What's Happening in Search
Description:
In this issue we talk about controlling online media costs, balancing risk in new interactive channels, and understanding the direction in which search is heading.

What's Happening in Search

Fall 2009

Image Is Everything. Or Is It?

by: Alan R. Gilleo
In the days when a message was costly to deploy and a brand could only reach a few consumers at a time, brand image was, of necessity, highly important. When you can only achieve a relatively limited number of impressions, you have to make them count! 

But, times have changed, right? Technology has given brands the ability to be everyplace, participate in a 24/7 world, and meet the consumer at almost every touch-point. But has this innovation and market saturation lessened the need for brand management? With so many opportunities for marketers to reach consumers, has the need for managing individual messages dwindled?

On the contrary, I’d argue that with more messaging opportunities, more channels, and a more segmented and fragmented audience, the need for brand management has never been higher.

Ensuring that the message is heard is what makes brand management so important in today’s technology-enabled, consumer-empowered marketing world. Between websites, mobile devices, banners, text messages, video ads, social discussions, blog conversations, and Twitter messages, the online advertising “noise” has been steadily rising.

Brands that have adopted an unmanaged, undisciplined approach find themselves in a trap—the only way to combat the noise is to create more of it, or in other words, be louder than the competition.

Unfortunately for them, there’s no long-term benefit in just being louder. This type of brash strategy costs more over time, cheapens the brand image, and can destroy the very core message they were so vociferously attempting to broadcast.

Advertisers rarely espouse the “less is more” idiom, and so many marketing strategies hinge on a build-build-build mentality. But, if the message isn’t as sharp, resounding and consistent as it has to be in today’s noisy advertising world, then such an effort can result in gross miscommunications, where more advertising is essentially less.