The Agile Brand
To survive and prosper in today’s hypercompetitive, fast-moving world, brands need to be agile to be able to adapt and react quickly, not be set in stone.
To borrow a famous opening line, for today’s brand specialists, this is the best of times and the worst of times. Brand has gone from a rarified marketing concept to an essential component of business strategy. No organisation discounts the importance of brand—it is discussed at board meetings, is as relevant for B2B as B2C, and is key to business valuation. Only a short time ago, Landor spent a great deal of time explaining what brands were and why they were worth spending money on. But today these conversations almost never happen. Branding has gone mainstream.
Today everyone has a brand. High-school students are encouraged to develop their “personal brand” for college applications. LinkedIn is viewed as every working person’s brand platform. Political analysts don’t discuss the Obama presidency; they discuss the Obama brand. This is brand’s golden hour, its triumphal moment. Never has the concept of brand been more relevant. And yet, at the same time, the traditional practices of brand development and management are undergoing profound change. What was long held as sacrosanct to brand is now increasingly anachronistic. Simply put, we need to reinvent our approach to what we do.
In the 20th century, the primary challenge of branding was making the inherently abstract real. Brands were careful constructions intended to convey attributes such as reliability, friendliness, premiumness, trustworthiness, and seductiveness. The earliest and perhaps most recognized component of this abstraction was a logo. It symbolised the brand promise and all that it stood for. But brands were also embodied through advertising, packaging, marketing collateral, business cards, point of sale, product design, websites, and more. There were seemingly innumerable places where a brand lived, and success meant ensuring alignment across all touchpoints.
The brand manager’s dream was that whether you were a potential employee applying for a job in Topeka or a customer buying a service in Sydney,
To continue reading, download The Agile Brand (pdf, 0.7