Written by Skyne, a strategic branding agency that partners with businesses to grow their brands. Headquartered in Dubai with locations in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Rotterdam (Holland).
There are 2 distinct ways successful brands are staying relevant:
- They anticipate the signs of our times and innovate around the right trends
- They understand the way customers live and what it takes to make their lives better
Successful brands stay relevant by anticipating the changing needs of their customers. They do this through:
Relevance: Combining the needs of consumers with an emotional connection while interacting with the brand.
Self-check: are you still solving a need or is there a new or different need you can meet?
Differentiation: Standing out distinctly when compared to other brands and driving the brand to become a leader in its category.
Self-check: do you stand out?
Availability: The extent to which the brand comes to mind and is readily available when consumers consider purchases in the relevant category.
Self-check: can your (potential) customers still find and reach you?
A new way of serving customers
The relationship between a brand and a consumer is simply based on meeting a need. Practically and/or emotionally. The extent to which a brand differentiates itself determines which brand is preferred in the mind of the consumer.
This is essential, as many alternatives exist in the market. The availability of a brand and consumers' ability to obtain it online or offline, is one of the most important conditions for purchase for customers.
Focus on what you can do
Continuing to invest in the brand in the form of marketing, keeps your relevancy up to date. This makes sense on paper, however, in times of crisis this logic is given the least amount of priority.
This is completely reasonable because: demand dries up, fixed costs cannot be influenced, so the first reflex is to cut expenses. Rigorously.
Historically, marketing has proven to be the way out. Continuing to invest in the long-term positioning of the brand, ensures a strong position before and after the crisis.
Branding is more than marketing and campaign
Focusing on just the brand and marketing is too limited.
An inspiring example is LVMH’s change in strategy. LVMH adapted its production processes of Christian Dior and Givenchy to produce disinfectant gels for hospitals during the pandemic.
This is a beautiful example of a brand that felt the needs of the market and then quickly adapted their business model effectively to fit that need. Taking responsibility and more importantly, taking action. Actions which are relevant for clients, and also society as a whole. They didn’t simply opt to continue or intensify their existing marketing campaigns. They did much more than that.
You have to adapt to changing circumstances
Getting through during a crisis well requires a much larger transformation. This needs to happen swiftly, through answering your core questions.
- Why am I here?
- Who am I serving?
- How/with what do I do this?
Asking these questions during changing conditions helps you determine your transformation, potentially getting different answers.
Enriching your business model
This doesn’t necessarily mean everything has to change. It’s about changing only what is necessary. This change shouldn’t be found solely in predictable solutions (streamlining operations and cutting costs in the operating model) but also in the business model itself.
All levers need to be synchronized. From ambition to purpose, from customer experience to people & culture, from compliance to customer service.
Finally, unlock your hidden potential
A call to keep investing in branding and marketing is not complete. The marketing budget does not have to be increased. However, your hidden potential could be in transforming customer service with a different task and mentality. Or in restructuring regular distribution channels. Or in one of many other value drivers.
A brand is a delicate combination of all touchpoints in the customer journey. Deeply understanding the changing customer journey reveals many new opportunities. It is crucial to find the right balance to have the brand perform optimally with positive business results.