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Your publishing brand – why should anyone care?

February 7, 2011
Sound Mirrors at Dungerness

Is there anybody out there? Avoiding brand deafness is crucial to survival

There was an interesting one-liner post on Tim Cohn’s blog yesterday called Display Deaf. He asks a very simple question: why doesn’t an audience respond to brand advertising? He says, quite rightly, that they are “display deaf”.

Display deafness does what it says: people aren’t hearing what you’ve got to say. Why should this be the case?

In the online and social world, deafness is a problem if your online management and information distribution is poor. Without effective communication, you will have little relevance and few trust agents working effectively on your behalf. If no-one talks about you, no-one will listen. It’s as simple as that.

So visibility, relevance, trust and credibility are all key parts of an online presence. They are all advocates of your brand. Relevance creates advocacy creates listeners. Brands with vitality and active marketer/consumer interaction will stand the greatest chance of success.

But let’s not forget what makes a brand. A brand cannot be designed without substance. A brand must deliver. A brand must be tangible. A brand must create belief by demonstrable value. A brand must create emotion to be relevant.

Brand corrosion can occur when simple, yet catastrophic, errors are made. Like poor customer service, faulty goods, poor quality through cost-driven production initiatives, or simply – like Waterstone’s – losing touch with what made them great in the first place.

Or people like Reed Elsevier who, despite the relevance of their powerful legal brand Butterworths to their target market still choose to force the Lexis-Nexis brand down their customers’ throats (look up Butterworths on the web and see what happens to your experience).

And brands can soon die. Not many people talk about Dillons anymore. Or George Allen & Unwin (unless you’re in Australasia). But brands can be talked about, can be relevant, can be powerful. You just have to believe in them, to substantiate their power and to communicate their value. To staff and to customers.

Fail to engender your brand in your business, fail to communicate your values to your customers, and you will fail as a business.

Image: pre war “sound mirrors” at Dungerness, courtesy of BoingBoing.net

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