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Recipe for success?

Recipe for success?

I don’t have it, but I know some key ingredients

If you’re reading this edition of BrandZ Spain, it’s clear you’re interested in knowing how to create strong, valuable brands. If you’ve read last year’s Spanish report, or BrandZ reports for other countries, you’ll have begun to see some common threads. Indeed, there are several attributes and actions that great brands have in common: planning for the long term, exceeding the expectations of your customers, and having a purpose beyond the obvious business driver. These are just a few examples.

I want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to another factor in brand success that I would like to call "courageous coherence". You'll think I've invented it, and you'll be right. I've invented the name, but I’ve not invented the behavior. I see it in many of the brands we work with. Courageous coherence means two things to me. On the one hand, it’s having a very clear vision of what the brand is and what it is not; a strong opinion about what the brand should do and what it would never do. On the other hand, it’s having the will and the ability to act decisively in accordance with the vision.

Only if you have both the vision and the will to act decisively in accordance with it, it is possible to align all the necessary resources for the growth of the brand. These resources can be both internal departments and external agencies, and it’s often the case that specific individuals are key brand resources. When departments, agencies and individuals come together for the growth of a brand, driven by a clear vision and a determined leadership, growth is not guaranteed, because it never is, but it almost is.

When a brand behaves with brave coherence, it becomes easier to make decisions about creativity, media and, more broadly, communications. They happen naturally. You can quickly see when an idea fits and when it does not; when the use of a format or a certain media makes sense or not. It happens almost always by consensus of the whole team: client, creative agency, media agency or public relations partner. It does not matter whose idea it is; it either fits or it doesn’t.

If the brand is consistently courageous, it is easy to form customized teams for the brand. At Wavemaker, we’re doing this more and more. We form teams with colleagues from other agencies and disciplines within WPP to solve the specific challenges of a brand. We work together, share knowledge and experience, and share data, information, ideas and work hours. The team comprises experts from a range of specialist agencies and focuses on a specific problem or challenge. Regardless of which agency has the client relationship, we share the challenge.

When we collaborate in this way, silos collapse. We often see that what was initially proposed as a media problem is solved with a new creativity. What seemed like a problem with creativity is solved by changes in media planning. What seemed an impossible segmentation is solved with technology. And what seemed like an impossible research project in the field is transformed into a digital study of great precision. The brands we work with see that what seemed to be a marketing problem turns out to be a product need, and what was a digital communication challenge turns out to be an opportunity for the technology department or for CRM.

This way of working, in agile teams tailored to a specific challenge, produces results quickly and efficiently. Many times, it produces unexpected solutions that turn out not to come from the usual suspects. It sounds very good, because it is very good, but it has a condition. It needs the coherence and courage that I mentioned before, and that must be shared by all those who work on the project.

If you’re responsible for a brand or are part of the team responsible for making it grow, you have a wonderful job. It’s a privilege to participate in the creation and development of a brand. There are many ways for brands to achieve success and I don’t have a recipe for that. But I can suggest two essential ingredients. The first: brave coherence. The second: the right people, and experts in each of the necessary disciplines. With these ingredients, success is not assured, because it never is. But it almost is.

Hugo Llebrés