The New, All-in-One Brand Marketing Model

Imagine a marketing and branding concept that provides a completely holistic approach to the brand experience, based on a deep knowledge of the consumer. While this makes perfect sense to a person with any business savvy today, the message was not such an easy sell just 5 years ago. Then, an approach so simple and clear sounded like a foreign language.The conversation would go something like this:Client: “We have an advertising agency of record that handles our branding and marketing needs.”Agency: “So your ad agency completely understands your consumers, develops brand insights, and manages your internet, in-store marketing, direct, customer intimacy, store design, viral, sales, special events, sponsorships, product placements, and PR strategies along with all the other brand touch points?”Client: “Hell no! We have different agencies and different internal decision-makers for each of those areas.”Agency: “So your agency of record (AOR) defined the brand and manages all those firms to ensure brand consistency?”Client: “No way. One firm can’t do all that.”Agency: “Then who owns the total brand experience?”Client: “I guess our CEO is ultimately responsible for that.”Agency: “Oh, so he/she works with all the firms to make sure everything is on track?”Client: “He/she doesn’t have time for that. He/she mostly deals with financial decisions, acquisitions, Wall Street and stuff like that.”Well times have changed haven’t they? The fact is the traditional agency model has completely fallen apart. If an agency does not propose an integrated branding and marketing model in today’s day and age, what chance would they have to get a gig? And who is the AOR anymore? Is it the media agency, advertising agency (now often separate), the digital agency, the retail design group or a brand consultancy?Today’s business world demands a clearer and simpler approach from agencies. Marketing and branding plans must be explained clearly, executed quickly and measured precisely. It also helps that they are wildly successful. So how can a marketing / branding agency accomplish what was once the job of as many as five separate agencies?A good idea is to start with the concept that your best customers own and drive all great brands. These are the people who are already excited and fired up about your brand. These “brand warriors” come in many different types and can be found all over the place, especially online: Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. These people are valuable because they provide insight into what aspects of your current branding are desirable and are creating a positive impact on your target audience – essentially, free market research. The 80-20 rule is still as solid today as when it was first identified.The point is, you might as well understand this cult customer subculture and their relationship with your brand. Once you do, you can go out and attempt to clone the behavior. Before you know it, your small cult of followers and brand warriors is growing. Make sense?