This post is partially in Swedish, and I apologize for that. I’ll translate bits and pieces, but as you know, it’s never the same as the original. Nevertheless, I read a blog post that struck a cord with me – because it was well-written, but also because the issue currently is extremely relevant in my work life.
I’ll steal a picture from this blog post (in Swedish):
Basically this picture, and the blog post is centered around not the identity of a brand, but the level on which the brand identity is attached. Either you have a brand connected to a Product (PR), a Category (KA), a Competence (KO) or an Attitude/Role (AR).
There is a connection between brand extension success and level of brand identity. If you want to do what Virgin does (music, airplanes, coke) you have to find your bottom line in your Attitude, your Role in the market.
I would like to think that many would thrive if they just got out of the Product-focus or even Category belonging and instead zeroed in on their core Competence to see in what other areas that would make them more money, more fame. Of course Coca-Cola as a product is doing pretty good on it’s own, but I don’t think anyone minded when Ikea started to sell food and build their own shopping centers. (Well, possibly some people did mind, but none of them collected the revenue).
A slightly different problem, and perhaps a cause of getting stuck in the Product/Category part of the pyramid is this:
Mycket av att skapa starka varumärken handlar om sånt som en del av oss betraktar som självklarheter – konsumentnytta, tydlighet, konsekvens i alla led, öppenhet o.s.v.Men däremot helst inte om att försöka sammanfatta varumärket i några enkla “värdeord” utan någon som helst koppling till konsekvenser i ändrad attityd och ändrat beteende. Vi behöver modeller och systematik för att kunna förstå och tolka vår omvärld, men behöver samtidigt också inse att enbart några enkla modeller eller värdeord räcker inte för att skapa starka varumärken.
The comment is from this Swedish blog, and I’ll try to translation:
Creating strong brands has a lot to do with stuff that some of us sees as given – consumer benefit, distinctiveness, consequences in all aspects, openness etc. But preferably not to do with trying to summarize the brand in a couple of “brand values words” without any connection to consequences like a change in attitude or a change in behavior. We need models and systems to grasp and interpret our surroundings, but at the same time we need to realize that a couple of simple models or brand values won’t be enough to create those strong brands.
Said and done! Both the post and the comment above are written by Mats Rönne, and the blog post is addressing a “You”, a “You” that made Björn Alberts (author blog post 2, where Mats commented) ask – Who are “You”?
That You are me – and hopefully you (!) – and all the other people that want to care for the brand they work with, and that want to see it succeed. People that see a brand value stating “Innovative” and actually keep that in the back of their head throughout the workday. People that sees the “employee cult” of Ikea and Google as something working in favor of their brand. People that believe in “living the brand” and that would act as brand advocates out of their own will. Hell, even people that understand the business and take responsibility but know zipp about branding will due 😉
However, “You” are not the people that sit in a seminar, come up with 3 words and then go back to doing business the way they’ve always done them. However those guys NEED You to help them!