To be relevant and endure over time, brands must generate memorable experiences, build strong communities and continually surprise us with innovative solutions. But all of these efforts need to be driven by bold identities to give them meaning and inspiration .
We are living in a moment of profound and accelerated change at a socially, economically, technologically and business level. Consequently, the way we build brands has also changed dramatically, posing significant challenges for both managers and brand consultants.
Brands have gone from being promises to being experiences. And managing experiences requires a demanding exercise of transversality and consistency that puts the antiquated organizational structure of companies to the test. For branding agencies, it also calls into question the old way of doing things (developing the strategy, designing the logo and then the application) is in desperate need of a rethink.
Brands also have to understand that people expect them to help make the world a better place. It is not just about meeting their demands, but embracing this role and assuming it with conviction. The reward is high because it offers the opportunity for brands to create bonds with people beyond commercial relationships, building communities around them based on shared values, interests and ideas. Powerful brands of today not only have loyal clients, but also fans and followers that are part of their ecosystem and are keen to collaborate in many ways with the brands which they admire.
To endure over time, brands need to continuously surprise us with innovative solutions that genuinely improve our lives. And that forces brands to continually anticipate and to go further than expected. Even the most successful brands know that if they stop innovating, they will soon go into decline.
Those dimensions are closely related. Actually, the more successful a brand is in connecting and activating them, the more powerful it will be. However, more than ever, brands need to have a clear purpose and a strong identity to give sense and meaning and personality to both the experiences, the communities and the innovation that it generates.
In conclusion, it’s vital to create consistent, meaningful and memorable experiences, but they must be inspired by the brand identity and driven by innovation throughout the entire customer journey in order to be relevant and memorable.
People are keen to be part and collaborate with some brands, but they want them to provide innovative solutions that really improve their lives and will demand them to play an active role to create a better and more sustainable world.
Innovation enhances experiences and makes the identity and purpose tangible, driving people’s admiration for a brand. But innovation must have its focus and inspiration in the brand identity in order to be relevant.
The identity - as the core of the brands- settles the framework to drive innovation efforts, gives meaning and consistency to the experiences and expresses the purpose and values that are the base to generate bonds with the communities. Whilst identity is the core of the brand, to build powerful and enduring brands is key to connect and activate the four dimensions.
1. Identity. What does the brand stand for and how does express itself?
2. Experience. How does the brand make us feel?
3. Community. How does the brand make us wish to be part of its ecosystem?
4. Innovation. How does the brand continually surprise us?
By Conrad Llorens
Founder and Executive Chairman of Summa Branding, a leading Spanish consultancy with international scope. He is also Founder and Chairman of aggylon.com a digital platform for advance brand management and Founder and former President of the Spanish Brand Consultancy’s Association.