From a marketing perspective, we are living in the most exciting and challenging environment for brand building. It is no longer a one-way traffic; there is so much happening around us. New products and new brands are born every minute.
The branding exercise is not new, it has been going around for the past 5000 years since the man had the desire to stand out from the crowd. It started with tattooing oneself, making marks on the livestock, having battle uniforms, distinguished armour, etc. To instil what we stood for we also started adding patriotic slogans, flags and other symbols. All this gave the early human beings a sense of identity. Early brands that were born also followed the same principles and made it big. The easier part was that the creator had control over things and never had to heed to what people said.
Cut to today where there are so many brands with increasing complexity and distinguishing one brand from another is a nightmare for marketing professionals. Whatever you do doesn’t seem to be enough. But the good news is that there is one way to stand out and that is by making your brand come alive in the lives of the consumers. Because when the brands are alive they create excitement, purpose and emotional connection with consumers. When a kid thinks of a good family time, more often than not McDonald’s provides it. It is not about the meal, it is about the toys and family bonding and sharing of happiness.
Today quality of a product is no longer a major differentiation. Since the consumers have become so strong and reject the slightest flaw in quality the manufacturers are providing good quality products at cheaper price. Xiaomi is a good example in India; it is a phone at a good price with very good quality.
A brand that is alive and kicking will always evolve along with its consumers because the minute you ignore them you will be rejected. Hence it echoes the voice of the society and the inner conscious of its consumers. Take for example the latest Nike Campaign with Colin Kaepernick. And as the brand grows it starts to have its own attitude and personality. This is something that takes time; you as a marketer can define theoretically how it should be but only time will decide how it will be. However, the brand essence and what it stands for should be clear and simple.
While everyone tries to create a brand more often than not they end up with a me-too product. Brands should know why they exist in the lives of their consumers and only then it can start living their lives and become an integral part. One of the best examples is Amazon, it has slowly crept into your lives and started living with you without you realising it. And now its too late until you change your life but even then I feel Amazon will catch up.