Two separate things When we worked on our extensive project on Brand Purpose (1), we reached the conclusion that there is often a large amount of...
The role of brands has already changed enormously due to the rapidly changing digital world, the customer who is growing more worldly and active and demanding, and the rapidly increasing number of competitors.
In today’s environment, a brand is becoming ever more important and also more difficult to care for. Having a strong brand is like having a precious jewel.
The role of brands has already changed enormously due to the rapidly changing digital world, the customer who is growing more worldly and active and demanding, and the rapidly increasing number of competitors. A major challenge is to find a relevant point of differentiation; a brand is becoming a medium, an entertainer, a networker, a close friend, someone to trust. A brand is the most precious asset of a company.
As the role of a brand and the importance of a strong brand continue to become more important for a company, the clarity of brand positioning will be one of the central strategic factors for success.
Innovation, focused positioning, differentiation and consequent branding will be crucial for the success of a company. Clarity of vision and values are essential. In this over-communicated, crowded and hectic world, a lack of clarity or a brand or sub-brand structure that is either too complex or not sufficiently clear will reduce effectiveness.
90% use social media for brand building
Considering the importance for a company of having a strong brand, one may well ask: “Why do companies often seem not to care that much about their brands?” Looking for example at the inconsistent application of a logo across different products and sub-brands on the shelf and in displays or other materials, or reading comments about certain brands on social media platforms with no response by the companies they represent, seems inconceivable when one considers the importance of a brand and the clarity of brand positioning.
A recent study involving the CEOs of 100 leading US companies indicates that already 90% of the respondents see social media as a tool for brand building. So why are there still so many companies (especially in Europe) who fail to exploit the full potential of the internet as a medium for communication with consumers and as a way to gain market intelligence, thereby helping to strengthen their brand? Compared with the US, the adoption of this strategy by European companies seems to be still a ways out. One has merely to observe the internet sites or social media activities of certain market leaders in the food and beverage segment for example to see that there are few if any attempts at interaction with the consumer, and no consequent branding. A lost chance?
Keeping a consumer loyal to a brand should be a priority
A 2011 GFK study of women’s behaviour on social media conducted in Germany and the UK shows for example that 60% of the women in Germany use the internet to discuss brands they like. This suggests an extremely high potential for word of mouth to be used as an ideal means of strengthening a brand and its positioning. Already 8.6 million German women use the internet to research consumer products, which represents an opportunity for companies and brands to create a point of differentiation, to gain competitive advantage, and to bond with consumers. Marketing today needs to put much more focus on the customer and on engaging in a dialogue with consumers, meeting them where they are. Maintaining consumer loyalty to one’s brand will be the primary task for companies both today and in the future.
Not caring about a brand can be risky for a company
Given that nowadays a brand is to be regarded as a company’s most precious asset, and knowing how difficult it is to build a brand and a loyal consumer base, it is a mystery why so many companies with strong brands continue to neglect their precious assets and fail to optimize all potential touch points with their customers.