FutureCast Brand: Preparing your Brand

Looking over the FutureCast Brand series, we see that there are huge opportunities to get our brands to the next level; actually integrated within our consumer’s daily lives. By knowing where we are going, what our brand becomes and what arena we will be participating, we can develop strategies, interactions, and activities that propel us towards that end state across the expanse of consumer cartography. We will know who to talk to, how to talk to them, how to add value, how to delight, what’s important to them, who we should align with, etc.; with every aspect and characteristic leading towards our End State; an amazingly refreshing and robust vision of our brand. But first we have a problem to overcome; our brands are stuck in a “Static” world. However, world in which we’re moving into is HIGHLY dynamic. So we must prepare our current state brand to execute our detailed consumer cartography. Below are 3 ways that you can prepare your brand for the FutureCast Brand and execute on the next level. But first, I wanted to mention a little something about the team in regards to this type of strategy.

But first we have a problem to overcome; our brands are stuck in a “Static” world.

The team. As brand and marketing communications continues to move from a direct response to a relationship, and even into a lifestyle, we are beginning to see a strong need for integration among functions within an organization. Each touchpoint has an opportunity to drive the consumer to the next level in the “lifestyle maturity scale” but will need to be integrated with the touchpoint that drove them to the present relationship. We need to act as a seamless brand that grows and evolves with consumer interaction and needs. Each member of this team must intimately understand the “End State” of the brand and the “Consumer Cartography” of its environment, so all know the terrain and how to act in order to achieve the best results. Since the brand is made up of people and people buy the products, the more integrated and involved they are in the strategies and executions the more successful the FutureCast Brand strategy will be.

Since the brand is made up of people and people buy the products, the more integrated and involved they are in the strategies and executions the more successful the FutureCast Brand strategy will be.

Now on to the three things we need to accomplish to prepare our brand for the FutureCast Brand transformation.

Personality: When engaging with your consumers, a static brand won’t do. We need to take it a step beyond and think about its personality. I’m sure, now that we’re moving into the social world, many organizations currently have a “Voice Document” or a “Brand Personality Document” where we outline the conversational tone and personality of the static brand. But this is simply a band aid solution. We need to break down the walls of the brand guidelines and bake in personality. As human’s we developed our personality over time with various experiences, interactions, and lessons. As brands, we’ve scientifically stayed the same for decades, if not, centuries. Our brand guidelines need to evolve and grow with our experiences. Once participating in its own ecosystem, the brand must take on a life in order to develop and become ingrained in the lifestyle of its consumers.

This is where the “End State” and “Consumer Cartography” plays key roles in brand development. When we know where it is our brand is going and what we’ll be when finally realized, we know how we will act, how our brands will interact in its environment. With consumer cartography we will have a holistic understanding of where, when and why we will be interacting and when we will be admired or called upon. These constraints allow us to develop a brand guideline structure that allows for the essence of our brand to become the foundation while growth and dynamicism exudes through action. The effort and action of a brand in this manner requires the integrated team to wholeheartedly understand where the brand is going.

Aspirations: While we can develop our brand personality by visualizing our activity in the realization of our end state, we can also identify the aspirations the brand has as well as elicits through its consumer base. While looking at the end state we will know what we’re aspiring to become and will be able to communicate that back to the audience. The thing about aspiration is that it’s contagious. Once our brand exudes and communicates its aspirations, we are then developing a set of aspirations for our consumers. Like those of a superhuman, this model will become something of grandeur or passion.

To prepare our brand as a FutureCast Brand, we must understand our brand aspirations and know how and where to best communicate them. This understanding across the integrated team is crucial as well. Managing this knowledge and communication is as important as the marketing and advertising message.

Ecosystem: By defining our end state and mapping out our consumer cartography, we have a holistic view of our brand ecosystem. As we evolve as brands and become something that will support and facilitate life, we will see that we’re not just a player in an environment, but creating one of our own. Our consumers will look for us to provide a certain level of growth, personality, aspiration, etc. and will choose the brands that deliver the most aligned “ecosystems” to their own lives. By developing these ecosystems we are creating a holistic experience for our consumers to allow them to become ingrained in our brand across specific aspects of their lives. This ecosystem, along with the personality, is something that will evolve, grow, and morph overtime, so the constraints put on this should be held to a minimum.

The brand ecosystem we develop is something that encompasses all our touchpoints, affinities, messages, and aspirations and connects them to the consumers, organizations, stakeholders, and partners in a way that develops a synergy that was never before allowed. Using the current brand guidelines as a foundation, we can prepare for this shift by connecting the dots of our consumer cartography through our personality, aspirations, and brand platforms. Again, the integrated team must understand the end state, the goals, the consumer cartography, and how the ecosystem will evolve in order to implement and execute for the best results and success.

The preparation and planning for our brand is a crucial step towards the FutureCast Brand. Jumping in too early or trying to piecemeal it together will only confuse or deter the consumer. However, in order to stay competitive for the mindshare, passion, and dedication of the consumer in the future, it is a necessary step in the evolution of your brand. Now that we have been through the Visualization of the End State, the Consumer Cartography, and now the preparation of our brand, we must now execute and measure. Execution is the key to any success. It’s where we learn, it’s how we engage, and it’s where we develop the lasting relationships that become the foundation of our brand for the future. And measurement is the driving force behind growth.

 

Photo Courtesy of Flickr – zigazou76

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