Successful marketing is the alignment of a brand’s promise with the genuine value that brand delivers. It requires a combination of clear data and honed intuition to get the balance right. When it is right, the result is a business which is optimised to deliver on its promises – reliably, consistently, and in a way that resonates with those it serves.
The Role of Data and Research in Brand Strategies
It is for this reason that I will always look to data and research to guide my strategies. Being intuitive is an important part of creating great strategy. However, it must always be based on data and research. If I discard the information that I have, it is because I have seen a trend that does not yet have either sufficient data or sufficient consumer awareness to be relevant at this point in time. In other words, there is too little supporting data, or the trend does not yet influence the target audience.
Strategy alone is no guarantee of brand success, however. It is clear that the management team is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a brand, since they set the tone – both articulated and tacit – that will guide their staff, and therefore the relationship that their customers have with the brand.
The Role of Technology in Brand Strategies
Technology and social media have ushered in a need for sincerity on the part of brands. No longer can a marketing budget shout louder than the truth. A new phase of marketing is being ushered in. As yet, we can’t name or even define this new phase. I predict that we have not yet come to grips with the power that the individual has through his vast network. At the same time, the proliferation of choices and the speed of change has dulled the users of that technology. Consumers have become easily bored with detail. And they do not necessarily have discerning taste. It is a convergence of power, boredom, and sentimentality where people seek simple answers to complex problems.
What all this means to business is that nothing that we did in the past will stay the same. Retail businesses will have to reinvent themselves. Products and product lines will have to be rationalised as consumers become tired of the complexity of choice. Business-to-business relationships need to use technology to help improve the efficiencies of doing business. As a result, there is a need for a skilled labour force to underpin the technology when it fails, or when the technology creates activities that need to be optimised differently.
We are in the infancy of our relationship with technology. As the digital world starts to merge with our reality, we are starting change the way we understand how the world works. Questions must arise:
- What will the shopping malls of the future look like?
- How will we consume?
- Is travel in its current format sustainable?
- Is healthcare for the few equitable?
- How can we use technology to educate ourselves so that it becomes more affordable and equitable?
- Can any social system continue to exist in an environment of such great uncertainty?
- Will the political system (any political system) create a long-term solution?
- Or will it rely on a path of self-preservation?
- How will our religious beliefs change?
- How will this affect our morality?
- What virtues will become significant?
- What is it that we say we believe in?
- And how does that translate into how we behave?
- How do these changes affect those with access to technology and those without – whether that access is by choice or circumstance?
If any one of these factors was to change, then we would probably be able to predict the outcome. However, with so many changes occurring simultaneously, it is impossible to make predictions with a high expectation of accuracy.
If ever there was a time where the question was more important than the answer, it is now. We have to create strategies that are forward-thinking, yet agile enough to keep pace with (and adapt to) seemingly ceaseless change. The only way to achieve this is by creating a brand that has a great relationship with its staff, and with the market it serves.