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SES: Search As A Branding Vehicle

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It’s official, search advertising isn’t just junk advertising (read: direct response, a la junk mail) anymore, it’s a key element in branding, or as they call it in San Jose, a "branding vehicle."

Others might call it part of integrated marketing. Back in March, I called it "presence." 

(Our on-scene WebProNews staff has passed along this latest news from SES San Jose 2007. If you can’t be there, you need to be here with WebProNews this week, for videos and reports.)

The panel in charge of driving the branding vehicle were Rebecca Lieb, Editor-in-Chief for The ClickZ Network; Kelly Graziadei of Yahoo Search Marketing; Scott Linzer, Director of Search Marketing for Universal McCann; Robert Heyman, Chief Search Officer for MediaSmith; and Eric Picard of Microsoft.

In the description of the presentation, they talk about how SEM has been "roped into the direct response corral for too long. Search as a brand building device has received a lot of press, particularly with marketers receiving awards for excellence and innovation in this area."

They forgot Kentucky visionary writers that saw this coming. ;-)

The panel though, instead of looking out onto the horizon and guessing, says marketers should rely on measurement and research to test the branding reach and appeal of your ads, as well as the placement/environment in which they appear.

This jury’s still out as to the extent of the branding capabilities search provides but they agree that search does not act alone, e.g., the need to integrate with other promotional forms. Search is also the entry point, where the branding journey begins.

And though there may be research to support certain claims, keep in mind that, as they’ll tell you on weight-loss commercials, individual results may vary. Success may ultimately depend on the industry and how it is marketed, and not on numbers applied across the board.

Marketers should review their content strategy as well to make sure there is a specific target, a brand for that target, and an answer to the target’s needs. But before that, like good marketers, double check with focus groups, because nothing stupid ever comes out of a focus group.

That was a joke.

Where’s mobile’s place in this new world of integrated search marketing? Well, in the basement without stairs, in a filing cabinet guarded by a leopard. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just difficult and it requires more specific search results and mobile friendly content.

Even small text ads take up a lot of space, so it’s best to keep it simple, keep it short.

SES: Search As A Branding Vehicle
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