When It Comes to Branding, Consistency Is Constant Adaption

“We want to keep our existing fans and reach new ones.” That’s the brief from 90% of our clients. It’s what every CMO and brand manager strives for when seeking to rejuvenate a brand while building and maintaining its relevance.

Relevance can be boiled down to problems and values. Does your product solve consumers’ problems? Does your brand connect with consumers’ values? And since your brand is your product, and vice versa, relevance is only achieved when you have both.

And here comes the never-ending spiel on how our society is ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-everness. Yet, it’s a story worth repeating for a reason; it’s true.

Brands must figure out how to stay relevant to consumers’ ever-changing needs and values. FMCG brands must align with consumers and take the challenge directly to surprise and delight consumers while building brand awareness and preference. But how? That is the question. Luckily, we also provide an answer.

An Anchor in Changing Times

Your brand essence is your anchor. It’s what encapsulates your history and directs your future. It reflects your promise to the world, what you’ll always deliver.

With your brand essence in place, you’ll have consistency in everything you initiate, from brand strategy to advertising campaigns.

As initiatives stack on each other, you’ll solidify your brand position in the market and consumers’ minds. That’s when your brand becomes the first thought for people when they consider a specific category or problem.

But this anchor shouldn’t limit your creativity and innovation. It should reflect a promise that can be reinterpreted in light of your category and contemporary culture. Your brand legacy should be part of your to make sailing smoother.

Adapt, Or Die

Rethinking how you deliver on your promise is how you avoid the pitfalls of becoming stagnant or irrelevant. Delivering extraordinary snacks is different today than it was in the 1960s. Why? Because the culture and consumers have changed. Certainly, some things have remained the same, but others haven’t. And it’s the mix of the two that will help you reinterpret your relevance in today’s market and going forward.

The 4Cs framework is how you understand your context. It’s the lens through which you must interpret and adjust your brand essence. It helps you understand what it takes to be relevant again and how to dial your brand to stay true to its legacy.

Keep a sharp eye on these four parameters.

Company – Look into why consumers choose you over the competition. Also, what builds internal pride and has already achieved commercial growth?

Category – Learn from competitors, movements and trends. But never copy. Act so your brand stands out from the rest. Be distinct, and consumers will love you for it.

Consumer – Talk to consumers. Find out what they are reading, seeing, enjoying, consuming and so on. Do your research, both qualitative and quantitative.

Culture – Immerse yourself and understand it from the inside. Don’t be afraid to connect (new) ideas. And don’t think this ‘culture’ doesn’t apply to your category.

Both Feet on The Ground

Orthopaedic sandals. Great for your feet, but not the most fashionable category. Since 1773, German Birkenstock has produced high-quality shoes that never compromise on ergonomics and comfort. So, how do you turn functional cork-sole sandals into an object of desire?

Birkenstock has never changed its core product. The premise of function before form is alive and well in the company today, most visible in the ever-present cork sandal. Rather, they have been skilled at positioning and staging the shoe in ways that engage younger audiences. Its collaborations with top-notch designers and brands, e.g., Marc Jacobs, Phoebe Philo, Valentino and others, have ignited the brand with a zeitgeist that makes the century-old brand appear relevant and consistent today.

Brace Yourself for Change

Branding’s true value is achieved through continuous assessment and adjustment. Sometimes, that requires you to make changes and reinterpret yourself in a new way. This doesn’t just affect campaigns but is crucial to the very foundation of your business, from positioning to brand values, from product range to target audience.

To know if you’re out of balance, start asking these questions:

  • What has your company previously done with great success? And what can you learn from this?
  • What are consumers actually asking for, which they don’t realise themselves?
  • How are our competitors delivering value in your category?
  • Where is the culture heading? How has it changed?
  • How does our brand remain distinct?