The word “branding” has been tossed around more often than a frisbee at a liberal college. What is it, anyway? In marketing, branding is a term, slogan, campaign, or any other feature that distinguishes one product or service from another. It is different from “brand.” A brand is the name of the product or service.

Branding used to be everywhere; Chevy – “Like A Rock”, Burger King – “Have it Your Way,” Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” The California Dairy Association’s “Got Milk?” Nike “Just Do It” and so on. They were all branding campaigns that separated their product from the competition – and they did it in a creative and emotional way. So what happened?

The internet has made branding virtually impossible. As ad budgets moved from traditional advertising (TV, radio, print) to digital, marketing did a 180. The digital marketing budget will be $240 billion in 2022. Banners, pop-ups, streaming and paid search are measured by tracking and targeting consumers, not by memorable branding ads or jingles. There really is no “branding” advertising that stands out anymore. Don’t believe it? Ask yourself this – how many car slogans can you name today? How many ads do you remember? Is there a jingle out there you can hum?

We are inundated with so many ads and impressions now it is almost impossible to brand or differentiate one product from another. Yankelovich, Inc., the marketing firm, says the average person is exposed to over 5,000 ads per day. And this is why branding is so important.

So how do you create a branding campaign in this day and age?

Some say your website is your brand – just add a slogan, but that’s nonsense. There are 7,865 digital marketing agencies today according to industry researcher IBISWorld, and how many of these are you familiar with? We bet you can only name the one that was referred to you by a friend.

Others say that branding is building relationships with email marketing – and adding as many subscribers as you can. That may be true, but it takes time. And forget about that if you are rolling out a new product – unless you are multi-channeling with cable, streaming, social or radio.

In the vast world of the web where there’s so much information and so little time, it’s next to impossible to create a branding campaign that will stand out from the crowd.

The super creative agencies will find a way to achieve this and make digital advertising memorable. Yesterday’s agencies showed us how to do it, and today’s marketers can learn a thing or two from them. If they can do it, we can do it too.