It’s possible to build a house on a broad and solid foundation – it’s not the roof that comes first but rather a keystone that must be set for everything that follows to correctly fit together. The same principle applies to brand management and brand building.
Successful brands have one thing in common; they retain market continuity and clarity of their identity, which should remain untouchable! In addition to a brand philosophy and its essential traits, it’s necessary to bring these characteristics to life. In other words, to make them tangible and perceptible for external parties by creating brand empathy among consumers. This requires thoughtful entrepreneurial guidance about brand origin and its brand history.
Consumer trust in a brand is easier said than done. Adherence to authenticity, honesty and transparency about what a brand represents assures consumers of its consistency, which is a prerequisite for building brand strength. Consumers’ brand loyalty must be viewed by its creators as a consistent relationship that must not only be formed but also maintained and nurtured. Brand managers must be open to internal criticism that fosters clarity of purpose again and again about how the authentic image of a brand is maintained externally.
In Holistic Branding, we form a brand perspective from three important elements: heritage (history), entrepreneurial spirit and brand empathy, the last of which arises from these factors combined. It’s important to note that brands exist in service, corporate or product forms, each of which has distinct elements. Regardless of brand form, a company, its owners, and stakeholders have a vision, which sustain a brand through the harmonized elements of Holistic Branding.
Heritage provides an amalgamation of traits behind a brand: the central ideas of its creators, the motives for its justification in the market, its planned steps of development (milestones) and the anchors of its defined core competencies. With a transparent and clear identity, we maintain the soul of the brand and subject it to its respective zeitgeist. This guarantees adherence to its foundation, which strengthens with time and becomes an ongoing demand of the market.
In the process of its creation, a brand evolves as it’s developed, which endows it with a life of its own. Strong brands are created by doers – the brand drivers! Their passion, intention & ideology merge in the mission of the brand, and consumers identify from the effect of these factors. When they are strictly implemented and included in the brand strategy, the brand transitions into a mark of credibility and consistency, which must be continuously developed.
The development of a brand’s milestones, or steps to success, – whether negative or positive – must be included in annual plans and be consistently monitored. As failures are reassessed and recognized as opportunities, the brand grows and becomes more attractive to consumers! This reinforces brand security and strengthens its foundation.
An analysis of the brand’s strengths and weaknesses must be consistently performed to maintain its core competencies and preserve its essential DNA, which serves to reinforce the brand’s capabilities and its market positioning.
Brand empathy illuminates the needs of its customers, and its definition must be sharp, concise, and succinct. At the same time, brand empathy must be objectively considered by brand creators from the consumer’s standpoint. Engagement with consumers on many levels is essential to foster brand empathy.
As for Entrepreneurial Spirit, it’s characterized by the creation and development of the vision for a dynamic and innovative brand. Here, too, the passion of its creators drives the force of a brand. In addition to entrepreneurial intuition, the market environment must be controlled analytically and the USP must be worked out. Emotional commitment by creators of a brand is required!
The combination of these core elements/guiding themes forms the vision and its formulation for a brand, a company or even the product. If all three fields of competence interlock, then the direction of a brand’s market thrust can be clearly defined and set for 5-10 years. A soft adjustment after 2 years is recommended and should be guided by management’s perception of the brand’s zeitgeist.
Any analysis that follows may call for a brand re-alignment calling for broadly supported and consistent parameters by capable brand decision makers. Only with straightforwardness and consistency in the implementation can the brand be successful.