This post is by Simon Kemp, Regional Managing Partner for We Are Social in Asia, and is part of the WFA's Project Reconnect.
As part of our work with the World Federation of Advertisers, we've been exploring the factors that define best practice marketing in today's connected age.
In July, we shared the marketing activities that the world's top marketers believe are setting today's gold standard, and what those particular brands do to succeed and stand out.
Today, we're digging deeper into the factors that determine overall brand success.
Our conversations with more than 100 of the world's top marketers revealed three critical factors that enable brands to become leaders in our increasingly digital world:
You'll find a thorough analysis of each of these 'Ps' – together with examples and case studies – in this SlideShare presentation, but here's a brief synopsis of each one:
In order to succeed today, brands must go beyond selling things. Making a profit isn't compelling to anyone outside of your company, and companies that are seen to make too much profit often lose public favour.
At the same time, product-centric differentiation no longer offers a sufficiently sustainable advantage either; for your customers, products and services are simply means to an end, and brands are increasingly at risk from leftfield alternatives that can destroy entire industries overnight (think Kodak).
As a result, our role as marketers isn't to make better things; rather, it's to make things better – to make valuable contributions to people's lives.
That 'purpose' doesn't always need to be about saving the world though; as long as we're adding value to people's lives, we're achieving that 'added value' goal.
The things that make a brand 'popular' are very similar to the traits that define popular people.
It's no secret that we are drawn to people who are generous, caring, entertaining and inspiring, and these are characteristics that brands should strive for as well.
However, we need to go deeper too. Top marketers consistently highlight traits like transparency, sincerity and integrity as the cornerstones of the brands they most admire.
Above all, though, brands need to demonstrate empathy – the ability to really understand the people they care about, and actively connect with them on their terms.
Too much of today's marketing is still about screaming for attention – interrupting people in order to deliver a wholly egocentric sales message.
The problem with this approach is that it's far too easy for people to completely ignore it.
In a 'media' environment that is increasingly dominated by user-controlled devices like smartphones, something more interesting, compelling and valuable than your advert is only a quick finger movement away.
'Awareness' doesn't mean much on its own either – it's easy to win people's attention for a split second, but so what? In order to succeed, brands must convert "I'm aware" into "I care", otherwise their investments have been futile.
The surest way to ensure you engage your audiences is to actively involve them in your marketing efforts; we need to replace interruption with interaction.
Taking this deeper, and to paraphrase John Willshire, we need to stop trying to make people want the things we've already built, and instead, build the things they actually want in the first place.
Ultimately, we need to move to a more democratic definition of marketing: we must create brands of the people, by the people, for the people.
We want to hear your views. Tell us what you think @WFAReconnect
Launched in 2010 by the World Federation of Advertisers, Project Reconnect is an initiative that aims to develop a better understanding of what people want and expect from brands. We believe that the most successful brands in the future will be those that listen hardest to what people have to say and respond best to what people want.
We've already reached out to parents and adolescents, thought-leaders and policy-makers. Now we're engaging the marketing community to try and identify areas where marketer and the views and behaviours of the wide society may converge and diverge.
Most recently, we asked the brand marketing community what makes for great brand marketing, what the common traits of successful brand strategies are and what this all means for the marketer of the future.