Writing an ad or plotting a website or wanting to build a great brand that draws attention and customers like bees to honey?

Avoid the trap most companies fall into by just adapting shiny new tools and platforms to their stodgy old strategy.

When digital advertising arrived 20 years ago, most businesses made the mistake of assuming it was simply a replacement for analog. That the difference was a delivery system, not a fundamental and structural change in dynamics.

Instead of seeing an opportunity to use new techniques to create a great brand, most companies just adapted digital advertising to their old strategy of interruptive marketing.

30-second TV spots became 30-second pre-rolls, print ads became banner ads, junk mail became spam. With social media, brands offered cat memes and ice bucket challenges, not realizing the underpinnings of brand building had completely changed.

Great brands make people’s lives better, one small step at a time. Great brands use all the tools at their fingertips to empower people.

Mediocre brands squander these tools on interruptions and frivolous messages, never changing their underlying strategy to acknowledge that technology has completely changed the relationship people have with brands.

When brands make the shift from interruption to empowerment, they fundamentally change their relationship with their customers from transactional to emotional.

Transactional brands reduce the relationship to short-term give and take. There’s no commitment. There’s no loyalty.

Emotional brands, on the other hand, create positive long-term relationships. They generate enthusiasm. They charge higher prices. Their customers ignore the competition.

Many become evangelists who promote the brand on their clothing, social media, online reviews and in impassioned conversations around the dinner table.

The more you can inspire and empower customers, the more evangelists you have.

And the more evangelists you have, the fewer ads you need to buy.

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