At Prophet, we believe the most powerful brands are those that are “Relentlessly Relevant.” We have measured relevance through Prophet’s proprietary Brand Relevance Index and know it is a predictor of long-term growth for brands. Effective leaders recognize the power of their brand assets to support ambitious growth goals and transformation efforts.
In today’s world, as technologies evolve and consumers seek more active relationships and connections with businesses, it’s becoming more challenging for brands to maintain relevance.
So how can brands stay a step ahead of consumers and their competition? They can start by asking three key questions:
- How can brands reflect what matters to society, yet stay true to who they are?
- How can brands deliver a brand experience that’s consistent, but also flexible and adaptive?
- And most importantly, how can brands build momentum to sustain long-term brand relevance?
By making moves. Brand moves.
What exactly is a brand move?
Brand strategies offer companies a foundation on which to build their purpose, but alone, strategy doesn’t build relevance. To drive profitable growth and deliver tangible impact, strategy must be put into action.
Brand moves are actions businesses make to strengthen and sustain their brand. They can help activate a strategy (campaigns, events, etc.) or bring the strategy to life (products, services, experiences, etc.) with both consumers and employees.
Think of AT&T’s Thanks® program, which brings its customer-centric strategy to life through a loyalty program with exciting benefits and perks. Or AXA’s Equitable launch event that galvanized thousands of employees around the return of a 160-year-old legacy brand.
Oftentimes, growth-focused brand strategy moves become a signature trademark of the brand itself. Take for instance, Gatorade’s G Series product line, which fuels athletes from warm-up to recovery, delivering on their leadership in the sports fuel market. Or Amazon’s Prime Day, an annual event with deals for Prime members, delivering on its strategy of unparalleled and expedient service for its customers.
Given that today, only 5 percent of CMOs are highly confident in their ability to impact the overall direction of the business and to garner support for their initiatives among their peers, brand moves provide CMOs the opportunity to enhance their influence within the organization and demonstrate measurable outcomes. With brand moves, marketing leaders can drive a cross-functional team to deliver on high visibility programs delivering in-market impact.
What makes a brand move successful?
Whether it’s a business as established as Amazon or AT&T, or a startup in its beginning phases, all brands can adhere to four key principles to ensure their brand growth moves deliver effective and relevant outcomes:
- Grounded in—and amplify—brand strategy. Brand moves should have a clear purpose rooted in shared human values that resonates with all stakeholders, including employees and consumers. Rather than replace a brand’s positioning, brand moves are complementary and play a critical role in putting purpose into practice. For example, American Express’ Small Business Saturdays is a brand move that embodies the company mission: helping customers and their communities thrive. While the purpose remains unchanged, it is brought to life in a way that appeals to small business merchants, their customers, and communities.
- In-tune and in-touch with target consumers’ needs. Brand moves use insights defined as the brand constantly listens, senses and anticipates needs and expectations of the target audience, taking action that demonstrates empathy in return. For example, Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature introduces users to a playlist of 30 new songs each week, based on users’ past plays and preferences. With recommendation systems detecting their most-listened-to artists, songs and albums, Spotify keeps a pulse on what its users want more of—to keep them coming back week after week.
- Consistent, yet adaptive. These brand moves are cohesive and seamless, adapting to current context, yet consistently delivering an ‘on-brand’ experience. Due to their dynamic nature, brand moves should also be able to sit alongside other offers, without competing or cannibalizing. Look at Nike’s flagship store: a first-in-kind omnichannel experience that blurs the lines between digital and physical retail experience. This move is unique to Nike and unlike anything else in its portfolio, yet still delivers a cohesive, consistent brand experience that’s recognizably Nike: a dynamic, active shopping environment as responsive as its digital NikePlus app and online platforms.
- Continuous, inside and out. Brand moves provide a continuous, rolling thunder of action that influences both customers and employees. For example, T-Mobile’s “Un-carrier” campaign repositioned the telecom giant as different than traditional phone carriers. John Legere, its charismatic and quirky CEO, became known for sending out-of-the box tweets and gave motivational speeches that empowered employees to drive its success. Beyond a pure customer focus, brand moves fuel relevance from the inside out.
What is the impact of brand moves?
Brand growth moves that embody these four principles drive significant, positive impact on a global scale.
Since the launch of the G Series product line, Gatorade has seen increases of over $2B in franchise revenue and was the only brand in PepsiCo’s portfolio to see double-digit growth over five years. And in the last ten years of AmEx Small Business Saturdays, consumers reported spending an estimated total of over $120B at local small businesses, with seven out of ten adults aware of the (holi)day.
Companies like these and many others have used the power of brand moves to create and maintain relentless relevance and uncommon growth for decades—with proven results.
So how should your brand ensure its strategy gets off the page and out into the world? It’s your move.
Interested in learning more about how Prophet can help you turn strategy into action, creating brand moves that lead to measurable impact? Talk to our team today.