Loops are the things that companies do over and over again. Business as usual. Business as boring. Every business has loops. Some are driven by fear, some by tradition, some by distraction, some by lack of awareness or industry convention. Loops affect how we think, how we work, how far we venture and how we seek to make change. In the process, they stifle creativity. The secret to breaking those loops, and achieving astonishing innovation, is unthinking.
We hear a lot about the effects that technology and developments like AI will have on jobs and workforces. But powerful forces already operate in markets to actively undermine value and drive out distinctiveness. It’s one thing to know that. It’s quite another to develop a broad differentiation strategy capable of stopping it.
Small brands are edgy, attuned and preferred. That seems to be a common sentiment right now. But there is nothing to suggest that any of this makes it easy to win as a small brand today.
We often think of brand value in financial terms. But that value, I would venture to suggest, is actually a result of a broader initiative that brands need to think about in these busy times: finding ways to be valuable in the lives of those who buy from them.
Some searching questions, by way of a guide, for the leaders of companies expecting to build lucrative brands in the years ahead.
As some of you know, I’m working with Pete Canalichio on a new book about how brands can rethink their growth strategies. Together we’ve been studying how and where many of the world’s most successful brands partner up to reach consumers, how they grow engagement with their brands by expanding their market sector reach, and what that means for business models. On Thursday evening, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how the strategies of global brands can be applied to businesses of all sizes looking for growth and profitability in today’s super-competitive environments. Building Brands in the Connective Economy Level 2, 318 Lambton Quay, Wellington Thursday 13 October 5:00-7:00pm Admission is free, but please register at Future of Business. Hope to see you there.
Is there ever a right time to get on the front foot and challenge your competitors by name?
Differentiation is acknowledged by most as the goal that every marketer should be seeking. But the enthusiasm for the pursuit masks a common misunderstanding – in the context of brand strategy, different and difference are not one and the same.
It’s increasingly easy to be a brand that people talk about in glowing terms, part of a sector that appears to be booming, and yet on a downward slide financially. It’s a sign perhaps of just how much we now focus on (the wrong) numbers at the expense of understanding true value.
As marketers we come close to taking brands for granted. But while many would say they now get the theory, the practice of brand-building is not as simple as they might like to believe.