What’s the first brand that comes to mind when you think of carbonated drinks? For most people, it would be Coca Cola. According to Business Insider, approximately 94% of the world’s population is aware of Coca Cola’s red and white logo. Such is the ubiquity of the Coca Cola brand, making it the world’s leading soft drink maker today.
The success of this global phenomenon is derived from an amalgamation of solid brand strategies, adroit brand and marketing managers, as well as sound marketing management policies. One of the key reasons for Coca Cola’s enduring brand presence is its ability to evolve and grow with its customers. Since its inception more than a century ago, the brand has managed to maintain its position as a firm favourite among customers year after year. This is brand loyalty at its best, and is a privilege held only by companies who effect the right brand strategies and marketing management policies. Even the most capable brand and marketing managers would not be of any help if the fundamentals of a company’s brand strategies are weak.
So, for every small-time entrepreneur, medium-sized company owner and corporate bigwig, it is imperative to know that gaining and retaining customer trust and loyalty is key to your continued success. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult today as a result of stiffer competition and the advent of digital disruptions. In this article, we take a look at six brand strategies that have somehow evaded the radars of chief marketing officers everywhere, but are nevertheless vital in the quest for building a strong brand.
Look for consumer engagement where most people don’t
In other words, be different! Tried and true brand strategies have been consistently employed by brand and marketing managers everywhere, and while they may produce the results desired, there is just something about being unique that makes everyone sit up and notice. People love novelties and a brand strategy that plays to that tune is guaranteed to get good dividends!
UK-based lingerie company Curvy Kate decided to recreate a controversial Victoria Secret advert by featuring models who represented women of all shapes and sizes in their lingerie line, instead of women who fit Victoria’s Secret’s body image ideals. Curvy Kate attempted to redefine beauty and in the process, successfully challenged the idealistic notions of women’s beauty so often perpetuated by the media.
Establish an identity that is easily relatable
IKEA positions itself as a home furnishing brand that appeals to families with young children, so we would naturally associate IKEA with furniture and products that are suitable for kids. It doesn’t try to be mysterious or high-end, and maintains a simple yet unique value proposition as the go-to home furnishing brand for the masses. Likewise, Mercedes has always maintained its identity as a luxury vehicle brand who markets to C-suites and corporate bigwigs, and that has worked well for them for the longest time. In short, keep things simple.
Most people prefer to know what a brand stands for at first glance. It’s good to reinvent and renew, but it’s even more important not to lose track of your brand identity. Having a clear, upfront identity for your brand allows you to speak more efficiently to your target audience. People are after all, creatures of routine.
Communicate hope and inspiration through the brand
Brands have a strong ability to influence the lifestyles of their customers. A brand that successfully markets itself as a lifestyle platform that motivates and promotes optimism will have a big impact and influence on its audience. What a brand stands for and how it’s marketed has a strong bearing on how it’s received by society, placing significant importance on good content marketing management. To get buy-in from your target audience, it’s important to draw on your brand’s value proposition and craft a strong message that is both edifying and relevant.
Coca-Cola’s brand strategy has always been to associate their products with ideals such as happiness, positivity and the good life, and this awareness has brought them great gains in the consumer market. A brand is at its strongest when its progress and value proposition align with the changing lifestyles of its target market.
Constantly innovating and anticipating change
Innovation is a big buzzword across all industries these days, and for a good reason too. People grow and mature over time, and their preferences and ideals change as the years pass. To consistently appeal to your target market, there is a need to grow with them, and make innovation and change your key constants. We all know what happened to Nokia, the Finnish multinational communications and IT company that was so successful years ago, before the advent of smartphones began eating into their market share, subsequently reducing them to obscurity.
This happened because Nokia was slow to anticipate change, and even slower to embrace innovation. The rise of Apple in the midst of Nokia’s decline is the perfect example of supply being in sync with demand. Apple had salient marketing management tactics and a strong awareness of what consumers desired, and they delivered at the right time with the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007.
Give back to society
The practice of corporate companies giving back to those who supported their growth has been around for the longest time, and a good example of this would be companies who distribute dividends to its shareholders. If you want to get your target audience loyally on your side, what better way to do it by sharing your success with the very people who made you a success in the first place?
Not everything in business needs to be about revenue and profits – look at the big picture and do your part to share the dividends of your ventures, an act that will surely see your business grow manifold. Sponsor a worthy cause, donate to a needy charity, participate in community outreach efforts and place corporate social responsibility as a key concern of your company – these are effective brand strategies in themselves.
Leave a lasting legacy
Leaving a lasting legacy entrenches your brand strongly in the minds of your consumers. The legacy of a brand starts from its core idea at the point of inception, and continues to put forward messages that reinforce their target audience’s current perception of the brand. There are many examples of brands with a lasting legacy, where its core idea is synonymous with the brand: Kellogg is synonymous with cornflakes; people refer to toothpaste as Colgate, make its core idea (toothpaste) synonymous with the brand (Colgate).
What do you want your brand to be known for? How would you want your audience to remember your brand? Those are the pertinent questions to ask when it comes to a brand’s legacy. Customer loyalty is a good indicator of a strong brand legacy, and companies who have earned their customers’ brand loyalty are usually unfazed by competition and will stand the test of time.
It isn’t easy building a brand and it sure isn’t easy maintaining that brand. But if you implement these brand strategies, we feel that you can definitely hit all the targets as well as putting your company on the map.
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