We are Bigsur, a boutique branding agency.
We think We dream We create Big
We are Bigsur, a boutique branding agency.
We make strategy and creativity our lifestyle to generate profitability and sustainable brands.
Our Team is a perfect mix of branding lovers, tech nerds, strategists, and creative junkies 🤓 working together to reveal your brand’s greatness.
There is nothing we like more as a branding agency than joining forces with our clients. In this way, we combine the knowledge of your business with our expertise to create strong and sustainable brands.
Since 2015 we have been working with start-ups, SMEs, and big companies.
How can we help boost your project?
We are passionate about creating and rethinking brands; that defines us as an agency. We help companies and clients develop a brand strategy aligned with their goals.
We seek to provide a complete marketing service. We specialize in strategic marketing and in adding different brand communication channels.
We are committed to a clear and concise design with pregnant images and with a strong anchor in functionality. We aim at delighting, but keeping our feet on the ground.
We offer a personalized service according to the brand’s global strategy. We do research and validate to understand what people need.
We believe this kind of content is a fundamental pillar for the growth of all types of businesses and an ideal complement for any branding project.
P.R. & Press
Part of our proposal is to make our clients’ brands known through relationship programs, P.R. & press, to achieve the desired broadcasting.
Sometimes we write
Find news, trends, and much more…
Buenos Aires branding agency.
First, the marketing communication proposed by this design agency, also a branding agency, covers graphic design, among other things. Above all, video, photo, photography, and also brand design and promotion. Next, brand marketing will be sought as a form of web page design, as well as site design or website design. Also, brand positioning leads a start-up to carry out product design and web positioning; according to the graphic production and the company’s editorial.
Second, logos, logo design, and also logo for advertising agencies. However, the typography design adds to the web banner and web banner design. That is marketing or brand marketing. Instead, social media management follows audiovisual production. Also, add the photographs that are uploaded on the institutional website. Likewise, we are a branding agency in New York. However, we act as a Buenos Aires branding agency within several San Francisco branding agencies.
Graphic design. Branding agencies.
On the other hand, the editorial design contains brand advice that provides brand awareness; it also promotes creativity in an advertising agency or creative studio. As is customary in advertising, the communication strategy leads us towards a relevant website, logo, logotype, isotype, and design studio. In the same way, we design the image, logos, isotypes, and the image design of the company.
Also, design, photography, and brand. Second, merchandising as brand image design and also for advertisements. Finally, post design and social media design go hand in hand. However, web banner design does not help web banners. Therefore branding or branding agency. Instead, video editing and brand management go together. On the other hand, promotion also has its character and is essential for an advertising agency in San Francisco.
Brand design. Branding agency.
Then we do logo design, the design study, brand image, and image design for entrepreneurs. In addition to company image and business marketing, we specialize in corporate image design, merchandising design, packaging, and brand image design. Therefore, an advertisement requires graphics, merchandising design, advertising graphics, and packaging design in accordance with aesthetics.
Also, web pages and page design. Finally, merchandising design goes hand in hand with advertising and advertising graphics. However, the branding proposal and marketing campaign do not go with the stationery design. Therefore, graphic design or communication. Instead, video editing and brand management no.
Advertising agency. Branding agency.
Just as a graphic advertisement represents labels and label design, entrepreneur advise; On the other hand, social media helps social networks and community managers. Indeed, the community manager makes posts and posts by managing social networks. On the other hand, audiovisual production, video editing, and brand management go much further. Also, label and design labels.
Later, the advertising graphics and the advertising do the posting design and the audiovisual. Finally, video editing, banner design, and banner design are still together. However, the flyers design and also the poster design do not match. Therefore, photography or brand design. On the other hand, stationery and institutional typography are separated.
Marketing agency. Branding agencies.
On the one hand, are the banners or banner design and on the other hand, are the poster or poster design. In other words, stationery, especially institutional stationery, is essential to define the institutional video of a branding agency. In the same way, the flyers and the flyer design are a significant contribution to the advertising spot and the institutional typography. Certainly, the advertising campaign must be taken into account for the stationery design, the marketing campaign, and the comprehensive branding proposal.
Likewise, the branding proposal reaches the point of making a web banner according to the typography design or typographic design and digital marketing. Also, brand marketing, web design, and editorial. Finally, the banner or poster design goes with the institutional stationery. However, the poster design and the banner can go together. Therefore, the web page or page design of advertising agencies. Instead, typography and stationery design go together.
Creative agency. Branding agency.
Instead, creative ideas are fed by advertising, photography, and web banners. Likewise, a creative concept suggests different ideas, concepts, and insights. Finally, you cannot talk about an idea without having firm creative concepts or a coherent creative idea for a branding agency. Similarly, a branding agency has design and its designs, photos, and videos in its blood. In conclusion, a brand, a website, or a web page is essential for any start-up that opts for a healthy positioning; also, good brand advice.
Also, brand, creativity, and website advice. Finally, the design of flyers and spots helps with typography. However, editing helps brand management from the start. Therefore, web page design or marketing. On the other hand, stationery design and typography design do not mix.
In any case, the creative must look after an advertising agency or advertising agency that makes a logo design; also, the isologotype or image design that communicates the brand image and the corporate image design. Likewise, the corporate image design and the brand image design are similar graphs. On the other hand, typographic design and banner design can coexist.
In short, the packaging design adds graphic advertisements and helps to advise entrepreneurs in label design; Neither does social media management or brand management. Then, the banner design serves brand management, poster or flyer design, or branding agency. Also, advertisements and graphics. Finally, the flyer design and the advertising campaign help the typography design. However, social media management follows photography. Therefore, web pages or packaging for advertising agencies.
Branding Miami. Branding agency.
In addition, we add business events. Also, corporate events and congress organization. In the same way, we come to provide event and congress organization services. Lastly, we opened a branch in Florida where we focus on corporate services and organize events of all kinds. We also try to organize congresses in Paraguay. However, we set the bar very high in events in Asunción. Also in congresses in New York. Finally, we add events for companies in Miami.
First, we organize corporate events that are positively impregnated in the memory of the attendees. We also use emotions, the senses, and neuroscience. Finally, we go through all the intermediate stages, ensuring an event tailored to each brand.
Event agency. Branding agencies.
Secondly, our team focuses exclusively on conferences and business events. In addition, we provide this specialization and customization as added value. Likewise, we added an events agency in New York and another events agency in Paraguay. However, we are an event producer in Miami, but not the best event producer in Florida.
Finally, we will make the best organization of events in the country. We also emerged as the best event agency in Florida. At the same time, we think we are the best congress-organizing agency in Atlanta. On the other hand, we continue to be the best event-organizing agency in Georgia.
Digital marketing agency. Branding agency.
First, Big Sur is a Google-certified agency with their Google Partner Premier recognition. In addition to recognizing and rewarding us for good practices in Google Search, Display, and Video.
Secondly, we are part of the 17 agencies with the most significant growth potential in Latin America. Likewise, Google provides us with eight resources for campaign optimization. However, the challenge is to take a position on stories that convey the same passion and pride as those of the target audience; also make them identify with them.
Lastly, using SEO and SEM tools to promote the brand and the campaign, and thus be able to reach both the client and the general public. Also, organizing events for clients and potential clients that arise from a 360 action on the web. In addition, surprise the participants with innovative and creative efforts so that they later go viral.
Digital marketing campaign with a branding agency.
Finally, we have breakfasts and invitations to events in Google World. In the same way, we seek brand recognition, launching a new business unit, loyalty, and 360 connection.
First, carry out an intensive social media campaign that seeks to connect with the target audience and transmit the message effectively. Also, use Google tools to position the brand, and the product and capture leads.
Secondly, carry out and launch campaigns with audiovisual pieces in different formats that transmit the passion and pride of belonging to the brand. In the same way, putting together testimonial videos throughout the country; also that they tell the stories of those behind the wheel.
Brand DNA: what is it and how to build it? Branding agency.
To begin with this blog and explain Brand DNA, it would be good to draw a parallel with the natural world. Marketing and advertising are social disciplines that act as positioning and promotion tools and generators of strategies to persuade, dialogue, or convince. Likewise, they are social actors with a life of their own, like the brands they create, capable of adapting and modifying their environment.
DNA is a compendium of genetic information of living beings, and in the same way, brands are born, grow, reproduce and die. That means that in the brand’s DNA, we can find different key aspects: emotional, numerical, philosophical, and behavioral. That is why the brand’s DNA, its essence, is crucial when determining its growth and evolution. Therefore, it makes it the backbone of a brand’s identity; what is and what is not a brand. At the same time, it defines their personality, behavior, virtues, needs, past, present, and future.
The ten factors that makeup brand DNA. Branding agency.
To build a brand’s genetic map, we can use several factors to help us understand how an organization works. These factors define the organization’s relationship with its brands and determine its DNA.
It refers to the origin of its meaning, the reason for being. It is a key concept for constructing and developing a brand and its subsequent positioning.
Firstly, this is the most human brand factor and responds to specific basic questions, such as the objective facts that define a brand or company. Secondly, how we present the brand to others, the tone in which it speaks, how it communicates, its codes, and what it thinks of itself. Thirdly, the emotional dimension of the brand from the customer’s point of view, what it represents, and what the client feels when working or consuming that brand. Finally, the thoughts the client projects when using a brand and the image others decode.
It includes a set of factors shared by the members of an organization linked to their way of being and performing. These factors become singular facts perceived both inside and outside an organization. They are what mark its differentiation, positioning, and its internal cohesion.
It refers to those attributes that are capable of transmitting the brand’s very essence. They do not change over time and serve as means of connecting with customers.
Personality is the combination of features that determines the key elements with which the brand is expressed. It is acquired through its most representative values and benefits.
The Purpose helps to understand the why and what of a brand, both inside and outside the organization. It goes beyond the brand’s functional benefits and has an emotional and social reach.
The way of relating to stakeholders, the levels of communication, and the language used, make up an amalgamation of characteristics that a brand’s DNA includes.
“What we cannot communicate does not exist.” So this transcendental factor must have an impact on the brand’s message. Also, in its tone, content, the stories it tells, and the emotional impact that results in connection with the target audience.
Positioning is crucial to understand the role of the brand in the market and the needs, emotions, and desires it satisfies. It is a solid, credible, relevant, differential, and lasting definition that describes the essence of the brand and its reason for being. At the same time, it gives it meaning, making it understandable for internal and external audiences. You can learn more about positioning here.
This factor is closely linked to the concept of positioning. It is not easy for today’s brands to stand out in a globalized and oversaturated market. Differential values are the factors that make the brand unique, distinguishing it from the competition. They can be both rational and emotional.
This factor is often not taken into account but is decisive when building a brand. It is about the tangible and intangible space a brand occupies, defined by its nature and rational and emotional aspirations before its stakeholders. This territoriality is closely related to positioning and creates the context in which it will develop
Know thyself, impact later. Branding services.
