In uneasy times, the most powerful thing a brand can do is to define its place, value and opinions in the world. That way, everyone knows where they stand.
Christopher Zook’s article on why companies with strong founders are more innovative, generate a greater number of patents, and more valuable patents at that, and are proactive in investing in and adapting their business model is a reminder to all of the very human qualities required to keep a company (and its brands) growing.
Everyone’s torn this way and that. It’s easy to lose concentration or to find yourselves prioritising the wrong things. If your brand feels like it’s drifting, here’s 7 sure signs that you’re not focusing on the right things.
Marketers often talk about being a brand leader as if it is one thing. But there are many different ways that a brand can distinguish itself in a marketplace. The critical decision for brand owners is deciding how you will lead and why that will work.
Everyone talks about growth and for the need to become a market leader. But once you’ve become the number one player, then what? What do you do after that to retain the lead you’ve worked so hard to get and that has now made you the target of everyone else’s aspirations?
Brand will tell you a lot if you let it. How you brand, what you brand, where you’re found, who buys you and how often … these and many more questions are all things that competitive businesses ask themselves on a regular basis. I see brand as a highly effective lens for assessing the relevance and competitiveness of a company. Here are 10 ways that you can use “brand” to reveal what your business may need to change or capitalise on:
Short answer – yes it is, but not in the way it was. I haven’t met a brand manager yet who didn’t tell me that they had a differentiated product. I’m not surprised. It’s part of the job description of any brand owner to be marketing something that is disruptive, market-changing, blue-ocean, category-killing … 15 years on from when I first suggested “parity is the real pariah”, every brand’s still talking up difference – but consumers are increasingly hard pressed to see any.
It wasn’t that long ago that competition took place between products, and the criteria for choice between rivals was customer benefits. Product vs product. Today, for globally scaled brands, the competition is really between the reach and co-ordination of different configurations of value chains, and the criteria for choice for customers is the quality of the experiences delivered as a result.
Actions are not strategies. Great strategies change more than where you are, what you call yourselves, what you offer. That’s Michael Porter’s thought. Great brand strategies re-invent the emotional context within which your brand competes against others in the marketplace. That’s mine. A great brand strategy redefines the relationship that people have with a brand over time. People think about you differently because they feel about you differently. That opportunity often gets missed in the rush to give people internally things to execute.
As marketing teams finalise plans for the year ahead, the logistics of making growth happen should be strongly influencing the targets you set. Most of us would agree there are four ways to strategise for growth: increase the share you hold in the markets you are strong in; develop new products for those markets; extend your reach by finding new markets for your current brands; and develop new products that cater to new markets.