Consumers look for products and brands that are relevant to their needs. Self evident. But the ways in which they make those choices are much more complex than quality or availability because they are so much more human.
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.
Every marketer is haunted by fear of missing out. As trends are identified and balloon, the decision to ignore or capitalise becomes more urgent. How do you decide what to pay attention to and what do you let pass you by?
How do we recognise a brand? What do consumers see, and how different is that from the ways brands are structured?
If your brand is taken over by another company or your company takes over other brands, either as a stand-alone buy or as part of a broader merger and acquisition, what aspects of your current brand should stay as they are and what might you look to change?
Christopher Zook’s article on why companies with strong founders are more innovative, generate a greater number of patents, and more valuable patents at that, and are proactive in investing in and adapting their business model is a reminder to all of the very human qualities required to keep a company (and its brands) growing.
The hardest thing you can do as a brand owner I believe is to insist on building a powerfully simple brand. It’s hard because single-mindedness is difficult in a world where the consideration set is huge and where others will quickly seek to engage you in a relentlessly upgraded features war.
Our gut instinct as marketers is to go with what is working, because everything in the corporate rewards system is geared towards that: lack of risk appetite; the quest for short term results; even performance incentives. The irony for brands of course is that the more you go with what works for others, the less likely those ideas are to work for you.
If brand owners are truly intent on developing brand strategies that cut through, perhaps the best place to start is with stranger questions. Asking the less obvious might push more brands to think more laterally about their futures.
In my latest article for Entrepreneur, I challenge entrepreneurs to articulate what they intend to disrupt. As per the article, “if you are not entering a sector to turn it upside down, then chances are you are dooming yourself to being just another participant”. Hope you like. If you do, please share.