I’ve read and heard hundreds of definitions of brands over the years and while many of them are compelling in one way or another, most of them get bogged down in intellectualism. To me, the definition is simple: brands are opinions.
Of course, thinking of your brand as a collective opinion of your market reveals the classic notion of brand management as a rather hollow conceit. Today’s socially-networked, highly-viral world enables the exchange of opinions with unprecedented reach and speed, thus the idea of ‘management’ overpromises; a more precise word would be ‘advocacy.’
Further, the Web 2.0 revolution means we no longer control every brand conversation. To be truly effective today, we must move beyond the static concept of reporting structure management to a more nimble, balls-of-your-feet stance. Protecting and advancing consumers’ often quicksilver opinions demands we stay highly aware, consistently focused, and quickly responsive.
When I first started this blog, the convergence of digital and traditional advertising seemed critical to this changing industry. Yet despite all the jawing and posturing, that is currently well underway; digital agencies are hiring traditional agency people and digital people are increasingly mainstreamed within traditional agencies.
Nevertheless, convergence remains the central issue, but it is increasingly the convergence of advertising and public relations.