Building brands requires CEOs to understand branding

95% of products fail to become brands, despite over US$1.5 trillion spent on marketing of which about US$500 billion is spent on advertising. And most of that is spent on awareness, reach and other mass market mass economy mass media tactics.

Advertising is important and always will be important to brand building but ‘getting your name out there’ or ‘creating awareness’ are too mass economy and we’re now in the customer economy.

In the customer economy, it is about engaging members of communities that have interests related to your product and entering into a communication initially and a collaboration eventually with certain members of those communities. Throw out the old mass economy mass market attitude that includes carpet bombing consumers with messages via full page ads, TVCs, billboards and one-size-fits-all communications.

But who is to blame? Is it the advertising agencies? Or is it the CEOs? I believe that until CEOs get over their own egos and realise that just because they can see their company name on a 40 foot by 10 foot billboard, or on page 3 of the national newspaper etc etc, doesn’t mean that the rest of us can see through the clutter and even if we do, most of us don’t take any notice because we don’t care.

Until CEOs instead seek accountability and ROI from their advertising, they will, in all likelihood be at the front of the long queue to be one of those products that fail to become brands.

And if advertising agencies continue to make hay, who can blame them?

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