Present day electronic commerce is incredible: you look for a product that caught your eye a while back, a retargeting advertisement appears with a better price and convinces you to purchase, you order it, and it appears at your front door the following day.
As a consumer, it is one of the most powerful solutions that technology has brought into daily life: the ability to compare products, services and prices from the comfort of a chair.
As a company, there are also hundreds of tools that allow you to track the interests of the consumer, the times when there is the greatest amount of traffic and analyze the sales funnel to infiltrate just when they are reviewing Facebook from the bathroom.
But there is an immeasurable treasure – in the broad sense of the word – that has lost much of its value in the face of the mainstream of digital marketing: brand positioning.
Brand awareness, or branding, is responsible for maintaining the concept of the brand in the mind of the consumer, regardless of whether or not it performs a short-term action; which is, basically, what traditional advertising has done for companies during the last century.
In the words of the venerable father of modern marketing, Philip Kotler, brand positioning “consists of arranging for a product to occupy clear, distinctive, and desirable place relative to competing products in the minds of target consumers“.
We are talking about a process that takes place long before the user's need for the product arises and, of course, when the user makes a consumption decision. These are the aspirational photographs in magazines, the free stickers that come in the packaging, the warm greeting of the employee and, in the digital environment, the email with a birthday offer, which allows the consumer to identify with the brand, generate an emotional bond and, at the time of decision making, prefer it over the competition.
With a little reserve, I dare to say that this is the main goal of social media campaigns, e-mail marketing and design: keeping the image of the brand fresh in the minds of users.
Publishing a meme that genuinely relates to our brand, sharing specialized information about our service on the blog or sending the catalog of products by mail every month will not necessarily generate an immediate conversion, but it will create an impression – ideally – in the user that will make them think of us whenever they want a product or service like ours.
For example, I personally have been thinking about getting a new mattress for at least five years. I have seen spectacular advertisements and TV commercials of different brands for decades, but I only follow the Facebook posts of one company. I only stop to see the posters of the season of that one company and I am only aware of the prices and offers of that same company.
It's a brand that has turned the boring category of white into a badge of Mexican design (you know who I'm talking about) and the day I decide to change my queen size, I have no doubt where I'm going.
As with this furniture, many of the products or services that we promote are investments that consumers make once in their life, once per decade or once a year, so it is more important to generate an effective relationship that is positioning the brand, with the user being directed to the reservation engine.
The large amount of data and metrics that are obtained through web and social platforms, have buried the treasure of branding and have replaced the interest of customers by numbers. By numbers I mean the number of reactions to the post or the percentage of rebound of an instream video. When the contribution of digital media is much greater in long-term objectives, its mission is to build and maintain an intimate relationship of interests and common information with the user, to convert that into a consumer when their need for our product arises.
We must remember that, before generating a solid database of potential customers or increasing the number of products consulted in the online store, what advertising does for companies is to present their brand to users, like a friend who says 'I am here for you', because, as my always quoted Seth Godin would say, “if you have never heard of it … then there is no brand, at least not for you”.
Andrea Herrera is a Digital Strategist (plus a latent information architect and closet writer) at Mijo! Brands, a leading creative digital marketing agency with offices in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.
She has a degree in Communication and Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, during her almost ten years of experience in digital advertising, she has collaborated with brands such as L'Oréal, Seguros AXA, American Express and the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México in the generation of strategies and content for websites, social networks and digital campaigns. Her free time is devoted fervently to ecclesiastical choral music, American football and desserts.