Many people talk about the pressures on brands to perform and about the difficulties of staying relevant, competitive in huge and ever rapidly changing markets. However, if demand generation is part of your role, here are some of the eight pointers that you can be doing to retain reputation, make the most of upswings in economies and consumer preferences, boost your brand and stem decline.
Brand building Basics
1. Be part of a rising category – According to Millward Brown, “most apparel brands for instance, grew by 29% last year, “he says. He adds, “If you have brands in this or another of the rapidly growing sectors, that’s a clear prompt to be investing to meet what, is clearly increasing interest,” Millward adds. Therefore, if you do not have brands in one of the rising categories, there some ways you can extend your brand into these rapidly escalating categories through acquisition, licensing, partnership and co-branding.
2. Be part of a resurgent economy – If your brand is spread across various regions, it makes sense to focus on those areas of the region or world where there is inherent economic growth driven by rising consumer confidence e.g Gauteng province has faced economic growth than other provinces. To ride the wave, look for ways to get a foothold by working with an established player to increase their stock range or through an agency arrangement. Also, introduce finest lines to take advance of rising aspirations.
3. Tackle social issues –Many sectors are fighting reputational issues currently. Brands in areas like fast food, restaurants, soft drinks and food outlets need to directly, address their social impacts or risk being disturbed by healthy challengers. Equally, brands with potential ethical issues – social, health-related, environmental, behaviour based or that involve processes that people feel strongly about such as animal cruelty – are going to need to prove that they are vigorously reducing the downsides of what they do. Then Muller states that, “addressing reputational issues won’t necessarily mean growth, but it will help arrest declining sales,” he says.
4. Increase share of life not just share of market by extending and integrating ecosystems. Apple Company is the masters of this approach, “closing loops between product and content in order to retain control and to encourage consumers to stay and shop within their universe,” says Millward Brown. He adds : “By diversifying into new areas of interest and maximizing brand equity as they do so, brands can look for smart ways to be more involved in every person’s every day,” Brown says. Observing this approach, Nigel Hollis states that,”Apple spans our needs for entertainment, music and productivity. Amazon fulfills our need for convenience with effortless one-click shopping and relevant purchase recommendations for stuff we never knew we wanted, “he says. Furthermore” a company like Nike, with its Nike+Fuelband, has transformed itself from a mere apparel brand to a companion and coach for runners.” Nigel Hollis says. They do this, through what they offer and what they socialize.
5. be more convenient – By skillfully and increasingly, merging physical interactions and digital. Seamless experiences also cut the friction that slows down sales and/or distracts customers into going elsewhere, mainly as digital tools play an increasingly vital role in customer journeys. According to McKinsey, “Digitization is steadily becoming the main pathway for consumer journeys”. He adds: ” The number of digital touch points is increasing by 20 percent annually as more offline consumers shift to digital tools and younger, digitally oriented consumers enter the ranks of buyers … The greater number of touch points before purchase increases the odds a consumer will encounter a deal breaker along the digital highway,” McKinsey says.
6. Personalize and localize – By bringing brands back to an area that people identify and turning up the sense of uniqueness, even the biggest brands in the world can find ways to make themselves much more direct to customers. This does not have to be high-tech. Coca Cola’s highly effective and simple named labels, is part of its hugely successful coke campaign. It demonstrated how enhancing the sense of high-touch could change people’s sense of ownership. According to Muller,”global brewers have also established that introducing niche, craft products tailored to individual markets and tastes has allowed them to tell a counter-story to their many micro-challengers”. Sometimes the best and effective thing you can do as a global or local brand in a specific market is to act small.
7. Beautify – Fashion never sleeps. We live in a highly visualized globe where our eyes are used to a fast changing visual. Continue to adjust and review the style and design of your products and your advertising so that your brand feels relevant and “now”. Muller says,”This is hard, but not impossible, for brands with long lead times – but it is also relative, and chances are your competitors face the same logistical issues that you do”. He further states that , “By continually checking the appeal of what you offer, you can introduce your brand to new segments – as Heineken did, when they added a longer neck to appeal to younger drinkers – and resist the downward pricing pressure that inevitably accompanies products that feel ‘tired’ , ” says Muller.