Break rules, stay relevant
Rigid rules are a thing of the past. Better brands never stand still – they respond, adapt and transform when they need to.
Once upon a time, the challenge for brands was to make the intangible attainable.
Now it's all about staying relevant. Better brands don’t stand still, they respond, adapt and transform as needed – even if that means reinventing themselves. Branding will always be an essential component of any business strategy, but given the nature of today’s rapidly changing marketplace, rigid rules are a thing of the past.
Now it’s all about being agile. For brands to thrive in today's hyper-competitive, hyper-speed world, they need to adapt and react quickly; if your brand is set in stone, it has nowhere to go when the marketplace or culture shifts.
But balancing your brand’s principles and core values with the need to be adaptable takes expertise and guidance.
When launching a new venture (or expanding a current business), putting a brand strategy in place with built-in flexibility means getting to market as quickly as possible – but you can’t sacrifice strategic design and creativity along the way.
Agile brands have mastered the art of creating things quickly and evolving their brand positioning to iterate and optimise alongside their marketing efforts. Brands that use this iterative and agile approach can move and evolve seamlessly alongside their customer. As customers' needs and behaviours continue to change, so does the brand.
What is an agile brand?
Stability is good, but it’s safe – and safe isn’t always good. Agile brands are open to change and they can do so at speed. Being nimble, taking risks, and responding to opportunities is core to business success and ongoing innovation.
A genuinely agile brand is user-focused and iterative. But agile branding doesn't just mean adopting the well-known processes of ‘sprints’, ‘scrums’, ‘stand-ups’, and ‘retrospectives’ – it's about bringing the customer-centric thinking of the agile mindset into every part of your brand, business and marketing strategy.
By challenging the traditional business model, we can build robust, flexible and dynamic brands driven by more sustainable concepts that meet the evolving needs of customers.
Insightful conversation (not just connection)
Thanks to social media, technology and the age of digital transformation, we live in a hyper-connected world. While this isn’t exactly a new notion, many brands still approach communications (and even social media) through a traditional lens, as a one-way interaction.
Brands can’t just talk, they need to listen. They need to engage with and learn from their customers. Agile brands invite collaboration through conversation – and that conversation needs to be authentic, personal and driven by insights.
Audiences have become savvy, particularly over the last couple of years, and brands need to recognise this.
Insight-led conversations with employees, partners, and broader communities will influence everything from social media campaigns to product design and development. It's this cycle of listening, learning and leading that will increase engagement, drive loyalty and sustain vital relationships for ongoing market relevance.
Spotify is expanding its popular year-end data feature to advertisers for the first time with a comprehensive look at the listening trends of the year broken down by the audience.
Principled yet progressive
Branding from the inside out is a well-trodden practice. However, the definition of 'outside' has changed.
When developing an authentic brand, it’s never been more essential to look at your business from within (your brand essence, purpose and values) before exploring what that means for how your brand looks on the 'outside' (your brand identity).
For us, the 'outside' means looking at your customers and your environment – both on and offline – and using these insights to develop a more dynamic brand experience. This agile branding process is a continuous loop: inside-out >< outside-in.
Agile brands are always exploring new ways to deliver value, guided by their principles and an enduring brand promise (inside), yet always informed by customer – and market-led insights.
Adopting too many rules makes your brand rigid; your brand identity and strategy can, and should, be just as adaptable as any other part of your business.
MTV is famously playful with their brand, which aligns with their personality and diverse product offering perfectly.
Instead of using our principles to 'police' brand use, we can focus on creating a flexible and dynamic brand experience that speaks to today's (and tomorrow's) customers.
For instance, having an agile and constantly changing tagline (or logo) may seem like a strange notion, but for some brands it’s a perfect fit; ever-changing branding becomes a form of consistency in and of itself.
In fact, how you tell your brand story should always be evolving, informed by customer insights and innovation. Your audience doesn’t stand still. Why should you?
Better Known is a creative consultancy building better brands at the intersection of people, design and technology.