The choice of values and the nature of those values comes up a lot in any team looking to change what it stands for. Sometimes it comes up overtly. More often, it comes out in a reluctance by some to ‘move on’ from what they know because they are concerned that leadership is not up to the task or they will end up compromising their professional integrity.
The intuitive answer is market share. But perhaps there’s another way of looking at this: one that is increasingly being pursued by brands with a strong purpose agenda. If your brand must be bigger than what you make, perhaps the basis on which you compete must be greater than what you can distinctly own.
Marketers talk a lot about the increasing personalisation that consumers are looking for in their interactions with brands. At the same time though, we know consumers seek endorsement from others on the good brands to be associated with and those that should be avoided. Interesting dichotomy. If you’re a brand manager, where do you invest your energies – products (as the means of those interactions), experience (as the memory of those interactions) or reputation (as the underwriter of those interactions)?
Nice piece on the Adidas campaign (thanks for sharing, Dan Ball) draws attention to the need for brands to shift from talking up their products to talking with their customers about the things that matter to them. In this case Adidas puts Luis Suarez out-front and uses the occasion to start a discussion on people’s reactions to those who are successful with the hashtag #therewillbehaters. As Adidas’ director of global brand strategy, Stefanie Knoren points out, “If you put up [this] hashtag … it is not just enough to talk about new boots. People are expecting a conversation around that with you.” A wider brand discussion Increasingly, brands are placing their products and its values and beliefs in the context of a wider discussion. The danger? That the issue overwhelms the product and consumers are more interested in that than what you are trying to ship. Or they’re not interested and give the messages and the product the cold shoulder. The opportunity? To reflect an ethos that people are drawn to, that lifts their esteem …
Brand trust resides in different places in different markets. The location and nature of that trust should directly influence how you compete.
I was first introduced to Tom Asacker a number of years ago when he and I were on the same contributor panel and I’ve always been taken by four qualities that come out time and again in his work: his call-it-the-way-it-is approach; his extraordinary ability to condense whole systems to meme-length summaries; his relentless search for new form; and above all his humanity and clarity.
Every brand manager would like to believe that the world will love their brand. Given how much time, energy and experience they pour into trying to make that happen, that seems like a reasonable hope. But, as Douglas Van Praet observes in a recent Fast Company article, consumers are far from inclined to feel that way. “The human truth is no one wants to connect emotionally to your brand … People want to be [led] to a better life not bond with companies.”
When you’re hard at work on ambitious projects, it’s a given that the team is pushing the boundaries of what would have been considered sensible. I choose those words carefully – “would have”, because these projects are always about ways forward but are often judged on references back; and “sensible” because that’s the filter that so many people put across the recommendations they get.
There’s a temptation to believe that the sheer logic of a good decision will sway the crowd; that if you make a good case and present it in an inspiring way, you’ve done everything you need to for that idea to gain instant uptake in an organisational culture. I’ve yet to see that happen successfully. I’ve seen it tried often – “now take that idea and apply it to what you do” – but never in ways that live up to expectations.
I was first introduced to Tom a number of years ago when he and I were on the same contributor panel and I’ve always been taken by four qualities that come out time and again in his work: his call-it-the-way-it-is approach; his extraordinary ability to condense whole systems to meme-length summaries; his relentless search for new form; and above all his humanity and clarity. Tom’s fifth book, The Business of Belief is about stories, dots and history (you’ll see why below). It did what I knew Tom would do: took a space that seemed finite and broadened the consideration-set to include ideas and insights that were very revealing. Reading it prompted me to seek a deeper understanding of what’s playing on Tom’s mind about beliefs and brands. Here’s some of the highpoints from our conversation: 1. Wishes drive beliefs Tom: The word “belief” comes from the Middle English “lief,” which means to wish. Belief is simply a working assumption about something or someone … driven by what we would wish something to be. 2. People …