Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite fond of the phrase “Content is King” especially as a passionate advocate of content strategy. However, recently I’ve heard grumblings along the lines of UX is King, or Marketing is King, or Social is King, or…you get the picture. The truth is, if we’re all driving to the same end goal (and we should be) then content, UX, creative, marketing, retail and social strategy are all courtiers, and your brand is the true King.
Before I get carried away with lame analogies, let me make my point. The brand is the single unifying factor in all marketing endeavors. Like it or not, your audience experiences your brand in multiple ways – the user interface you deliver, the in-store experience they have, your social presence, their conversation with your call center, and the list goes on. No single medium can be used to ‘build a brand’ in a vacuum, because each has an important role to play in how it is perceived.
A great example of this is a company like Chick-Fil-A. As a brand they are one of the most successful in the industry when it comes to using social media to grow awareness and sales. However, Chick-Fil-A are the first to say they grew their social presence by leveraging existing brand ambassadors–people who were already raving fans . They understood their brand and used that to connect with their fans and grow their business.
On the flip side, there are plenty of examples out there of companies building websites or participating in the social space in a way that is not consistent with their brand or audience. They are no more building brands than splitting atoms.
Bottom line: no matter how good your strategies are, if they do not accurately reflect and support your brand, they are unlikely to succeed.