Developing a brand strategy used to mean finding the right message for the right person at the right time, and success would follow. All of that's still true, but this isn't 2009.
Rather it's a time when the marketing world that has no firm idea what the next two years will bring. Technology is changing us all – behaviorally, psychologically and generationally. People are flipping in and out of different spaces constantly: personal, professional, public, private, mobile and seated. The time spent in any space is becoming shorter and shorter. No longer can we think of our targeted customers as an "audience;" they are, in fact, the ones in charge.
So what does this mean for building a brand?
It means a communication strategy can't be a flat collection of benefits. It must consider a continually shifting context. An email message has to break through different emotional circumstances than a Facebook post -- yet both are evaluated within an instant. Understanding the nuances of a moment can make all the difference between brand engagement and deletion.
It also means brands are no longer built by brand managers and ad campaigns alone. Consumers/customers shape a brand every time they go online and post a review, tweet a complaint, or snap a photo for Instagram. No longer an "audience," brand users are now partners that can change the fate of a brand in an instant.
Our new social/local/mobile surroundings also mean the cost of attention is sky-high. For brand communication to work, it can't just sputter on about what is does -- a meaningful brand has to give, solve, entertain and serve a purpose. It has to fit within the context of a customer's story.
Indie strategist for hire
I'm a freelance brand strategist, thrilled by the changes in the brand building business. Never before have projects required so much strategic agility and creativity. Every brand challenge is unique and hard. My brain hurts constantly -- but in a good way.
My background is deep on strategy development. I have 13+ years "big agency" experience overseeing the brand efforts for clients such as Kraft Foods, Unilever and American Express. For the last 3 years, I've consulted for clients big and small, consumer and business-to-business to build brands across many different categories: maple syrup, automotive, shampoo, architecture, fitness, construction and feminine protection.
As an independent contractor, I can function as an adjunct resource, as part of a dedicated team or as a project lead. I have a flexible schedule and live three hours (by car) from Chicago.
If you would like to talk about how we can build a relevant brand in a rapidly changing culture, please contact me by commenting below (comments not published) or email me directly at: email@example.com.