A Lasting Brand

I served as a judge for an advertising class at Wake Forest University earlier this week. Each team had spent the semester coming up with ideas on how to market a specific product in an assigned geographical area. Their final exam was to present their ideas to the class. Every single team presented more SOCIAL MEDIA ideas than PAID MEDIA ideas.

I think that experience is telling.

These are 20-year-old college students. Social media natives. They grew up with cell phones as an added appendage. Yet, here they are with no budget constraints – able to create TV spots, banner ads, websites, outdoor boards, whatever they can think of – and they spend their time coming up with #hashtags, YouTube videos and SnapChat posts.

I get it. These students don’t fully understand how many people you have to reach and how many times you have to reach them before your message even registers with them. They don’t realize that most brands don’t have enough followers or fans to depend on social media as a major marketing tool. They don’t yet comprehend what it takes to actually build a brand.

The question is, do we marketers?

Everyone is fixated on social media. In this “mobile first” world, social media is gaining momentum every day. Everyone is tweeting and posting and commenting. And we all want to be part of that conversation. But social media has the lifespan of a housefly. It’s churned out quickly and deemed irrelevant with every passing second as new posts push older ones farther down the ladder of visibility.

Meanwhile, it’s paid advertising that puts your beautiful brand in front of millions of targeted eyeballs. Over and over and over again. Every single day.

It takes a lot of money to build a strong brand. Our brand is our most valuable possession. So let’s not get so carried away by SnapChat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that we forget what builds our brands.

A carefully crafted brand message that reaches your audience widely and repeatedly will ensure that your brand is, not just trending, but lasting as well.