Legendary brands have been inspiring marketers for decades. Some of those are more than a hundred years old like Coca-Cola, BMW, 3M and HSBC, while some of them are fairly new like Google, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix and Zoom. There must be a few things being done right by these companies consistently to stay relevant over the decades. They have faced gigantic challenges along their way and have successfully dealt with them. There are lessons for us, certainly!
COVID19 is inflicting many changes in the world for the long term and has an unprecedented scale of impact for humanity. As we stand faced with fast-changing consumer behaviour and priorities, how can a brand stay relevant for the long haul?
Purposefulness is eternal
Needless to say that great people have a clear purpose in their lives and the same applies to brands. It is said, “If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily.”
Marketers have to figure out if they have a mission statement or a purpose which is well-understood by the senior leaders and the marketing team. Sometimes, the purpose is defined and crafted nicely but companies lose touch with it in the melee of execution. When one is at the crossroads, it is always a good idea to take a pause and reconnect with the raison d’être. Currently, many brands are at one such crossroad. Many industry sectors have to rethink the way their products are sold and distributed, the way they engage with customers, their operational processes and if their focus segment still has and will continue to have demand for their products and services in the near to medium term.
The answers to all these strategic questions impact the way a company communicates with its stakeholders and thus, drives the perception of the brand in the minds of its stakeholder. For example, Tesla says they accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. With such a clear purpose, it is easy to build a brand and answer the strategic questions around their products, innovation, customer engagement, people, suppliers and community. Hence, marketers have to play a role in reviewing answers to these questions through the lens of the brand’s purpose.
In every walk of our lives, we use technology to our benefit. Do companies always do that? One of the fundamental questions before the marketing team is to define the customer profile, engage with them and provide the insights to the rest of the organisation so that the right products can be designed and developed, manufacturing, production planning, procurement to sales and distribution can be aligned accordingly.
The marketing team has to work closely with the IT and Analytics teams to collect and analyse data related to customer behaviours. They have to figure out methods of leveraging new technologies such as voice assistants, chatbots, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, connected devices, robotics and many more such developments.
These programmes can help companies target customers precisely, build the brand stronger and increase operational efficiencies of marketing spend. As a collateral benefit, operational efficiencies in sales and distribution processes improve as well as new revenue streams start developing.
Engaging the community
We see large companies investing consciously in community development and engagement. It is a misnomer that smaller companies cannot have the bandwidth to engage with the community.
We are living in a time where our stakeholders expect us to be socially responsible and proactive in contributing to the community we live in. We are expected to use energy-efficient methods and tools, put in place effective pollution control measures and conduct our business with fairness and responsibility. It is important that the marketeer recognises these and align the organisational behemoth along these dimensions and initiate programmes wisely which are not only aligned with the company’s purpose but also meaningful for the community and efficient for the company.