Branding is dead, long live equity.

Today I read this, from Banksy:

I am not linking to it as I saw it on Facebook but am not sure of the source.

The point Banksy makes is a good one, and one that advertisers and brand managers need to think long and hard about… A few weeks ago I was speaking at social media week and pulled out an old quote from Radian6: “Your brand is just the sum of its conversations”. The 2 things are very closely linked, think about it… Brands have always been the sum of conversations, we have always made purchase decisions based on word of mouth, peer reviews and peer purchases, advertising has also helped to drive those decisions, drive our awareness and drive word of mouth, good advertising gets people talking.

But now we live in a world where people can edit, people can satire, people can distort, create and co-create in ways that even 10 years ago seem crazy and cost so little. What does that mean for our brands? It means that we all need to embrace the creativity of our customers and advocates, they create our brand, not brand managers, or agencies…

So we don’t build brands anymore, we can’t throw a tonne of money at creating a logo, creating an identity, a DNA and slick expressions of that in ATL that ensure success, particularly not in the ever more cynical western world. So what should we do? We should build equity! 

What do I mean?

I mean that we take the time and energy into diving into the communities that we want to appeal to and sell product to, we create content with them (not for them, with them) we build relationships with the community leaders and influencers, over time we learn about them and turn them into brand supporters and advocates, we let them define the brand with us, the products and everything!

This is not crowdsourcing it’s defining your brand and your identity with your communities.

I am not saying don’t buy ATL and don’t think about your brand, I am just saying do it differently.


2 responses to “Branding is dead, long live equity.

  1. It’s not surprising that Bansky isn’t a fan of advertising. On the other hand, he’s been a master at building his own brand, talking to us from tall buildings and putting himself before us without our asking. From taking over the movie project “Exit Through The Gift Shop” to employing mystery he’s using sophisticated technology and techniques that are similar to those embraced by major brands.
    I agree with Radian6’s point that “Your brand is the sum of its conversations. And you’re right about the need to let customers use their creativity to help enrich your brand.
    The world’s changed for the better. Social media is simply about being social and it’s easier today than ever before to reach out, hold interesting conversations and connect. Businesses, be they a one person shop or a large multinational, have an ability to employ many of the same techniques and channels. It’s time to ramp up creativity and use it as smartly as Bansky.

  2. Building equity is a much better idea and one that really encompasses the idea of true community. Thanks for giving us a mention!

    All the best,
    Trish | Community Manager @Radian6

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