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Continuing our discussion of what sets agile brands apart from others. Today, we're talking about telling genuine stories. Any brand story must be authentic and stay true to your company values. It must also resonate with your customers’ values and ideals.
We all hear about engagement, but what does it really mean? To many digital marketers, it’s a metric to be reported. Consumers rarely view engagement in the same way, or think of it all. In an era where advertising and marketing are so pervasive, customers aren’t seeking engagement with brands. In fact, most people who do not work in the marketing world rarely, if ever, think about something like brand engagement.
While some things need to stay the same in a brand, a truly Agile one needs to evolve over time. There are two ways to look at how an audience changes over the life of a brand. First, you can look at audience shifts in terms of how an audience’s preferences and behaviors change over time. The second way you can look at audience shifts is in how different audiences may find your products and services useful over time.
Once when I was speaking on the topic of agile marketing at a conference, someone asked a question that should be addressed here: Doesn’t it go against the fundamentals of branding to be so agile, and adapt to change so easily? What about the core things that make up a brand? For this reason, we need to think of the Agile Brand as being nuanced. Earlier in the show, we described “timelessness” as one of the key aspects of a great brand. It’s important to make sure we don’t confuse matters. While much of our discussion of the agile brand has centered on creating a continually evolving entity, we should also be clear that there are certain brand elements which should not be readily modified.
Every organization has a not-so-secret weapon: data. It’s incredibly valuable information generated from every aspect of the enterprise, including research and development, sales and marketing, supply chain and customer service. Every activity in every facet of the business provides data. And it goes well beyond the organization’s four walls.
Having discussed what agile is and means, let’s talk more specifically about the current state of branding, and what I’ve defined as the Agile Brand. Agility is built on principles of sprints and optimization discussed in the previous chapter, and on the fundamentals of branding. There are five key things agile brands do which sets them apart.
Building on the last episode that discussed agile methodology, this episode explores agile marketing in greater depth.
Although this topic could take up an entire podcast on its own, this episode briefly discusses what agile methodology is, and how it applies to marketing and branding.
The fourth and current stage of the evolution of brands. As more and more brands have adopted the experience approach, it has become clearer that a one-off moment in time is not enough to cement brand loyalty. This takes us to the current stage in the evolution of brands: brand as relationship.
The third stage in the evolution of brands. With increased competition, and consumer preference for more tailored products and services, brands were forced to differentiate themselves beyond occupying an idea. They needed to insert themselves into key life moments and become part of our experience. Apple’s brand experience extends all the way from the initial sale (either in one of its branded stores or its online presence), through the packaging you open to first use your product, through the ease of setup, through usage of the product every day. And if you have problems, you can go to the Apple Store to ask questions. In more recent times, brands have used experience to cut through the clutter of marketing and advertising, which creates deeper engagement with customers.
The second stage in the evolution of brands. With increasing competition from mass production, mass advertising, and mass media in general, the need for brands to be more than an object came along. Brands now needed to compete for mindshare. As consumers and marketers have grown more sophisticated, it is not enough to simply be known. Companies and products must stake out a claim on an area of the popular imagination and exist as an “idea.”
The first stage in the evolution of brands. Our use of logos to represent companies, organizations, or individuals is based on a long history that originates with the very beginning of written communication. The moment we used a drawing, an image, a symbol to represent something else, we’ve been essentially branding things. From cave paintings to hieroglyphics, to the first logo representing a company, we’ve been using graphic representations to give meaning to ideas.
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