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Brand Management

Brand Success In The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Brand Success In The Fourth Industrial Revolution

To summarize, here are just some of the ways the current industrial revo­lution is changing everything, availing opportunities as well as challenges for your brand:

1. Altered Buyer’s Journey: “Seventy percent of the buying decision is made before a prospect talks to the company,” says digital marketing expert Marcus Sheridan. With so much information at their fingertips, customers rely less on sales staff to guide them on their purchasing decisions. And they want immediate answers on-demand.

2. Cutting-Edge Business Opportunities: We can’t fully imagine the new business opportunities that will arise from the convergence of the physical and cyber worlds fueled by ultra-high-speed connectivity. Entrepreneurs with foresight are in the best position to identify and seize these opportunities.

3. Greater Data Collection: With an increasing number of devices connected to the Internet, huge amounts of data are being collected on all aspects of our daily lives. All this data can benefit businesses and customers alike. Businesses can increase production efficiency and offer hyper-customized solutions based on product use. At the same time, customers can use the data to save time, money, improve health, and so much more.

4. Bigger Security Concerns: Companies know which websites you’ve been surfing, how physically active you are, and even how much time per week you’re spending on social media. The exponential proliferation of data and information gathering from connected devices has many implications about our security and privacy. All brands must become responsible stewards of the private infor­mation they gather and use. The minimum is abiding by the laws various organizations are scrambling to develop in an effort to keep up with the pace of technology. However, brands that go beyond those with customer data are likely to be favored by customers.

5. Reinventing Marketing And Sales: Brands are learning how to extract insights from the data available to serve their customers better. For example, technology and utility consultant Seyi Fabode predicts that marketers will soon be able to deliver hyper-locally targeted ads, such as showing you a deal for the nearest grocery store as you’re heading home.

6. Diminishing Costs: Heath Terry, managing director at Goldman Sachs, predicts the increas­ing ability to pinpoint customer requirements will reduce logistics and inventory costs. And as it gets easier for companies to deliver super-tar­geted solutions to customers, their ROI may increase.

7. New Staffing Requirements: Repetitive tasks are increasingly done by robots and computers, thereby freeing individuals to accomplish more and to focus on innovation and creativity. At ING Group, for example, the physical branch of retail banking has been replaced by the mobile phone in your pocket. Now you can complete several transactions with your smartphone that previously required in-person meetings with a professional.

8. Enhanced Productivity: Better connectivity and hyper-speed communication are changing how we collaborate and work. Already, many companies are hiring employees from different countries and across several time zones. An increasing number of freelancers, employees, and consultants are embracing digital nomadism, a lifestyle in which they can work from anywhere as long as they have a computer and Internet connection.

These are only some of the evolving implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for your brand and business. As you are probably now aware, it brings both opportunities and challenges, since your competitors could potentially access and integrate these developments as you might. At the very least, they all require a mindset shift. It cannot be business as usual. In fact, you may have already begun to grapple with ways to either counteract or leverage some of these innovations for the benefit of your organization and customers.

The good news is that if you are proactive in harnessing and integrating tools of our digitally dynamic age, you will have a head start in positioning for future competitive advantage. “Growth and the pace of technological change is leading to ‘significant strategic shifts’ as companies across industries re-evaluate their business strategies or consider consolidation in order to compete differently,” says David Solomon, president and co-chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs.

The Challenge For Your Brand
Your brand, the enabler of your business, must transform to ensure your business thrives. You already know that your brand is much more than a marketing tool. Its effective implementation, ongoing management, monitoring, and evolution are critical.

You are also likely aware that social media has made this the age of the customer. Transparency is the new normal, since a comment or tweet can help or harm your brand—whether by a customer or even a current or past employee.

This drives the way your marketplace perceives and experiences all points of interaction with your organization—as the sum of all your parts. According to Brand Finance, your brand represents 18 percent of your organization’s marketplace value.

As these and other developments of our Fourth Industrial Revolution require, constant change is the order of the day for the foreseeable future. Embracing these opportunities and addressing the challenges of our new age, are key. There are new ways to improve business across a range of industries, from small, regional companies to built environments, nonprofits, governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

What Do You Do In This Ocean Of Change?
Get back to one of your most important business cores: your brand. Clarify your purpose. Hone in on the most essential offers that you can continue to refine. Keep learning about these fast-moving developments and look for ways to reestablish your unique ownership in focused areas. For your brand, this is how we see the order of accountability: employees first; clients/customers second; and prospects, shareholders, and others third. Ask yourself how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will alter their experiences. How might your products and services be improved? Would your cost of doing business be reduced? Would your supply chain and productivity be positively affected? Become familiar with these fast-moving developments of digital transformations. Begin to explore them if you haven’t yet done so. By immersing yourself in these quickly evolving developments, you will spur your creativity and imagination of what can be done for and with your brand. Rest assured, if you don’t do it, your competitors will.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Marc Cloosterman, CEO, VIM Group. Excerpted and adapted from his book Future Proof Your Brand.

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