In many business organizations, there is still much confusion about the role of strategic brand development and brand management and who within the organization should lead it.
Brand strategy and brand management is too important to be left to marketing people.
That’s my spin on the famous David Packard quote (as in Hewlett Packard) about marketing being too important an activity to the well-being of a business enterprise to be left in the hands of marketing people alone.
Business leaders have notoriously looked at marketing with a critical eye. Marketing is not a “hard discipline” like engineering, sales and finance. Business leaders love quantified activities that facilitate a predictable return. Marketing doesn’t provide predictable returns.
And in today’s social media, permission and privacy driven world, marketing is even more suspect by consumers. Customers want real, authentic connections and engagement to brands, not more marketing and selling.
Brand strategy and brand management is not a sub-discipline of marketing.
We welcome and answer marketing questions of all types here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today’s question comes from Martin, a Brand Consultant in Brisbane, Australia. He asks:
“Fools say they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others’ experience.” – Otto Van Bismarck
We are obsessed with being first-movers. In a world of constant creation and exchange, we long to be the first to develop a new technology, to introduce the latest fad, and to offer our opinion, especially when it is unsolicited. From birth, we are reared to believe that wisdom and satiety are reserved only for those men and birds who rise early.
But as Bismarck reminds us, patience, too, can reap rewards. It allows us to observe and learn from others’ missteps. It also allows us to observe their successes, and gives us time to think deeply and act meaningfully as we apply these lessons to our own lives. For Bismarck, embracing the role of second-mover meant foregoing immediate fame and power for more gradual progress. War by war, treaty by treaty, he developed a kind of diplomatic omniscience that allowed him to predict the outcome of his own decisions with great confidence. Bismarck’s reward was an empire of astounding cultural and economic influence. For brands in the twenty-first century, the potential rewards are not very different.
The second-mover strategy runs counter to everything we’ve ever believed to be true about successful brands – they are supposed to be the innovators, the pioneers, the sole occupants of a neatly organized nook in the otherwise tangled mess of fatty tissue that is our brain. But gaining inspiration from the experiences of other brands should not be confused with imitation. Indeed, the practices and behaviors of the best brands in the world – whether we characterize them as such based on financial value or societal ubiquity – should be benchmarks for all organizations. Airlines should take note of Apple’s devotion to design at every touchpoint. Luxury fashion houses should strive to match the seamlessness of Amazon’s shopping experience and customer service. Consulting firms should heed Coca Cola’s masterful articulation of, and allegiance to, its heritage.
The 12th year of the 21st century is close upon us, bringing not just a new slate, but also a sense of significance: the very number 12 commands a lot of attention, in different ways.
Branding Strategy Insider welcomes and answers marketing questions of all types. Today’s question comes from David, a Marketing Manager in Salt Lake City, Utah. He asks: