Do You Want to Win the Popularity Contest of Branding?

Then you need to know what you’re up against. At EVERLAND, we use a simple yet effective brand navigation method to explore a brand’s growth opportunities and future position. We call it ‘The 4Cs’. Are you ready to win?

Are you working on a new brand, a rebrand or developing your existing brand through brand-driven innovation? Regardless, you can make great use of the 4Cs. It’s an invaluable tool we use for every project, big or small, as it helps us map the context of a brand, uncovering commercial opportunities, threats, fading and growing trends, as well as your brand legacy.

The 4Cs cover the context of the four areas in which your brand operates:

  • Company
  • Category
  • Consumer
  • Culture

When building strong brands, it is critical to understand your context, seize commercial opportunities, and stay relevant. By exploring each C, you can systematically define how your context is changing and what elements and trends you can leverage to your benefit. It might seem like a simple approach, but you always learn something you wouldn’t have otherwise.

But enough talk; let’s get down to it. We start closest to home with the first C, Company.

Company – Understand Your Brand

When researching your Company, you investigate your existing assets, legacy and brand equity. Which elements do you have at your disposal to build on and develop? This task should be relatively easy and is ideal for getting started. Remember, it’s not a walk down memory lane – the focus is on the brand.

This area is especially relevant for companies that have been around for a long time. One’s heritage can be reformulated to regain relevance in the eyes of the consumer. Over and over, we see companies reinvigorate their brand through retro branding, weaving nostalgia into a modern look.

We did the same for Danish orange soda icon Tuborg Squash. They’ve been around since 1936, becoming an icon and synonymous with thirst-quenching, delicious orange soda. But somewhere along the way, they lost some magic. So, our job was to make them pop (once more)! Part of the success lies in rejuvenating the brand design, highlighting the iconic status and heritage in a modern way that is easy to understand. It’s worth mentioning that sales increased 69% after the make-over.

How Does This Apply to You?

Look into what makes you popular. Which part of your brand resonates with the consumer? What makes them remember you and choose you over the competition? Also, look into what builts internal pride and has already achieved commercial growth.

Category – Be the Opposite of Your Competition

Next up, we broaden the scope a bit more. It’s time to look at the Category, including your competitors. Explore the competitive landscape, trends within the category (and tangential categories), and where the market is heading.

When you look closely at the category, you get some immediate ideas about what your brand should and shouldn’t do. But be aware of the pitfall of just copying your competitors. To be remembered by consumers, you need to stand out and offer something distinct and relevant.

A few years ago, we worked with Danish water brand Aqua d’Or on redesigning their brand universe. We saw what the competition was doing, basically all incorporating some sort of visual cliches like icebergs and glaciers. Hence, we took Aqua d’Or in the opposite direction, making it a product of honesty with a fashionable appeal.

How Does This Apply to You?

Draw inspiration from category trends and movements. But never copy. If you are just a copy of the real thing, why would I buy your product? Research competitors and act so your brand stands out. Be distinct, and consumers will love you for it.

Consumer – Understand Their Driving Forces

Now, we have a sit down with our Consumers. It’s about uncovering their needs, demands, and tendencies to stay relevant and establish your position in a constantly changing market.

For the Chinese rechargeable battery brand, ReCyko, we turned the tables and made the product more human, rather than talking milliamperes, volt and watt. This makes ReCyKo a more exciting consumer-friendly brand. It also makes a much better case, targeting people’s emotions instead of rational thinking. After all, 95% of all purchases are based on emotions.

How Does This Apply to You?

To get a better understanding of your consumers, talk to them. Do your research, both qualitative and quantitative. Read up on what they are reading, seeing, enjoying, consuming and so on. Basically, place yourself in their shoes.

Culture – Take the Pulse and Get the Bigger Picture

Finally, you look at Culture. The surrounding context for both company, category and consumer. The zeitgeist that permeates everything. Dive into the context of the brand and consumers. Where are we now, and where are we heading? Keep an eye out for social movements growing or fading? Are there any no-no’s or pitfalls regarding action, words, and attitude in this culture? Spoiler: there always is.

French meat alternative start-up La Vie is dead serious about being positive and celebrating life. This attitude is a relief to a society that is tired of compromises and hearing what they should and shouldn’t be doing. La Vie unites vegans and meat lovers alike with their products. They celebrate both rather than separating them. After all, we are all humans, sharing the same planet. No need for social shaming. It’s counter-productive to sustainable solutions.

How Does This Apply to You?

Just like the 3rd C, Consumer, it’s about immersing yourself in the Culture and understanding it from the inside. Experience new stuff. Don’t hold back on connecting (new) ideas. Because when you inspect a culture, you might find new opportunities you wouldn’t have found looking at your category. And don’t think that this ‘culture’ doesn’t apply to your category. It’s an essential part of the analysis.

From Facts to Findings.

Now it is time to reflect on your analysis. And yes, the four Cs overlap, but it helps you leave no stone unturned while looking for commercial opportunities or a favourable repositioning.

So ask yourself (honestly), how does your brand reflect:

  • Company
  • Category
  • Consumer
  • Culture

You have your context in place. Now you know what it takes to become relevant and distinct. Time to make a proper synthesis. See where your brand needs to improve, where you already meet specific criteria, what changes you have to make, and so on, for every single C.

Finally, it will be crystal clear in what direction your brand is going and whether it is the right direction. The synthesis is essential, as it is the first time you translate facts into findings. If you have done a thorough analysis, your findings are likely to be easily understood and even implemented. Congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming popular (again).