In the dynamic world of business, a stagnant brand strategy is akin to still using a flip phone in a smartphone era. Efficient, sure, but missing out on so many modern functionalities. Every brand, whether a booming enterprise or a modest startup, benefits from periodic strategy reassessments. But the question looms: When's the right time for a reevaluation?
Corporate Shifts: Like tectonic plates, when there's movement in corporate goals, the brand strategy landscape should adjust accordingly.
Been a While?: If recalling the last brand check feels like a trip down memory lane, perhaps it's time for a fresh assessment.
Growing Pains: Exponential growth is terrific, but it also means your brand strategy needs to be elastic, adapting to new demands.
Hitting a Wall: When past strategies don't fuel future aspirations, it's clear a rethink is in order.
Market Evolution: When consumer preferences transform or new competitors emerge, revisiting your brand strategy ensures you remain a frontrunner.
Technological Advancements: In an age where tech morphs rapidly, ensuring your brand strategy isn't technologically outdated is crucial.
Cultural Shifts: Brands don't operate in a vacuum. Changes in societal values and cultural trends necessitate a strategy reassessment.
Diving deeper, the pitfalls of deferring a brand strategy reassessment can be heavy. Neglecting it has more repercussions than a slightly outdated image. Let's unpack some of these potential business challenges:
Strategy Mismatch: The danger of corporate and brand strategies diverging is real. They should complement, not contradict.
Losing the Plot: A brand that's unsure of its mission can't inspire its audience.
The Great Employee Drift: An unclear brand direction can lead to dwindling employee morale and engagement.
M&A Complications: A cohesive brand strategy becomes pivotal during mergers or acquisitions.
Cultural Erosion: A strong brand strategy upholds and enriches company culture.
Innovative Slumps: Without strategic clarity, even innovation takes a back seat.
Value Proposition Blur: It's tough to resonate with customers when the brand's value becomes hazy.
New Leadership, Old Strategy?: The arrival of new leadership often signals a need for a brand strategy brush-up.
While the earlier cues can signal the timing for a brand strategy review, understanding the depth of the necessity is just as crucial. These two often overlooked triggers are paramount to determining not only the 'when' but also the 'why' of revisiting your brand strategy:
The alignment between business and brand strategy is quintessential. Consider them as two gears in a machine; if one gear shifts direction and the other doesn’t adjust, the machine grinds to a halt.
Let's take a hypothetical tech company that pivots to focus on sustainable products. If its brand messaging still harps on just 'innovation' and misses out on 'sustainability', there’s clear discord. The outward promise and inward reality would clash, leading to potential mistrust or confusion among stakeholders.
In today’s world, a brand isn’t just a logo or a tagline; it's an entity with character and emotion. A brand strategy devoid of a deeper purpose or emotional connection can often feel hollow. It’s imperative for brands to emotionally resonate with their audience.
For instance, brands like Dove don't just sell products; they champion body positivity. Similarly, Apple doesn’t just sell gadgets; they promote a lifestyle. If your brand doesn't evoke a feeling or stand for something beyond the product, it might be time to dig deeper and find that emotional hook.
Consider the rise of smartphones and how they've drastically changed the way we communicate, access information, and even shop.
BlackBerry, once a leader in the business mobile phone sector, didn't anticipate or swiftly adapt to the consumer preference for touchscreens and versatile app ecosystems. This oversight led to a significant loss in market share to competitors like Apple and Samsung.
Take the rise of organic and health-conscious food consumption as an example.
Brands that once dominated the food industry had to adapt quickly to this trend or introduce new product lines to cater to this health-conscious consumer segment. Those who were slow to catch on, or dismissed it as just a "fad", found themselves playing catch-up.
As each generation emerges with its own set of values and triggers, brands must recalibrate their strategies to cater to these changing preferences. With the rise of Gen Z as an economically influential group, businesses must be mindful of their distinctive values.
For instance, Gen Z's strong emphasis on authenticity and experiential shopping led to the surge in popularity of pop-up shops and immersive brand experiences.
So you're thinking of revisiting your brand strategy? Good on you. But, before you dive headfirst into those murky waters, take a beat. Consider what went sideways with the old strategy. After all, as they say, doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results is, well... let’s just call it 'unstrategic.'
Remember that age-old game of broken telephones? Your brand strategy can feel like the last person in that game if it isn't echoing your business strategy. Your business aims might be moving towards a sustainable future, but if your brand messaging is still stuck in the past, chanting 'innovation' without highlighting 'sustainability', you've got a discordant tune.
Example: Think Patagonia. More than just an apparel company, Patagonia is a champion for the environment. Their commitment to sustainability isn't just a marketing tagline, but it's intricately woven into every fabric of their business, from ethical sourcing to supporting grassroots environmental campaigns.
Classic branding is passé. Today’s consumers don't just want a product; they're hunting for meaning, purpose, and a dash of human touch. Brands that pivot towards addressing core human needs rather than just transactional relationships forge deeper connections.
Example: Take Dove. It's not just about soaps or lotions. Dove's campaigns about real beauty and body positivity touch on genuine human insecurities, turning their brand into a conversation rather than just a monologue.
Your brand isn't just what you tell the world; it's how you act in your own backyard. Your employees, policies, and day-to-day operations should reflect the values you preach. A brand that resonates internally naturally radiates externally.
Example: Lush. Not just a haven for bath bombs, Lush embodies brand values right in the workplace. They advocate for waste reduction with "naked" packaging and spotlight employees by showcasing their faces and names on products they crafted. This not only enhances consumer trust but also solidifies the brand's commitment to its values and its people.
In a rapidly changing business landscape, rigidity can be your brand's nemesis. Your brand strategy should be flexible enough to adapt, reinvent, and realign with the evolving market scenarios, cultural shifts, and new audience expectations.
Example: Netflix. From mailing DVDs to pioneering online streaming, to producing original content, their brand strategy is the poster child for adaptability.
Wish you could predict the future? Sorry to burst your bubble, but most of us can't. What's the next best thing? Consistent market research and Brand Health Tracking (BHT). This isn't about summoning spirits but understanding shifts in the market, and adjusting your sails accordingly.
Example: Spotify. As the digital music landscape evolved, Spotify made it their mission to truly understand the user's listening habits. They used market research to tap into the desires for personalized music experiences, leading to features like "Discover Weekly" and "Year in Review". This wasn't just about playing tunes but offering an experience tailored to individual tastes, solidifying their position as a top streaming service in a sea of competitors.
Your brand is an evolving entity reflecting your business's heart, soul, and ambitions. Ignoring signs that scream for a strategic reassessment is equivalent to leaving money on the table. But how do you know where to start? Aligning your brand meaningfully to resonate both internally and externally is key.
We, at Bolder, live by one ethos: innovation in brand strategy. We're champions of bridging the gap between business intent and brand manifestation. If you're pondering about the vitality of your brand or simply seeking the best route forward, look no further.
Curious about the state of your brand? Touch base with us. We're here to listen, dissect, and deliver.