It’s all a matter of attention. Marketers used to expect it. Routinely. And consumers gave it, freely. Back when the country gave its attention, in aggregate, to one of only three national television networks, marketers always had consumers’ attention. And from that attention, great brands were built. You know them: Tide. Coca-Cola. Wheaties. Sony.
With attention evermore scarce, how will the next generation of brands be built? We think on the basis of delivery of True Experiential Value. A brand’s TEV, the answer to the customer’s question, “What can you DO for me, really?” will determine its success or failure in the Internet Age, the age of transparency.
Today’s best brands deliver TEV by outperforming other alternatives, or by filling a previously unfilled consumer need. Google: demonstrably better and more relevant search results. Apple Mac: Easier, virus-free functionality. Regent Seven Seas Cruises: A service experience like no other. (Full Disclosure: Regent is a client of ours. And their vacations are truly wonderful, believe me!)
To break through the attention barrier, a company must deliver TEV, which can then be spread through word-of-mouth, using online communication as well as offline. This person-to-person brand building is a critical component in today’s marketplace because consumers are bombarded with so many messages (I see ads on taxis, on blogs, and even at home on my beloved TiVo Series 3!) that they tune out most of them, and rely even more than ever on the recommendations of friends and family. And trust that the online community will help them sniff out the players from the fakers.
So is it really harder to build a lasting brand in today’s marketplace? Everybody says so. Perhaps.
But maybe...maybe it’s easier. IF you can deliver. Because today, if you deliver TEV, or what we used to call “the goods,” the networked economy can bring to bear velocity of messaging which truly can create a tipping point to allow your brand to achieve visibility. And then, your brand won’t be based on a jingle, or a slogan, which is why we don’t hear much from Pepsodent or Rambler anymore.