Brand Building In The Age of Instant Gratification

26 Jun Brand Building In The Age of Instant Gratification

115025149“We are promoting and promoting and not getting the posts for Engagements and Weddings,” emailed Bobby Berry, General Manager of WCBI-TV.

Berry is a great client and doing an admirable job with Brides 365, which he christened ASouthernBride.com, in Columbus, Miss. The site went live in May, and the station has promoted aggressively on air and on its site.

Berry’s message about not receiving enough user-generated posts hit us with a good deal of urgency.

In Columbus, WCBI-TV competes against The Dispatch, a 14,000 circulation newspaper established more than 100 years ago. For decades, Columbus couples placed their wedding announcements in the paper. So Berry is working to change habits formed over many years – not an easy task. And he’s only spent two months doing it thus far.

We live in the age of immediacy where we push a button and expect instant results. Unfortunately, building a brand is not like that.  Starbucks first opened its doors in 1971, 16 years before Howard Schultz began its now famous expansion. Apple was founded 25 years before the iPod and more than 30 years before the iPhone was in pockets throughout America. Coca-Cola, often cited as the world’s most recognized brand, started in 1892 — 121 years ago.

After only two months, it’s likely that WCBI’s bridal brand has yet to reach and influence its target audience to convince them to post announcements on the site. Sales experts estimate it takes seven to nine “touches” to make a sale. In marketing, it takes vastly more “touches” before a message is heard.

So how does WCBI change a century-old habit in the Columbus area? How does any media company build a brand in a world attuned to instant gratification? We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we’re working with WCBI on the solution. Here are three things we think we have learned:

  1. Be persistent. Two or three months of promotional effort will not change deep-seated habits. You have to be in this for the long haul and persistently remind your audience that you are interested in the stories about how they meet, fall in love and decide to get married in your community.
  2. Think like a bride! Young couples are justifiably excited about opening a new chapter in their lives. They want to shout their joy out to the world. That doesn’t mean they don’t need an incentive to do so. Partner with an advertiser to offer a prize for the best story and photos each month. Feature a story a week at no charge on your Wednesday morning news/feature program or on the pages of your paper. Offer a drawing for a $100 gift card monthly to all who post. Young brides — like everyone else in the world — need to know what’s in it for them!
  3. Fish where the fish are. We are working with WCBI to produce and maintain ASouthernBride.com Facebook page to encourage young couples to visit the site and tell their stories. The target audience of brides and grooms is highly likely to be on Facebook daily and see your promotional message there.

There is no magic elixir that instantly establishes a new brand or brings people to your doorstep. It takes patience, persistence, hard work and solid strategy.

However, the end result is worth it: You’ll connect with young couples as they put down roots in your community, which will pay dividends for decades to come.

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