Building an Indispensable Brand: Why Taking Action in Marketing Matters
In the current unpredictable business climate, it’s typical for leaders to exercise caution with their marketing budgets. However, even a brief period of inaction can eventually lead to greater costs for the business and the brand, rather than saving money. Marketers have a responsibility to shift attitudes from a fear of the unknown to adopting a view that taking action is better than waiting for perfection.
According to research conducted by Ehrnberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, halting marketing spending for even one year can result in sales decreases for that year and the following three years.
What is the solution?
The solution is found in scalability, which involves developing intelligent, modular marketing approaches that allow for “do, learn, scale” strategies to be implemented, demonstrating the true impact of decisive action in regard to branding, creativity, and communication.
What makes a brand tick?
In today’s world, we come across several brands that have disrupted traditional industries with innovative ideas and have quickly gained immense popularity among consumers. However, not all of them are irreplaceable. Some brands have stood the test of time and become an integral part of our lives, and we cannot imagine a world without them. Let us discuss some of the characteristics that make a brand iconic and irreplaceable.
- Iconic Visual Language
An indispensable brand has a visual identity that is instantly recognizable and unique to the brand. These visual equities are individual and don’t necessarily follow standard category codes. They are often made up of multiple valuable visual equities that can be used alone or in combination. Think of the iconic logos of Coca-Cola, Nike, or Apple, which are not only unique but also evoke strong emotions among consumers.
- Clear Purpose and Promise
An indispensable brand has a clear purpose and idea in the consumer’s mind of what the brand stands for, and it delivers on its promise through its product or service. These brands offer the reassurance of quality, trust, and excitement, depending on the industry. They create a sense of belonging and help affirm personal statuses. A good example is the trust and quality that comes with flying with Emirates airlines or the excitement and experience of attending a music festival like Coachella.
- Memorable and Differentiated Experiences
An indispensable brand creates memorable and differentiated experiences across all touchpoints, physical and digital, that surprise and delights consumers. These brand symbols or signature initiatives drive brand affinity, preference, and relevance. A great example of this is the coffee chain that writes your name on the cup, the diner that gives you baseball cards with your breakfast, or the mint with the hole. These experiences create a lasting impression and make the brand more than just a product or service.
- Paving their own way
An indispensable brand is not afraid to zag while others zig and pave their way, rather than following the crowd. These brands can do this through positioning, identity, and experience across all activation touchpoints, and by telling stories through communications. They stand out by doing things differently and creating a unique and unforgettable experience for consumers.
While disruptive brands like WhatsApp, Uber, and Spotify have shaken up their respective industries, they are not irreplaceable. Brands that have a great brand experience, coupled with a clear idea of what they stand for and strong visual icons, can topple these current disruptive incumbents.
Nostalgia plays a big role in making some brands irreplaceable. Brands we have grown up with or even those our parents have talked to us about in our childhood years are embedded in our psyche. The ghost brands such as PanAm, which is exclusive in its lack of availability in the real world and elusive in its presence in the daily grind, hold value as they create a nostalgic nod, suggesting that the wearer is in the know.
The big picture here is that, a brand that is indispensable has an iconic, unmistakable visual language, a clear purpose, memories, and differentiated experiences, and doesn’t fear to pave its own path. These brands create an emotional connection with consumers, and they become an integral part of our lives. Disruptive brands may be relevant to today’s world and people’s needs, but they are not irreplaceable. It takes a combination of qualities and experiences to make a brand truly iconic and indispensable.