Following the recent Superbrand report, it’s become clear that the way brands behave is fundamentally shifting, forcing businesses to re-evaluate traditional branding conventions.
We live in a world where nothing stands still. Brands operate in real-time – part of a constantly shifting and increasingly complex media landscape. Brands must expect the unexpected. Competitive and fast moving markets are a constant threat and part of the reality of operating on a global stage.
The very best brands understand the value of turning customers into fans. But as recompense for their advocacy they’re seeking to become collaborators. Participation is everything. Consumer engagement demands an inherent sense of flexibility. Collaboration and co-creation are increasingly the norm.
Brands increasingly need to be thought of as dynamic entities – alive. Constantly evolving to remain relevant and compelling. The need for consistency must be balanced with the necessity to maintain coherence.
Keeping brands fresh. It's become something of an obsession. In a world where disruption is the new norm, marketers are feeling ever more pressured to continually update and reinvent their brands.
As a rule we’d suggest that there are eight common principles and behaviours that define today’s most successful brands:
1. An absolute focus on people: start with people and ask not ‘what can we make now?’ but ‘what else can we do for our consumers?’
2. Meaningful relationships matter: an unwavering focus on adding positive value to people’s lives and communities, rather than simply making money. They have a vision beyond profit.
3. Story doing not just storytelling: focus on actions rather than just words. The experience of a product or service has to tell the brand story without an extra layer of messaging on top.
4. Platforms for participation and transformation: open brands build with, and for, their community of users. These brands give their users the skills, tools and knowledge to transform their lives.
5. Rewarding interactions: consumers are willing to give up data if it helps brands offer value. The best brands use data to create more rewarding experiences based on relevance, choice, convenience and proactivity.
6. Coherent and flexible systems: rather than push for rigid consistency, flexible systems allow for a big idea to be interpreted for different contexts, different platforms and different purposes.
7. Hold interesting conversations: people aren’t interested in brands that just talk about themselves. Build your audience with content by listening for what matters to consumers and then add value to the conversation.
8. Seamless online and offline experiences: The very best brands in today’s digital world seamlessly blur the lines between physical and digital to create a holistic and joined-up customer experience.
Adrian Burton is executive creative director at Lambie-Nairn