Is your Brand Future Proof?

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Courtesy of GLOBE Foundation

Does your brand have what is needed to survive the future? That was the key question posed in a recent GLOBE-Net Webinar led by Marc Stoiber, media branding guru and GLOBE-net contributor.

Drawing upon his many years in media and advertising, Marc noted the hard reality that many brands that are part of our everyday lives today won't be around in 10 years time. Why?

Partly, says Marc, because we are living in a time of chaos - financial chaos, environmental chaos, information chaos, and finally a time of cultural chaos.

  1. Economic - The global economy is still recovering from the great recession and here remains considerable uncertainty about the future. Many fear the foundations of our western way of life are being threatened.
  2. Environmental - We're still living in a period of denial and confusion about climate change, but more and more its effects are becoming real. Changing weather patterns, rising water levels, resource scarcities, these are slow burn issues now; but if climate scientists are right, their effects will become more dramatic, and at an increasing pace.
  3. Technological - The pace of technology development is accelerating far faster than our abilities to adapt to them. Is technology helping or hindering social interactions?
  4. Cultural - Because of the above three elements of chaos, cultures are being thrown together at an unprecedented pace, creating confusion, clashes, and disassociation.

What then must brand managers do to give their brands the resilience needed to survive the future?

As Marc pointed out in the Webinar, to survive they must pass five key tests:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Innovation
  3. Design
  4. Insight
  5. Sociability

Sustainability -Does the brand make businesssense? In a world of diminishing resources, heightened environmental legislation and vigilant NGO's, a smart brand's best insurance policy is having true relevance in the marketplace.

Innovation -Companies that methodically generate both evolutionary and revolutionary innovation are leading in their fields. In the future, factors like reverse innovation and rapid idea realization through new technology will wipe out companies that aren't passionate about innovation.

Design -Is your product well designed? Give it to a child or to someone who doesn't speak your language, and see if they can understand how to use it. Even better, see if it puts a smile on their face.

Insight -It pays to hold up your key insights to scrutiny, and to brainstorm on their relevance in the future. At worst, this might give you alarming news that people won't need your product in the future. At best, it will get you thinking with broader scope that allows far greater innovation.

Sociability -Brands are like fishbowls. Consumers can look at them from every angle, even stick their hand in and slosh around the water. There are no boundaries. To survive, your brand must relate to a real community, not an artificial advertising gimmick.

These five pillars are just a few of the keystones of resilient future brands. Spend some time with them, and doubtless you'll discover other issues that are equally important.

The most important thing to do, however, is pay attention. Think about how your brand would fare under the lenses of sustainability, perennial insights, design, innovation and sociability. Or engage someone outside your company to take an objective look.

The world is changing rapidly. Will your brand survive, or become fodder for the next Google article on brands that crashed and burned?

As was noted in the Webinar, not every brand will incorporate every element. But all brands must be reexamined to see if they have what it takes to survive and thrive in our new reality.

You can view the transcript of this milestone Webinar here.

You can learn more about sustainable branding at GLOBE 2012 - March 14-16 in Vancouver. Today's consumers are more selective, better informed, and expect companies to be doing more for their communities and the environment. What are the factors shaping the evolving consumer demand for eco-friendly products and services?

How can companies effectively communicate with and sell to consumers who are taking environmental and social considerations into account when making their purchasing decisions? How can companies position themselves favourably based on their environmental and social performance while avoiding the risks of overstating their achievements? At GLOBE 2012 a distinguished panel of experts in retail and marketing will address these issues.

Check here for more information.

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