Written by today's guest blogger: This is my first post here on the OnlineMarketerBlog. I was asked by our kind host to share some thoughts I have about online branding. By way of credentials, I work in the marketing department of a large national company. I'm a copywriter by training with internet, print, and broadcast experience. And now for the disclaimer: These ideas which I'm about to share are of course mine, and don’t reflect the ideas of this blog’s host or my employer. I was at work the other day when I came across this Acura landing page. It’s a robust landing page that touts the features of the car. And these types of pages are everywhere. Nissan, Toyota, Honda, GM...they all have them. And they're all really boring. They do serve a purpose. These sites let prospective buyers learn about and price out a car. But they don’t tell a prospective owner anything about the brand.
And then I started thinking…why don’t car companies spend some of their immense marketing budgets on online branding efforts? The car market as a whole is perfect for online branding. Since cars are aspirational, a branded message speaks directly to how people should feel when they buy a specific car. In a lot of ways the brand message is just as important as a car’s features to a consumer. I tried to think back on examples of online branding in the car market and I came up with two, a Scion advergame and two Nissan Rogue videos.
So where are the online branding campaigns? Is it purely that these companies are focused on the active consumer? Someone who is currently researching new cars? Is it because they are scared that they can’t track the value of a branding campaign?
And the answer is…market segments. Scion is geared towards 20 year olds. Nissan introduced the Rogue on the television show Heroes. These brands skew young and marketers think that only younger folk will view viral online videos and advergames.
It is a fallacy that online branding is only for the young and not for the soccer mom driving an Odyssey or the contractor driving a Dodge Ram.
Just remember what BMW did before people had ever heard the term viral video. They created BMW Films an almost perfect aspirational brand message targeted towards their core consumer.
Just leave the talk of how much money the movies cost for another discussion. Sure it was expensive, but how many BMWs do you need to sell to recoup those costs?