Centre yourself, greet the new day and open to the vision: we will remain open, move with the times, bend and balance. When the agency and the Brand intention are in sync, harmony will follow. Branding for the 21st century.
As we move more deeply into the 21st century and are faced with new technologies and emerging channels. Agencies need to be holistic in our approach towards Brand; remaining fully present, clearly defining and reaffirming the brands with which we are entrusted. The marketing, advertising, communications and promotions that result will be a smooth flowing process of actions that continuously evolve a Brand, not simply one effort with one static result.
Our goal is a journey toward Brand strength. We will stretch ourselves toward greater awareness, not only of the Brand, but the Brand in all its manifestations and emanations. Succinctly, agencies will provide nourishment to all the energies of the Brand. Yes, it will still be about communication flow, but it’s really going to be about tapping into the Brand ‘chakras’.
Once upon a time agencies could push a brand message out and inform consumers “what’s in it for them”, but more and more, consumers will expect to be part of the conversation, to exercise influence and demand respect of their views and opinions. The Brand will need to be a personality; building relationships, engaging and offering information, giving with no expectation of immediate returns. Agencies that acknowledge this new energy will integrate it to enrich the process of branding. This isn’t altruism, the Brand’s message still continues to be “all about me” for sure… but the approach, style and mix of communication channels will reflect the changing media and technology environment. We need remain open, move with the times, bend and balance.
Today’s, and most definitely tomorrow’s, successful branding initiatives will be based on the understanding that nothing exists alone – everything is inter-dependent. Sounds very yoga-ish, doesn’t it? The Agency will recognize the values and distinctiveness of communities and understand subtle differences in personas for Brands to flourish. The Agency that identifies and acknowledges the core energies and relationships of a brand will enable that brand to speak authentically. By applying vision, discipline, reflection and focus the Brand will be rewarded with influence and awareness.
Agencies will still need to be very connected to the Brand to be responsive… to develop and maintain Brand personality, with fluidity and spontaneity.
With the emergence of new channels such as social media, mobile apps and immersive marketing, Agencies will grow, progress and embrace the new without forgetting the old. Time for awakening the senses! We must lead our Brand Client to meet the challenge with thoughtfulness and clear understanding. Classic media channels will need and should remain as part of the communications mix in order to maintain balance and build strength.
The path to brand enlightenment can be a smooth one, here’s our asana for success…
Holding the correct posture is as important in branding as it is in yoga. In Branding it’s called positioning. It’s about establishing a recognizable image and voice in the appropriate markets, creating a Brand that serves its communities’ purposes gracefully and well. The correct posture and clear thinking go hand in hand in creating a successful Brand.
Develop the Brand mantra (USP). The mantra propels Brand’s equity, assesses the current Brand relevance and projects future needs. Brand intention requires focus on the strategic direction and remaining mindful and aligned to it at all times in order to build a genuine Brand philosophy.
Set an intention (objective). As in Yoga, progressing towards change is only achieved with a deeper understanding and maturity. Know your process and communicate it to the Brand Client so that all involved take part in achieving the intention.
Once an intention is set, it generates its own life force. It becomes the vital energy (strategic plan) of the Brand identity and it must be nourished and enhanced. The energy is all about creating momentum, buzz and awareness. The way in which Brand approaches this life force in the 21st has evolved to give back, to inform, to sustain, and to be mindful.
Every Brand has karma (results). The Brand mantra must own whatever image or philosophy it projects out onto the universe, as this will ultimately remain attached to it. Missteps come back to haunt the future.
The Brand persona must be authentic, truthful, and appropriate to its intention and market community. Communities, friends, fans… and yes, ultimately consumers, immediately pick up on anything that seems insincere Truth leads to connection and that leads to success. In short, a Brand philosophy that is balanced and dedicated is set to achieve perfect alignment.
Honouring the tradition, remaining open to the present and embracing the possibilities are basic to the practice of marketing. Respecting the traditional skills of our profession and calling on them where appropriate just makes sense. Being completely au fait with social network and digital tools of all kinds is essential, as is being mindful that not all that is new or trendy is worthy of our investment. Offering the best possible solutions while embracing innovative thinking will continue to clear the path for Brand relevance for years to come.
Branding successfully is a journey that will not only provide greater understanding and awareness of Brand, it will also foster a deeper understanding of the communities in which it speaks to. Our intentions should be realistic and useful without eliminating the potential for the remarkable. Ultimately, it will not be about winning awards, it will be about successful Branding. That’s not a limitation, that’s not unforeseen – that’s clarity.
How do you feel about this approach to branding? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so join the conversation!
This post was co-authored by Heather Moore.
Heather is the art director at 3H Communications Inc. with over 30 years of experience in Canada and overseas. Heather has a refined visual sense, an eye for detail and a way with words. With a wealth of experience as a packaging designer, Heather has a reverent respect for brand. She is dedicated to team-work, focused on crafting the perfect concept and meeting client requirements and a proponent of our own exacting standards.
*Image credit: pathakdesigner / 123RF Stock Photo