Obituaries in publications including Harvard Business Review and Fast Company have recently reported the untimely demise of branding and marketing. Get past the headlines, however, and both of these specific articles go on to explain how the practice of branding and marketing is reborn. We agree with business guru Peter Drucker, who said that the purpose of business is to create a customer and that the business enterprise has two basic functions: Marketing and Innovation.
Marketing is too often equated with tactics: literature, websites, advertising, etc. But marketing is about the market. Every business is built on meeting people’s needs that are not being met otherwise. Serving customers starts with understanding those needs and creating customers require anticipating what those needs will be in the future. Your brand is not a garnish. It should embody your customer’s aspirations.
Your customers’ needs change more frequently than what you offer. Conventionally, once you have an established offer, you invest to optimize your model. Then, you work toward building a brand that helps establish your position and communicate your value proposition. However, a constant focus on optimizing your offer without addressing your customer’s changing needs creates a gap between what you do and what your customers need. This gap has tempted companies to say things that simply aren’t true to stay relevant. As you climb this ladder of market needs, you get ever closer to reconsidering what you’re really offering.
In the new knowledge economy, the rate of change is increasing, and the market expects systemic innovation. In this dynamic environment, you need to build a foundation for growth. Focus on building a Brand Platform that keeps ahead of your customer’s expectations.
Start with a future-focused market claim. Build a brand that helps you create customers based on a better understanding of their needs. A Brand Platform is a foundation for finding new sources of value, creating new opportunities, and setting a stage for innovation.