Key takeaways: Brand Health Summit 2016

Key takeaways: Brand Health Summit 2016

Earlier this week, we held our first ever Brand Health Summit at The British Museum, London. We brought together a group of industry leaders from a range of multinational businesses and SMEs to share their real-world learnings and insights with you.

The sessions covered a variety of topics, including understanding the drivers of brand; building a great brand experience; and the future trends and what they mean for brands. Here are some of our key takeaways from the summit:

Making business personal

“A brand is a living business asset, brought to life across all touchpoints which, if properly managed, creates identification, differentiation and value.”

Jez Frampton, global chief executive officer at Interbrand, believes the role of brand, and the influence it has on people’s lives and the way they do business, has evolved – and is constantly evolving.

With the emergence of digital and mobile technology, brands today need to aim for greater transparency and consistency across all of their touchpoints – ensuring customer experience, staff behaviour, environment and channels are integrated with their culture, products and services, and communications – so that customers don’t even think about going to a competitor. Thanks to the rise of social media, today’s consumers – who are more informed and empowered than ever before – demand 24-hour accessibility, seamless interactions, rapid response times and high levels of personalisation. People expect brands to know them.

So what does this mean for the future of brand?

According to Frampton, brands are becoming the consumer’s personal partner. Just as we manage our own brands and share pieces of ourselves on social media, we make conscious decisions about the brands we want to be associated with. Successful brands in this coming era – termed 'The Age of You' – will be those who can understand the relationship between the consumer and their product. This involves re-humanising the data we collect from the increasing number of mobile devices to uncover genuine insights, and delivering brand experiences that are bespoke, predictive and contextually relevant.

Maintaining brand integrity

When building a brand, it’s important for businesses to have a clearly defined set of values and to deliver on their brand promise in order to be operationally cohesive, and project a sense of clarity, openness and honesty to the consumer. In today’s omnichannel world, integrity in the brand experience means, as stated by Mario Muttenthaler, chief marketing officer at Cambridge Satchel Company, employing the right channels at the right time for the right markets, whilst maintaining the DNA of the different touchpoints.

Here are seven key components to building your brand's integrity:

  1. Culture – consider culture fit alongside job skills when hiring new employees. Do they share your brand's values?
  2. Stay nimble – be opportunistic and willing to take risks
  3. Empower staff – inspire your team to increase productivity and results
  4. Originality – continue to surprise and innovate
  5. Repeatability – extract your brand's essence, bottle it and share it
  6. Personality – express your brand's character, from the look and feel of your marcomms down to the way you communicate with customers
  7. Collaborate – allow access to the Founder or C-suite of your company at all levels
Building a case for change

If you’re looking to go through a rebrand, it is important to build a convincing case in order to evaluate the various options available and to quantify the impacts, as said by Anand Selvarajan, regional leader for Europe at RSM.

Here are six ideas to consider before embarking on a transformation, revitalisation or refocusing of your brand’s proposition:

  1. If you have a number of stakeholders in the process, consultation is key
  2. Take advice from a number of specialists and look at industry best practice
  3. Fact-based arguments win over emotional
  4. Understand market differences and don’t assume a one-size fits all approach
  5. Understand and respect the journey people need to make to come on board with your plans/decisions
  6. Don’t give up – stay focused on your objectives

Leadership is key during a rebrand

Rob Strachan, vice president of global marketing at Regus, believes that strong leadership is essential for marketers when trying to successfully rebrand, in order to to create (and keep) the momentum they need. This means involving and engaging with all stakeholders early on so they can fully understand the vision. He explained how, in his experience, most decisions are made based on emotion, as opposed to data alone. Marketers, therefore, need to show stakeholders what their vision is, not just tell them. He described how he countered resistance from decision makers during an overhaul of coffee retailer Ritazza by setting up a real, working example of the shop he envisioned. It resulted in getting the go ahead to roll out the new brand across all of their locations. He also advised marketers to take ownership of objectives, and to ensure that stakeholders were 100% clear on what these were. Failure to do so would result in confusion, and would make it extremely difficult to measure the success of the project.

You can see the results of CIM's Brand Experience report here.

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