In recent years, the way we understand branding and its association with business has begun a transformation process allowing a better adaptation to new challenges –and also old ones which have regained prominence.
Assuming that the brand is a strategic platform that synthesizes institutional purpose, business legacy and aspirations, at least there are four key issues which should be considered when constructing and/or revitalizing it.
It is worth remembering that the importance of brands stems from the fact that business strategy and brand strategy are two sides of the same coin:
- When talking about corporate strategy, what is sought is how to satisfy customer needs so that the company is successful
- When the focus is on branding what is pursued is to establish what the company needs to do to make its clients successful
This applies to large companies as well as SMEs, in the moments of conceptualization, creation and activation of said brands.
Putting people at the centre
It seems obvious and it really is, however, in companies –including branding firms, we usually fall in love with our brands, products and services, and forget that our reason for existence is outside the walls of our castles. The centre is in people!
- Conversations: Transactions are the result of conversations and not vice versa. The first thing that must be considered is that regardless of our role (client, consumer, shareholder, employee, etc.), as people we have returned to what happened in the Mesopotamia cities 9,000 years ago. We want and need to establish a dialogue with the company to know if they are profitable, grow or are doing something to generate a social and/or environmental positive impact. And then maybe, we might buy the products and services that are offered.
- Experience: When the moment of truth arrives, what interests us is to live a memorable experience. This doesn’t mean that it should be the best over the world, but must exceed our expectations at certain specific moments. To recognize excellence, the experience must go through moments which are just only right. Try to visualise the experience as an electrocardiogram
- Culture: While artificial intelligence advances, digitalization is changing and creating new business models and processes, and robots begin to take care of repetitive events, we begin to recognize that brands must not only be more human but also help to humanise. Hallelujah! The truth is that organizational cultures are made by people and have a real impact. Our creativity, whim and unexpected genius are difficult factors to introduce into an algorithm, and if our culture gives rise to the rest of our audiences, it will be even better.
The era in which the brands dictated the rules is over!
Working in a fuzzy environment
Today, like toy warriors, we fight in bloody wars trying to define what branding, customer management or corporate communication is. We also try to set limits for those practices. At the end of the day, tired of so many battles, we realize that our clients are only interested in solving their problems and looking for a benefit coming from a valuable business relationship.
I wonder, when we activate the brand of a company, aren’t we doing corporate communication? Or when in the “customer journey” we look for generating preference, aren’t we doing branding?
Reality shows that the borders between different practices are increasingly blurred. The solution is on working in networked open and resilient teams. Increasingly, solutions are found in unexplored spaces that need more brains than egos!
In any case, if you call a company to help you, make sure they have business vision, know how to balance strictness and creativity, love details, know how to flow.
Developing a hybrid thinking model
Hybrid is a buzzword which should also be in the branding sector.
In a world of subtle disruptions we must develop a more agile, more flexible, more fluid branding, allowing the combination of strategy and skills. The task is not easy, however, what must be assured is that the teams that work in the development of a brand are composed of good strategists and creatives who also excel managing the new social and digital skills.
For those who are working on their brands with a branding firm, the situation will be simple if those who work in tandem with them know how to gather the right team for the situation they face and not the best team to solve a problem that didn’t exist until yesterday. Those who have gone through this experience will understand me.
Attending short and medium term results
Creating long-lasting Value, achieving a positive Impact and generating Profits makes you a fantastic responsible of “VIP brands”.
Speaking seriously and to finish, we are facing three factors that together constitute something like a perfect storm:
- Brand strategies must provide answers in shorter terms and with greater flexibility, and this generates the need to return to the old anchors that provide greater stability. Companies find this in their purpose
- The demands of people go beyond financial results and there is a real claim to demonstrate with facts that the company generates some kind of positive social and environmental impact
- Greater effort to maintain or grow revenues while suffering a sustained drop in prices per unit and a trend towards more rational consumption
The above offers both opportunities and threats. Starting from the risk side, these three points can lead to the destruction of the brand by privileging tactical and operational above strategic objectives, establishing a story which isn’t based on facts or elaborating excessive promotions that distort the brand positioning. Not only the brand loses but also the company; the system becomes unstable.
The positive counterpart allows developing the brand in a symbolic and ethical environment, and above all with meanings. It presents with sincerity -some use the term “authenticity”, the impact that the company generates and in turn makes its behaviours recognized as transparent. It knows how to balance the equation in which, without losing sight of the creation of value, develops new business models that allow it to obtain better results. VIP: Value, Impact, Profits!
The brands that transcend are those that achieve a dynamic balance between long and short term, rationality and creativity. Is your brand on this path or would you need to talk with us?
Allegro 234 –The Crafted Branding™ Company, is a global branding and innovation consultancy that helps your company grow and transform by connecting brands, people and experiences.