Avoid Short-Termism by Building Your Brand for the Long Term.

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

Attention Span is Gone

For a long time, we’ve been told that our attention spans are diminishing. There is so much information, so many devices and channels vying for our attention, that we can’t possibly focus on one thing for very long. Combine that with the economic pressures, financial expectations, and the race to keep up in the digital world, and you get something called short-termism.


Short-TermismShort-termism is fueled by your fixation on metrics, and concentration on quick wins to move the needle. It suggests an immediate, attention-grabbing impact over strategically driven, brand-building initiatives that have a higher long-term ROI. Shorterm-ism is Myopic.

By moving the needle – whether in sales, marketing or social media analytics, the pressure to demonstrate an uptick in growth is relentless. While you may signal towards growth in the short-term, this strategy erodes the underlying brand equity and robs you of a chance at something sustainable.

Build The Brand

If long-term brand building is much more conducive to growth, why do so many people fall in the trap of short-termism? Because brand building is difficult.

We truly demand everything from brands. Consider this quote from Barbara E. Kahn’s book Global Brand Power:

“A brand must be elastic enough to allow for reasonable category and product-line extensions, flexible enough to change with dynamic market conditions, consistent enough so that consumers who travel physically or virtually won’t be confused, and focused enough to provide clear differentiation from the competition. Strong brands are more than globally recognizable; they are critical assets that can make a significant contribution to your company’s bottom line.”

That’s a huge order, but it’s a necessary one if you truly want to grow and focus on long-term brand building.

Angela Richards, KFC’s Group Marketing Director, discussed the importance of creating a lasting emotional connections, even when the immediate goal might be a shot-term tactial one.

“We have a really big innovation funnel and a really strong retail calendar, but for us more recently, that functional retail calendar has morphed so the brand directs the retail calendar – and the brand’s job is to create that emotional connection,” she said.  “It’s okay now to say we are less reliant on new product development to drive those sales, because that emotional connnection of the brand leading the retail calendar is driving core sales and core growth.”

Whether it’s a rush to keep pace with the digital era, the lure of immediate ROI or the importance of brand building, many companies are sacrificing long-term marketing strategy for quick wins.

A balance in today’s world is essential if you want to grow your business.

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