A future for new Brands. A lot of brands are under pressure from brand competition, poor management, new digital skills, new market rules. Many of them, little and big, have lost market share and are completely disoriented. “If on this bad news makes you believe that brands are dying and brand building is not possible, think again“. Please.
The fundamentals of Brand. Branding is about creating and maintaining perceived consumer value. It is not academic as you think. “A better-made product, an excellent packaging and a real accessible and responsive after sales service give to a brand a superior value“. If you don’t build a right brand, consumers are likely to perceive “all competing offerings as look-alikes and do-alikes“. The lowest price wins the competition. How long?
Consumer value is not just in the eye of maker. It must be injected in the market through continuous product or service improvement. Why is it so difficult for the brands?
1. Market change, with consumers more informed and sceptical of promotional claims. Their behaviors are unusuals and don’t permit a real and useful market segmentation. Competition from other players, retailers and electronic store is instantaneous and swift. New technologies have introduced more competitors. Please consider the long tail theory and its practical implications (see http://www.longtail.com by Chris Anderson).
2. Poor brand management. Under pressure for short-term results, “many managers have deprived their brand of investment in long-term product development and consumer communication“. Priority is a fast pay back. A declining record of product innovation and superior value creation has been exacerbated by pricing among brand. So if the consumers have increasingly opted for a perceived better value for money, consequently a company has to survive with lower margins. Finally in big part of companies many managers spend few time for brand management and more time with administrative questions.
If brands are to survive, a new approach to brand building is needed.
a. Listen. Market, consumers, behaviors must be listen from brand managers. Understand the new way of approaching, the mindset, how people move on shopping or socializing differently.
b. Go back. Analyze, study and research. Now it is more difficult to record behavior’s consumer but a brand of the future must be able to cross a big quantity of data with a lot of sentiment, social and web reputation and yet with instinct and creativity. A brand building activity needs solid knowledge to go on the future.
c. Improve and invest. Cost structure, organizational paths, technology and platform.
d. Unorthodox solutions. Brands needed a creative attitude. Find new market, new consumers, new solutions. Fight the competition over conventional.
e. Integrated communication. Not only digital, not more traditional. Gone beyond the classical difference between above and below communication, the success can be achieved if a brand is capable to mix and integrate old and new media in the right way. How? A good strategic planning could be a first answer.
Based on Kamran Kashani’s IMD lecture.