CORPORATE IMAGE MYTHOLOGY
As e-commerce matures, it opens a great door for smart marketing based on some fundamental laws of common sense, which should address bringing out honest and clean messages to ease the pain of the customers. Smart messages with powerful names will grow in time, and don't require permanent, expensive fireworks support to attract customers.
There are three common myths about corporate image and name identity: Big money will buy you a big image, customers are just sheep, and constant bombardment will bring constant sales. Corporate image and name identity form the backbone of any business. Without them there will be no growth, no IPOs, no M&As. It is critical to understand how to play this game, blindfolded or with clear vision.
Let's explore some of this mythology.
Blowing on an Image
Traditionally, the branding advice has been that a big branding budget coupled with a big blowout fireworks will ensure a great corporate image and identity. Sure, it worked in the 1960s or 1980s, but not in the years of the zeros, during 2000 to 2005 and beyond.
There has been a serious meltdown and erosion in this thinking. Today, big spending cannot guarantee a big image. The real truth is often traveling much faster than the sugar-coated image. Now it is necessary first to put the result in front to match the talk about the image.
Money helps to get some of the things in motion. However, "the bigger the amount, the bigger the image" is a thing of the past. Today, the right money with the right image and corporate performance will bring out a great corporate identity. Take a look at Google; it had no advertising agency, and simply relied on shoestring marketing with smarts and record-breaking performance. Now it is the top brand in e-commerce, all without any big branding bucks.
There are thousands of corporations exploring such strategies, while hundreds of others with thousands of dollars a day in branding budgets are still scratching their heads and going nowhere. Branding costs are there to help, but the idea that unlimited budgets will give you unlimited growth is just a myth.
Are Customers Really Sheep?
Big agencies believe that consumers are large herds of sheep and will follow to any creative exploitation, and for that reason, they encourage wild and bizarre campaigns.
Perhaps it was true in the past, as until recently, customers simply followed the wind and worshiped the sun; anything shining was good enough to follow. Not today. Now they are very clever and overly exposed -- stalking for the best deals, ignoring the lure while frustrated by the crazy blast.
All customers want is simple name recognition as a calling device, something to remember and something easy to type. The rest of the fanfare is lost in the multi-media jungle. Today, the key is marketing one-to-one, delivered with some clarity and respect. Today, success through wild branding fanfare to the masses, as if they were all sheep, is just a myth.
Bombardment of Messages
How much bombardment of the message is required until the masses have succumbed? How often should a name be repeated in a commercial before they can recall a name, and how often should they be jolted with shock before they are all mesmerized?
Hypnotized or dazed the customers might be. However, often for other reasons, like the daily grind of life, they are not buying the old beaten up mantra of repetitiveness. The more you repeat the dysfunctionality of a message, the more they shut out.
A simple, clean message is more than enough. A clean corporate identity message with a sharp name designed to simulate their needs rather than make fun of their intelligence is what's required.
The old concept of "thousands of repeated ads will get thousands of orders" might have worked in the past, but not today. The radio age or the TV age was responsible for this thinking, but not now, as in this cyber age it is a one-to-one format. The idea that repetitive messages will bring repetitive success is just a myth.
As e-commerce matures, it opens a great door for smart marketing based on some fundamental laws of common sense, which should address bringing out honest and clean messages to ease the pain of the customers. Global cyber-branding demands the application of proper rules.
Smart messages with powerful names will grow in time, and don't require permanent, expensive fireworks support to attract customers. Today, corporate identity requires a serious re-evaluation and, most importantly, it must be done in light of all this mythology.
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About Naseem Javed
Naseem Javed, author Naming for Power and also Domain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global name identities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank , a consultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executive workshops on image and name identity issues.