Permanent Brand Visibility

Most of us battle to expose our brands to our target groups for just a minute a day. We produce and air 30-second TV spots worth millions of dollars. We mount billboard campaigns that, amongst the hundreds of other roadside structures, are barely noticed. It’s a fact of life these days: Ensuring your brand’s message is able to cut through advertising clutter has become an almost impossible task.

Having said that, what are your plans once your brand has achieved its audience’s awareness and your target group understands your brand’s core values, products, and services? Do you still plan to use the classic media strategies that can be overlapped, crowded out, and squeezed by competitor brands?

If your product belongs to the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand category, you’re luckier than many. FMCGs by their nature are able to secure a more permanent brand visibility than less-frequently bought goods. Your core consumers are likely to see your brand every time they open their refrigerator doors, set their dining tables, or go to their pantries. But, despite the fact that such visibility is often fleeting and habitual, how does it compare with the visibility of other brand categories, such as service brands or business-to-business (B2B) brands?

Recently I encountered a range of interesting Web-based tools that enable marketers to convert a brand’s initial attention-grab into permanent brand awareness. They’re tools that offer medium-sized and large corporations the possibility of solidifying and directing their brand images at a comparatively cheaper cost.

One of these tools is from a little-known company called AboutPhace. The company, which has been around since 1999, runs on the philosophy that the best possible branding platform is your desktop.

Let’s think about that for a second. Microsoft is probably the best-known example of a company that fights for space on everyone’s desktop. Internet Explorer had absolutely no chance to beat Netscape Navigator before Microsoft systematically established a highly visible icon and active link on most desk- and laptops around the globe. Intel is rumored to have paid a staggering $5 per computer to secure what’s perhaps the most visible spot in our daily lives — a sticker placed beside the screen, on your monitor frame.

Which brings me back to AboutPhace. AboutPhace is all about securing a permanent space for your brand. The concept is simple: The software simply reconfigures browsers into 100 percent branded browsers. It works like a super-skin (which it calls a “phace”), creating a permanent scheme that is always visible to users whenever they open their browsers. The brilliance of this and similar concepts is that they make it possible to utilize every desktop icon to create a brand experience, with high-quality sound effects and music, and custom functionality if desired.

Currently, companies such as AboutPhace offer practically unused advertising tools. But they could be emerging as the next generation of brand-building equipment because they enable brands to secure daily visibility that lasts several hours and, most important, to create brand shortcuts between consumers and their favored brands.

So, what’s the value of this concept? We can’t surmise the value of this specific tool and its achievements yet, but we know that extended or permanent brand visibility creates brand loyalty. The mechanics are simple. People tend to trust things that they see often, that they’re familiar with, more than things they see rarely. Of course, this assumption depends on the visibility being positive.

Visibility is probably the most expensive asset you can buy when you’re building your brand. It’s no coincidence that, having invested millions in the exercise, Intel and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have become what they are today. You should take note of this type of alternative thinking every time you’re constructing a truly creative marketing plan.

Brand Marketing will return on Tuesday, January 8th. Happy holidays from ClickZ!

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