Is Your Brand Agile Enough?
In the marketing world, it is no longer a game of “survival of the biggest, or the most consistent”. While the rise of the digital era has re-ordered most industries in some form, it has significantly landscaped our playing field to favour the more agile brands. In these dynamic times of customer obsession and corporate transparency, brands that can adapt quickly to unpredicted market changes without changing the brands’ identity and purpose will find themselves at the top of the scoreboard.
Predicting the success of brand strategies has become exponentially harder given today’s digital reality. Basic online marketing skills and online marketing strategies such as creativity, consistency and risk avoidance, although important, will inevitably dwindle in this digital space. Brands now face many new challenges in the marketplace such as rapidly changing customer expectations, media saturation, a decrease in customer attention span coupled with a mandate to increase customer engagement. These changes have created a fast paced, hyper-competitive market, with constantly changing trends which disrupt the strategies implemented via basic online marketing plans. This uncertain and volatile marketplace demands a new approach with a new set of tools for successful brand survival. This new brand management model is known as agile branding.
Agile branding refers to the brands ability to strategically and rapidly respond to market changes by adapting to meet the customers demands, adjusting to changes in the work environment and market trends, and taking advantage of human resources and relationships. Brand agility is the battle between having consistent values and driving rapid change.
Here are some of the essential characteristics of successful agile brands.
- Flexibility: agile brands are those that are able to quickly change to meet the market trends and customer demands in order to remain relevant. They must be capable of abandoning the traditional model and the fear of change and shift towards seeking the out the opportunity to change.
- Identity: contradictory as it seems, agile brands need to be adaptive to new trends and find new ways to maintain relevance, however, they also need to be principled and stay true to their fundamental brand identity and promise. Successful brands in today’s marketplace are those who find and maintain a balance between the two.
- Network: a key component to the agility model is networking. Agile brands must strive to create and maintain network connections with not only customers, but with employees and partners as well. These networks invite collaboration through conversation and agile brands are open to listening to the customer, reinforcing the brands’ relevance in the marketplace.
- Cross-Marketing: agile brands work well across different media outlets. Successful and effective brands learn to accurately adapt to the appropriate context for each medium and utilizing the medium most beneficial to that brand.
- Global: agile brands are those that can learn from those outside their region, while ensuring they are maintaining relevance to their local marketplace. Brands will always face new competitors and innovations, however the thing that separates the agile brands from the rest is their ability to use this as an opportunity to learn and increase the value of the brand.
Most agile brands consistently demonstrate these traits in everything from advertising to customer interactions to product development. Samsung, the world’s largest technology company, ranked number one on Landor’s Inaugural Global Agile Brand Study, outranking companies such as direct competitors, Android and Apple. Over the past few years, Samsung has adopted the agile methodology in all aspects of the company.
Although current online marketing strategies have their benefits, the shift towards agile branding and marketing is necessary, if not inevitable. With benefits such as increased productivity, internal and external transparency, measurability and accountability, increased internal cohesiveness and increased customer satisfaction, agile branding is a dynamic and flexible alternative to recent online marketing trends. The most successful brands are those that display the most agility, and this is what modern brands should strive to achieve.
Though the rise of the digital age is much more advanced in various other parts of the world, we cannot deny that Barbados, too, is moving forward with many new technological advances and innovations. In this increasing digital reality in which we live, we ask you this: “Is your brand agile enough to survive the digital age?”
Prepared by: Ariana Da Silva & Mark Stapleton
Stay tuned for more insights on current trends as the digital space continues to grow, innovate and amaze our marketing minds!
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