There is no doubt that brands are part of the daily life of human beings. In a certain sense, they are also living elements that grow, develop, mutate, transform, evolve, and sometimes die. Therefore, for successful brand management, it is necessary to investigate its structure, history, and DNA to obtain the most significant possible knowledge regarding its essence and its reason for being.
In short, the brand’s DNA will help us better understand its place in the world. Likewise, we will be able to have a detailed overview of the health of a brand and the ills that may afflict it and be prepared for the threats that may arise. Therefore, building a brand means making its DNA, those fundamental pillars on which it is based.
Today, with the incredible development in new communication channels, new technologies, generations Y, Z, millennials, transmedia, virtual reality, and sharing economy, among others, brands are much more than a story, a unique selling proposition, or a simple icon. They are a complex amalgamation of ideas, values, proposals, and attributes that impact customers in countless ways in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world.
Positioning: conquer minds or conquer hearts? Branding agency.
There is so much literature to address the topic of brand positioning that one would need help knowing where to start. We should go deeper into this concept and beyond the colloquial definition found in most marketing and advertising books. In that case, we must consider what we saw in previous blogs—in this way, positioning as such takes on a new dimension.
Positioning is a revolutionary concept developed by Al Ries and Jack Trout in 1981. The authors defined positioning as the scaffolding on which companies build their brands. Also, a tool to create strategies for brand planning and extending customer relationships. Positioning takes into account the combination of price, product, place, and promotion: the famous 4Ps of marketing. These are but the four dimensions that affect sales.
Ries and Trout affirm each company must determine its position in the customer’s mind. In other words, consider the client’s needs, the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and the competitive landscape.
We can understand it better when they say that “the fundamental approach to positioning is not to create something new and different but to manipulate what is already in mind; reorder existing connections.”
At first glance, this concept of positioning is entirely outdated for the times. So it’s time to think about new ways to reach customers and put aside obsolete communication concepts.
Positioning is not manipulating. Branding agency.
It is essential to reflect that we cannot think of positioning as a form of manipulation nowadays. More than trying to influence the minds of consumers, communication sciences must be aware that people are less and less like sheep following a herd. They are the ones who make the decisions from the depths of their limbic brain, the most emotional part. They are the ones who feel what is right and what is wrong.
That is why today’s positioning is not the place that a brand or product occupies in the minds of consumers but the place they occupy when interacting with those. In other words, if during the last century, we found positioning in little boxes in the neocortex, the most rational part of the brain, in the new millennium, we can see it in an interconnected constellation of emotions within the limbic brain, where decision making lies.
First does not mean Number 1. Why? Branding agency.
Similarly, as Ries and Trout mention, we cannot think that the best way to position a brand is to be the first. We can base this concept on a simple, practical check. For example, ask someone who was the first human being to walk on the moon, and then ask if they can name the second. Or what is the name of the highest mountain in the world, followed by what is the second? These questions seem irrelevant in an age where you can have information from five national libraries on a smartphone.
Today, the principle of first-come advantage postulated by Ries and Trout has been completely ruled out as a factor in achieving competitive advantage and, eventually, the success of a brand or product. One of the hundreds of examples of this is the case of the Apple iPod. Not only because it wasn’t the first company to put an mp3 music player on the market – Creative Technology Ltd. did it almost two years before Apple – but because the other companies were much better able to launch this kind of music player. Despite this, the six-day queue outside the premises was for the IPod and not for Creative Technology’s Zen.
New generations. Branding agency.
You can see then that the new generations don’t need to memorize. They don’t need to go to the part of their brain where they keep the little boxes of analytical data. They are more connected to the limbic part of your brain, the emotional part. That is why what they are looking for is not tangible things, products, or services. What they are looking for are experiences. Therefore, the products and services offered in the market and eventually purchased by consumers are only tangible evidence of their beliefs. That is what they want to externalize to the world.
Again, it is not about the brands, their products, and services but about how consumers see themselves with them. Simon Sinek is worth quoting on this point when he says that “products with a clear sense of why give people a way to tell the outside world who they are and what they believe in.” Therefore, we should no longer seek a positioning in the consumer but from the consumer. That should be the starting point and the goal of any advertising or communication campaign.
Positioning and Leadership. Branding agency.
Correspondingly, talking about positioning implies, to a great extent, talking about leadership. Every company is looking for its brands to be top of mind in each category. But to analyze this issue more deeply, what we do is to differentiate the leader from the one who leads. That is, fight to conquer the minds of consumers.
The leader holds a position of influence or power and has got there through some kind of manipulation. Instead, someone who leads is the one who manages to inspire the audience and reach their hearts. Leaders don’t need to resort to manipulation. They are what they are and make their followers feel they can be too. Sinek makes this distinction when he mentions that the leader has a plan. The one who leads has an idea, a vision, and a dream. That’s where the inspiration comes from, which calls the audience to follow him. Leaders invite them to believe they can also contribute to the cause. They encourage them to take it as their own.
In this way, the key to leadership is to lead people to action and do things they wouldn’t otherwise be willing to do. It gives them a purpose, a channel to express their being. But becoming a leader is something that takes work to achieve. It is not something that happens overnight. Leading requires time, consistency, and communicating the brand’s purpose and vision. This way, we will generate a strong sense of belonging and community.
Beyond a simple competition. Branding agency.
On the other hand, leadership also requires seeing further. Those who lead don’t have to jump barriers because they don’t directly see them. Their authenticity, vision, and intuition are the attributes that differentiate them from the rest. Having a plus over the rest leads the brand to offer something the audience does not expect.
In this way, the question of leadership could lead us to think that positioning is, in a certain way, a competition, a struggle to reach the top. But the reality is that it encompasses much more than this.
For Salanova and Schaufeli, we should not see leadership as a game of power relations. Instead, we should see it as transformational, motivating leadership that raises interest and generates a clear collective vision. The authors, specialists in positive psychology, argue that leaders act as role models. They must inspire and stimulate innovation and creativity, thus fulfilling a clear motivational mission.
Positioning is as complex as the consumer’s mind. Branding agency.
This analysis shows that we must address the issue with a flexible approach. That is because infinite practical, emotional, psychological, social, and cultural matters coexist in the minds of consumers. At the same time, we also find habits, customs, desires, beliefs, values, norms, and estates. All this derives in a complex plot when approaching the target audience with an advertising message.
People live daily with many brands, even those that don’t use and don’t even know what products or services they provide. This coexistence occurs in the consumer’s mind. That is why the mental construction they make of their world leads them to consider countless scenarios in which they interact with brands.
That notion can reach such a point that one customer in a bar doesn’t order a beer but a Corona. In this example, the separation in your mind between the product and the brand becomes impossible. That is how it loads it with a new meaning and turns it into a signifier. That doesn’t mean that for this person, the only way to say beer is the word Corona. The same consumer can have a Corona on the beach or a Heineken at home without this conditioning their positioning. Both may have equal positioning as each is perfect for every consumption occasion in the consumer’s mind. Again, the important thing isn’t how the brands want to be seen but how the consumers see themselves when interacting with them.
Beyond categories. Branding services.
In this new millennium, we subscribe the competition to occupy a place in the customers’ minds to a struggle to get into their lives, dreams, beliefs, and values. That is a battle to be part of their daily life moments, accompanying them in their achievements and failures.
So we can no longer consider positioning in categories like beers, cleaning supplies, mp3 players, or computers. Companies must go beyond categories. Make their way into the different consumption occasions and, if they do not exist, try to create new ones. That could constitute a disruption within the consumer’s mind, which is neither more nor less than market segmentation.
In summary, positioning is essential in constructing a brand since it is directly linked to its identity and character. These elements explain the brand’s “why,” its reason for being, and what differentiates it from the competition.
What is base positioning? Branding agency.
Finally, the problem with brands today is the risk of falling into the same strategies that make them so difficult to differentiate from one another. Suppose we add the excess of information, the oversaturation of messages, and the attention deficit of consumers. In that case, it creates a vicious that makes companies bet on the same remedies that caused the pandemic.
Therefore, what brands must look for, if they want to lead the minds of their target audience is to become the very expression of the subject’s interiority. That is, to be the visible face of their personality, their representation to the outside world. Similarly, it is vital that both share beliefs and values that take the subject-object relationship to a deeper level.
We call this type of positioning base positioning. It is essential for developing any communication, branding, or brand management plan. But it’s not the only one. There are other types of positioning in strategic terms, such as product, point of sale, communication, or price.
In conclusion, the main brands’ problems are not being able to stand out amid so many messages and channels and their lack of connection with the audience. Therefore, today’s brand fights are not about a place in the minds of consumers; they go on to fight for a place in their hearts. And, as we will discuss later, this leads to emotional relationships—couple relationships.
From convergence to divergence. The new business landscape. Branding services.
Basic concepts of convergence and divergence. Rebranding.
The concepts of convergence and divergence came from the natural world and were introduced almost two centuries ago by Charles Darwin. One of the pillars upon which Darwinian theory is based is natural selection. This theory assumes a parameter of evolutionary change for all living organisms through the development of adaptive skills to the environment in which they live. The great diversity of species and organisms found on the planet is proof of these changes.
According to Darwin, there are two forms of evolution according to the diversification of organisms. On the one hand, convergent evolution occurs when organisms occupy similar environments. These tend to have significant similarities in their forms, even if they are unrelated species. And on the other, divergent evolution occurs when a population is isolated from the rest of the species. As a result, and according to different adaptations, different forms emerge. However, they maintain the structures of the original type.
The analogy. Branding services.
At this point, an analogy with the natural world can offer fruitful insight into creating lasting brands. To discuss brand evolution and survival, we must consider the above forms (convergence and divergence).
Since the 2008 crisis, we could observe a trend in companies’ unstoppable search to secure a dominant position in the market. That is the commitment to the convergence of its products and services. In this way, they added features and incorporated functionalities that, in most cases, didn’t provide significant competitive advantages. Finally, this led them, in many cases, to a resounding failure.
Therefore, what companies need to strengthen their brands is, first of all, to be clear about the power of the divergence principle. Second, they should apply it in developing new product categories from existing ones. And finally, put all their efforts into becoming the first brand in these new categories.
The power of consumers. Rebranding.
If we consider what Al Ries explains, the product categories stay consistent until the products are available on the market. However, we don’t believe that consumers are ignorant people who don’t know what they want until someone shows it to them. Consumers today are becoming more informed, connected, and confident of what they want and what they don’t. On the other hand, although it sounds paradoxical, they are more open to trying new things. That implies exploring, experimenting, and putting all their senses into play to affirm their identity.
