How do you build a brand today?

The world of brands is changing fast – we’re living in a world that’s flattening at a rate we can hardly keep up with. In the ‘old days’, brand managers lived in a structured and seemingly predictable world – now, they have to cope with a loss of power, a massive amount of customer input, the need to be able to adapt constantly, and the need to put their trust in other people.

This brand new world (or new brand world, depending on how you look at it!) is one of freedom, but the payoff is that managers have to deal with a whole host of new challenges: greater transparency increases the volume of stake holder interactions, co-creativity provides input but it also brings resistance from the conservatism of many brand enthusiasts, and more dialogue can actually undermine the coherence of a brand. And that’s before we even begin to take limited budgets, limited time frames and customers who are smarter than ever,with short attention spans, fast web browsers and even faster fingers.

The truth is that there are no easy solutions to these challenges, and although I am a strong advocate of the process of branding, I believe it’s as much an art as it is a science. This art requires intuition and a willingness to adapt to ever-changing circumstances (which is good advice for life as well).

The best way to strengthen your intuition and master this art is to have a clear idea of what your brand stands for, and to truly value and appreciate what your customers are saying and doing – in turn, this will give you more confidence. And it’s this confidence that will give you the freedom to encourage experimentation and discovery, injecting your brand with a dynamic edge that will let you continually innovate and create a brand that delivers real value.

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