The linked post is important, but not for the reasons they think. The post mentions the factoid that most people wouldn't mind if 73% of brands disappeared. The post discusses brands like Tom's who wins hearts and minds with cause marketing.
We love Tom's too. Yes, what you do with customer money is important these days. We prefer the Cone Communications (http://www.conecomm.com/ ) "social good" study that shows a growing trend. Consumers what to know how your STUFF helps change the world.
People don't BUY brands they JOIN them.
Marketing guru Faith Popcorn's quote is a favorite. We would reposition the linked post toward the more important question - how is your brand creating sustainable community. Since most of http://www.Curagami.com customers are online merchants we would write the goal as, "How is your brand creating sustainable ONLINE community".
Online community is the secret to branding and engagement over time. We think of loyalty with two dimensions:
* Engagement over TIME (joining and visiting).
* Advocacy (willing to share with friends).
Every visitor can achieve #1, but a tiny % of your website's traffic will ever do #1 due to the 1:9:90 Rule. The 1:9:90 Rule explains the strange math of website visitors:
1% Contributors - 1% of your traffic will contribute content such as comments, reviews and the social shares such User Generated Content (UGC) generate.
9% Supporters - this group loves to share your content especially if it came from the 1%ers.
90% Readers - More important than their label makes them sound, Readders are the core of your visitors and so essential to SEO and your expanding web universe.
The trick to web marketing few discuss is converting that tribe of Contributors, Supporters and Readers into a sustainable online community. Branding creates the shorthand your Contributors and Supports use to ADVOCATE.
When you market by proxy, you are using Contributors and Supporters to reach their friends, you must encapsulate deep meaning into shareable "Made To Stick" bits and bytes. Your advocates can't share if your message is too complicated, so boil it down, mix it up and test, test and test some more. In there somewhere is the strange alchemy your brand needs to compel action (joining and advocating) and so win hearts, minds and loyalty.
BTW, I bent this post toward startups because every startup is tabula rasa when it comes to branding. Startups are blank slates written on by every piece of content, social share and tool created. We don't brand in order to create loyalty we win hearts, minds and loyalty in order to create brands and First Rule of Branding is what the linked post has backwards.
Via Eric_Determined / Eric Silverstein, Michael Allenberg