Traditional marketing sought to discover customers’ desires and exploit them to the fullest at a lower cost than the competition. That would inevitably lead to convergence, lack of innovation, and loss of audience interest in brands.
On the contrary, generating divergence means jumping establishment, breaking the rules with products and services that become value propositions that meet customers’ needs, not impose them. That also implies a change in how they connect and interact with them.
Therefore, this speaks of a new era of consumers. More mature and determined, who know what they want and, if they can’t find it, they do it themselves. It is worth noting the exponential growth in entrepreneurship, many of which began as the solution to an unsatisfied need of the entrepreneur himself, who had no choice but to investigate and put it into practice.
New markets, new opportunities. Branding agency.
To summarize, the opportunities for a brand’s growth and positioning are not in the existing markets but in creating new ones. In this globalized world, competing in already consolidated markets is impossible. There, supply and demand are fragmented, with little room for new players.
As Al Ries clarifies, for the launch or relaunch of a brand that intends to last over time, we must seek to separate it from the existing products or services to generate a new market in which to establish its dominance. That is, to go from the convergence to the divergence of the markets.
The main objective of any brand management process shouldn’t be to create a specific market but to try to understand the minds of potential customers. This search is neither more nor less than positioning. The key is understanding the consumer, knowing and valuing him, achieving his respect and recognition, and then offering him what he needs resoundingly.
Where are the brands going? From convergence to divergence. Branding services.
For Al Ries, two principles governed the theory of evolution: the gradual change of the same species and the separation of one condition from another to create a new one. The first occurs slowly. It is based on competition between individuals of the same species and the survival of the fittest. The second occurs abruptly and is produced by the increasingly accentuated division between them. That is also the case in marketing and business. The rivalry between brands drives improvement, and competition between categories drives them apart.
That is why, although convergence seems to be an attractive path for developing a brand, it ends up locking it into a range of multiple attributes, of which we finally use a few, turning it into a failure.
In conclusion, the principles of convergence and divergence are closely related to a significant concept, such as positioning. This concept frames the “reason why” for every brand. That is to leave a profound mark on customers, become their standard, and become a loved brand.
What is brand equity, and why should we take care of it? Rebranding.
The ultimate goal of branding as a discipline should be to create strong, relevant, and recognized brands that make lasting ties with customers. That is loyalty, passion, and love. Adding value that customers perceive when interacting with a brand. That is brand equity, where all its power and capacity for transcendence lies. Therefore, it goes from being a symbol to becoming a memory, a story, or a feeling in the heart.
In this way, understanding the true power of brands and their ability to influence the hearts of consumers is a primary condition to manage brand equity growth. It refers not only to the USP but also to its symbolic, emotional, or aspirational value. Thus, we can see this value in all brand’s marketing and communication actions that customers perceive.
Remember the time…
Finally, time completes the concept. Therefore, to know the essence of brand equity, evaluating all the perceptions, interactions, and touchpoints the client has with the brand over time is necessary. Brand equity is much more significant than any communication campaign or action. Beyond how creative or innovative it may be. Brand equity transcends branding, rebranding, companies, mergers, corporations, and markets. It is as big and complex as the universe that can inhabit the minds of consumers. Each person is unique, unrepeatable, and with increasingly particular beliefs and values.
Building brand equity takes time. Branding services.
The time factor is crucial to understand that branding is not a discipline we can address in the short term. Furthermore, we cannot treat it as a lifeline to hide marketing plan flaws. Nor will it serve as a safeguard against errors in market research. That happened to Coca-Cola in the eighties with New Coke and not long ago with Coca-Cola Life.
Modern branding must start from a long-term strategic vision. We must see each action, each campaign, and each customer approach – with successes and failures – as an investment. And the customers, with their experiences and realities, will mold and shape the brand over time. That is what will build true brand equity.
In other words, brand equity is a capitalizable investment that doesn’t depend on external factors but on the customers’ evaluations and experiences. Therefore, if a brand has a history, it also has a measurable, palpable, and possibly, redeemable brand equity. All this is to reposition it with new values and experiences following the customers’ current needs and realities.
However, orienting branding towards value creation doesn’t mean it becomes a positive value. Poor branding management acts that companies’ directors may commit, misdirected marketing campaigns, and even product failures can negatively affect brand equity.
How to preserve brand equity and make it grow? Branding agency.
Different elements contribute to the growth and maintenance of brand equity, which Kevin Keller explains very well. First, there is brand awareness. That is related to the level of relevance or notoriety that the brand has in the minds of consumers. In other words, how aware are they of the brand’s existence; how strong is the brand’s presence in people’s memory?
We can measure brand awareness through the ability of customers to recognize the brand in different circumstances and conditions. Two essential concepts follow from this. One is brand recognition, or the level of consumer exposure to the brand so that they can later recognize it at the point of sale or in everyday life. The other is brand recall, which is the ability to associate the brand with the product category or the need it covers.
In this regard, Keller mentions that awareness is very beneficial and has three well-marked advantages. The first is the learning advantage. It refers to the customers’ first associations concerning the brand and how they can store them in their memory. It also regards the associations and assessments that they can make of them. In this way, brand awareness helps the customer learn about the products or services.
More benefits of brand equity. Rebranding.
The second is the considering advantage. In this case, brand awareness is also beneficial for it to be part of the set of considerations that the consumer has when thinking about their purchases. As this set is usually limited, the brands that occupy that place will prevent others from entering.
The third advantage of brand awareness is choice. In low-relevance decision-making scenarios, Keller explains that brand awareness can be critical to product choice. That happens when customers only care a little about the product or service. It also happens when they need more knowledge or capacity regarding them.
How to create brand awareness? Branding services.
From the perspective of traditional marketing, the answer seems simple and repetitive in the broadest sense of the word. It would be applying the old-known formulas of issuing a message that includes the name, logo, and slogan. Then spread it through as many media as possible. And finally, repeat it as far as the budget can reach. These recipes that play with statistical and probabilistic data are far from the modern branding conception at all. In a contemporary vision, the focus is on the consumer and winning his heart.
A viral video aimed at the right audience is much more effective today than all T.V. diaper ads and campaigns. For this reason, in this new concept of branding, creating brand awareness is not breaking into the minds of consumers with blows, conveying the same message repeatedly. It is about touching their hearts by transmitting something that connects them more with themselves and reinforces their subjectivity, their very being.
Image is everything. Rebranding.
Brand image is the second element contributing to brand equity’s consolidation. It is “customers’ perceptions about a brand, as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory.” (Keller, 2008, p. 51). Therefore, the brand image is not related to the visual field in a restrictive way. We can see that as a mental construction, an idea transmitted and germinating in the consumer’s mind.
This idea can be associated with many words, names, messages, feelings, and characteristics that can surround a brand and complete its image. In other words, a brand is much more than a name, a logo, and a slogan. A brand is everything that surrounds it in the minds of consumers and defines it for what it is.
Therefore, if brand image is a mental construction based on associations, we can build it thanks to certain intangible aspects we can use. First, there is the need to define a demographic and psychographic profile of customers. That is to connect with the target audience and let them transmit the necessary associations to the rest. Secondly, there are associations to the use of the product or consumption situations. We can convey this by defining a specific sales channel and purchase experience. Also, in the particular place and time to consume it, and in what activities we can use it.
Another aspect that can help build the brand image is its personality. The distinctive features of a subject’s personality can be easily associated with the brand and be decisive in constructing its image. Finally, there are associations with history or past experiences. The story’s emotional power is of great help in building a brand image and leaves powerful ties with the audience.
What is essential for proper brand management is that the associations mentioned above are favorable. That means they meet the customer’s expectations regarding the satisfaction of a need. Also, they are unique – which means they are not the same as the competition. An example of this is the strong position of Fernet Branca. It’s so powerful that it even uses the word “unique” in its tagline. The audience’s association with the brand in the fernet category is practically immediate. The level of brand awareness, brand image, and awareness is so great that the consumer hardly has to choose.
In summary. Branding agency.
To conclude, management-oriented toward brand equity growth is necessary to construct solid and coherent brands. This approach provides a wide variety of fully measurable parameters. These end up configuring a roadmap to achieve successful strategic branding planning.
Finally, we can build brand equity after a while. It is a task that takes time; the time it takes to build customer relationships, to exchange experiences, values, attitudes, and stories.
How to build a successful brand? Branding services.
The following article will teach you how to build a successful brand. We will give you some step-by-step tips so that you can put together your checklist. They are based on the four pillars of the brand, and you can apply them in all categories. In future articles, we will touch on them in detail. We will not delve into each one, but they will serve as a guide or thermometer of good brand management.
The first step is related to brand identity. It consists of defining it coherently and consistently to ensure that customers identify it and associate it with a category, product, or need. That is the first approach to the brand. At the same time, it joins it to its main attribute, in which emotion does not participate but simply memory, the cognitive part of the subject.
The second step refers to a subjective construction of the broad meaning of the brand. Here the tangible and intangible associations of the brand are incorporated. That is, the mental construction that the consumer makes, in which the emotions, experiences, and personalities of both participate.
The third step requires the brand to get involved with the customer experience and generate adequate responses to its identification and meaning.
Finally, the fourth step unifies the previous ones by seeking to turn brand responses into lasting customer relationships. That will lead to a higher level of brand loyalty.
One last tip. Design studio.
According to Kevin Keller, all the steps for building a strong brand cannot happen simultaneously. You must follow them as in a chain of blocks. Therefore, we can only think of meaning by generating a coherent brand identity.
Now you know the key points of how to build a successful brand. Follow our blog for more tips.
The old marketing paradigms. Branding agency.
Organizations, like people, are complex entities structured and determined by the environment in which they develop. Most of them today follow the guidelines of traditional marketing. These guidelines are the old marketing paradigms. That notion seeks to generate demand by offering more of the same at a more competitive price. The result leads to the stagnation of brands, the lack of innovation, and, fundamentally, not listening to the customer as the main link in the chain of brand equity.
But… what is a paradigm? Design studio.
“Paradigms offer acceptable models with which we can approach problem-solving” (Braidot, 1997). But when some radical change occurs, these paradigms can prevent the development and acceptance of new ideas. For this reason, the first challenge for any brand that intends to be innovative is to fight against the old models embedded in the organizational culture.
For his part, the English philosopher Simon Sinek intends to break down certain paradigms that prevent organizations from advancing along the path of innovation. Sinek argues that a widespread mistake when talking about innovation is to confuse the term with novelty. Unlike innovations, novelties are easily matched and even surpassed by the competition. So something new does not imply that it is innovative.
In this sense, it is what most companies have been doing in recent decades. They add new attributes and functionalities to their products and services without breaking paradigms or skipping pre-established patterns. In the same way, they seek to focus on the sale, profitability, or safety of what is already known to replicate the same formulas repeatedly.
Below we will explain these old marketing paradigms and what we can do to overcome them.
