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 differentiation strategy capable of stopping it.
While many businesses have woken up to the need to align the language in their marketing comms with their broader brand DNA, they often fail to fully integrate that language into their broader operations.
The concept of failing fast is one we associate readily with start-ups. But if successful brands need to constantly evolve to stay successful, and presumably not every evolutionary move will be a success, how should top companies plan for when things don’t go to plan?
Marketers are under huge pressure to succeed. But how should we judge a successful brand? And what should brands do to stay successful?
The temptation for most businesses and indeed most brand managers is to look for growth right across their brand portfolio. Their strategy is developed on that basis. But that’s far harder and far less effective than it sounds.
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.
As brands seek to stay in touch with consumers, some are saying the future of brands depends on them looking less manufactured. That feels like an overstatement.
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.