Is Branding Back?

Coming full circle in a digitally-driven world. It was the fall of 2014. I had just taken a big bite of a steak and arugula salad at Chez Z when my lunch companion declared,

“No one has time to tell their story anymore. And nobody really wants to hear it anyway. Just get something—anything—out there.”

That was the first time I thought branding might actually be dead. And then, it got worse. Platforms evolved weekly, algorithms changed daily, new ad types started emerging in every medium, news feeds grew exponentially, reach began diminishing, and everything started to fracture into targeting segments so small that any meaningful impact disappeared.

It all begs the question…

“If everything has to happen 15 different ways and in 7-second sound bites, how do you make anything sticky?”

Well, you can’t—unless everything is integrated. A brand’s ability to be cohesive across its various executions is critical. The platform may dictate how we tell our story, but storytelling isn’t dead. Far from it. In fact, a consistent approach to telling your brand’s story may be the only thing holding your brand together. That, and adhering to some basic brand guidelines. Without a solid branding strategy to anchor the myriad of things we put out there every day, chaos and confusion reign supreme. Ok, so we all know that we have to be present across multiple platforms and be relevant in every one of them. But we can’t just cut and paste copy from one platform to the next, we have to craft the message in the way the audience wants to receive it. We have to be consistent in our positioning, tone, image and messaging. And possess the skills to refine our content to uniquely connect with each audience in each medium. Oh wait…isn’t that called branding?

Branding. It’s not dead. It’s more important than ever—it just looks very different.

By Cindy Montgomery

Cindy Montgomery is CEO and a founding partner of The Ampersand Agency.