In our latest article at Entrepreneur, Pete Canalichio and I examine why now, more than ever, the marketing consulting industry should be promoting an interactive brand ecosystem that more closely aligns the disciplines of brand insights, brand strategy, brand protection, brand licensing and brand valuation. The full article is available here. Hope you enjoy it. Feedback welcome.
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.
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.
I call it the goodness movement – the rush to appear responsible that has gripped global brands over recent years. Recognising that ethics, sustainability and CSR are now consideration factors in consumer purchasing (although we could debate the extent), brands are eager to show the world that they are doing what they can. But how much of what they are saying is actually driving how they operate and the decisions they make?
When Al Ries took aim at McDonald’s decision to broaden their menu, saying that introducing more items had not worked as a strategy and would not so do into the future, his piece raised questions for me on the differences between diversification and adjacency.
If you’re a brand leader and you’ve been one for a while, there’s a good chance you know your market and that you monitor and are highly aware of your competitors. All the market intelligence you have tells you where things are.
It’s easy to think of what your brand is there to do (purpose) and how your business intends to prosper (strategy) as separate things, different agendas. But more and more brands are looking at ways to bring these two ideas together: building and focusing their business around the wider impacts they intend to have.
Every brand has a truth point – and that point is always the point of contact: the moment when the customer makes contact with the brand, to buy, to ask, to complain, to enquire … Everyone whose studied marketing for any time nods at this obvious point. But interestingly, whilst all brands acknowledge contact as the truth point and most wax lyrical about customer service and having a customer promise, far fewer resource for it or prepare their people thoroughly to deliver on it. A surprising number still don’t explain to their own people how to apply the brand to what they are working on in their day. They seem to just expect it to happen.
There’s crises and dangers everywhere we look. From ISIS to mass shootings, pandemics to weather events, Greek debt to commodity slumps, the actions and repercussions stream onto media in a seemingly endless scroll. In that sense the world we live in has changed little from when I was a child.
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?