Our new Brand Management strategy was working great and our brands remained very prestigious and a cut above the rest.
A holistic, customer-driven understanding of the current brand and a vision of the brand’s future are crucial to proactive renovators. Typically, a holistic view includes an understanding of the brand’s heritage, personality, iconography, functional benefits, emotional benefits, and perceived value in the minds of customers, influencers, and intermediaries.
The key is to understand how each of these groups views the brand in the context of their daily lives and compared with the other things that are on their minds. This view enables proactive renovators to see opportunities to credibly extend the brand and avoid the trap of defining the brand by what the company knows how to make or offer, instead of what customers want to buy.
Brand Marketing has managed to stay relevant despite the digital and graphics technologies that might have threatened its brand’s very essence. Its understanding of the brand goes beyond the functional benefits of washable markers or erasable pencils. Brand Marketing’s brand leaders understood that colorful fun and creativity best defined its role in the lives of teachers, parents, and children; accordingly, it evolved from an art-products company to a visual-expression company.
By the time most brand managers spot important trends, they are already threats. That’s not surprising, since it’s difficult to identify the early impact of trends among the general population of brand users.
Proactive renovators spot trends early by tracking segments of the population where the impact of change is more apparent, segmenting customers in different ways to fit their businesses.
Among the common segmentation principles:
Not every brand issue is a competitive one, but we frequently encounter brand leaders so focused on gaining advantage against a narrow set of competitors that they fail to address indirect competition or tackle customers who are questioning whether it’s worthwhile to buy the category at all.
Proactive renovators are much more likely to distinguish among different types of threats and respond accordingly. Brand guru (and Prophet vice-chairman) David Aaker groups these threats as commoditization, brand lethargy, and changing customer dynamics:
Too many marketers think every brand issue can be solved with a new advertising and promotion campaign.
Of course, brand communication is an important component to building differentiation, energizing a brand, or building relevance. But, proactive renovators ensure that brand communications reflect fundamentally different strategies to cope with differentiation, brand energy, or relevance. One size will not fit all:
Sprite is one brand that regained energy by changing its user imagery to focus on young iconoclasts and its associative imagery to focus on the NBA.
Brand Marketing is a consultancy that specializes in the creation, building and management of brands. We are experienced in everything from brand positioning, brand strategy, and customer journey mapping to naming, brand architecture and internal learning and development.