Future-Proofing Brand Management

Failan Saleem FCIM provides tips on planning for the future of a brand

"We hire eagles and teach them to fly in formation"

Wayne Calloway, former CEO of PepsiCo

The ultimate challenge for companies is the creation of a strong brand identity and a focused brand building program that makes an impact. The celebrated guru of business excellence Tom Peters talked about chaos and companies who were able to thrive on chaos. These are companies who can reject the security of the future and the even more secure world of the past and look at change as the only certainty.

Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, provided an insight of the fourth industrial revolution where he said that the possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. So how do brands deal with the constant surprise of the fourth industrial revolution?

Powerful brand management

Powerful brands start with the optimal allocation of resources on core competencies that helps with brand building for example by investing in digital. Create a synergy in visibility across offline and online platforms. Building brand associations and efficiency that are absolutely focused on the clarity of the offering and are able leverage brand assets and build platforms for future growth options.

Industry chaos creates many pressures for companies to re-look at their DNA to build sustainable value propositions. The impact of short-sightedness usually means that the companies’ strategies are worn out and hence they lose their competitive edge. The need for multiple brands is a given, however how do we stop each brand getting in each other’s way? Future-proofing brands involves the creation of a seamless integration between team goals and individual brands. 

I recollect an example of a German Toothpaste company targeting the smoking market segment, resulting in a market share of 10%. The company decided to extend the reach of the brand based on the equity they had to target the general market segment. The end result was a confusion in the mind of the customer and resulted in a loss of the original market share.

Old Vs. New Brand Management Models

David Aaker (the author of the concept of brand equity) in his new book 'Brand Leadership' compares the classical brand management model and the new brand leadership model, a few key areas are highlighted:

Classical brand management is tactical and reactive in nature, whereas the new model focuses on the strategic and visionary side
Traditional brand management focused on image and the new focus is on brand equity
The new brand management focus is on multiple brands as opposed to single brands
Traditional models focused on sales and share values whereas the new models focus on building brand identity
Finally the focus was previously on communication with the external customer in the traditional model and the new model focuses on communication with the external and the internal customer

Off course the brand manager will need to be a team leader and explore multiple communications options, building the metrics that go beyond financials and embrace brand equity measures.

As a marketer I know that it is increasingly important for brands to integrate and deal with the surprise economy, for example the  ‘I generation’, and I want to ensure I provide the insights to lead brands into the future with promise. That means starting with the core of every organisation; their brands, and changing the way we manage them for sustainability.

Failan Saleem FCIM
Marketing Director and Lead Tutor for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Accredited programs delivery at Oakwood International Dubai

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