‘I want it, I got it’: Brand Control
14 March 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters
It’s a crazy world we live in, and finding a voice can be a hard task to master. Traditionally, being able to promote a brand has meant sticking to tried and tested methods to ensure a certain type of reaction and following. But as the nature of media and communication change around us, how can brands now control an identity that, arguably, isn’t really theirs?
How has the approach to Brand Control changed?
The previous ‘one-way’ message marketing stream has transformed into a fluid two-way dialogue, with emphasis now more heavily placed on creating ‘multidimensional experiences’. The key to what has changed lies behind the role of the consumer, who now are a large part of brand narratives, often being the complete driving force behind them. They help to craft brand perception, as well as being the ones to make or break how successful it might be. This new dynamic often means brands need to actively find new platforms for participation – as an example, Coca Cola’s “name bottles” encouraged a continued ‘brand journey’ for consumers by sharing their personalised stories on social media. As we are often seeing, consumers are now taking these brand conversations in brand new directions. This is happening whether brands like it or not – the way to now utilise it is to recognise you no longer have total ‘brand control’ and put a plan in place to get the best out of the new dynamic, following the conversation wherever it might end up.
How can we now ‘plan’ control?
As marketers, our job is now to amplify the positive attributes coming from whatever is happening in and around a brand, reaching into the community and, most importantly, staying relevant. Many of the conversations happening between a brand and consumer now seem to be spontaneous and real-time to an outside eye, but actually are strategically constructed through rigorous processes and a high attention to detail. ‘Scenario planning’ is now a common way of ensuring scheduled spontaneity is effective, anticipating for various outcomes of a possible situation. Maintaining the balance between real-time and constructed planning determines both the success of the control of brand identity, and the team behind it.
Lastly, many of these ideas and strategies behind retaining control rely solely on trust. This can be interpreted in a variety of ways – senior roles need to trust the decisions of junior ‘marketeers’, and empower them to trust their gut, and what they are seeing and hearing from the consumer conversation. Brands also need to put trust in the consumer themselves, as although they are now the ones heavily shaping a brand message, they are also the ones it needs to appeal to time and time again. Trust, relevance and balance are the fundamental boxes that need to be checked for not only a well-rounded brand experience, but to ensure there is harmony of the new partnership of control between brand and consumer.
Image Credit: marsdorian.com