The aspiration drive that has dominated how marketers think and what they strive to achieve in building a brand’s mythology is increasingly being seen by consumers as unattainable and fake. Buyers are drawing a line under what they perceive to be airbrushed brands. And the push-back is manifest in everything from the acceptance of imperfect food to the increased use of plus-size models on fashion house runways.
In a recent address at Cannes, Monica Lewinsky made a plea for brands to play a more direct role in building a compassionate society: one where the power of social media to generate shame and humiliation (and gain money by doing so) was eschewed in favour of an environment that collectively supported and inspired individuals and their actions.
Everyone loves a good story, and the critical strength of heritage brands is that they have such stories in abundance. Little wonder then that as American consumer confidence starts to look up, the brands that remind consumers of what they have, where they are and where they’ve come from are doing well. It’s a timely reminder of just how much the story of a brand links to the narrative that buyers run in their own minds of the lives they lead and the lives they would lead if they could.
Maybe you have a brand issue you’re grappling with, or there’s an idea around brands/branding that you’d like a viewpoint on. If so, please email me at mark [at] markdisomma.com. I’ll pick my favourites and respond right here so we can all share. Let me know …
As this article in Entrepreneur reminds us, plenty of brands try to re-set the market’s understanding of their brand and are well and truly spanked for doing so. If rebranding is the hot topic of conversation at your place right now, here’s 10 reasons to leave things as they are:
Outside-in change is prompted by shifts beyond the immediate control of the brand. Those prompts could be competitive, reputational or sectoral. They could manifest in symptoms as varied as a drop in credibility, a slump in market share or a shift in profitability within a sector as a whole. Whatever the signal, these declines prompt a brand to make sometimes radical changes in a quest to re-set how it is valued by consumers and respected by rivals. One or more of four outs- usually apply:
Updated (alright,completely rewrote) one of my older posts today about the need for brand managers to think about at least refreshing their brand promise if they haven’t got sign off to do a complete repositioning. It seems a practical solution to me in the light of the pressure so many face to keep their brands current. Think about how much you could change if you were able to redefine what customers expected. The next era of evolution?
Well, the IPO for Fitbit got off to a flying start, but will it last? Can the company continue to grow at anything like the rate it has? Here’s the good news. This certainly looks like a market on the march. According to the Guardian, 16 million fitness trackers were sold globally last year, with just under 34 million expected to ship this year and 56 million in 2018. So, on the face of it, plenty of organic growth.
I admit it – I called them for dead. I thought Blackberry were gone. I think a lot of us did. But if this article in AdAge is more than just hype on the part of the company and its ad agency, perhaps that call was premature. I am still cautious about whether Blackberry are growing or simply not fading, but the great news for brands that seem to be in a death spiral is that you can pull out, or at least halt the decline, if you’re prepared to make the changes needed. So what are Blackberry doing that others could learn from?
As John Hagel has observed, the middle market is dying as market dynamics radicalise. At one end, the sectors that are scaling continue to expand footprint and influence; at the other, the long tail stretches further as the market fragments into more and more bit players fighting for a percentum of market share. This dissolution of the middle ground as a viable competitive position leaves most brands with five growth options in my opinion: three are about growing bigger; two suggest growing smaller (but heightening profit as you do so). Here’s how I map the options: