Brand Fundamental – Strategy & Imagination
A fundamental concept of a brand that everyone in the entrepreneurship ecosystem could internalise.
“A Brand is rational and an emotional connect”
The rational connect might be the value for a customer to pay for a product/ service or the business function of a brand but the emotional connect is the experience which the product/ service creates or the brand’s ability to connect with the customer’s gut feeling. Customers chose to spend on a functional product or a beautiful product, but why the product is beautiful is an intuitive choice, an emotional connect. When choosing a product people tend to make decisions based on intuition and then rationalise those decisions afterwards. They do so because the human brain favours speed: people want to decide as quickly as possible.
Start-ups/ entrepreneurs miss this part of the customer. The success of the business can hinge on 2 main criteria amongst many others:
- A product or service that is so unique (even patented) that differentiates your business and no competitor can copy it. Example: Apple products.
- The business evolves with the customer “need” and continues to innovate its offering based on customer behaviour/ demand. Example: Zara apparel.
Many successful brands have taken the second point as part of their brand culture and aligned their strategy towards understanding their target customers.
PROBLEM: Amongst most entrepreneurs and businesses, strategy (rational connect) is separated from creativity (emotional connect) by a W I D E gap. The business decisions and brand/ marketing activities are not consulted together, the latter is generally dovetailed into the business management decision. Hence, you see the difference of intent from execution which leads to failure.
This attitude also reflects in HR practices and finding the right candidates to manage brand and marketing.
SOLUTION: We need collaboration between the two and we need both teams need to be involved in the management process and decision-making equally.
Because when both sides of the brain work together strategic, rational) and right (creative, emotional), you can create a CHARISMATIC brand.
Why strategy & imagination? Our reasons:
Focus & execution
Focus & execution are important foundations to build a great brand. The brand team’s strategy needs to consistently focus and execute the creative deliverable well. This will help the team to track the progress of brand activities and improve its strategy and creative ideas to engage its customers. A good example would be content on 1% is idea + 99% is execution.
Engaging customers, creating experiences
Strategy for customer engagement is crucial to make a good brief for creative agencies/ brand team. The strategy helps the brand to imagine and be more creative with ideas of building new experiences. Innovative brand experiences will help a business to retain and engage more customers and compete with other brands for market share.
Innovation & Competitive edge
Strategy and imagination are a strong combination for innovation. It allows you to be imaginative with limited resources and strategic in execution, a “design thinking” tool. The design thinking tool has to be the foundation to any idea generation or problem solving approach. This will help the brand maintain or achieve market leadership and a competitive edge. Especially in times of recession, new competition or market volatility, the business needs to bring new innovative ideas at low cost and maintain its growth.
Leadership & Culture
Strategy & imagination cannot be seen in silos and it is not restricted only to the brand or marketing team. This needs to be part of the company/ start-up culture, constantly using it as a tool to solve a problem or to build new opportunities. It is a design thinking tool, a lateral thinking approach which needs to be a “ritual”. This should be part of the leadership team / top management that will steer the business and make sure it permeates across all functions and verticals. That’s what makes a brand and business successful, especially when they scale up.
This is also a great tool to reimagine a business, a sector or market and how we could innovate to grow our business or idea further. The reimagine series which I have taken up personally with entrepreneurs has been very helpful because of this process. There is no right time for the company, the business can always find strategy and imagination through design thinking tools can effectively realign and pivot the business, a product or service.