CREATING GREAT BRANDS IN AN EXTREME MARKET
Stating that in today’s competitive and ever changing market, companies must know how to be distinct is a no-brainer. It’s also obvious that, in order to achieve distinctiveness, a correct strategy and brand positioning are decisive. But sometimes, it is just not that simple
Today we are more informed, more connected, and busier than ever. Our society wants to do and have it all. We have abandoned the old habit of living moderately and adopted a life of extremes. We want to have lots of experiences and live more intensely, but at the same time we want to have the utmost happiness and peace. We want to be utterly successful but we also want to have a better quality of life.
In this context, brands and branding will become even
more important than they currently are, since they will be the ones guiding consumers through extreme situations: understanding them, making their lives easier, and helping them make better decisions. Brands are constantly
present in a number of already traditional activities, such
as smartphones, tablets, computers, television, and so on, but little by little new ones are being implemented so as to satisfy new senses like smelling, touching, or tasting, in order to boost a memorable experience.
STRONG BRANDS CREATE STRONG BONDS
Brands creating meaningful experiences will be the ones we pay attention to, for they will be capable of establishing close bonds with their consumers and thus continue being top of mind. Only strong brands are capable of creating these bonds: thinking otherwise is nonsense. Bearing this in mind, let us review the characteristics that all successful brands share, for those are the keys to creating the brands that will survive in this extreme market.
First, we must take into account that, for any brand, a strong brand strategy is a necessity rather than a luxury. A recent study published by Lambie-Nairn together with Millward Brown and The Partners has shown that branding is more important than advertising as a brand value driver. Brands with a strong strategy focused on the brand and weak advertising had a 76% increase in value, while brands with weak branding and strong advertising had a value increase of only 27%. Take Apple, for example: it was #1 in the BrandZTM 2015 ranking, and it is globally recognized because of its unique brand proposition, its iconic identity, and a design that consumers love. Its value has increased 67% since 2014.
A GREAT BRAND MUST KNOW ITSELF
The brand must be directly related to the business strategy, aware of the company’s objectives and its market, so as to clearly understand what is it that it can or cannot achieve
in order to be credible when reaching its target audience. A great brand must perfectly know its DNA, its brand code, and the characteristics that make it unique and distinct from all the other brands. When a brand is true to itself, it generates confidence in consumers and thus it is capable of influencing their behavior. This does not mean a brand cannot surprise us, nor does it imply that its communication should be boring, but that it must be clearly aware of how far it can go without losing its own identity. For instance, the Krispy Kreme brand surprised everybody with its acceptance of new technologies and the creation of an app called “Hot Light”, which lets followers know when and where fresh donuts are being sold.
A GREAT BRAND MUST KNOW HOW TO INVENT AND REINVENT ITSELF
As mentioned above, a brand can and should surprise us. To do so, it must be constantly evolving, it must be a living being going beyond the product or service offered, encouraging loyalty among consumers and turning them into brand spokespersons, into its fans. Who doesn’t have an acquaintance who, besides buying a car or a pair of shoes from a specific brand, insists on our buying the very same product? This is the way those brands become leaders within their categories, to set trends that their competitors will have to follow. Nike is a perfect example of a leading brand that has transcended its category. Nike claims that “if you have a body, you are an athlete”. Nike is a benchmark for athletes and in the overall sphere of sports, not merely a sneakers manufacturer.
A GREAT BRAND MUST BE CAPABLE OF GENERATING UNIQUE EXPERIENCES AND EMOTIONS
In the end, it is not only about selling a product or providing a service: a brand must always seek to establish a link, an emotional connection with its target audience so that it turns into a long-lasting bond. For example, Dove is perfectly aware of its target audience’s needs and wishes: all those women who do not feel reflected by magazines’ beauty standards.
By means of its campaign “for real beauty”, Dove managed to create an emotional bond with its audience, becoming thus something far beyond a personal care company.
A GREAT BRAND MUST BE CONSISTENT
A brand is not just a logo, a word, or a slogan. When a brand is coherent and consistent with its communication, everyone recognizes it. This is why it is important to have a recognizable framework, a visual image that leaves no doubt as to who is addressing us, even if we are not looking at the brand. This framework should be consistent regardless of the country and the communication format or platform. Movistar is a good example of this. Due to its distinctive elements, such as the blue sky, the clouds, the typography used, and a rigorous program by Lambie-Nairn, this brand is now recognized in all the territories where it operates, with no need to be identified by its logo.
A strong brand is authentic and humane, regardless of how small or large it is. When a brand manages to speak in the same language its consumers use, their connection is far closer. This can be accomplished by being funny, intelligent, understanding, or the like. We can think of brands such as Google, which changes its illustrations every day, Red Bull, which pushes the limits of human capabilities, or even Beyonce?, with her 7/11 video that seems home-made.
A GREAT BRAND MUST BE RELEVANT
Let us remember that the key to generating trust is to act as consumers want and expect, that is, to understand what is important to them. Therefore, a great brand must aspire to be, by itself, whatever people want it to be, and try to generate strong associations among the audience.
Established in 1976, Lambie-Nairn is a branding agency that creates emotive and dynamic brands. Lambie-Nairn believes that brands are capable of living at every touch point, even when consumers are driving the brand interaction. By doing this Lambie-Nairn creates brands that stimulate and establish a stronger emotional bond with their audiences.