What are the old marketing paradigms? The golden circle. Branding agency.
According to Sinek, all organizations and individuals know what they do. Many know how they do it, but only a few know why. The hierarchical relationship between these three questions forms what the author calls the golden circle. The relevance of this innovative concept leads to rethinking a whole way of seeing organizations and their business models.
For example, it was knowing why what led Apple to be one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. The answer to that question sums up its whole reason for being. That is thinking differently and challenging the status quo in everything it does. We can link that to how people and organizations think and act. We can also connect it to specific parameters that delimit communication and interaction with the world.
For a large majority, that communication goes from the most defined to the most diffuse. From the plausible outer shell to the amorphous forms in which specific models transform their reason for being. But, as Sinek says, those inspired people and companies who manage to overcome these barriers and make a significant leap communicate from the inside out, from deep self-knowledge.
The first paradigm. Design studio.
In the first place, one of the best-known traditional marketing paradigms is seeking to rationalize customers’ purchase decisions. It achieves this through linear communication limited to listing the attributes and virtues of the products and services offered. Likewise, it manages to exalt how different and better they are compared to the competition and hopes that the audience accepts it without further ado because it is what is supposed to happen.
On the other hand, advances in recent decades in neuroscience, neuropsychology, and positive psychology have unleashed a revolution in marketing. These advances began to break down those old marketing paradigms, giving rise to neuromarketing. That new discipline seeks to respond to the reason for certain behaviors in customers and organizations.
These advances facilitate the understanding of the human brain and mind in decision-making. Likewise, the most evolved part of the brain, the rational part, rarely takes action regarding consumption. Therefore, a product’s or service’s attributes and benefits are not decisive in purchasing.
Ergo. Branding services.
Apple’s success and communication show that people don’t buy what a company does; they buy why it does it. That creates a link between the brand and the consumer at a much deeper level. That bond goes beyond rationality and established models. The purchase decision thus becomes an act of faith. The goal is not to sell to people what a company has. The goal is to sell to people who share the same beliefs. So the key is not in the product and its benefits but in the brand’s beliefs and values that it represents.
The second paradigm. Branding agency.
Another of the old marketing paradigms we must try to break down is the famous 4P model. This model has served traditional marketing for decades as a roadmap for developing any plan, campaign, or launch. The notions of product, price, place, and promotion make noise in an empty box in the face of the new millennium marketing challenges. Therefore, recycling and adapting these concepts to current market demands is necessary.
Questioning the 4Ps of marketing. Design studio.
As mentioned, thinking about the product is a poor starting point. Most companies start their marketing plans outside-in of Sinek’s golden circle. They put all their efforts into the product, into its benefits, into enriching the USP, and they forget the important thing: why they do it. At the same time, they are permanently attentive to the competition. This strategy automatically leads us to think of positioning by price and an absurd war that takes the focus off the ultimate goal: the consumer.
As for the square, it is vital to know how within the golden circle. Given the great competition and proliferation of increasingly innovative products and services, it is valid to bring up the principle of divergence. To differentiate yourself in saturated markets, you have to sub-segment. That is to go to niches where there is room to innovate and break through to new markets. The “how” will be the roadmap that will guide the reason for being of the company and will lead brands to connect with customers more effectively. It is your differential value, your unique selling proposition. Knowing how to be in the exact place with the particular assortment at the precise time is crucial.
Finally, to talk about promotion, you must understand that the business is to contact and influence the audience rather than the channels used in this globalized and hyper-connected world. That is because these channels will quickly go out of fashion, and others will replace them. Radio, television, and Facebook could soon be obsolete channels for communication.
The third marketing paradigm. Branding agency.
Another of the old marketing paradigm is related to communication. Today, customers want first-person experiences and aren’t in the mood to wait for answers. People want to speak and want someone to listen. Desire, freedom, identity, and emotions are intrinsic values of the new generations. Companies build demands around them that they must keep their promise. The audience is increasingly skeptical of a discursive apparatus that tells them what to think or how to live. Whether a political or advertising speech, the message is crossed by a language that is losing effectiveness.
For this reason, people no longer believe in brands, politicians, or organizations. They seek to relate to their peers by exchanging ideas, anecdotes, and advice. They even purchase goods and services in collaborative communities with similar values and beliefs. It does not surprise the exponential growth that TripAdvisor has had in recent years. The collaborative tourism social network owes its success to the fact that it empowers users to share their opinions, photos, and anecdotes, to make the best decision regarding their trips. Therefore, communication no longer goes through a two-way channel with a single interlocutor but moves through multiple increasingly personalized channels. That is the personalization of communication.
Then… Design studio.
Disassociate yourself from the old marketing models that said you had to come screaming with great frequency and coverage to launch a product. To break with this paradigm, the customer must be the center. People no longer want brands to tell them what to do. They are the ones who wish to speak and want someone to listen. Therefore, looking for more innovative ways to generate value is necessary.
How to escape the old marketing paradigms? Rebranding.
The problem with these paradigms is that people and organizations see their behavior affected by assumptions or perceived truths often based on false or incomplete information. That affects the decision-making process, so they make decisions based on what they believe to be known.
Sinek believes that even with the best knowledge, the most information, the best advice, and the best technology, sometimes things turn out differently than you expect. That is due to the trap that specific patterns play in the minds of people or organizations. Those patterns force them to seek solutions to a problem that started from the beginning based on a faulty assumption. If we ask most companies today why their customers are their customers, they would surely respond to topics such as the highest quality of their products, benefits, best price, or service level. That shows they have no idea why their customers are. Therefore, they make decisions based on partial or false assumptions of what drives their business.
To put it differently, to escape the old marketing paradigms, you have to ask why. Why we do what we do, and why we make our decisions. Similarly, ask ourselves what kind of organization we want to be and where our values lie.
Manipulate or inspire. That is the question of creating new marketing paradigms. Design studio.
Consistent with the discussion above, there are two ways to influence behavior: manipulation and inspiration. The first goes directly to the brain’s neocortex or rational part. This form captures attention in many ways, whether through fear, promotion, low prices, aspirational messages, or promising innovations. The second way targets the most emotional part of the brain, the limbic part. It is responsible for feelings such as trust and loyalty. It is also responsible for human behavior and decision-making and has no ability for speech.
In other words, people can understand complex information like features, benefits, formulas, and numbers when communication happens from outside. But that is different from what explains consumer behavior. When communication occurs from the inside out, a part of the brain that controls behavior makes a direct connection. That allows people to streamline their speech. More precisely, it leads to confronting what is said and what is done in tangible things, thus leading to automated decisions.
In conclusion, to better understand why customers make their decisions, it is necessary to delve into the psychological aspects that motivate them and those that brands carry in their image and language. But we will leave that for the following article.
What is psychobranding, and how is it applied? Design studio.
This article will try to find an answer to current consumer behavior. With this, we should delve into a new concept that crosses many social disciplines: psychobranding.
As explained in the previous blog, it’s no longer about what a brand has but what it is and represents. In other words, their reason for being, their purpose, and their most profound level of interpersonal connection. If brands know how to communicate why they are in the world, it will be much easier to inspire customers rather than manipulate them.
Thus, successful brands no longer sell products or services but instead sell an idea, a reason to fight for. As Cristina Quiñones mentions, brands must build motivations that support the way of thinking of their current and future customers. Then, they will get them to identify with them. The CEO of Consumer Truth, a consulting firm specializing in Insights & Strategy, considers that brands get involved with people on an emotional level, and it is not the rational level that dominates that relationship.
Psychobranding: concept. Branding agency.
This new concept is where the contribution of positive psychology and neuroscience takes on fundamental importance. They help understand consumer behavior and the decision-making process. These contributions began to gain more strength at the end of the last century to give rise to psychobranding. Ergo, it caused a revolution in marketing and led companies to channel their investments into market research based on these new disciplines.
Braidot elaborates on this point when he says that any decision-making process primarily involves the limbic part of the brain. To such an extent, in a transcendent decision for a person, it is that part – the emotional one – that takes control and tips the balance. So it is assumed that the brands’ decisions are as or even more emotional than that.
Key factors. Branding services.
We must consider some key factors to understand the concept of psychobranding better. First, the brand’s reason for being must be clear. That is why it does what it does, not just what it does. In this way, the place it occupies in its clients’ lives must define what it means to them. That is what Quiñones calls brand insight. The author describes it as an emotional, deep, and symbolic meaning that the brand provides to the consumer’s life.
Secondly, we have the philosophy of the brand, its principles, and its values. That is the key factor in achieving a deep connection with customers. Those concepts will inspire and motivate them to give you their trust. Therefore, brands must provide customers with that sense of belonging. They can achieve that when they meet those who share the same beliefs, those who are like them. And so, to gain their trust, you must communicate and show that the brand shares the same values.
Indeed, generating trust and loyalty in customers takes work to achieve. It is a process that takes time and must involve the entire company. It goes beyond the company’s goods and services; it is about transmitting its values and beliefs.
Look inside. Rebranding.
We don’t just have to work on customer loyalty. Another aspect more important than this is to work on employee loyalty. Inspiring employees helps to transmit the brand message to inspire others inside and outside the company. Therefore, it is not about how qualified and capable they are but whether they believe in what the company believes.
In this aspect, it’s worth noting the outstanding contribution of positive psychology regarding employee engagement and its importance for organizational health. According to Salanova and Schaufeli, “engaged employees, when compared to those who are not, are more satisfied with their work. They feel more committed and loyal to the organization where they work and have less intention of leaving it for another organization.”
In other words, when employees feel that they have found their place in the world and share the same purpose, that guarantees a brand’s success.
Think outside. Design studio.
The above gives rise to the third key factor: brands must have a cause, a purpose, and a reason to fight to win customers’ hearts.
Sinek clarifies this by saying that the products or services they sell don’t justify purchasing. They instead serve as tangible proof of their cause or purpose. In other words, turning customers into allies and being someone for them is the starting point for lasting relationships and successful businesses.
Finally, you have to understand people and not just brands. Getting involved with a brand, thinking about it, molding it, launching it, and eventually managing it requires prior work to know who to aim at and its future clients. It’s not only necessary to limit oneself to a superficial observation based on mere statistical data. We must recognize individuals as having shortcomings, defects, desires, wishes, values, and beliefs.
Keys to win a client. Branding agency.
In short, brands connect better with those they know. They must understand that not everything revolves around them. On the contrary, the center of any relationship must be the customers. To understand people, you have to know how they act and why. Also, what are their motivations, and what leads them to be the way they are? Generally, people tend to group with those with the same values and beliefs. This union generates powerful bonds of trust over time. Again, it’s not the products or services that bind customers to brands; it is the beliefs and values they share.
