The “doing” vs. “being” of branding

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AdAge recently did a great article on micro-sponsorship highlighting leading brands like Quaker Oats and Pepsi that are reaching out to communities for their stories and ideas around positive social change. To me this begs the question, are these marketing or research campaigns?

In my mind they’re a little of both and a smart thing to do. Not only are these brands participating in social conversation but they’re learning how to be effective.

The social good space will soon become crowded just as the green space has. The challenge for brands will then be how to define yourself in a way that is most meaningful to their consumers.

Too often brands are caught up in their doing – the doing of getting their latest product to market, of meeting their next quarterly profit projection, of jumping on the latest mobile technology or app.

What is more critical and determinative is the “being” of a brand.

If a brand understands who it is it’ll be able to articulate and demonstrate its core values clearly to consumers. And when it does that, every social change initiative will reinforce their authentic brand narrative rather than come off as a cynical effort to polish an unrelated brand identity.

So before a brand rushes off to do something, it would be wise to stop and be something. That way it’ll be more clearly defined, more meaningful to consumers and a standout in a crowded space.

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