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Connecting and engaging with consumers in a believable way is key to building a successful brand.
John Seifert, Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather North America, discusses brand building in a post recession economy and how to build trust, an essential element of a successful brand. This article appeared in the August 2010 issue of ANA Magazine.
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A model for trust
Connecting and engaging with consumers in a believable way
is key to building a successful brand By John seifert
Not loNg Ago, at the international
Advertising Association’s global
marketing summit, i spoke about the
“new normal” state, where we as
marketers and agencies are finding
that consumers are highly engaged
but often distrustful. As we seek to
revitalize brands in a post-recession
economy, we must acknowledge that
the swift and harsh criticism leveled at
iconic companies, brands, and people
that were perceived to have contrib-
uted to the recession has had a
the reasons why these players came
under siege are diverse, but for now,
they all have lost something very
essential: trust. Although this loss of
trust may or may not be warranted, the
lesson for all of us engaged in building
and growing brands in a “reset” world is
obvious: We now market products and
services without full control over the
messaging that surrounds our brands,
yet we are still accountable for every
message, both good and bad.
in the past, building a brand was a
much simpler proposition. Assuming
you offered a product or service that
was reliable and delivered good value,
there was no transaction hurdle to
6 | August 2010 ANA Magazine www.ana.net
overcome. Our job as the agency was to effectively connecting and engaging with communications and demonstrate why
create a largely one-way message that consumers, they can build both trust and clients should invest in media.
encouraged consumers to try the the brand.
product or service, convert them into that is not enough, however. Brand A Question of Value
customers, and build lasting loyalty. building requires us to look beyond the At Ogilvy & mather, we strive to live up to
All that has changed. the agency product or service. the brand platform the mission set forth by David Ogilvy: to
model of the future calls for evolving the must be built on an even stronger be valued by those who value brands
message as the marketplace shifts, to corporate platform, one that can stand the most. it’s been proven that kids in a
keep ahead of changing consumer, test of twitter and google. the company garage with a digital camera can create
media, and cultural habits. indeed, to be behind the brand is no longer anonymous. an ad that a client will pay to air during
relevant and valued, agencies must to build trust, a company must stay true to the super Bowl. But it takes more than
navigate the complex web of communica- its vision and communicate it to consum- one or two communication channels to
tions to help grow our clients’ brands. in ers in a believable way. the company that build a successful brand, especially in a
this way we can reclaim the role of achieves this is what our client Jon iwata, world where a product malfunction in one
partner and help guide companies and chief marketing officer for iBm, calls an country can spark a worldwide stir fueled
brands in the new-normal marketplace. “authentic enterprise.” by bloggers, citizen journalists, and
For brands today, “community trust is critical to brand health because tweeters. Agencies with multidisciplinary
branding” is the new standard. the consumer skepticism is so pervasive. expertise are uniquely positioned to close
“Brand building requires us to look beyond the product or
service. the brand platform must be built on an even
stronger corporate platform, one that can stand the test
of twitter and google.” — JohN seifert, Ogilvy & mAther
ability to engage in a discussion with Brands need societal relevance. they the trust gap with clients and build the
consumers from a position of trust and must be involved at every touch point and kind of trust with consumers that clients
openness can help enhance a product’s engage in conversations in the market- and their brands need to thrive.
or company’s image and limit negative place. simply put, a company and its to remain valuable, the agency model
commentary. Unfortunately, brand brand can’t fake it. the world is transpar- must evolve with the changing consumer
managers can’t control who is saying ent. Failure to grasp this concept, and media landscape. We have to
what, and some lack the skills to engage especially in a crisis, will cause your demonstrate that we can lead in the face
critics or collaborate with supporters. product and your company to be dis- of technological innovation every day.
this is where an agency with expertise in missed as irrelevant in the best case, or Agencies won’t win client trust in huge
social media can help a business worse, deemed evil. strides. it will be earned incrementally,
embrace the new marketplace. While those of us who work in success upon success, as the technologi-
marketing are wrestling with the new cal revolution marches on.
Beyond Communications realities of branding in the digital age, the Ogilvy & mather believes the world
successful brands today are contextual. tough economy has also created an would be a better place if we could bring
Communication is no longer linear. to “intramural” trust gap between clients out the inner greatness in brands,
succeed, a brand and its agency must and agencies. it’s clear that clients are companies, and people. But that mission
effectively tap into all traditional and less trusting of the advertising industry. in requires trust. ■
nontraditional communication channels part that’s because the growing number
and recognize that by mastering the of channels has made it increasingly John Seifert is chairman and CEO of Ogilvy
new communications ecosystem and difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of & Mather North America.
www.ana.net ANA Magazine August 2010 | 7