“We’re here tonight with two world-class opponents. “In this corner is the current champion, Social Media, the reigning and defending Champion holding the professional world record for endless wins (and numerous controversial losses) standing at 6-feet-2-inches tall, weighing in at 225 pounds. The Challenger and former World Champion is Branding from the East Coast, standing at 6-feet-4-inch tall and a lean 202 pounds….” (And talking about Social Media and Branding, make sure to check out the brand new “I’m David Brier and I approve of this Message” post. Think political comedian Jon Stewart as a branding Ninja… LOL )
The Fight Of The Century
Speak to one camp and you’ll hear Social Media is the answer to every business’ ills. Speak to the other camp and Branding is the answer to mankind’s problems. This argument is worse than a Vice-Presidential debate (except with fewer interruptions).
Facts vs. What We Hear
Ever notice how facts have a way of getting in the way of what people say? Let’s take a look at a Google trend analysis I just conducted today. I submitted three terms, just to see over the last 90 days what was trending and what people in the US were searching for online. The three terms were:
- Brand Strategy (shown in blue)
- Social Media (shown in red)
- Branding (shown in the mustard color)
Here’s the result: What does this tell us? That “social media” is searched for a hell of a lot more as a term than “branding” and way more than “brand strategy.”
Major Cause For Alarm
Media as defined by Oxford is “the main means of mass communication (esp. television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively.” Social media, for those who have not heard me speak about it before, is simply this: a channel of communication. It’s not content, not what’s said. Only the channel. It’s the avenues along which the content travels. Like advertising media, it’s where you place your ads, not what is said in them. Brand strategy on the other hand is the planning and formulating of what is said and why it’s said. That monitors content, whereas social media is the channel upon which we put the stuff. Yet, this “channel” ranks highest in the above graph. Whoa. Branding, which comes in second place above, I have defined as this: “The art of differentiation.” It is collectively the entirety of all the messaging where words, images, design and the overall message come together — like a well planned meal — satisfying the recipient with something for all the senses. Yet, this came in well under social media in the above trend report. The proven, correct sequence that gets results is:
- Business strategy as the first item to tackle.
- Branding would follow to implement the strategy.
- Then, the channel (which might be part of the strategy) would follow.
The Reason Most Businesses Fail
at Social Media vs. Branding
Social Media averaged around 80 on Google’s chart whereas branding came in around 20 and brand strategy was near 0 (zero) by comparison. The problem is one must manage one’s content first — what one’s brand stands for and how it communicates this to the world — and then, after that is achieved, you can manage and decide what channel to put it on. But this recent trend shows everyone’s focus is on “where to funnel my message” with much less attention on “what to say.” That’s backwards. Big time backwards. That would be like working out where to sell your songs without writing any lyrics or music or knowing what genre of music you’re going to write. Or what picture to paint. Or product to manufacture. Or what retail space to get without first knowing what you’re going to sell. Do it backwards and you’ll lose like so many companies do. Doing it in the right sequence will put the odds in your favor. Big time.
Being the Champion of Your Brand:
First Things First
Just because the world has it backwards is no reason for you to follow those getting it wrong. The sequence is pretty simple:
- Figure out your content first.
- Work out what your brand stands for.
- Sort out who will care and who has a need for what you’re offering.
- The above will then dictate rather organically what your brand name should be; what your brand should look like; and what personality your brand should convey to resonate and gain traction.
After all of that, you’re ready to enter the ring and solve where to place that message so people will not only want to hear your message but pay attention to it as well. Who wins is up to you. Which will win on your watch?