I am coming to the conclusion that building a brand online — in any interactive medium — by buying awareness, is a fool’s errand. Sure, there are some online only campaigns that have established companies — Vonage is generally cited. The X10 Web Cam pop-under was inescapable … but I am eager to find a brand that primarily built online, or, at the very least, changed itself through an online brand campaign.
I think one can change demand through online buys, but brand is a function of:
- Citizen marketing: users telling other users whether a product/company is worth doing business with.
- Search: the game changed with Google when prospective customers can work the consideration process with total recall and accuracy
- Buzz: whatever buzz is, it seems to be activated online via viral, YouTube is an enabler, but buzz seems to be ephemeral and something you find, not plan.
If I were to invest in brand building online I’d pour my money into the social media side, not impressions.