Therefore, what those dedicated to branding have to be clear about is that, as Quiñones says, “it is not about being everything to everyone. It is about being something for someone.” Brands such as Red Bull and its claim “Be brave, take risks” or Ford with its “Go Further” show their intention to be part of customers’ lives, being something significant for them. They show them that they share the same values and beliefs. They let them know the reason why they are in this world.
What is psychobranding for? Design studio.
To conclude, we shouldn’t think of psychobranding as manipulating customers’ minds. We should use it to find the essence behind the power of brands. In this way, the future of brands lies in how much they can connect with customers on an emotional level. Nike perfectly understood this was the way to go when it raised its famous slogan, “Just do it.” That revolutionized the market. For Nike, the best athletes didn’t need a podium or a crowd because they were not sports athletes. They were fighters for life! That is how Nike built its position, philosophy, and vision of the world.
What psychobranding seeks is to connect on an unconscious level with the emotionality of those customers who share the same beliefs and values. It aims to remind them that they are the ones who build it, who give it meaning and significance. That will affect the consumer’s unconscious ecosystem to touch the depths of their emotion to strengthen the links between the two and consolidate lasting relationships.
Branding or rebranding, what is the best option? Branding services.
To respond to the problem is necessary to understand the difference between branding and rebranding. Both branding and rebranding have very similar strategies. They are virtually identical within brand management but occur at different times and evolutionary stages. Therefore, what we should differentiate is not the what but the when. The context in which we decide to make a branding or rebranding strategy.
Branding. Design studio.
A branding strategy consists of designing, planning, and managing different actions to ensure that the brand image that reaches customers is precisely what the company wants. Branding actions cover the entire design process, from the logo to the corporate image. We must also include the marketing strategies that ensure the consistency of the brand’s communication and appearance with the strategic guidelines sought by the company.
Thus, branding is a process carried out since a brand is born. Added to this are progressive actions that make the consumer’s mind establish specific predetermined patterns or associations about it. The identifying elements of a brand – be it a physical establishment, its web page, billboards on public roads, television spots, or the messages it communicates – end up configuring associations towards the brand in the minds of consumers. They are the ones that give an idea of what it is. And that idea is generated from all the actions – or inactions – the brand has carried out over time.
Rebranding. Design studio.
On the other hand, in the case of rebranding, the story is very different. Rebranding is the process that is carried out at a time when brands want to change the perception that the consumer has of them. That can be due to several factors. For example, problems in executing marketing plans, product failures, or errors in market research. Also, because of a reputational or economic crisis, corporate mergers, or simply because you want to renew for any reason.
Therefore, rebranding is a challenging process and has certain risks. If the strategic planning of branding is a remarkably complex and challenging goal, rebranding has an even higher degree of difficulty. That is due to the risks involved in the possibility of confusion among consumers.
Rebranding strategy. Branding agency.
Currently, there are many academic interpretations regarding rebranding. The best known and used is the one that establishes that rebranding is essential to business success. Therefore, it’s necessary to evolve the brand in a way that keeps pace with the times and meets the changing needs of consumers.
Another position considers rebranding as a radical brand change. Radical not only in the sense of name, logo, and corporate image but also a complete identity change. Finally, a less favorable position considers that we must avoid this radical change at all costs and wonders if rebranding is crucial. That is because, all too often, companies perceive rebranding as a simple cosmetic exercise. It could be a new color, logo tweak, and launch of some good T.V. spots associated with the first position.
An example that clarifies and justifies the second position and questions the third occurs in corporate mergers. Often these will result in a complete rebranding due to a new entity that may be visible or interpreted. However, a gray dot appears when organizations have failed to establish a brand or have suffered a scandal that seriously compromises their image. It is here where the total renewal of the brand can also be in order. In these cases, the intention is to erase any previous brand identity and replace it with new images and messages.
Key factors. Branding services.
For his part, David Aaker identifies other factors that imply a rebranding strategy within the company. First, when the target segment becomes saturated. Second, the need for new partnerships to generate growth. Third, the aging of the target market. Forth, the obsolescence of the product.
Therefore, there are almost as many reasons for rebranding as there are problems with brands. Some may be proactive, such as significant growth or a new line of business or market. Also, new audiences or when a company realizes its brand is losing relevance in the minds of consumers. Others can be reactive, as in the case of corporate mergers. That may be the case when the current brand has suffered a crisis, a failure in the marketing plan, or a confused, non-existent, or obsolete image. Finally, there is the case when the main benefit has changed from a differential benefit to a price one. Also, when a competitor with a higher position is targeting the same market.
And then… Branding or rebranding? Design studio.
According to Guillermo Altube, director of Interbrand, thinking about branding or rebranding work is complex and requires prior analysis. For this reason, it establishes that it is crucial to rebrand from different degrees. When the brand is completely changed, we can call it repositioning. On the other hand, when we make an update, it is linked to more organic factors, such as the passage of time or other minor adjustments. Likewise, it affirms that the advantages or disadvantages of rebranding depend on the need of each particular case.
In conclusion, the variety of problems leads us to think of branding or rebranding as a methodological issue that could provide different solutions for different evolutionary stages of an organization. To reduce it to this would be to devalue a complex discipline that seeks to revalue brands and reposition them to remain relevant in an increasingly changing market.
New brands or revalued brands. Rebranding.
From what we analyzed in the previous blog, a dichotomy emerges in branding between developing new brands and revaluing old ones.
Today, companies tend to reinvent themselves and look for new ways to get customers and improve their sales. Many opt for rebranding but seen from the second position explained in the previous blog: the radical change of brand. That is important to remember since rebranding is much more than that. It does not necessarily mean changing one brand for another.
Getting rid of an established brand with history and years of continuous investment and superficially replacing it with a new brand contradicts everything discussed since we started this blog. Despite this, rebranding has become a popular strategy for companies.
The idea of the brand as a significant asset on which the success of organizations depends is deeply ingrained in today’s corporate culture. Furthermore, it is an essential pillar of the modern marketing discipline.
Time: a key factor for brands. Branding agency.
Another premise that supports the effort applied to rebranding is that strong brands are built through many years of sustained investment. That, if executed well, will provide a vast stream of loyal customers leading to massive sales. At the same time, it will gain an enviable market share and a continuous stream of revenue for brands. Despite this, there has been a marked increase in well-known companies renaming or changing names in recent years.
That is why discarding a long-standing brand and starting over from scratch with a new brand overnight makes no sense. Likewise, the effort to launch a new brand when an obsolete one is at hand is another case that draws attention. It could relaunch itself and take advantage of its brand equity built up over the years. The important thing would be to explore the problems of relevance to the phenomenon of the development and launch of a brand, be it new or revalued.
Analyze brands first. Branding services.
Therefore, everything analyzed throughout the previous articles serves to understand better the processes followed when facing a rebranding project. That includes name change, redesign, repositioning, and stakeholder communication. This knowledge leads to addressing a critical issue, which is the effectiveness of rebranding when facing new businesses and finding new market niches. For this reason, before deciding to change the brand, the company must conduct a strategic analysis to guide the final decision.
Concerning the above, this analysis must consider those factors that can cause the brand to exit the market. That, according to David Aaker, can arise from various conditions:
- Demand declines when the brand’s decline rate is fast and continues to grow.
- The lack of brand loyalty and product differentiation in the consumer’s mind could anticipate extreme price pressure from the competition.
- When the brand’s position is weak, some competitors have obtained significant and irreversible advantages.
- When the company’s mission has changed.
- When certain obstacles cannot be overcome.
Decide later. Rebranding.
In many cases, the decision to rebrand proved highly unstable, with many companies facing the opposite of expected results. As Professor Andrew Ehrenberg states, even if the brand declines and begins to lose some customers, brand loyalty and purchase rates remain stable among other consumers. Thus, the decision to rebrand must be very well founded on a detailed analysis of the brand’s characteristics.
Things to keep in mind. Branding agency.
For example, Puma, Apple, and Gucci are some of the brands that have successfully undergone a rebranding. These companies have left some golden rules in the strategic decision of rebranding, mainly with the things they did not do:
- They did not change the name or logo.
- Any media channel did not announce that they were about to reposition or do something radical to the brand.
- They were very patient.
- Each brand has taken a decade or even more to change.
- Changes in advertising strategies intervened at the end of the rebranding process.
According to Tito Ávalos, founder of La Cocina, a brand is an experience that generates a mental representation. This experience is driven and sustained by the organization’s culture. That involves everyone who makes it up to achieve a sustainable brand over time. The survival of an organization depends, to a certain extent, on the assembly of its purpose and organizational culture. That requires a business strategy that fulfills that purpose but simultaneously takes charge of the experience that makes users live through their culture. Therefore, branding is a process inside and outside the organization, and the branding strategist must be willing to accompany it.
In conclusion. Design studio.
A successful rebranding strategy starts with something other than million-dollar campaigns or radical changes to the name, logo, or other branding elements. It begins by solving various internal problems in an inside-out process.
Storytelling: the power of good story. Design studio.
To begin with, talking about a brand’s history requires recognizing endless factors that define what it is today. History is the sum of a past that converges in the brand’s “what” and “how” or stories that gave it life. That is why it is necessary to know those facts that marked the milestones of its history to understand the brand’s evolution. Also the stories that were shaping it. That is storytelling.
According to Kevin Keller, brands establish associations with their past and some significant historical events. These associations may have to do with personal experiences and episodes. Or, on the other hand, be related to past behaviors and experiences of friends, family, or others.
That means that brands build their history based on people. They are who ultimately validate them and make them part of their life. They do this through their personal experiences and interaction with their peers. Therein lies all the power of the brand’s history. And storytelling is a fundamental element to connecting with the emotional channel of the audience.
The importance of storytelling. Branding agency.
As previously mentioned, the brand’s history is part of its brand equity and generates a capitalization effect throughout its life cycle. The result is the positioning point where you are today, your capital value. That point, usually established at a crossroads of Cartesian axes, will determine the strategies to maintain or improve your situation.
Despite this, you need more than knowing the facts that catapulted or brought down a brand to be successful. That is where the need arises to tell these facts in such a way that they reach the audience and cause a significant impact, transforming that story into a unique, credible, and exciting one. It also generates a deep connection with the consumer and provokes the resurgence of a cardinal element in branding and advertising: storytelling.
The rise of storytelling. Branding services.
According to Steven Kydd, this new boom in advertising stories had to adapt to an increasingly global and complex world. That is emerging in the digital age, and new generations are increasingly dispersed and disinterested. Thus, storytellers had to reinvent themselves and abandon the classic narratives of the last century. Back then, brands were too busy telling their own stories to see what was happening in consumers’ minds. Nowadays, we need a significant advertising investment to impress a concept on the consumer’s mind. If brands want to become good storytellers, they have to uncover the more profound stories hidden in the minds of their target audience.
