Brand Love: Ensuring Return on Investment (ROI) Maybe not so elusive after all.

Building high brand equity has been an elusive goal for fine marketing minds, in part, because it seems like an abstract concept.

But lets start by asking the question "why are brands so important?" Well brands help people choose. What to buy, who to trust, where to eat to eat, what company to work for.

Apple vs. Windows Enron vs. Worldcom
KFC vs. McDonalds Volkswagen vs. BMW

They define what a company or product stands for. If you stand for something you stand out.

Virgin-MidAtlantic MDS

Shoppers today are confronted with an unprecedented number of possibilities. Welcome to the 21st century, where shoppers carry the world in their pockets, giving them instant access to everything they want to know. Now what were you saying?

A trend marketers have been noting has been that people are moving towards brands that help others. One approach to improving brand equity is through corporate societal marketing. Corporate societal marketing is marketing that is designed to benefit society. The marketing initiative uses company resources but does not necessarily have an economic objective.

One example of a brand that demonstrates strong corporate societal marketing is Whole Foods, Inc. Through theirWhole Planet Foundation that assists with micro-financing to supporting local farms, Whole Foods pursues a range of initiatives that have built a positive brand image that makes employees proud of working for Whole Foods and makes customers feel confident that their purchases are supporting a well-intentioned company.

Corporate societal marketing (CSM) programs can start to build brand equity through the following six guidelines:

  1. Building brand awareness
  2. Enhancing brand image
  3. Establishing brand credibility
  4. Evoking brand feelings
  5. Creating a sense of brand community, and
  6. Eliciting brand engagement.

CSM capitalizes on the fact that the more time an individual spends with a brand, whether through thinking about a positive program, seeing the brand sponsor society-improving activities, or exploring the brand's website, the more likely people are to have a positive feeling about the brand, recommending the brand to other people and buying from the brand.

The internet, and more specifically, online video, creates a way for companies to leverage CSM and reach even more people. Whether offering training tutorials on a subject matter, raising money through an online campaign, or even just sharing the benefits of a CSM campaign through video, having a portal of interactive videos helps companies further improve their brand equity by sharing their progress in an easily consumable manner.

Companies also have the opportunity to host CSM activities through the internet. For example, a brand could host a series of free training videos on a subject matter in which they are experts, but underprivileged individuals may not be able to access through conventional means such as classroom instruction. For example, an energy company may demonstrate how people can check their homes to ensure they are not wasting energy. Or a health insurance agency can have an interactive diet program available on their site that demonstrates workout tips and tracks food so that people may monitor their health progress.

Companies today have more resources than ever to reach out to potential buyers and leave a positive impression on them.