Frank Bodin Chairman and CEO Havas Worldwide CS Entrepreneur Success Story

Corporate Branding in the Digital Age

In a world where people can decide online what they do and do not want to see, quality criteria for marketing communication are more important than ever. The following is a list of questions developed by Frank Bodin for this magazine. If you can answer “yes” to all of them, you are probably on the right track.

1. Does the slogan make sense?

Communication without long-term strategic planning makes as much sense as building on sand. Strategy is nothing more than creative action. There are three different areas to think about:

  1. target group, 
  2. competition, 
  3. brand.

At the center of this is the overarching brand idea. Interchangeable brand positioning such as “We are innovative and customeroriented” does not serve its intended purpose. In contrast, a slogan such as Nike’s “Just do it” has meaning. Also be aware that a good brand strategy should never be longer than one page.

2. Is the idea surprising and fresh?

People’s interest in brands is limited. The desire to communicate with brands instead of with friends and acquaintances is limited. The need to receive messages from businesses is limited. To prevent brand messaging – in any medium – from becoming an annoyance and getting filtered out digitally, fresh ideas are more in demand than ever. Big data can help with this, by the way. But don’t confuse big data with the big idea. Swiss insurer Die Mobiliar’s campaign for reporting damages is a fresh idea with endless variations that will continue to take people by surprise for years to come.

3. Is the implementation unique?

The digitalization of our society has increased the value of creativity. Much of what is found on the web is produced quickly and cheaply. This tendency is logical at the moment, but for the future of corporations and brands, it can be fatal. A good idea that is poorly executed will never achieve its aims.

4. Does the campaign make a difference?

Good is often not good enough nowadays. A truly good campaign moves people, touches them, and changes the perception of the brand. Making a distinction between water and water is a pretty difficult task, yet Evian succeeded in doing just that with its “Forever Young” strategy and rapping Evian babies, for example. The clip got over 100 million clicks around the world.

5. Is the strategy unified across marketing channels?

The new media world has become complex. One challenge is to find the right mix of traditional and digital media and the other is to cleverly link the different channels. The “Dumb Ways to Die” awareness campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne is a shining example. Successful crossmedia campaigns raise new, underlying questions.