

      Everyone – If you are in the UK, you should check out Brand Guardian (twitter acct, FB page, and company) if you need help with your marketing and social media initiatives. I am sure they will deliver winning results for you.

      Social Steve

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