CHICAGO (November 26, 2013)–Over the past several years, the pressure to be present and active in social media has impacted the way brand managers allocate their marketing efforts. While leveraging free online platforms and inexpensive pay-per-click digital ads may seem ideal when overall budgets are reduced during downward economic shifts, this frugal approach tends to elicit marketing plans that depart from, or completely ignore, a brand’s distinctive identity. Today’s practice of inundating consumers with trivial, digital clutter within the same small forums has spawned a marketplace in which brands essentially become nondescript.
“Brands seem to manufacture their content through the same idea assembly lines,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer, The San Jose Group. “Brands have come to sound, look and feel the same; all running together in the consumer’s mind.”
Beverage giant Coca-Cola recently shocked the industry when it revealed its flagship brand’s impressive social influence–74 million Facebook fans and 2 million Twitter followers–had no measurable impact on short-term sales. However, this insight does not imply social marketing is ineffective or unnecessary. When used as part of an integrated strategy, social efforts can enhance and amplify a brand’s marketing investment.
“None of our plans are simply social, or TV, or mobile or experiential,” clarified Wendy Clark, senior VP-integrated marketing communications and capabilities, Coca-Cola Company. “On the contrary, it’s the combination of owned, earned, shared and paid media connections–with social playing a crucial role at the heart of activations–that creates a marketplace impact, consumer engagement, brand love and brand value.”
A recent report by Northwestern University’s Don E. Shultz and Martin P. Block, Killing Brands… Softly, presents somewhat alarming news for brands advertisers. Over a ten-year study, Shultz and Block found consumers have shifted from having specific brand preferences to no preferences, revealing a major flaw in the marketing industry. Consumers are unable to identify notable differences between brands moving them from the golden age of brand loyalty to the current trend of brand apathy.
Brands aspiring to break through the clutter and create meaningful connections with its desired audience must differentiate themselves by defining the often overlooked unique selling proposition (USP). A strong [brand] position not only demonstrates the unique benefits consumers can build loyalty towards; but also allows marketers to focus energy on creating profit-generating customers as opposed immeasurable fans.
“Marketers can still win customers with memorable and persuasive content,” San Jose explains. “Once brand builders revive the successful, common sense strategies used before the pervasive use of social media, consumers will become more likely to actively choose brands as they did before.”
About The San Jose Group
The San Jose Group (SJG) specializes in multicultural lifestyle and behavioral marketing solutions. The agency leads with business planning and ROI modeling in providing message development, persuasive content and ideation across digital, social and advertising channels. SJG along with its Consulting and Public Relations divisions service Fortune 1000 clients and today’s industry leaders. SJG is the founding member of the San Jose Network Ltd., the largest independent advertising agency network reaching the U.S. and Latin America. For more information, visit www.thesanjosegroup.com.