Branding

I have had a number of branding jobs over the last few months.

What is interesting about developing brands is that every job is totally different.

Developing a brand architecture for an enterprise requires for there to be a real insight into how the model works, what the underlying brand promise is, and most of all, who the customers are.

When I talk about customers I don't just mean the transactional ones – those who credit cards are used to make the purchase. In fact in many instances the most important people in the ecosystem to ensure the success of a business are the influencers.

Influencers come in a very wide range of shapes, sizes and colours. The numbers of these influencers that spend their time engaging with traditional media seems to me to be reducing at a rate that I am sure that some people are quite alarmed about.

In fact it is probably a massive problem to actually map the influencers in any ecosystem in an effective way. The purchasers are relatively easy. But the people who influence the decision… How does that work?

I noticed in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning that Gerry Harvey, one of the most successful retailers in Australia, was sounding of about the need for the government to introduce a tax on Internet shopping. His problem is that he clearly remained convinced for years and years that the Internet was irrelevant to his business. I remember going into one of his stores last year to shop for some white goods. I told the assistant that I was in the market for a dishwasher and a number of other fairly high ticket items. I asked for their best price. I then said that I could get a product that was almost identical for a hundred dollars less, shopping on line. (I say almost identical because manufacturers have been careful to bifurcate the sku's of products that are sold online and sold at retail so that it is impossible for there to be an exact price comparison).

The assistant told me with great passion that we wouldn't be able to get the same service online as from them. Well, the reality is that when a product goes wrong you end up calling the service centre, and not the retailer. Gerry Harvey is suddenly waking up to the fact that his brand has been eroding before his very eyes because he has not been paying attention to the influencers. He continues to spend up big on TV with ads that should at you. That may work for the part of the population that can't afford to pay for the products. It doesn't work for people like me. And I tend to believe that I am an influencer.

So when it comes to developing a brand I take a great amount of interest in trying to understand who the people are in the decision making process and how they think about what they do…

That tends to lead me toward creating brand architectures that have an ability to trade into information architectures too. That way one can build toward the efficiencies that are going to emerge in any event as the influencers find out about the product in every way they are able…

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