Book: BrandDigital ~ Brand Mix

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Book: BrandDigital

Earlier this week, Landor San Francisco welcomed Allen Adamson, Managing Director of our New York office, who came to talk to us about his new book: BrandDigital.

In his first book, BrandSimple, Allen made the case that the business of brands doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the answer to brand success is simple: "Ensure that your brand stands for something that is not simply compelling, but compellingly simple to understand: Build your brand on a simple idea that can be adopted by an entire brand organization and executed brilliantly and consistently across all points of customer interaction."

BrandDigital takes on a more specific question. In this digital era, do the basic rules of branding still apply? Or do we need to throw them out and start over? BrandDigital makes a strong case for the continued importance of the basic rules. In fact, Allen explained that the core thesis of the book came from the idea that digital tools magnify the principals of branding (especially the idea that you better keep whatever promises you make) rather than invalidate them.

One of the things I found particularly interesting in the book is the discussion about the digital environment pushing brands to "ladder up." The idea being that brands that define themselves by functional benefits alone are inherently less interesting in a digital context than brands that have laddered up and added an emotional benefit. What are you going to talk about on Facebook or what video are you going to upload to YouTube if your message is just about the fact that your brand does not dry out your skin? But if you can ladder up, as Dove has done, to start talking about real beauty then you can generate a ton of interest. The trick is making a credible link between the functional and emotional benefit and not ladder up too far. Whether Dove and its Campaign for Real Beauty finally went past the limits of credibility is a subject that I've visited in earlier posts.

Allen ended his talk by sharing with us his top ten list of things to remember about branding in the digital age:

  1. Identify where the people you want to reach are hanging out
  2. Listen to your customers
  3. To stand out, make sure your brand stands for something meaningfully different
  4. Make your brand idea simple to understand
  5. “Who” trumps “what”
  6. Engage with your customers on their terms
  7. Be ready to make rolling adjustments
  8. Play where you can win
  9. Be honest
  10. To understand digital technology you must interact with it

Since I'm a fellow Landorian, I'm sure you'll appreciate the exact level of objectivity I bring as a reviewer in this case and you'll also bear that in mind when I tell you to PLEASE BUY THIS BOOK!

1) BrandDigital: Website

1 comment:

BIG Kahuna said...

Have him mail me a copy and I'll do a full review on it, and I'll be nice!

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