Social media and content marketing are useless

In the digital age we live in it is easy to see digital as the go-to solution for connecting with people. The trouble is, marketers (and their clients) are all too quick to jump onto the latest trend, or add to the current meme doing the rounds. Look at Hillary Clinton’s Mannequin Challenge for a prime example. You can just imagine the marketing people on the Clinton campaign thinking how great it will be to show Hillary being so ‘current’.

Well, we all know where that one ended – with Donald Trump becoming President of the USA!

Now this might be a little unfair on that specific example, but it is a case in point. No amount of clever social media activity, or content marketing ideas are going to bear any fruit at all unless the brand strategy is clear.

What are you actually trying to say? What are the concerns people have and how are you engaging with them? How are you conveying your character? Do people know what it is that you believe in and stand for?


Without a clear strategy and plan for the brand then clever marketing tactics are a complete waste of time, money and energy, and are actually detracting from any value the brand might have to people (and so really not that clever). In a recent Campaign article, 91% of the marketing directors surveyed agreed that “the key to effective digital marketing is clear brand positioning”, yet most of these marketing director agreed that “with the focus on digital/social marketing, brand strategy gets overlooked”.

Developing a brand and strategy is essential to any marketing communications. In our digital age we do need to be reactive and evolutionary, but these actions must be informed by an overarching brand strategy. As such, the brand shouldn’t be defined in a rigid form and locked into a brand guide document. A brand needs to be:

• informed
(by people, not just the business or marketers)
• relevant
(beyond simply the product or service)
• flexible
(open to evolution and pivoting)


Of course, embrace digital tactics. And no, social media and content marketing aren’t really useless. But without a clear brand strategy informing them, your clever marketing tactics have no chance at all of having any desired effect.

Further reading:
Taylor, D. and Goldstone, J. (2016) How to reboot brand strategy. (Accessed: 10 November 2016).


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