THE MODERN PURPOSE OF A BRAND

 To provide unquestionable value, unique experiences and an uncompromising mission.

THE story of the modern brand is pieced together through leadership decisions made at every step of the decision making process. Some companies today are moving beyond the obvious. They are taking advantage of every opportunity to create a brand. It’s more thoughtful, extensive and complicated than what we’ve seen in the past.

Think about the expanding role of a brand’s customer service operation. Brands today—particularly on social media—are expected to provide engagement and responses to essentially anyone who wants to talk to them online.

The role of the brand is much bigger than it used to be, perhaps because the unspoken responsibilities of the brand have changed. Largely thanks to the democratization of information and communication channels.

In this article, writer Blake Morgan from Forbes.com, delves deeper into The Modern Purpose of a Brand, with these three important criteria.

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Unquestionable Value

To ‘own something’ in the traditional sense is becoming less important, because what’s scarce has changed. Ownership just isn’t hard anymore. We can now find and own practically anything we want, at any time, through the unending flea market of the Internet. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered, and the value has moved elsewhere.

You simply cannot compete today unless you provide a better quality product or service. Business is changing. There are too many of the same products and services–there is no room for sameness.

The world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis (Uber), the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate (Airbnb), the most popular media owner creates no content (Facebook), the largest telecom operator owns no telecom infrastructure (Skype and WeChat), the world’s largest software vendors don’t write the apps (Apple and Google) and the world’s largest movie house owns no cinemas (Netflix). Sometimes the value is getting out of the way—and being the conduit. In general the rules of value are changing. Shopper behavior has changed. OneFast Company article “Why Millennials Don’t Want To Buy Stuff” explains it well by looking at how the end of “scarcity” changes our urge to own.

Value is not the same as it used to be because of the economic laws of scarcity are changing. Owning a car or even a house does not have the same value it did after World War II. Today’s idea of value—especially for millennials—is much different. What consumers deem valuable has changed. It’s not just the sharing economy, it’s decisions about why people of all generations choose to purchase something.

Josh Dykstra of Fast Company points out:

“Today, a product or service is powerful because of how it connects people to something—or someone—else.” Something has changed with regards to value. People today buy things not only for their purpose, but what owning says about them.

To Provide Unique Experiences

The good news about the purpose of a brand is if you go above and beyond on experience, you are already light years ahead of your competition. Most companies don’t take the time to compete on experience. They work very hard on the product, they work very hard to sell you the product, and that is it. The experience falls short once your credit card is swiped. The experience has to hold up on a few different levels, not just the levels that are sensible and convenient for the brand.

The product or service must be unique, and if it’s not you must have done the product or service better than anyone else. What does it mean to do it better? It means you must go above and beyond—it’s about creating an incomparable experience for the consumer around the product and service.

To Provide An Uncompromising Mission

Brands today are not purely in the business of selling product. They also are a member of our global community. It is a popular opinion that companies need to operate with a level of awareness about how they are impacting the planet. The purpose of the brand today is to be a citizen of the world. To improve the lives and surroundings of the customers it serves not purely by selling product, but by the decisions they make every day.

Everything about a company—its culture, its environmental footprint, and the way it is viewed by concerned consumers—stems from the leadership practices. The first step for leadership is to establish a clear set of values and mission. The mission and values are only impactful when they are followed with behavior. If the company doesn’t walk the walk, the mission and values hold no weight—and no one will trust this company. If the employees and customers trust the company it is because they do what they say they will do.

forbes.com · by Blake Morgan · January 13, 2016

 

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