10 tips to future-proof your brand

6. Look beyond your category

Only tracking developments in your own category or industry can limit your perspective to immediate competitive threats, missing out on bigger shifts and opportunities. 

Inspiration can come from anywhere, so it pays to keep your eyes peeled and search in the more unlikely areas.

7. Don?t paint your brand into a corner

Keeping the future in mind is essential when making brand decisions just ask the marketers at Windsurfer or Hoover. The key is to get the balance right; brands need to have real meaning, but associating your brand with too specific a product or service could limit your scope for growth and leave your firm vulnerable should a specific market disappear. 

8. Don?t ignore underserved consumers

Traditionally underserved groups, like older or disabled consumers, offer opportunities for companies willing to invest in them. 

Although the founder of Oxo Good Grips kitchen tools was inspired by his wife’s arthritis, their ease of use made gave them widespread appeal, revolutionised kitchen utensils, and built a very successful brand. In this day and age, the generic “target” consumer doesn’t exist, so segment thoroughly and don’t be afraid to target segments no-one else is.

9. Reward trust

Trust in large companies is at an all-time low and it’s easier than ever for most people to find out just about anything they want to about a company. 

Today, trust in your brand is one of the most valuable things you can own, but it needs to be defended. It’s unlikely that Barclays, one of the most trusted brands since 1896, will easily be able to regain the same levels of trust and respect and so it’s imperative that firms of all sized seize the initiative to reward trust and build lasting relationships with consumers.

10. Don?t cover up 

Finally, with trust such a valuable commodity, brands that mislead consumers almost always end up paying the price. 

Even though BP invested hundreds of millions in it’s “beyond petroleum” brand advertising, it’s doubtful whether anyone would find that credible today. 

Investing in your brand by building your reputation even when it hurts will pay dividends in the long run so whether times are good or bad, be transparent in your operations.

Mark Artus is CEO of branding agency 1HQ.

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