Chris Anderson once observed that every abundance creates a new scarcity – and vice versa. So if digital is the abundance, what’s the new scarcity? I think it’s analogue – and by that I mean the things that are hard to reproduce and share quickly.
This article from some time back by Jagdish Sheth and Rajendra Sisodia sheds fascinating light on the business case not just for expanding brands but also shrinking them as well. According to the authors’ “Rule of Three”, the quest for scale is quite literally a race first for dominance and then for survival. But if you can’t win, don’t try.
In the search for more income, many brands seem keen to broaden their mandate or redefine the sector they see themselves as now being part of. But the hunt for diversified income streams comes with its own list of dangers and the most obvious caution is this: don’t lose the plot. Don’t spread your brand so wide, generalise your position so much or shift your emphasis so far from where you’ve been that you lose credibility, authority or distinction in the minds of your customers.
Tactics are like torchlight. You switch them on, they show you a way forward, you act on them there and then. They’re logical, reactive, contemporary. Your customers and your competitors probably see and react to them in exactly the same light. Great strategy is like starlight. What you’re seeing coming out of a company now was established and agreed upon a long way back. It started its journey many many years ago, has been influencing the way the company thinks and competes for ages, and has taken all this time to become visible.
It’s hard to develop a brand. It takes enormous effort, huge willpower, confidence, resources, patience and a thick skin. You’ll face doubt, distractions and problems. It’s gruelling …. But none of that is the toughest bit. Far from it. The most intimidating aspect is actually building a brand that consciously and clearly stands apart from everything else that is being built – everything else that is competing for the same audience you want to reach.
If you’re pitching for a new piece of business, especially in a competitive situation, ask “What will happen for them [the people who’ve put the business out to pitch] if everything goes to plan?” Knowing that enables you to plan an approach to make that level of success happen.
Provocative question: Why do IP law firms generally have such ugly identities? I suspect it’s because most of them are about protection rather than attraction. And it’s interesting isn’t it that, for two parties that should work closely together, brand and IP strategists tend to remain curiously separated.
For all those brand managers looking for ways to differentiate their brand, this compilation of ideas, co-authored with brand strategists Derrick Daye, Brad VanAuken and Thomson Dawson, may well be a definitive list.
This is a guest post by Mark Blackham. It’s a huge pleasure to have Mark as my first ever guest blogger at Upheavals. I first met Mark many years ago, and he has been a regular commenter here on reputational and branding issues. I hope you enjoy his perspectives as much as I do. The more I learn about how humans receive information and conceive ideas, the more simplistic most marketing looks. We’re beginning to understand from brain research that a million different experiences, predispositions and feelings go into each human decision. Behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman talks about a ‘remembering self’ that selects the experiences we use to create and define ourselves. Each one of us has this complex bundle of self-selected memories that influence our decisions. Yet marketing is often based on one insight thought to be common across all target customers. When you consider the variance of attitudes possible across individuals, that insight has to be a generality to be accurate. And if it’s a generality, it’s likely to be irrelevant to the …
I regularly refer to adrenalin as the chemical of change. To me, transformation must be radical and scary, because it pretty much requires the same levels of energy and momentum to get to a ‘dangerous’ place as it does to shift to somewhere a lot more comfortable. The only difference may be the time it may take for people internally to get comfortable again. That’s particularly true if you’re a brand that has fallen behind – where the shift required to even stay alive can feel huge. And yet for all the effort, the concern, the misgivings, where your brand lands can in reality be right in the middle of the pack – meaning that sooner rather than later, the company will need to repeat the same process in order to avoid being lost. So often, it seems, those undertaking brand change misjudge impact. People assess what has happened from the point of view of how far they have shifted rather than looking at the two things that really matter: the active difference it has …