Every marketing leader and professional today wants to build a stronger and bigger brand. Various factors influence brand equity in this ever-changing world.
--BY BASANT BAKSI
These factors shape the strategy, markets, culture, consumer behaviour, over-communication, category disruption, and the speed in which our discipline is changing, and how brands are responding to make their place in the future.
It is becoming increasingly clear that you have to stand for something if you want to remain standing. The explosion in purpose-led brands and business transformation is upon us. Brand battles consist of far more than just marketing tactics and consume significant managerial attention. An aggressive need to belong and check status has turned into hundreds of millions of personal advertising campaigns, all competing against brands for attention. Going forward, your job as a marketer is not just to engage one audience group. You also need to engage friends of friends. If you are not careful, flammable ideas can quickly hijack, jeopardise and further deteriorate your marketing activities and decrease brand value. Branded content is all about the powerful intersection between brands, culture, and people. It is not a discipline. It is a new mindset and culture.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing your brand. Is your brand changing with it? Most of us are already into articles and studies about AI, blockchain, marketing automation, analytics and big data. But this focus on tools and tactics diverts our attention from the brand management implications to these tools.
Nearsighted brand leaders imagine their brands first from the outside in, believing that attitude - what they say and how their posture - matters most. Leaders with the modern legacy mindset build from the inside out in accordance with beliefs that drive behaviours because actions matter more than words. True innovation occurs when you build on the ideas that come before you.
A new disruption theory counters the globally renowned, but flawed idea that disruption is about companies who undermine legacy players based on new technology at a lower price point. Nobody can explain the success of the iPhone, Uber, Tesla, Airbnb, Netflix, 5G in black and white. Nobody can explain whether the market was ready to embrace these products or these products made market ready to adopt them. To build more relevant experiences, you need to take a step back and consider the context your brand and the associated experiences will be built within. No brand is an island. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, although marketers often mistakenly manage their brands as if they were islands unrelated to the physical and cultural environments of their customers.
So what makes a brand successful in the digital age? A recent study suggests that digital brands do not just do things differently, they also think differently. Where conventional brands focus on positioning their brands in the minds of their customers, digital brands focus on positioning their brands in the lives of their customers. All companies want their brands to be powerful. Often, power is equated with worth, valuation, stock price, access to capital, growth, market share and category dominance, etc. This is what we define as hard power and it is only part of the equation.
The history of brand management dates back to years, built in a time when men were men and women were housewives. When purpose gets confused for a position (how the brand is perceived in the context of competitive alternatives), brands lose their ability to differentiate and compete. To identify the opportunities for growth along the customer lifecycle, firstly it is important to understand the customer’s experience engaging with the company and its product or service.
Why is it that some great ideas take forever to take root, whereas others flourish fast? What lessons do these patterns of struggle and success holding for new markets today? We tend to remember the final moments of an experience and the most (or least) enjoyable parts. This has important implications for brands. Brands that focus most on the unchanging man will win the insight war. Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth. Marketers don’t have it easy right now.
Accelerating change is happening globally, but around the world, markets differ in how much they trust the information they get. Brands positioned with our community in mind are often perceived as extensions of our personas, in sync with how we define ourselves today and who we aspire to be. Creating a brand brain trust is a very good idea for any company that is focused on protecting and nurturing goodwill and its market capitalisation.
(Baksi is Head of Marketing & Corporate Affairs at Muktinath Bikas Bank Ltd)