Give credit where credit is due, Jeffrey Hayzlett rocked the house yet again at SES Chicago today.
Was it due to his overly energetic delivery, or his curse words, or maybe his cleverly inserted punch lines? Perhaps, but below the surface of all that showmanship was a genuine message that resonated amongst agency and brand marketers alike.
What was that message? Brands are not the sum value of the products or services they sell.
It wasn't long ago that focusing on product marketing was all major brands did. And that worked well for years, in part because the only "socializing" that occurred was offline as word of mouth.
Obviously, that's not true anymore. A significant shift in communications has occurred that sees anyone with an Internet connection (at home, at work, on the go through mobile) interact in real-time, with communities actively engaged in conversation about anything and everything of shared interest.
With social media comes the responsibility for brand ambassadors to put down the bullhorn and engage on a personal level with their community.
But part of the problem, as Hayzlett alluded to in his presentation, was that we aren't the best at crafting what our brands mean to our companies and our communities. In the same way the Kodak isn't a camera company anymore but now in the "emotional technology" business, all of our brands could use a similar brand transformation.
It's certainly not easy to do, but brands that figure out the one thing they stand for in their markets tend to have greater focus and greater message consistency across all departments and communication channels that does satisfy everyone.
Find your marketing catalyst and craft your brand identity.