Direct Branding in the New Economy

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The new economy is in full swing - and it's creating a new economy.

Companies are overhauling their business plans to address new revenue streams generated by the emerging technologies. Corporate consumer strategists recognize the need to shift some percentage of their marketing and product budget's share into virtual applications. In short, advertisers are rethinking their branding strategies to meet opportunities arising from interactive virtual media.

The new economy is already changing the world in which we live. We can speak to business colleagues as they drive to a meeting in Milan, Italy. We receive CNN Headline News on a portable television screen, then we log on to the Internet to get more details - on our cellular phones. We get stock quotes while pumping gas. Emerging interactive technologies are changing the way we look at the world and are changing our place in the world.

For brand marketers, the new technologies have created a sea change in what consumers are going to expect from the established brands. At the same time, this dramatic change is presenting equally dramatic new revenue opportunities for companies that are successful in adapting their brands for the new economy.

In the new economy, 30-second television spots will only be a beginning. Image advertising will become part of the marketing landscape as more accountable advertising forms are adapted. Consumers will want to experience the brand. Marketing groups need to actively explore the numerous ways in which they can apply interactive media technologies to provide consumers with brand experience.

New economy branding will look more like direct marketing than traditional advertising. The marketing process may begin in the physical world with more traditional forms of television, print, radio or outdoor; however, a consumer call-to-action component will drive traffic to the virtual world. It is in the virtual world that brand marketers can build a range of innovative 24/7 marketing initiatives.

In the early days of network television, advertisers sponsored entire programs and benefited from the resulting consumer identification. In the virtual world, advertisers will create their own marketing platforms complete with entertaining content, compatible product tie-ins and e-business applications.

The new economy will process mass marketing into community-based direct selling. The focus of interactive age marketing will be on establishing ongoing relationships between the brand and the individual consumer. Through their virtual platforms, brand marketers will be selling lifestyles, not just products.

Luxury automobile manufacturers will be positioned to market travel products and services. Apparel companies will tie in with record labels. The virtual world will address individuality, enabling brands to forge closer relationships with targeted consumers.

Traditional advertising showed models using sun tanning product on a spectacular beach. Through interactive age lifestyle marketing, consumers can buy airline tickets and hotel accommodations on the beach in a special discount offer available on the tanning lotion's Web site.

The traditional limit of delivering advertising messages in bursts, i.e. via television spots, will give way to establishing a full-time relationship with the consumer. We have never before been able to have 24/7 communication with consumers. The new economy changes that.

The virtual world will offer advertising applications throughout the physical world - further underscoring the relationship between brand and consumer.

For brand builders, it's a whole new age. Get ready.

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