SMX East Liveblog: The Future of a Brand

What is a brand and how are marketers in control of a brand? These are the questions she’s been tackling this decade because things have changed, and branding is now a business driver. As such, a brand should have it’s own budget, it’s own team and it’s own conversation with the executives. Joanna Lord explains the best practices of what some better brands are doing. Marketers are in a position today to own, shape and share brands on our company’s behalf.


Speaker: Joanna Lord, VP of Marketing, Porch (@JoannaLord)

What is a Brand?


Things have changed. “Brand” originated as something legal. Then it was “the brand” and certain qualities. Today we’ve leaned in so brand encompasses everything from product to team to community to story.

A lot of the biggest brands are moving very slowly. Companies today, if they invest right, have an opportunity to grow up the ranks of thriving businesses.

Look at Nike — and while that may seem like an impossible standard, they’re doing things with their campaigns and content things that we can do, too. Who at your company are best at doing storytelling, visuals? It’s the marketers of any company that are best equipped. Look at Google — they tell a story of search and they did a case study on it. Again, digital marketers are best suited for the challenge of storytelling through case studies. Next, five things the best brands are doing.

Joanna Lord on stage at SMX East 2014 Summit
Joanna Lord on stage at SMX East 2014 Summit

1. Present a value exchange beyond the product. Patagonia is an example in a congested market. Footprint Chronicles is interactive content that tells their own story. 1% for the Planet is another example. We need to ask what do we have to showcase to make the brand shine. We need to put money and resources behind it.

2. Personalize at scale. As marketers there are more conversations today about how data is stored and accessed so you can make the most personalized experience ever. It’s not based on our likes and preferences, it’s based on what we did or didn’t do.

3. Be agile. You can’t do all the beautiful things unless you move first and fast. She looks at LinkedIn as the model. Their motto is “Simplify, grow, everyday.” Test the experience aggressively, see what users do, grow with them.

4. Empower consumers. We’re in a position where all our marketing is lost unless the consumer gives us permission to it. Betabrand is a company built with the community. “A fan-fueled fashion machine.” Things don’t get built unless their are enough votes. Model Citizen is the fact that every photo of the clothes are real people submitted, untouched. They created demand before the supply. They created the community to market on their behalf.

joanna-lord-brand-business-driver5. Understand loyalty and reciprocity. What do enterprise companies think of when they think brand loyalty? We’re in the place today where businesses need to be loyal to our customers as well as wanting their loyalty. Starbucks is hyper-focused on “you” and “we” and “our” and “us” and three to four word phrases.

The biggest brands of tomorrow get this. And they are set up to succeed; this is an infrastructure play. Is your brand set up to stand out? Marketers are empowered when they wake up and know they delivered the message to the world. It’s not what you promise, it’s what you deliver.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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