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Interview with Marc Binkley

Director of Digital & Strategy at Anstice

Mr. Binkley, can you tell us more about yourself?

Happy to! Well, I work at a boutique marketing agency in Calgary, AB Canada.  We’re focused on using customer insights to build marketing strategies that drive growth for our clients.  On a personal side, I’ve got two girls who just restarted school and my wife and I are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t have another outbreak that’ll force us to homeschool again☺  

Do you think that the brand’s digital visibility is important nowadays and why?

Absolutely.  About 10 years ago, I decided to make a leap into the digital space.  It wasn’t because I wanted to be a ‘digital guy’, I just saw a need to understand the medium where customers spend their attention.  Every year since then, you can see the increase in time spent with digital devices including mobile, desktop and tablets.  In today’s marketing environment, digital placements are now available on TVs, billboards and podcasts so I think it’s redundant to say we’re in digital marketing. Since the majority of ad spend is now on digital channels it certainly confirms that digital has cemented it’s place in the marketing mix alongside more traditional mediums like TV, OOH and Radio.  

Why is it not enough to have a great and innovative idea for your brand to be successful?

Great question.  In a word, I’d say execution.  There are thousands of innovative ideas out there but those ideas themselves don’t make a great brand.  I remember looking at a graph in Jim Collins book Good to Great and it shows that it took 10 years to transform companies from being good to becoming great.  What that timeline tells me is that it takes time to close the gap between the vision of what a brand can become and what the actual customer experience is. Even in the case of Apple that seems to hold. Steve Jobs returned in 1997 and about a decade later they released the iPhone.  

What are the best ways to make your brand successful nowadays? Is it through differentiation strategy, clear brand identity or meaningful brand philosophy?

Over the years, I’ve tried to study that exact question and I’ve been deeply influenced by the work of people like Simon Sinek, Mark Ritson, Seth Godin, Marty Neumeier, Roger L. Martin, Jenni Romaniuk, Byron Sharp, Dan Ariely and Daniel Kahneman.  In short, what I’ve learned is this.  

In my mind, a great brand has a sustainable competitive advantage.  

It’s built on making a promise and then meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Since brands grow mainly through the acquisition of new customers, it’s important for brands to penetrate the market by linking their own distinctive assets to the most important triggers that start a customer’s decision journey (CDJ). Once a customer starts her journey, successful brands intentionally design the customer experience around her by organizing their resources so that they make it easy for her to do business with them.  In the end, it’s this experience that creates a gut feeling in the customer of what the brand truly is. 

What is the best way to build trust with a brand’s potential clients?

Make a promise and live up to it.  That’s easy to say but really hard to do.  I think that’s why it takes 10 years for most brands to go from Good to Great.

Do you think that the rapidly changing social media content has influence on people’s judgement of who they really are? Why is that?

I agree content can influence a person’s opinion or decisions. For example, I’ve seen a lot of people doing dances that are referenced as ‘something I saw on TikTok’. Similarly, there’s been a lot of press about bad actors publishing fake news stories that have influenced public perception in elections. Even looking back in history you’ll find that the content published by PR legend Edward Bernays is the reason bacon and eggs are a staple on the North American breakfast plate.  In my mind, social media is just the tool that people use to access content. Social media makes it easier for anyone to distribute content and influence judgement.  However in the decades to come, social media may disappear and be replaced by some other medium and I suspect the content will adapt accordingly.

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