I wrote a recent MediaPost article about my belief that digital should own the brand. I wrapped with:

I can feel “Mad Men” everywhere now wanting my guts for garters.

I do not think marketing should run the company, but I do believe digital should own the brand. Digital is better able to compare, test, measure, segment, target, disseminate and adjust a brand identity than any other discipline in the company.

Kevin Horne, Strategy Director at i33 commented as follows:

You said “digital should own the brand. Digital is better able to compare, test, measure, segment, target, disseminate and adjust a brand identity than any other discipline in the company.”

Was CREATE left out intentionally? Did you mean to say digital should own the brand AFTER it is created?

Otherwise, the comment is indeed sacrilege. And foolish.

I replied:

Oh yes Kevin – I definitely left off CREATE intentionally.

Digital is the management/delivery mechanism. It is fast, agile and responsive, but has no magic ability to come up with a brilliant idea, a fabulous graphic or a completely resonant message. Those who have been trained in and done creative for many moons are skilled at their jobs and are central to marketing success regardless of how the message is managed and disseminated. My point is to hand the management over to the digital side and let them collaborate with the creative side so that there can be a brand conversation in the marketplace rather than a brand pronouncement from the company to the public.

I wanted to underscore the word collaborate here. Assuming that the Creative team is well versed in all things online, then Digital is indeed only the messenger. But in many cases Creative is so accustomed to one-way communication that collaboration is paramount to success.

What works in print and broadcast does not necessarily translate smoothly to the online world and where the public conversation gets hot and heavy, the Digital side of the team must have a seat at the creative table to ensure the public is well represented.

Sometimes the messenger should help with the message.

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