In other words, to establish new connections with an audience dispersed in thousands of new communication channels, a good storyteller must connect his own narrative experience with those deep in his audience’s minds. These are narratives that people hardly remember and that even they would have a hard time telling. To this must be added a complete knowledge of what, how, and why brands do what they do. That has two challenges. On the one hand, to join the brand’s story and vision of the future. On the other, to link internal audiences, inspire and guide them, and conquer the hearts of external audiences. That is all part of storytelling.
How to create a good story? Rebranding.
A good story can permeate and enhance all areas of a brand. Events and people are connected through it, which gives it a powerful emotional charge. If a broad audience shares the associations established between the story and their memories, it can determine the story’s success. Consequently, we can understand today’s positioning as a story and the story as a positioning.
In the hyper-connectivity era, the audience’s lower attention span favors the consumption of only those stories that fit perfectly into the subject’s narrative. Then, the channels through which we access the content learn to prioritize what seems to interest or distract them.
The impact of storytelling. Design studio.
The challenge of telling stories that have an impact on the personal narrative and allow expanding it is increasing. Since novelty is one of the essential factors in capturing attention in a world of increasingly similar stories, a good storyteller has to work to make his story stands out from the rest.
However, storytellers can settle for more than just that. By connecting with the most profound issues in the audience’s minds, they will be able to challenge established conventions and gain an even more powerful connection. A good storyteller must detect stories that are not told and those that resonate in people’s heads and are transmitted in everyday life. They must learn to listen within a context, the noise, and the murmur. Moreover, they should try to recreate situations, extract latent memories and personal stories, and bring them to light. This way, engaging stories can be created, reaching consumers despite their different experiences. It is about rewriting mental chapters, opening new ideas, and offering new ways to resolve the tensions in each person’s stories.
How to capture the correct stories? Branding agency.
We can use some techniques to capture compelling stories. As Marcelo Rabinovich mentions, in the first place, there is observational research in the context. That includes the skill of knowing how to listen to stories. Others may be projective and training techniques. They deduce the interrelation between different themes and the emotions associated with the different characters of a personal story. Finally, there are cognitive interviews. This help to recreate the context and extract stories that are not usually told but have an enormous influence on the personal narrative.
By interpreting audience stories, qualitative researchers can provide brands with the essential raw material for bridging the gap between brand and personal stories.
Ultimately, hearing these stories can lead brands to question their internal narrative and their version of the world they have been shaping. We could see that as a sign of weakness, but it is the essence of powerful storytelling.
In conclusion, by understanding the narratives of others, storytellers can know what stories their audience needs to hear. To then learn how to count them effectively. Brands must aspire to be good storytellers. In addition to telling stories, they must accept the commitment to listen and interpret. As explained above, with qualitative interpretive research, brands that want to tell a good story can find the inspiration they need.
Building a brand is building relationships. Engagement.
Engagement, which means commitment, is usually linked to the vows couples make before getting married. Therefore, seeing this word in most of today’s marketing plans is unsurprising.
Much has been written and spoken about engagement. In most cases, the approach is from a technical point of view or, at best, associated with the old idea of positioning, as discussed in the previous blog. However, the problem lies in understanding the true meaning of the word and all the possible connotations that can be derived from it.
What is engagement? Design studio.
Engagement comprises a relationship between two parties. On the one hand, a long-term commitment implies deep mutual knowledge. Conversely, sharing a series of values and beliefs makes the relationship flow. As Kevin Roberts anticipates, “Emotional ties to customers have to be the foundation of any good marketing strategy or innovative tactic.”
But to achieve these links, brands will need a broad and complex understanding of today’s people and audiences. Not only to take advantage of a fad that catapults them into the fight for market share or to obtain some competitive advantage but to achieve a fluid and constant dialogue with their customers. Ultimately, this will help them lay the foundation for a long-term relationship; that’s what engagement is all about.
Retail’s new era. Branding services.
Today, we lack values in an increasingly fragmented society. As analyzed, humans are sensitive beings who reason and base most of their decisions on emotional factors. That is why human beings search for new emotional connections, beliefs, and love that give new meaning to their entire environment. Also, to the alienation of commercialized subjects in a globalized world and overcrowded cities in which single-family homes are growing exponentially.
In this context, brands are part of an amalgamated cultural baggage in consumer society. Brands are also part of social life. They interact with people; they have personalities and can influence their behavior, fashion, and trends. They could even touch on their ethical, civic, and social values. Sometimes they establish hierarchies, set limits, show human qualities, and value goods and services. Others provide confidence to the consumer and transmit strength, energy, hope, or sympathy.
A plain white cotton shirt differs from a similar shirt with the Nike logo on the front. In such a case, both shirts are of the same color, quality, size, and cut. Both fulfill the primary function of dressing the person and making them feel comfortable. Both are t-shirts, although they are not the same for certain people. Moreover, they may not even come close to being alike—even knowing they came from the same factory in China. Therefore, what differentiates them is the level of engagement one has for the other.
The new role of brands. Branding agency.
The previous example outlines the true power of brands and what they do to people when interacting with them. In this way, they become cultural objects that people place above their attributes and values. Despite this, it is increasingly difficult for brands to connect with their target audience. Even harder is for the new generations to value them.
The problem is that the companies don’t know their audience in-depth. Ergo, they apply the same recipes from the past that positioned them where they are today. These recipes have dehumanized brands, alienating them from the consumer. They made them see their navels and forget to ask customers what they expect, what they feel, and what they love.
How do we achieve engagement? Design studio.
For Salanova and Schaufeli’s positive psychology, “more than a specific and momentary state, engagement refers to a more persistent affective-cognitive state that is not focused on a particular object, event, or situation.”
Therefore, brands have more to do with relationships and not so much with transactions. The secret to success would be how human they can become; how deep the connection with the consumer is. Here, the important thing is not to measure the emotion they manage to provoke in people but to look at how to establish a dialogue. Then, you add the tone of voice and the understanding of what they are: beings with defects and virtues. The goal is to understand people as well as brands. To achieve that, we must embark on a winding and arduous path: the path of relationship building. That is engagement.
How to win the consumers’ hearts? Rebranding.
In this sense, and to make an analogy, brands must play the role of Romeo trying to seduce his Juliet. To better understand this parallelism, we must establish specific steps to achieve this conquest and develop lasting ties.
Thus, Roberts establishes that the first step in engagement would be to find that ideal partner, whom you are willing to seduce, to open up completely. To do so, the brand will use different channels through which it can communicate and achieve some contacts to establish a dialogue. Approaching Juliet’s balcony is a challenging task. The task requires crossing the river by boat, jumping over the entrance gate, and climbing the 10-meter wall that leads to the room.
The second step of engagement is to get to know the person. Knowing them means knowing what they like, their talents and values, defects, virtues, and hobbies. Flattering these characteristics and using them to your advantage will build an indestructible bridge between the brand and the consumer. This step is the first stage of falling in love. Here, people never see the other’s defects as a detractor or something that causes disgust. They accepted them as human beings, making them feel that Romeo is their complement, their ideal companion.
Summarizing. Branding agency.
Therefore, activating the emotional channel is essential for any advertising campaign or strategy. It is an appropriate way of getting in touch with consumers and kick-off to achieve the ultimate goal that every brand and person desires: love. As Cristina Quiñones mentions, you have to aim for brands that win the affection more than the reason of the people. We must create brands capable of reading emotions and not just briefs.
Recipe for Engagement. Branding services.
To reach that, we still require a series of steps to overcome, from which we can learn much more. On the one hand, you must understand that love is a feeling that must travel through a two-way channel. It must arise from an almost intuitive answer. Without reciprocity, there is no love. On the other hand, there is the well-founded idea that love takes time. It is not something that occurs from one moment to the next or that we can attribute to any of the five senses. It is something much deeper, which defines the meaning and essence of people.
Finally, as Roberts says, “Love cannot be imposed or demanded; it is only given.” As mentioned above, achieving consumer recognition, devotion, and affection doesn’t require encouragement, fear, or manipulation. Likewise, we should understand and appreciate it for what it is: shared beliefs and values that unite them with brands and provide them with channels of interaction that generate reciprocal emotions.
The first pillar of engagement. Design studio.
Therefore, lasting relationships between brands and consumers must be founded on certain pillars, like any relationship. The first and foremost is respect. Without it, we could not build a love that lasts over time. Roberts elaborates on this concept and says that respect is based on trust, performance, and brand reputation. From these principles arises a code of conduct that governs the relationship between brands and consumers. Some of the most outstanding points of this code are: complying with what a brand promises, assuming the commitments until the last consequences; seeking constant innovation; taking care of reputation; simplifying; admitting mistakes; taking care of the value of the offer; be true to your ideals and make this world a better place for everyone.
Thus, to achieve people’s love and respect, brands must walk the arduous path of engagement, which takes time. First, you must connect with the consumer on an emotional level that moves him and defines him as a human being. According to Roberts, successful brands that become loved manage to move the audience and know what they need. Also, those who listen and act accordingly, anticipating and proposing innovative things that break with the status quo. These are beloved and respected brands to such an extent customers can feel like protagonists. In other words, those that give their time and effort selflessly to make them grow and endure.
The second pillar of engagement. Branding agency.
Secondly, Roberts mentions that you must build well-grounded relationships full of meaning for the audience. It is the part where companies must understand that they cannot sit idly by. They must constantly think about their customers and how to win them over. As a boyfriend thinks of his girlfriend in buying her flowers or inviting her to the theater; getting elegant, taking care of the details; listening, and dedicating time to her; that is how the relationships between brands and consumers should be. What love brands have in common is that they all cultivate the same attributes to touch customers’ emotional fibers. These are mystery, sensuality, and intimacy.
The mystery. Rebranding.
In this regard, the mystery is the magical part of brands. It is the fuel from which brands feed the flames of passion to achieve engagement. We will achieve it by discovering the other person little by little, playing with the anxiety and adrenaline that anticipation causes, controlling the imagination, and producing the ecstasy of surprise. With this magical alchemy, it is possible to think about building brands loved and valued by the audience.
According to Roberts, brands must learn to listen to consumers and take stories from their experiences. Likewise, the channel through which the waters of mystery travel is made of great stories, those with enough force to awaken dreams, create myths, and move and inspire others. For this, it is necessary to have credible characters who speak from emotion and show their feelings in detail. In this way, you can better understand the wishes of consumers and work to make them come true. We will see this in greater depth in future articles.
The sensuality. Branding agency.
The other attribute that identifies successful brands is sensuality. Sensuality gives brands that sensitivity that humanizes them and brings them closer to their target audience. In this sense, it is about the sensory world surrounding the brand’s mystique and unites it. In addition, it gives you an emotional language that goes beyond words and can establish deep connections with people. This approach occurs through the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. In this regard, the brands that manage to connect more deeply with their consumers do so through the sensory use of the message, which appeals directly to emotion and not to reason.
