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Brands at the forefront of change

The oak lined walls of the past echo “brands are all about consistency!” If you still believe this, you may have lost the plot. Today’s brands are much more than the consistent badges of the organization, they can become the change our business needs to reflect.

Whether you agree or disagree with the saying, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” I am sure you’d agree that change is a must (Note: the Royal Wedding, the bastion of tradition changed in an instant), and a change in culture is critical to the success of modern day business. Culture is an intangible, multifaceted, and often hard to pin down thing that just can’t be defined. While brand on the other hand, can be defined, shared and lived to become instruments of change in our businesses.

At Interbrand, we’ve seen brands build momentum, energy, reference, and relevance. To the public, the brand comes to represent change faster than any new technology, new strategy, product or service, and even, a new CEO. Brands are instruments of internal change and future, defining an organization’s purpose.

Purpose is the thread that connects all elements of a brand—internal and external— it’s the organization’s reason for being the guiding light on the journey forward. As the embodiment of that purpose, the brand serves as a beacon, steady and constant, while leading the organization along its path.

A compelling brand purpose is a powerful thing. We have seen great brands created in less time than ever before by building a movement behind their compelling purpose. Take Patagonia for example, their ability to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions for the environmental crisis underlies everything the company does. Their purpose is lived out by the employees each and every day. Patagonia’s continued success shows how a strong brand purpose creates the internal momentum needed to ensure an organization’s actions reflect its’ ethos.

Today, brands play a huge role in influencing. Gone are the days when organizations only cared about brand recognition and perception, brands communicate not just “who we are,” but “what we are becoming.” A new brand positioning can clearly articulate a pivot or purposeful move forward.

As categories shift and consolidate, and lines blur, many companies are reshaping their offerings, making the brand the pivot point. Take Netflix for example, which has shifted from mail-order rentals to online streaming, to content creator. Netflix continues with its unprecedented growth supported by the power of its brand which is reflected in their bold debut in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report in 2017.

Football club Juventus is a hero case of a successful repositioning. The sports brand was able to grow into lifestyle and entertainment markets; and expand its audience by leveraging its new brand designed and developed by Interbrand.

Brand Positioning is nothing if it is not boldly expressed and built into our experiences.

Never before have brands had the opportunity to push the boundaries to reflect the future and be as cool or as loved as they are today.

The level of change is extraordinary, the world is embracing it, and people want to be part of it.

When you’re on a change journey, the brand becomes an instrument of change and connection to allow you to mobilize your audiences to evolve and grow business.

At Interbrand we are privileged to work in partnership with our clients to significantly grow their brands and their businesses, and we look forward to celebrating the power and value of the leading brands when we share the 2018 Best Global Brands later this year.

Contributors

Chief Growth Officer, North America