The Winter Olympics are about a month away, and I’m really looking forward to it. One category of athletes that I especially admire compete in the endurance races. Standing in stark contrast to the high-profile sprint events that come down to split second finishes, the marathon in the summer games, and 50k nordic skiing in the winter games are both measured in hours.
Endurance sports require a different mindset altogether. Spend too much energy to gain an early advantage and you’ll fade down the stretch. Conserve too much energy and you’ll run out of time before you can catch the lead pack. The winner must race with relentless discipline, strength, strategy and grit.
Brand marketing is more like an endurance race than a sprint. Some prospective clients have come to DKY hoping that we can design a quick project that will push their business or organization across the finish line. They are hoping a high-profile campaign or a modern new website will move their brand from unknown to contender in a matter of months.
In my experience it doesn’t work that way.
A 50k nordic skier doesn’t get to the starting line at the Olympic Games unless she has put in years of behind-the-scenes work. It’s sustained investment over time that ultimately pays off and leaves competitors in the dust.
Like great endurance athletes, great brands are built over time. Short, infrequent bursts of marketing efforts quickly fade. But carefully planned and sustained marketing, advertising, and PR are absolute game-changers.
DKY is grateful to have had many enduring client partnerships. Some measured in decades. Our experience proves that our client partnerships get better over time.
This is not to say that we can’t help organizations reach short-term goals with a well-conceived project or campaign. We can and we do. But if you want to build a brand that is an absolute winner – a true differentiator – then measure that work over years and decades.
Here is some practical advice as you think about planning to build winning brand marketing:
- Establish an annual marketing budget, and carefully plan your investment to support both short- and long-term needs. Clearly identify and invest in both.
- Develop and measure a short list of lead indicators for both short and long-term goals. Generating new prospects will help this year, but improving customer appreciation for your brand will impact what happens in 5 years.
- Carefully balance investment in marketing systems and technology with your outbound communications efforts. Brand marketing can be more efficient with modern tools, but too much focus on tools will deplete your resources for execution.
- Give it time. Find marketing partners and strategies that are a good fit, and take a long view.