The retail industry is most impacted by dynamic changes in consumer demand as today’s consumers want immediate, easy, 24/7 shopping experiences.
The global retail industry has undergone many changes and transformations, and most of these changes have been accelerated by Covid and to a certain extent facilitated by technology, but the reality is disruptive change is enforced by external demands and successful outcomes of that change is delivered by the internal people element.
Brands that obsessively understand the consumer experience and proactively gather valuable feedback from users are more likely to anticipate change in trends well in advance - particularly if they are a 'listening' brand.
Whilst your brand and your business are connected, your business is NOT your brand.
Of course a great logo helps you to stand out but if you had never come across 'Nike', or 'Google' before would you know who they are just by the logo, of course not.
Part of the identifying features of a brand is in its similarities to other relevant brands.
Take Coca-Cola – they sell a fizzy drink, in cans and bottles, to people, through various third parties, using aspirational messaging. So do their competition.
Just because other brands have similarities doesn’t mean that Coca-Cola should stop showing these features of the brand, as they are features which people need to know in order to put Coca-Cola in the same ‘crowd’ as their competitors.
The very best companies can convince consumers to believe in their company just as much as the owners and managers.
If we look at the battle between Apple and Android as another example, the consumers of each are extremely passionate about which device is better.
From a technological point of view, both devices are similar — they both have high quality cameras, they both allow phone calls, texting, and apps. Yet, users of each will defend their chosen company as if it were their own company…this is the power of a brand.
When managing a brand it is vital not to become obsessed with uniqueness. Not everything your brand does should be unique. It can’t be. The brand must be understood to be a part of a ‘crowd’ first – a crowd which has specific features in which people are interested. Only once you have defined the crowd in which your brand exists can you begin to create some level of differentiation, in order to try and stand out.
I spend an awful lot of time working with companies helping to them to re-define their brand position. Sometimes we need to re-position them simply because the brand relevance has gotten lost in the bullhorn outbound intrusive advertising tactics of marketing, or the operating model that was, is no longer fit for purpose because the consumer has already moved on.
Throw into this the fact that the leadership team have failed to listen to the consumer and its own employees and its no wonder you have a complete disconnect between brand and consumer.
Another extreme is to redefine it as the world they once operated in has moved on, ergo if the logo was the brand we should just keep the logo - right?
The simple fact is, your business is based upon the personality and messages you subliminally, and consciously send out, and if you don't define and manage those messages then the consumer will define it for you.
In truth, a brand is more than just a logo because the word also covers things like customer service and how customers feel towards a certain company.
Sometimes, it can be a gut feeling — good or bad — that we have towards businesses.
Part of what defines us is that which makes us the same as others. This is true for people and the same is true for brands.
With this in mind, we could define ‘brand’ as the intangible assets of a company.
Rather than a product that customers can feel, touch, and use, it’s completely intangible. For many experts, they describe it as the emotional relationship that a business has with a customer.
So when your customer, or prospects are looking to see if they can relate to you they are looking for reassurance messages in what we now call 'social proof'.
In summary: if your competitor is both internally and externally better aligned to the consumer, more active, and on point with their brand message, and they have an aligned workforce that are also being checked out social media, chances are they will win more business than you.
Which is "How The Best Companies Convince Consumers to Believe in Their Company Over Any Competitor."
We all believe that our brand and business is unique, that no-one else could possibly do what we do, that we are the one and only. But is an obsession with uniqueness necessarily true, or even helpful for our business and brand? We all want our brand to stand out from the crowd, but too often when managing a brand it is forgotten that we still need to be seen as a part of a crowd in order to then stand out from it.