People’s values shift dramatically every couple of years, changing their needs and expectations from brands. Here are ten top tips for how brands can adapt to stay relevant.
1. Go long on your brandBuilding a successful brand has never come easy. It takes insight into consumers, creating products and services they love and investing in your reputation. The current market environment makes it tempting to profit at the expense of your brand – say by reducing quality or discounting – but these actions can quickly erode the competitive advantage and customer goodwill that takes years to build. More than ever it’s important to invest in and manage your brand with a long-term mindset.
2. Be continually persuasiveBrands must seek to continually influence consumer and shopper behavior with big ideas delivered creatively and persuasively. Even brands we nostalgically like to think have stayed the same forever need to continuously change to stay relevant. Brands like Coca-Cola and Marmite never stop tweaking their marketing and design to make sure they are always hitting the sweet-spot with consumers.
3. Immerse yourself in the marketTo keep up with changes in the market, commissioning research or reading trends reports will only take you so far. To find deeper insights, the best way is to spend time with your consumers, listen to them, experience how they live, and see what your brand means to them. I promise that you will be surprised. Persil’s “dirt is good” branding, based on the insight that mums struggle to balance their role of protecting their kids (wrapping them in cotton wool) with their desire to help them become independent adults, would not have been possible without the insight that comes from spending time with real people, not research documents.
4. Innovate to inject new lifeWhen the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (now 3M) started out in 1902 they probably weren’t thinking of making Scotch tape, Post-it notes or medical equipment – these were products which were born through the need to innovate to stay relevant. Businesses of all sized should be continually looking for ways to innovative – whether the changes be large or small scale, as stagnation is a hindrance to long-term success.
5. Think like your competitorsMany companies are too slow to respond to market changes because they’re worried about alienating their current customers, so thinking of how your competitors might challenge your brand can help you make the hard decisions necessary to grow. Under Steve Jobs, Apple launched new products that cannibalised their existing ranges, but continually grew their market share and profit. Continue reading on page two…
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