Should Brands Compete Online?

By Dirk Visser, Head of Social Media and Innovation for CBR Marketing Solutions – If you ask anyone in their 30s/40s about what they think is the best example of Brand competition, the first thing they will mention is the feud between BMW and Mercedes Benz i.e. “It beats the Benz.”


Though timeless and entertaining, that advert is over 20 years old. The advertising world has changed dramatically since then, and so to has the way we consume content. Is traditional advertising still the place for brands to compete?

To answer this question, one has to look at the audience that is consuming media, and where they are consuming it. With the complete transformation and rise of the digital landscape in the last 10 years, big brands no longer have to compete for airtime on national TV stations. They can have as much content as they like, posted wherever they like, at a vastly reduced cost. No longer do they have to book advertising blocks.

In fact, Brands can produce content within 24 hours and have a national reach in a matter of minutes. This content, however, still has to resonate with an audience in order to have an impact and be memorable.

This audience is predominately (not exclusively) made up of people between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. This is known as the Millennial Generation. This generation has a completely different worldview to that of the Baby Boomers or the Generation X’ers. This generation is well informed and their main goal is to effect positive change in the world around them. They are driven, sometimes, by narcissistic tendencies as can be seen the selfie culture. They may want the world to be a better place, but they also want other people to watch them make it better.

So, back to the question: Is traditional advertising still the place for brands to compete? In one word, no. Digital is where it’s at, which then begs the question: should Brands compete online? Which then begs the question: can Brands compete online?

It is an undeniable fact that, in 2017, Brands are no longer competing with each other but rather, they are competing to capture the attention of an audience that consumes media quicker than ever before. Brands need to produce content that allows both personalities of the Millenials, Narcissism and Altruism, to flourish.

Users will align themselves with Brands that are authentic and are seen to add positivity to the world around them. In order to capture the imagination of the Millennials, Brands need to produce content that is easy to consume and must be always be ready to produce more. We live in a Fast Food society, meaning that the main battle for Brands is not when to post content but, rather, when to not.

At the end of the day, along with competing to capture this digitally intelligent audience, Brands have to compete against themselves in order to remain relevant and provide users with content that will keep them wanting more, even after the page has been refreshed.


CBR Marketing Solutions is a Digital Marketing and Advertising agency inspired by ensuring a brand, idea or service’s place in the ever-changing market.

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