I had the pleasure today of sitting through a brilliant presentation from Mullen’s Kelsey Hodgkin, who was kind enough to talk about “The role of brands in the digital age,” to my Strategic Creative Development class at BU.
Kelsey cleverly started with the Roman Catholic Church – the greatest brand ever created – to demonstrate the power that comes from supporting a single belief with multiple touchpoints, participatory events and transmedia story telling. Bet you didn’t realize the Church pioneered all the same tactics and techniques we typically credit to Nike and Red Bull.
“Today smart companies know there is no such thing as a marketing department; only those companies who know how to market themselves and those who don’t,” Kelsey reminded us.
Virtually all brands know that it starts with crystallizing their beliefs and finding their position in the marketplace. They may use a classic approach, an inside out approach, brand archetypes, or any one of dozens of generic or proprietary branding models to arrive at that belief. But smart brands also get that it has to be reflected in their behavior and the new products and platforms they create if it’s to truly resonate.
We can all name the brands – sadly the same ones over and over – that pull this off. But it’s likely that in the future our industry will find itself charged not so much with articulating a brand through advertising, but with advancing, preserving and re-inventing a brand with new ideas that go well beyond campaigns and projects to products and inventions.
All the more reason to expand our definition of advertising, learn to create in new and emerging media and get comfortable with the tools and technologies that allow us to do so.
If you’re interested in how we’re exploring some of this in the classes I teach at BU, take a look at this project just getting underway.