Virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and invisible interfaces are just the latest digital technologies to move in a blink of an eye from futurist dreaming to present-day reality. Despite the break-neck pace the way we discover, buy and use products and services is becoming digitized, many marketers continue to approach branding with an analogue mindset.
In our 24/7, always connected world, customers expect experiences that adapt to them on their terms. Rigid brands that talk at consumers instead of dynamically engaging with them won’t remain relevant for long. A brands rigid visual identity must be replaced by consistent voice; authority replaced by authenticity.
A revolution in brand management is needed to keep brands relevant. Marketers can no longer treat brands as if they are fixed assets that disseminate consistent messages across customer segments, channels and occasions. Instead, they need to begin activating brands as living assets that dynamically engage with customers, adapt to different contexts or ecosystems, and evolve over time. They need to leave behind many of the orthodoxies that have been the hallmark of brands in the analogue age. Following are several ways marketers can begin to build more relevant brands:
Keep brand purpose paramount
A clear and compelling purpose built on delivering meaningful value to customers is crucial. It is critical that brands have a red thread, an underlying glue that ties together all they do in a meaningful way.
Activate living brand experiences
The most powerful brands focus on being relevant in each customer encounter and relationship. It puts customers in control of how, when, and where they experience the brand. Three principles that drive a living experience are:
Customer experiences are driven by dynamic adaptation to customer needs. They feel personal. TurboTax provides hyper-personalized services for returning users through pre-filled forms and guidance about differences from prior years – all based on the user’s finances and spending patterns.
A brand learns as it grows and uses its knowledge to improve customer engagement. Netflix demonstrates intelligence about viewing habits by not only making show recommendations, but also creating proprietary programming based on audience preferences. Netflix is famous for creating blockbuster hits based on people’s affinity for certain actors and themes.
A brand tailors how it acts, feels and looks according to the user or context. For example, YouTube adapts depending on a user’s account. The YouTube Kids interface, for instance, recognizes the age of the user and offers icons instead of text navigation and plays only family-friendly content.
Engage employees to deliver the purpose
The most relevant brands are not the job of marketing or the digital team. The most relevant brands rely on employees understanding, believing in, and delivering the brand purpose and promise. Doing so requires creating the right set of stories, symbols, rituals, and beliefs that establish the desired mindsets and behaviors in an organization.
Putting these principles into action requires a relevance strategy. Solving for relevance helps the brand develop the mechanisms it needs to engage, adapt and evolve over time. And for those brands that execute successfully, this strategy helps drive faster, more profitable growth.
Learn more about how Prophet is building relevance through living experiences.