Bring It Back to the Brand

by John Mulder

In early 2018, the digital advertising world shook.

It started with the announcement that Proctor and Gamble was cutting their digital advertising spending by nearly $200 million and reinvesting the funds into areas with “media reach” including television, audio, and e-commerce.

And, they weren’t alone. Soon after, Unilever followed suit.

This decision signaled two things. First, putting all of your money into digital and casting a wide net isn’t effective. You need to approach your search engine marketing with strategic, focused, and calculated efforts. And, second, getting back to traditional marketing creates the balance you need to be successful.

I would never completely eliminate your digital advertising strategy.  I doubt that is what either of these retail giants were saying. What I am encouraging is a real come-to-Jesus-moment for brands to renew their focus on a more comprehensive marketing strategy.

Think Locally

It takes a lot of money to compete on a national level, and that shouldn’t be the focus of every brand.

A local furniture store that offers products similar to some of the largest national retailers is not going to be able to target online traffic on a local business’ budget. Nor, should they.

Instead, this hypothetical local business should focus on a TV ad and a billboard, ways that will grab the attention of people in their community, and usher them through the door. That’s when your unique customer experience starts, which is something that customers still crave, even with everything we could ever desire at our fingertips.


The sooner you start thinking brand-first, the better. It’s how some of the biggest brands became so well known.

A good brand will do a lot of the work for you. It can market, and it can advertise. More importantly, it will get people in the door, and have them telling all their friends about you.

If you focus on creating a strong brand, your customers will become your brand evangelists. Although word-of-mouth marketing can’t be your only strategy, it should be something to strive for, because it really does work.

Even after reading an article about a great local restaurant, we will ask our friends,“ have you eaten there?”. After seeing an ad for a mechanic, you will still call on a family member to say, “have you heard of these guys, or do you have a recommendation?”.

This strategy is useful for all brands, but it is crucial for brands with a local client base.

Stay Consistent

Recently, I stumbled upon a Simon Sinek lecture about intensity vs. consistency. I brought this up at our Monday morning meeting because I thought it was a valuable point that we all need to keep in the forefront of our actions and work.

The point that Sinek made was that great culture is about consistency, rather than intensity.

It’s a challenge because when you focus on consistency over intensity, you don’t always see immediate results. In fact, you may not even know how long you need to repeat an action until you see results. But, the effects will be longer lasting and will come to define you, as a person and a business.


The same is true for brands.

Once you create a strong brand identity and implement a strategy that works for your business/industry, do it again. And, then again and again.


This is how you will see real results that get people’s attention, and have them coming back for more.


And that’s more important than any page click or a paid ad.

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