As we will see in subsequent articles, using the senses is crucial in developing a brand. The color palette, the use of textures, a catchy sound, a memorable flavor, and aroma. All these elements help define a brand’s identity and connect with its consumers. These establish the parameters within which the branding plan will unfold.
The intimacy. Branding agency.
Finally, to establish what makes brands great, you must understand the concept of privacy. This attribute is the one that directly affects what the consumer thinks and feels. It transcends its entire system of beliefs and values and connects with its aspirational being, which is neither more nor less than the inner reflection of its relationships with the outside world.
Today, due to the incredible amount of noise and vertigo in which human beings are submerged, it is increasingly difficult to achieve moments of intimacy. People’s lives are reported everywhere: in the media, on social networks, and through online games. For this reason, it is not surprising that vendors have become endangered or, at best, mere human order-takers.
Simply put, the intimacy process requires a two-way street, where the client is listened to first and then talked to later. However, is not an easy task to achieve. We need long hours of listening, analysis, reflection, and a deep understanding of the wishes and desires of consumers. To do this, we must achieve certain levels of empathy, commitment, and passion, if we want to speak directly to the heart and not seem like a cold and calculating machine. As Roberts says, “Most brands don’t know how to listen. They have evolved along with the media and have stayed there, talking, talking, and talking non-stop.”
Let’s break this down… Branding agency.
Empathy is the one that generates the emotional space in which brands can hear the consumer. Through it, we can get all the juice of sincerity to know if we are on the right path. Without empathy, there is no intimacy. Nor can there be long-term relationships if there is no commitment, a condition by which people selflessly join brands. It assumes a proactive and almost automatic attitude without questioning and forgiving them when they are wrong.
Without passion, there is no love. Without love, there is no engagement. Rebranding.
In summary, brands that achieve engagement are closer to achieving loyalty, which takes them beyond reason. However, so that they can rest in the Olympus of big brands, what we must include is passion. Passion makes it possible for brands to survive the worst storms and achieve their goals. On the contrary, brands that do not feel passion are not credible. They fall into a simplistic discourse, lacking emotion and inspiration.
Therefore, brands must believe in themselves and transmit the same passion to those who believe in them to capture their love. In this way, passion becomes the fire that ignites the relationship between brands and their customers and makes brands shine for a long time.
What do I need to know to do a rebranding? Branding agency.
If you are thinking of rebranding, this article will significantly help you. Take note.
As mentioned in previous articles, there are many reasons companies face redesigning a brand (rebranding). Beyond the causes, the process is put into practice when an organization changes a significant element that doesn’t express what it transmitted when it was created. Such a change, like a new brand name or logo, might jump out. But it could also be more subtle, such as a slight change to the message, to better communicate a more relevant brand promise. In any case, its execution is radical, decisive, and can even be a risky matter.
Moreover, if consumers do not accept that new path, it could become a real problem for more than one brand. For this reason, the changes must be credible, given the brand’s experience and the customer’s perception. But the changes must not only be externally believable. Internal credibility must also be maintained. If the employees don’t live the brand daily, the target audience will not either.
For Alejandro Domínguez, the task is not easy. “The common denominator for a successful redesign is to find the right balance between two factors. On the one hand, it is to be faithful to the brand’s values, not to ignore its tradition. On the other hand, it is also vital to surprise the consumer.” The key is to achieve a very high power of synthesis and know how to adapt each brand to its new cultural reality.
Key aspects to take into account when rebranding. Branding agency.
Tito Ávalos explains that a brand is, ultimately, a reputation that organizations form through the performance of a brand promise. It is more than a verbal and visual identity. Ergo, it’s essential to know the business strategy and the industry in which that brand operates. It is also essential to know the trends that are coming.
Another key aspect is studying the competitive environment to find a space for differentiation, conceptually and in identity. The Director of La Cocina explains that the identity must be strategically compromised to achieve a more significant impact. Also, it is crucial to imagine where that brand will move.
As we have already analyzed, we must study different factors at the time of rebranding. On the one hand, the differential attributes of the service or product. On the other, a credible and sustainable positioning over time. For this, it’s crucial to stay relevant, analyze the trends in the target market and explore the opportunities for brand expansion. Likewise, it will be necessary to add the definition of the brand’s voice to be redesigned so we can adapt it to each audience. To achieve that, it’s vital to arrive at the concept we want to communicate.
The tip. Branding agency.
As analyzed, the brand is more than a product, although it could not exist without it. For Ávalos, a brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and associations that ultimately become a “promise,” ranging from lowering the stocks’ risk to defining a person. From a semiotic point of view, the name of a product is denotative. On the other hand, the brand of a product is also connotative, meaning that it has meanings beyond the label. Therefore, the brand promise, in short, is one of the essential premises to take into account.
Reasons for rebranding. Branding agency.
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, there are myriad reasons companies move forward with rebranding, corporate, or product change. According to Guillermo Altube, the majority of vices that arise when carrying out a brand consultancy are because, most of the time, there is a prior need to carry out a rebranding. That is why it is so important to think about the redesign from these different degrees of change.
He explains that when a brand changes drastically and completely revolutionize its identity, it is ultimately related to a more strategic component than a design one. It is a repositioning. On the contrary, when a brand needs an update, it’s more linked to factors such as the passage of time or other adjustments. “Our perspective of the redesign is always a consequence of something else and never by stylistic whim.”
Indeed, brands encompass everything from customer experience to quality. They have also adapted their appearance, customer service, business and web environments, and tone of voice, among other aspects.
How to reposition? Branding agency.
Therefore, for brands to become something more and transcend their categories, to become genuinely significant experiences for the audience, they must overcome the product or service barrier and define themselves as elements with meaning. In other words, points of connection with their customers.
In this connotative capacity, the true power of a brand’s influence resides. As Ávalos says, “if someone is capable of tattooing the Harley Davidson logo on their arm, it is not because it denotes motorcycles, but because it connotes a series of values and beliefs with which that individual identifies himself and in front of others.”
In other words, brands are alive, and they live inside people. Very few are branded, and today, there are fewer and fewer. However, people need something to believe in, and, at the same time, they are increasingly skeptical. It may be that for many years they felt used, and today they finally open their eyes. Or maybe it is because of the new generations, a large amount of information, and the new lifestyles that made them value other things and begin questioning certain vices of the consumption culture.
Despite this, there are still, in mind and the collective heart, those values of yesteryear that we can rescue again today to reposition brands. These values could tipple the balance for particular market segments or niches. That is when a rebranding campaign can be a great opportunity.
Dynamic positioning: what is it and how to use it? Branding agency.
The analysis carried out in previous articles brought to light the concept of positioning, closely linked to branding. As mentioned, this concept requires a broad understanding of the consumer and their social, cultural, and emotional situation. The modern notion of positioning leads branding to be closer to customers. It’s not just about digging into their needs. It’s about being in the right place, at the right time, and connecting with the right person to establish effective contact and produce a strong bond between brands and customers. In this divergent era, it is so more selective, dynamic, and changing consumers. The concept of dynamic positioning was born as a way to achieve more personal contact and create long-term relationships.
Brands and companies are going through a customer loyalty crisis and losing weight daily. Faced with this need, they only manage to compete based on price, which becomes the only decisive variable.
This way, attention is concentrated on millennials as the determining audience to win markets. That is because they are the people who will have purchasing power in the next ten years. In addition, they are within the demographic range of between 20 and 40 years.
New audience, new rules. Branding agency.
According to Emiliano Galván, VP of Wunderman, this group of millennials has an extraordinary characteristic. They value what they expect from a brand differently than other generations do. On the other hand, they are not as loyal to brands and do not give their loyalty for free. These customers constantly evaluate brands and are very harsh when punishing them. Likewise, they are not loyal to those brands that do not understand what is happening to them.
With this, new rules for positioning arise. Entering and remaining in the customers’ minds is increasingly complex. In addition, it requires a joint effort between the companies and an interdisciplinary team that provides creativity, empathy, solid values and beliefs, and a commitment to sustaining it over time. For this, we must establish the strategic guidelines that form the basis of a strong positioning. And as mentioned above, they must be thought from the inside out of the organization.
In the past, as Serra, Iriarte, and Le Fosse mention, positioning was a reasonably static concept. Once you position a brand in a customer’s mind, it is not easy to lose that achieved positioning. Today, the rules have changed. Marketing and advertising must join forces to position brands amid a great deal of noise.
Indeed, as Trout and Rivkin state, a world oversaturated with content, messages, media, and communication channels, drastically affects how the mind accepts or ignores the information offered.
To Adapt or to die. Branding agency.
On the other hand, we can add to this issue the change phenomenon. As discussed in previous articles, the environment is constantly changing. New technologies, competitors, and consumption habits make markets leave companies behind. As the principle of adaptation establishes: if the environment changes – If the needs of customers change – companies must adapt and change. Thus, they must reposition themselves and get customers to follow them to their new position.
In this way, the natural consequence of this adaptation to changes and new positioning is that brands revive with a new form of communication. That is a more straightforward and transparent speech. With those tools, the brands will meet the audience’s expectations and provide better elements to customers for their decision-making. As a consequence of this, a new concept arises; dynamic positioning.
How does dynamic positioning work? Branding agency.
Brand loyalty begins to lose strength in this environment with such changing and dynamic consumers. It’s improbable to maintain a position over time without taking concrete actions to sustain it. As a definition of traditional marketing positioning, the importance of manipulating potential customers’ minds begins to lose effectiveness in the struggle to develop the essential skills to sustain a long-term brand.
This issue is because, as Serra, Iriarte, and Le Fosse say, consumers are less conservative and less traditionalist. They seek solutions to needs before technologies and require a response rather than identification with a brand. This point is essential to understand the entire logic of dynamic positioning.
As discussed above, customer engagement is a game-changer for marketing and advertising. For Emiliano Galván, marketing today is based on the individual, on the person. It’s not based on the consumer of a particular category. It’s based on the subject who doesn’t even consume that category. And to go further, it establishes that this has to do with the functionality of a brand, transcending categories and being at the right time to satisfy a particular individual’s need. That is understanding what happens to the person at a given moment. Therefore, the brand value proposition is to meet that specific need at that particular time and place.
How to take advantage of dynamic positioning? Branding agency.
Since then, several authors have started talking about hyper-segmentation. Thus, the big brands begin to fragment their offer to reach new customers. These consumers seek increasingly specific and personalized products, far from the mass market. According to Serra, Iriarte, and Le Fosse, this allows the formation of new market niches, which determines the constant appearance of new companies, either to supply these niches or to create new ones.
