Don't kid yourself – advertising still matters. Thanks to the digital revolution, traditional advertising is sliding into oblivion with print, radio and outdoor becoming smaller and smaller like the opening narrative in Star Wars. But the one component of traditional advertising that's just as important now as ever – is brand. So before we abandon traditional logic altogether, let's not forget what got us here in the first place.
I'm not talking about just a logo, tagline, color palette or typography. I'm talking about the deeper stuff. Real branding. Core ideals that drive corporate cultures and that are developed at the top of an organization and flow freely downstream into every tributary of the company. The best an advertising agency can do to develop a brand is decipher what is most true about an organization, and then let that thing be the tip of the communications spear. For everything.
Consider that until the arrival of Social media, advertising in any form was, at best, a one-way appeal. And don't try to tell me that telemarketing or direct response was somehow 2-way advertising either, mister. I know first hand how to write scripts that feature variable data as actual people. By virtue of its nature, one-way communication is manipulative. Do something. Buy something. Act now.
Only, social media is where 'Act now' goes to die.
So how do you exist in this space? Thankfully, just as with traditional advertising, the best strategy is to lead with brand. Brands that are true to their values and are willing to share them with prospects, customers or even strangers will, no doubt, transition easily into social media. Those that rely on traditional manipulation tactics to drive sales – not so much.
The best brands get out of their own way.