Don’t use old tools to build a new brand

A couple of weeks ago, I skimmed through the book “Brand Digital: Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World” by Allen Adamson, who is the Managing Director of the New York office of Landor Associates.

Now, while it can be expected that someone working for Landor would say something like “everything we know about branding is just amplified in the digital world” (after all, they need to stay in business), it struck me how much of this (mostly inaccurate) assumption I have still encountered in the industry and in my own work. That is, marketing professionals maybe too often simply appropriate digital media to what they already know about branding … instead of focusing on how digital media change it.

To make the shift between “let’s apply branding to digital” towards “let’s focus on digital and see what branding means there” we maybe first need to change our starting position. In particular, we need to move away from the question:

1. “How to use digital tools to build brands?” to asking “How digital tools challenge what we call the brand?”

2. “How technology applies to principles of branding?” to asking “How digital creates new ties between people and products?”

3. “How to use the Internet to build brand value? to asking “What is valuable on the Internet?”

4. “How brand promise should be brought to life online?” to asking “How immediate delivery in digital removes the need for brand promise in the first place?”

Just an idea. Maybe also good start in thinking about digital branding, too.

Originally published on January 12, 2010