As discussed above, building a successful strategy involves the confluence of many disciplines and tools. From branding, distribution, and price, through information, packaging, and even how to help share marketing actions with the rest of the audience. This case is what is called a functional brand. It is the one that manages to provide the customer with a product or service at the right time, place, and measure to meet their specific needs. This strategy can be decisive when deciding between consuming one brand or another.
Need to diversify. Branding agency.
Another essential factor to consider is that many companies need to diversify their product portfolio due to the rapid pace of technological change. Or maybe, with the quick and unpredictable shift in consumers’ habits and attitudes, or with the increase in both external and internal competition, they lose the perspective and position of their markets. According to Trout, that brings the need for repositioning as an inevitable consequence. The idea is for the brand to once again rely on that competitive advantage that was able to make it grow.
In the middle of the twenty-first century, the world is manifested in permanent change, with increasingly selective customers. It’s in this way that, to better understand the positioning of a company, it is necessary to work with several models simultaneously.
Finally, it’s essential to remember that connecting with the audience and conquering a market niche requires having extensive knowledge of your own and knowing how to tell it. The challenge is to achieve it at the right time and place and in the right amount. Therefore, a good distribution strategy will be vital to effectively meeting the brand’s objectives.
Brands’ behavior and customer relationships. Design studio
Brands’ behavior and customer relationships are crucial to understanding the current branding situation. It is also essential to plan the future and anticipate changes.
It’s interesting to observe the changing environment in which brands find themselves today and how this forces them to rethink all their marketing and communication strategies.
Some time ago, how was the brands’ behavior? Branding agency.
Brand management was a gradual job from the beginning of the last century until the mid-80s. Like strategic planning, it was programmed over the years and could take decades. Thus, the brands’ behavior didn’t vary much in all those years. Neither did the brands’ communication strategies or ways of relating to customers. Back then, communicating a brand consisted of encapsulating a single message in an advertising format and launching and repeating as many times as the budget allowed. We couldn’t distinguish customers based on the intensity they related to the brand, nor the messages chosen with that intensity in mind. For those brands, everything was massive and monotonous; the message, the media, and the audiences.
On the other hand, there was little room for innovation. Moreover, it was a process calculated and controlled by great trendsetters. These were responsible for forging the future products and services that the audience would demand. That is why we can call them demand generators.
So much so that, for example, in the tech sector, the industries had their launch projections scheduled for ten years. These projections gave them enough time to amortize the development of assets that would later become obsolete. That is what Wolfgang Haug called planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is so closely related to innovation that both are two sides of the same coin. The German philosopher believed that the end of innovation was the obsolescence of products blocking the market that consumers could still use.
The customer takes center stage. Branding agency.
Currently, these capitalist methodologies are still valid in large areas of the goods and services market. However, globalization, new technologies, media, and living standards have caused customers to take on a significant role. All this caused great changes in the very heart of companies. We can see this notion in the new trends of collaborative product development. There, customers help create the products they will later buy. We can also see it in the exponential growth of crowdfunding portals, which attract investors and future clients to finance their start-ups.
There is no doubt that the influence of fashions marked the 20th century. However, the first decades of this century show us a new panorama with the arrival of digital natives, such as millennials. Companies are no longer the ones that impose lifestyles, fashions, and consumption habits. They have begun to put focus on the customer. Market research departments delve into the consumer’s psychology and ways of being and acting.
In the same way, the growing competition imposed by increasingly accessible globalization forces companies to adapt their offer of products and services. That also means adapting their tone of voice and how they interact with customers. As a result, they could capture new markets and save themselves from obsolescence.
From fashions to trends. Branding agency.
On the other hand, the decentralization of fashion has determined the diversification of the markets. We can see that in the growth of new niches and categories representing new audiences. But unlike the strategies used in the past, these new markets are not created by simultaneous innovation but must be sought out by true trend hunters. Supported by technological instruments, metrics, and big-data analysis, the companies manage to capture the needs of a particular audience. Then, they will be able to evaluate if it can be profitable or not to offer them products according to their needs, which means a business opportunity.
Increasingly, this early detection of trends in different audiences is becoming a determining factor for the survival of companies and, consequently, their brands. Those who cannot or do not want to adapt will be crushed by a train accelerating more and more forcefully. A clear example is the case of companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s. In these cases, global trends toward healthy living are causing these companies to change their purpose. The reduction of sugars and carbonated water, on the one hand, and the reduction of trans fats, calories, and the image of fast food, on the other.
In summary, all these trends make companies rethink their brands’ strategies. Consumers have changed, and brand behavior must change too. The power is no longer in the brands but in the customers. Furthermore, it will be challenging to carry out correct brand management if the brands don’t fully understand what the target audience needs.
Customers’ role in building brands. Branding agency.
Customers’ role in building brands is increasingly important. The new business models and the focus on customer-based marketing present a refreshing panorama for branding in the 21st century. In this blog, we will explain it and understand its evolution.
A little history of customers’ role. Branding agency.
In the early years of branding and brand management, the focus was on the sending end of the communication; on companies. Then, in the mid-1990s, revolutionary concepts emerged that gave brands a new direction. One such concept was the so-called customer-based brand equity. The basis of this concept is on the premise of previous blogs that say the brand resides in consumers’ minds as a cognitive interpretation.
At the time, cognitive psychology and information processing theory heavily influenced customer research. That current was led by the Canadian psychologist Robert Gardner. Later, it would be related to consumer choice and the new customers’ role in building brands. Thus, the knowledge of these currents was adapted to brand management and gave birth to the customer-based approach.
However, before this new approach, branding suffered from a lack of independence from marketing. Furthermore, it was not even recognized. Compared to advertising and marketing, research articles on branding were hard to find. The very notion of brand equity was often not even mentioned and certainly not defined. Above all, the academic discipline of branding seemed immature and scientifically incomplete. All changed after the introduction of customer-based brand equity.
New branding approach to the customers’ role. Branding agency.
The customer has become the main point of interest in this new approach. And for the best understanding of this analysis, we could say he is the brand’s owner. That’s why customer-based brand equity introduces an outside-in approach. It also encompasses an external strategy formation instead of the internal construction of traditional methods.
According to Kevin Keller, brand equity creation takes place by shaping the brand associations in consumers’ minds. Understanding the customer is, therefore, central to the concept of brand equity creation. However, it is essential to note that the approach implies a specific view of the customer.
Finally, this approach assumes that the brand is a cognitive interpretation in the consumer’s mind. The customer now has much, much more control in the brand-customer exchange. This idea is a departure from other theories that state that marketers view the customer through a lens borrowed from behavioral psychology. In this notion, the marketer, who traces the brand in the consumer’s mind, will be able to choose precisely the correct elements of the brand and communicate them to a customer who will respond accordingly. These assumptions can be contradictory and unreasonable in current times.
Summarizing. Branding agency.
In other words, from this approach, we can only conceive the creation or development of a brand with that brand-customer duality. That is because customers bring brands to life. They give them their purpose and nourish them with emotional aspects, character, and history. That gives rise to co-creation as a way to get closer to understanding the modern branding approach and the new customers’ role in building brands.
Decentralization of brand management. The new customers’ role. Branding agency.
To justify this new customer role, we must consider that branding, as Hatch and Schultz describe, has become a multifunctional activity. Branding is no longer the task of marketing departments but has become part of managing various company areas. The intervention of Human Resources, R&D, and Institutional Relationships, among others, turned brand management into something chaotic.
We must also add the more significant knowledge consumers have of brands and the market. This knowledge often leads them to get involved, even in speculation and the stock market, to invest their money in different brands from their computers or cell phones. Because of this, consumers today can question everything and take relationships to a very high level of skepticism.
However, as Morgan says, not all customers have an emotional connection with the product, but some use it as one more element in their lives without giving it much importance. Once again, marketing departments have ceased to have complete control over the brand to become a company-wide policy. Everyone has to believe.
To the conquest of customers. Branding agency.
As we will see in the following blogs, the discipline of branding should be like a brand-customer relationship. New lifestyles appear, and the brand and the customer avoid one-way messages. There must be a dialogue, an exchange, a continuous interaction that founds both actors.
But, for this dialogue to be deep and fruitful, brands and customers must share the same values, ideas, and beliefs. This kind of relationship will validate their faith and trust in each other. In this way, it will be possible to create a more intense relationship with the customer that will generate loyalty and a sense of belonging.
How to approach customers? Branding agency.
The brand-customer relationship that leads to co-creation is a win-win relationship. On the one hand, customers benefit from that because the brand puts into practice innovations they would like to see in certain products or services. On the other hand, companies benefit because they design coherent products with less financial risk. At the same time, as Saleem says, they get more loyal customers to the brand by achieving a more effective connection between the two.
On the other hand, although interactivity, authenticity, dynamism, and customers’ power are essential in this new brand management model, Grant maintains that brand management is no longer effective because it ignores the pressure of brands to adopt a more authentic approach. In this sense, the traditional techniques to obtain consumer knowledge, based on market research and observation techniques, are helpful to get insights related to attitudes towards brands but not to acquire knowledge about customer intention.
Therefore, we can use a participatory customer approach to predict their behavior. The objective goes beyond providing opinions, but that the customers become brand creators. For this reason, all interested parties must participate in the process and contribute their creativity.
On the companies’ side, it is necessary to actively listen to their audiences and the responsibility of maintaining long-term relationships. They also need the commitment to put input into practice and allow the brand to evolve through participation.
Conditions for co-creation. Branding agency.
Notwithstanding what we discussed, there are two conditions for consumers to participate in the company’s co-creation process. First of all, the company’s activity must be relevant. That is, they have to care about the category to which the brand belongs or what the company can do for them. Second, you must convince them that the company values their ideas and that they will be heard. And the company will implement their opinions and contributions.
In this way, consumers will be able to accompany the brand in its process of evolution sincerely and give the best of themselves. Of course, as Saleem says, their participation must be from the conceptualization to the generation of content for its correct communication. Despite this, this process entails specific execution problems. Therefore, marketers must see them strategically to avoid making mistakes that affect the brand’s image.
Is the future in co-creation? Branding agency.
There are two alternatives when starting the co-creation process. First, we can start with an existing community where topics related to the company’s activity are already discussed. Secondly, we can create a community to analyze ideas and concepts about the brand. Therefore, as Grant mentions, there will be as different prisms of the same brand as the ideas they can come up with. These start from a problem to be solved rather than from how to advertise the brand in question.
Thus, in a context where technology makes it easier to share ideas anywhere, brands must establish the foundations to encourage innovation and creativity. Likewise, they must develop mechanisms that evaluate the ideas proposed by the different actors involved in a company.
To conclude, the interest in building and developing brands from and towards customers should be a premise of any company that wants to establish lasting relationships with its customers and generate loyalty. In this new century, power is on the side of information, and customers increasingly own more. Therefore, companies should stop looking at their navels to think about their future and better understand the new customers’ role in building brands.
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