Branding: A Simple Word with a lot of Meaning

Companies strive to be successful with branding, and most importantly, stand out amongst hundreds of other companies to show why they are unique. It is especially difficult with today’s modern technology, compared to say, the 1960’s.

The ever evolving ways to advertise in today’s society compared to nearly 60 years ago was discussed at a recent Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Marketing Roundtables event. The topic centered on the well-known TV show “Mad Men”, about a glamorous advertising firm set in the 1960’s.

The show centers on the advertising firm Sterling Cooper.  In each episode, the firm tries to win a prospective client by showing them how their product would be sold, using visual storyboards showing what would be printed in magazines and newspapers.

In one particular scene, well known film company Kodak comes to Sterling Cooper for them to come up with a concept that would make their product attractive to the public. Don Draper, the creative director, showed them photos he had taken using Kodak film, capturing moments in his life he wanted to remember. Draper was able to take this product and add an emotional connection the public could relate to.

Nowadays, film is almost nonexistent, and Kodak has to think of other ways to be relevant in today’s world.  They can no longer just go to an advertising firm, tell them to advertise their product, come up with one concept and execute.  Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets, it has become so overloaded that it is difficult to keep track.

As marketing coordinator, I help assist in the promotion of the firm and figure out which social media outlet(s) are best for us.  I must think creatively and stay relevant while upholding the firm’s standards. I also try to think like a client: “What would I want to see in a company I may be potentially doing business with?” These may seem like obvious questions, but they are difficult to answer.

In some ways, it was a bit easier back then. You had control over your image. There was maybe two ways to advertise your product (both print. If the newspaper or magazine told you Kodak provided the best film, the public had no reason to think otherwise.

In today’s society, you can question the product and compare with other companies who produce similar goods.  Real people can post reviews, customer service can respond more quickly, and you can promote your product at almost no cost, reaching a wider audience.

The world that “Mad Men” creates may have the glamour and impeccable clothing, but I’d rather live in a world where information is accessible everywhere and have the ability to choose where to advertise. A glossy magazine image may entice me, but how the company reacts to solving problems is what will influence me to take out my wallet.

By Lindsay Sacco
Marketing Coordinator

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