Branding best practice: Exploring how to create a brand which cuts through the noise

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Webinar Having a strong, unified brand image is a must in today’s noise-heavy, social-amplified marketing landscape. With the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic added in, it is even more indispensable.

The recent 2020 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Ranking, put together by WPP and Kantar, is a gold mine of information when it comes to assessing why the biggest brands dominate as they do. As with previous rankings, the influence of technology is apparent: seven of the top 10 brands are tech companies, while the three outliers (Visa, McDonald’s and Mastercard) are well known for their innovative use of marketing technology to improve business outcomes and customer experiences.

When it came to best practice for brands, the WPP/Kantar report came up with various interesting ideas. Some of them, as we will see below, are at odds with more traditional thinking:

  • Spread an optimistic message. “Brands have an opportunity to be a counterpoint to despair,” says the report. “Without ignoring or minimising difficult realities, brands could remind people about the daily joys that make problems worth fixing, and life worth living”
  • Be deliberate about purpose. Brands need a purpose, and when leveraged properly, can help cut through the noise – particularly during these uncertain times. “If the brand purpose is related to sustainability or social impact, decide where exactly the brand has a useful and differentiating position,” the report notes. “People expect brands to step up and do their part – consumers may welcome and reward brands for helping to re-energise their communities”
  • Form and serve communities: Target the communities where your brand is especially relevant and form bonds. That is obvious enough, but indirect action may bring direct reward. “Think less about targeting a community to drive sales and more about creating or serving a community because the brand’s products and services can improve the lives of community members,” the report notes
  • Respect boundaries: As technology enables more personalised customer journeys, brands should not be asking whether they can take the next step – the answer will usually be yes – but whether they should. Setting and respecting privacy boundaries will only become more complicated, not only from the continuing ramifications of GDPR but through working from home and more pervasiveness of connected devices

To summarise, brands need to take a position and be consistent with it. Consistent brand presentation across platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Yet for many organisations, who have many internal and external brand-building partners, getting a single source of truth is easier said than done.

In a recent insight piece from Willem Haen, brand director at brand management software provider Frontify, explored these themes. Haen cited Amazon, who was ranked #1 in the WPP/Kantar study, and how its mission – ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’ – and branding remains consistent in spite of its size.

“The primary Amazon logo contains the yellow arrow that looks like a smile and points from A to Z,” Haen wrote. “This helps communicate the brand’s mission by showing they want to delight customers by selling everything from A to Z.

“Amazon carries the arrow smile through to all branding and product extensions,” Haen added. “You can find it on their delivery trucks and the box of goods you receive. It’s incorporated into its Prime membership logo, which strives to make customers happy by quickly bringing them what they want.

“Amazon provides a consistent look, feel, and message that supports its mission at every touchpoint. And you can’t deny the results.”

Haen cited a study from Lucidpress and Demand Metric which found that more than three in five of the 200 organisations polled said marketing materials were created which did not conform to their brand guidelines. This is where companies such as Frontify step in; through cloud-based, easy to access style guides and brand asset management tools – the future-proofed answer to DAM, as well as collaborative areas for real-time feedback throughout the design pipeline, obtaining that single source of truth becomes easier.

At DMWF Virtual on 16-17 September, Shannon Healey, communication manager at Frontify, will be taking attendees through the steps required to cultivate a brand which cuts through the noise. What are the challenges of an oversaturated digital landscape? How do you need to define your brand’s core? Which stakeholders need to be actively involved?

Reading the BrandZ report means you can learn from the best; and by attending this session, you can learn how to rise above the rest in an ever-competitive market.

You can find out more about Healey’s session by visiting here.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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