One of the hardest judgment calls for brand managers is relevance. Brands must change to stay consistent yet they must also remain recognisable in order to preserve brand equity. So what should you change, and when?
The sharing economy is substantial. Uber’s valuation just hit $50 billion. Airbnb is valued at around $20 billion. And Entrepreneur believes the sharing economy’s size in five key sectors will reach 335 billion by 2025. As this article explains, “The catalyst behind the sharing phenomenon are technology platforms—big data and mobile—allowing consumers to share anything, anywhere, and anytime at an affordable price. Sharing is ubiquitous today.”
It’s tempting to believe that every brand must be vastly different and that every opportunity to push the boundaries should be taken if the brand is to win. But is there a case for normality that we’re missing here? Should, as Jay Bauer has suggested, brands stop trying to be amazing and just get on with being useful?
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.
Back in Florida in a few days to speak at this year’s Un-Conference at the Versace Mansion in South Beach alongside Derrick Daye, Gerard Gibbons, Brad VanAuken, Pete Canalichio, Chris Wren, Hilton Barbour and Ashley Konson. This year’s theme is brand leadership, something we’re all thriving for. And with a line-up like this, expect plenty of opinions. Should be fun. If you haven’t booked yet, there may still be places left. Acknowledgements Photo of “Entrance Gianni Versace Mansion”, taken by Phillip Pessar, sourced from Flickr
While there has been plenty of discussion around how marketing and sales teams should play well together, the onus on brand owners to proactively support people in the field seems to have attracted less attention. Customers, of course, make no distinctions between which parts of the organisation they are dealing with at any one time. In that sense, brand is sales: a brand is only as good as its ability to attract, convert and retain fickle buyers.
Nir Eyal, author of Hooked, recently suggested that products are becoming increasingly addictive. Three macro-trends are driving that, he told me, and together they are lifting the addictive potential of all sorts of products and services: Companies are now able to collect more data about user behaviours; Interactive technology is more accessible; and The transfer of data is happening faster than ever before.