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Brands are FOREVER

If there’s one thing I know to be true about brands - and there may only be one - it’s that you have to play the long game.

You may well sweep past a competitor in a promotional sprint. But when you get to the finish line, there will always be more laps to go.

Like in strategy.

I’m pretty sure all brands need attention and trust. If no one notices you, you aren’t even in the race. But you need to be remembered too and remembered well.

That means making a promise and keeping it. Trust is hard won but easily lost.

It also means making choices. You can’t promise the world. So you have to make sacrifices, which could mean resisting the allure of instant gratification in favour of building a foundation for the future.

Like in advertising.

Patrick Collister wrote a great piece recently called: ‘Short-term thinking is a long-term problem.’ It was about how ad campaigns, like client/agency relationships, used to last for decades.

Now what we have is more a paper chain of tactics. Basically selling to people who were already ready to buy.

So did you see that Meta research showing short-term measurement approaches probably underestimate advertising ROI by a factor of 2.5?

The problem is the emotional mind is harder to measure. We’re talking about people who might be open to buying you in five years’ time.

But the lessons are clear. Broaden your reach and be consistent. As Jeremy Bullmore said: “People build brands as birds build nest, from the scraps and straws they chance upon.” So the straws should match.

Like in blogging.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about blogging - and again, there may only be one - it’s that you have to be in it for the long haul.

You might well have an early hit. I did early on with a case history about Felix cat food, called ‘INSIGHT without an insight’.

But what you need is steady growth, which then eventually, hopefully, reaps its own rewards. That has kind of happened for me this year. Maybe the content’s been better. I don’t know, I just keep writing.

Like with Closer to Brands.

Thinking about it, my whole position has always been about the benefit of having a long-term positioning

And that the best way to have that is to build it on people’s deeper needs. Not only because those needs drive brand choices, but also because deeper needs tend not to change over time.

So choice may happen in a fleeting moment of closeness, but it does so because of a lasting emotional connection. That’s what makes a brand mentally available. You remember what you want to remember.

I know other people in marketing don’t necessarily see it like this. But that’s the point of positioning. This is what I believe.

Like in life.

Confucius was right: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

So the best thing with your brand, as in life, is to keep going. Keep on keeping on.

But let’s all have a happy Christmas first and a bit of a rest.

Then here’s to a successful 2027.


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