10 May Tug of War: Creating Distributed Brand Management for a Fragmented World
SYNQY CEO Michael Weissman is the guest in a recent issue of Canvas magazine. He writes about how, thanks to technology, marketers can now distribute brand content and deliver up a consistent, on-brand experience.
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Marketers have a huge problem. They want deep, meaningful relationships with prospects and customers. Yet, shoppers increasingly consume content in smaller bits, in shorter bursts of time, and receive those messages from multiple sources and at different times over the lifetime of the brand experience. The challenge behind this new world of 24/7 online, on-demand engagement lies in conveying the brand’s story. How do you engage these people in a way that works?
New tools and new approaches are certainly needed.
Today, most marketers try to paint a picture – a mosaic that pieces the story fragments together to deliver a complete picture of the brand. They put one element of the story on a reseller’s site, another element in a news article, some more on social media or YouTube, and so forth. How often does the viewer see the whole picture? Rarely. Yet, marketers must rely on shoppers to see all the pieces and put the story together for themselves.
The best idea is to engage customers where they are online. This means delivering the right brand interaction, at the right time, and in the right place.
To make matters worse, most interactions happen on sites that aren’t owned by the marketers. As content gets dispersed across the web, there’s no way for marketers to know where the content goes. This “spray and pray” approach is like shooting in the dark.
Marketers don’t know where their untethered content goes, who uses it or whether it’s up-to-date. They now are stuck with ceding control over their online brand experience to IT managers who control reseller websites or news sites. As a result, marketers face an ongoing tug-of-war between widespread distribution of the brand experience and the desire to ensure its consistent – and complete – delivery.
Good news – all is not lost. Today’s marketers finally have access to tools that let them regain control over their brand online.
If a brand website operates in the woods, will anyone know?
Historically, companies have relied on their own website to deliver their whole marketing message. This required marketers to drive “traffic” to the site, which can be expensive. Moreover, navigating large corporate websites can be overwhelming to consumers. They’re often poorly designed to move customers to topics of interest, never mind through the buying journey.
Some marketers create content solely to generate high search results so they drive traffic. Often, that content is optimized for everyone except the reader.
The resulting consumer experience is less than stellar. Because traffic is so important, marketers spend billions trying to redirect users from what they are doing to coming to the brand’s website. For most people, the brand’s distraction comes with some disdain and distrust. Who wants to play the web’s version of Russian roulette, by risking a click on that link to discover if it’s broken or, worse, a virus?
Technology is changing the way syndication is executed to help brands realize messaging across the net that’s always current and consistent.
The whole premise may be unrealistic in the first place – to believe people will want to stop what they’re doing to purposefully “leave” something of interest to visit the brand website. Think about it: When’s the last time you’ve really wanted to visit one?
So why have marketers bought into this process so whole-heartedly? Because there have really been few viable alternatives.
Traditional brand syndication: An equally poor option
The best idea is to engage customers where they are online. This means delivering the right brand interaction, at the right time, and in the right place. But doing that is harder than it looks:
The delivery itself is very costly – Partners, such as third party resellers, don’t often include brand content due to the labor investment needed to both post it and then keep it current. And, the brand can’t effectively lend a hand by making the manual update for them. Consider: If a brand sells through just 1,000 resellers, with 10 different products, that equates to 10,000 content updates. Even at the low estimate of $5 per update, this content represents over $50,000 in labor for only 10 brand assets. Any changes through the channel are enormously laborious and costly (and perhaps impossible) to manage.
Manual sharing of distributed content leads to brand inconsistencies – Marketers have little visibility to how their content is used, never mind control over keeping it current. So content sits on the web – out of date, off brand and inconsistent with the message and position the brand ultimately desires. And there’s not much marketers can do about it.
Online “real estate” can be limited – The brand gets just a little space on the partner’s website, often reducing the marketer’s ability to tell their brand’s story. As a result, their message ends up incomplete or unpersuasive. This causes marketers to focus solely on transactions instead of content that could bolster curiosity and interest.
Today’s marketers finally have access to tools that let them regain control over their brand online.
No one wins with this approach. Shoppers get out-of-date content or poor user experiences. Partners have high labor costs, and frustrated vendors and marketers end up ineffective.
This is where technology can save the day.
Wanted: An on-brand solution for diverse channels
Despite these challenges, broad distribution of marketing content remains an attractive proposition. To turn away from it would be like building one central McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago and trying to drive millions of customers to just one location every day. It may sound efficient, but it certainly isn’t practical. Creating many “points of presence” on the web makes good business sense, but now it needs to make better brand sense (and practical operational sense). Technology today can help us find a new brand management solution to help solve these challenges:
- Deliver points of engagement without having to drive traffic
- Create integrated, well-structured customer journeys that connect the dots for consumers
- Automate the distribution and management of shared online content
- Achieve real-time brand consistency
- Get partners on board with minimal effort by everyone
Technology is changing the way syndication is executed to help brands realize messaging across the net that’s always current and consistent. With increased capability for tracking and updating branded content in real time, the brand manager’s future looks bright and free from the tug-of-war that has been, until now, part of the decision for distribution.
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Written by Michael Weissman, CEO, SYNQY
With twenty-five years of high technology marketing experience with large companies and start-ups — and 15 of those years in senior executive positions — Michael Weissman is currently Chairman and CEO of SYNQY Corporation (SYNQY.com) — the first company enabling marketers to consistently deliver and control brand experiences on web sites they don’t own, transforming static brand assets into a fully-functional platform that delivers relevant content and services to the consumer, right where they are already engaged online. He may be reached at www.SYNQY.com.