You are an established brand, and may well lull yourself into believing that your ‘name’ is the key to opening many client locks. After all, so many years have gone by while you invested in all those expensive ATL and rigorous BTL activities, attending exhibitions, forging channel relationships, creating connections. You cannot be faulted for thinking that this ‘paradise state of mind’ will continue forever.
However, ‘forever’ is an illusory term and has led many up the deceptive path.
You see, brands, like relationships, require work. Someone once said ‘Marriage is a verb, not a noun.’ If and when you start taking your partner for granted and treat marriage as a noun, ‘forever’ will take on a different connotation for you!
Let us extend this simile to your brand's relationship with your consumers, vendors, channels, influencers, investors and shareholders. To sustain your business relationship with your stakeholders, you need to ‘act’ on it. You cannot take it for granted that they will always hold you in high regard, and not leave your side for some extra margin or tangible benefits.
When you defend your turf on tangibles, it can deteriorate pretty fast into a slugfest of commoditization.
However, if you have the intangibles on your side, even if your stakeholders are getting lesser margins or dividends, if they feel enough about your relationship with them, they will stay put and give you second chances.
Why? Because they have invested in your ‘brand goodwill’, which is the feeling ‘branding’ builds - your brand essence.
Yes, you are a great brand, but so were Goldman Sachs, Enron, and Arthur Andersen.
The global business environment today, and always has been, volatile, and nobody’s mistress.
Here are a few things that hopefully won’t but can happen….
- Your USP can be copied once you are successful
- You shift your USP and soon find yourself plonked in the middle of a cluttered segment
- The differentiated customer experience that you offer is expensive and/or is overtaken by your peers
- A new, better, faster variant of your product or service comes up
- You have only one big egg (client) in your basket
- Backward / Forward Integration by your ecosystem
- Change in technology platforms that may seriously threaten your position
- Regulatory/ Financial/ Environmental volatility
- Your core raw ingredient gets scarce / too expensive/ unviable
- Your delivery methods/ packaging are no longer relevant
- You are no longer ‘cool’ to your TG!
Complacency can be disastrous. So keep your branding efforts always ongoing, in step with times, and keep communicating consistently.
This is the key to good personal relationships as well, by the way :-)