Aside from being trusted by customers, a brand can be the valuable asset that carries a company through tumultuous times. Coca Cola’s logo for example, is recognised by an unprecedented 94% of people from around the world. The brand was worth US$83.84 billion in 2015 and yet they still spend more on advertising per year than Apple and Microsoft combined.

Earlier this year I had a discussion with two women who had been placed in roles to oversee the Australian-expansion of a fitness brand that encompassed the ability to use a pass for any gym/fitness class that was part of their network.

It was a reworked idea of similar concepts that have proven to be popular in a shared economy, so breaking into the market required a standout philosophy. However, they were not willing to invest in any impactful activities which would have differentiated themselves, and were not willing to even run activities that allowed them to have consumers engaged via magazine call-outs to test the passes and ultimately share their new find via social media.

Giving away five passes for more than a month was refused because “we don't want a ‘bargain hunter’ crowd” I was told, which was frustrating, as navigating a competitive climate and testing consumer interest was crucial for this low price point competitor.

Literally within six months they had abandoned operations in Australia and the management team moved on to other start-ups. The mistake, in my view, was that they did not understand the importance of nurturing and articulating a consistent brand awareness that would result in sustainable growth and ultimately conversions. You just can’t get to C if you don’t understand A and B.

Many brands who engage media buyers do so with the intention of putting their media spend into the hands of professionals who will truly understand which avenue gets the strongest ROI as well as consistent message association.

Understanding the fundamentals of true branding means realising that the eagerness of quick sales as the only indicator of an avenue’s success is a flawed approach.

While media buying has changed dramatically over the past few years, with ad-tech and mass reach finally possible, the emphasis on the role of a brand in the marketplace is more crucial than ever. With technology advancements comes the burden of a deeper understanding around how to position the brand and influence its digital footprint.

It is no longer enough to do a programmatic buy worth $100k that focuses only on fragmented EDM’s being momentarily flashed in front of an ad-weary audience. Every brand is different, and within that almost every campaign is different, so a one-size fits all approach to media buying is no longer relevant.

I believe it needs to be integrated into a strategy that includes a solid understanding of what consumers actually read, watch and share — which is content. While the intention of many media buyers is clear, the application needs to be done in a far more subtle, clever and impactful way that builds a direct connection.

The opportunity to then work hand in hand with publishers is now more relevant than ever, to build that reputation while understanding the value in the consistency required in doing so. The chance to show readers why they can enjoy the context around your content, and inviting them into a conversation that results in an experience, has never been more possible and quick to turn around — with the onus now on both brands and buyers on understanding more than simply ‘renting ad space’.