Friday, December 19, 2008

6 Fundamentals of Branding in the Digital Age: ForwardFast applied

I recently answered a question on “Branding Fundamentals in the Digital Age” from Adite Banerjie, a business writer and research analyst.

Adite asked, “Have branding/marketing fundamentals changed in the age of Facebook and Linkedin? Are the 4Ps still relevant? How have they evolved? If not, why not?”

Adite has expertise in the areas of research, analysis, report writing, and content development. She works with a team of independent professionals including quantitative and qualitative researchers, graphic designers, and printing professionals. Adite’s specialities are in the area of business writing and analysis: compiling and analyzing data and preparation of reports on economic issues, industry sectors, consumer behavior, social development and media in India and the South Asian region.

I replied to her:

In my experience, there remain some basics for brand management – in order to build a more sustainable market position and greater market penetration through stronger demand -- whether it be traditional or digital.

I recently presented at the Asia Brand Congress in Mumbai, where many of these issues were discussed (and debated).

First, consider the opportunities for managing brands in a digital marketplace:
- rediscover the potential of underpromoted brands
- reinvigorate and grow products
- rethink in-licensed products
- retool for new indications/uses
- reorganize product marketing resources
- reconsider approach to new channels

Many practices may be the same, but obviously you can imagine new directions. So, one must reanalyze what works and what must be improved.

One method we use is the “ForwardFast®” branding model. You look at six main areas of the brand to determine adjustments:

1. Likeability – what elements of the product and branding are attracting customers? and how are they translated or adapted to digital marketing?

2. Logo – is the name, symbol, font, design appealing – and can it be sustained in an online environment?

3. Quality Offering – are the main attributes of the brand simple and easy to understand? if you think it's hard to get your message in a 30-second commercial, try a 13-word Google ad.

4. Associations – what is the brand connected with, and if it’s right, could it be strengthened?

5. Attitude – consider how the tone of the package design, campaign copy, and delivery system is communicated in virtual worlds.

6. Quality Experience – this is the newest and strongest area that many marketers are learning needs attention; does the experience of buying, using, and servicing the product match your brand – and can it be elevated for your advantage in digital marketing?

Finally, your reference to the 4P's reminds us to look at more Ps:
- Place (distribution)
- Price (sales, discounts, contracts, incentives)
- Promotion (unique channels)
- Packaging (novel, convenient, green)
- Put-ups (sizes, kits, bundles)
- Personal support (services offerings)
- Professional development (education, training, certification)

I’ve just published a new business book entitled "FORWARDFAST: THE 6-STEP MODEL TO ACCELERATE YOUR HEALTH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BRAND." You can read about it, and even download a free preview chapter, at

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