On a new brand identity, consistency of message is important – Dilip Keshu
The manifestation of a brand is usually dictated by the need that you are trying to address. This need is either well-known, understood and studied or it is a need that is not very well understood or even acknowledged as a point of the issue being discussed. In cases where the need is understood well for example a computer manufacturer would understand that people want fast computers that do great work; the brand strategy speaks through differentiation. It tries to address that particular consumer need better than any other product or brand. Lurking needs, which are not very well understood or widely acknowledged, but do exist, are called ‘unknown’ needs. And any company or brand that is trying to address this ‘unknown’ need, which is not manifested in an overt fashion, has to be very innovative. Take for example Apple, when Steve Jobs came out with the iPad. Who had felt a need for such a device? But it took the market by storm. So if it is a known need, the focus should be on differentiation and if it is a sublime need, then there are no benchmarks and the brand has to take an innovative and bold stand which is not ‘differentiated’ but ‘unique’. The latter one is much more difficult. Around 95% of the market does differentiated strategy. After identifying the need, in order to decide upon the positioning of the brand, it is important to understand consumer behaviour. And once the brand understands its consumer segmentation, it takes a manifestation that they think those consumers will find appealing. Most strategies fail when you manifest the brand in a very small niche and consumers don’t find it appealing because you’ve not understood consumer behavior properly.
This consumer behavior has changed so dramatically and quickly that no marketer has an answer. The change is the access and ubiquitous nature of what we call new channels of communication like mobile devices, social media and gaming. And with the plethora of information available on the Internet, only brand awareness is no longer important. A brand has to move from awareness to advocacy, which means not only making people aware about the brand but also ensuring that those customers go on and advocate you and not some other brand. And that advocacy means that the experience is personalized. And this can be done through providing rich content on these digital assets.
Consumer demographics also decide whether the brand’s transition to its new need and positioning will be evolutionary revolutionary. For example, if the product specifically caters to the Baby Boomers and is now changing its stance to appeal to Gen X and Y, then the change will have to be revolutionary. There is no easy way out. In case of classic brands, which everybody is quite aware of, the change is quite evolutionary. The branding changes slowly and it is not as shocking.
However, in order to ensure that this entire transition phase is smooth in the eye or the consumer, consistency of message is very important. Sometimes when you are re-branding, the message and the theme gets a bit diffused and is not targeted in a way where it makes consistent sense, especially when you have a global audience. So, we believe that the message should be absolutely same; the theme could differ based on the consumer demographics because interpretations can vary.
See http://digital.impactonnet.com/42731/Impact/VOLUME-9-ISSUE-#dual/30/1 for the publised article.