It’s Midnight on the internet…do you know where your brands are?
The honest truth is, that for most of us, the answer is no. Like the naïve parents of teenage children, we don’t precisely know where brands are, but like to think that all is well. It’s not until the phone rings at one in the morning that we realize that hoping things are alright and knowing things are alright are two very different things.
The internet revolution has changed consumer behavior forever, and managing brands has never been more complicated. Less than a decade ago, opening a retail store took months, cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, massive infrastructure, and a ton of inventory. After all this effort, and getting the best location, most retailers really only had a market penetration of about eight square miles. Today, an on-line store can be set up in as little as four hours, and requires as little as four thousand dollars in start up costs. The infrastructure is outsourced, the inventory is drop shipped by the manufacturer, and the market penetration is over 300 million people.
This new retail landscape has made it exponentially more difficult to control brand presentation and brand messaging. In the old world, the brand would only be available in the most exclusive storefronts, prominently displayed, and sold by a knowledgeable and friendly sales staff. Controlling brand messaging was a relatively simple task in bygone days. No need to worry about being in a bad store, in a bad neighborhood, on the bottom shelf in the back of the store next to the day old donuts.
Today, without good brand control mechanisms in place, the metaphorical equivalent is happening every day to brands. In order to control the brand, and the brand message, brand oriented organizations MUST know where there brands are being presented on-line. Otherwise, that call that comes at one in the morning maybe your top retail customer telling you “you’re out, because your brand is out of control.”
Solid brand control is hard work and requires a coordinated effort. That said, it always starts by knowing where and by whom your brand is presented on the internet.
David Coleman is the CEO and Founder of Brandoogle (brandoogle.com) and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandoogle works with both Retailers and Brands to improve margins and combat showrooming using a proprietary suite of software and services.