KI, IoT, Bitcoin, VR – the changes brought about by the current technological revolution will change both the future role that brands play for customers and the processes of branding companies. Is Smart Smart Coming Soon After Smart Phone, Smart Home, Smart Factory?
How do you become smart as a brand? What potential do the smart brands offer for future corporate success? On the basis of today’s well-known megatrends and current consulting mandates for customers from different industries, we formulate three theses on the branding of the future.
# 1: Smart Brands are the answer to “Me! Everything! Now”
It starts and ends with the customer. And this is also undergoing a massive change: it is and will be more and more demanding, informed, critical and thus much harder to achieve through advertising and trafficking. For smart brands, that means they need to understand their customers better, not the other way around. You need to master the art of delivering the right topics and products to the right channels at the right time, all at the same time for different customer types. Relevance is the new currency. Alexa, Uber, and Google say hello. Customer enthusiasm has become a race without a finish line, and these brands are currently leading the pack. That’s why they have long since arrived in the masses.
From the customer’s point of view, however, it is essential that he has the feeling of being treated as an individual. He longs for authenticity, for stories – in short: for brands that embody an idea worth striving for. We believe that strong brands today and in the future will be in a position to generate desire in pure form through an intelligent balance between highly relevant topics and offers as well as authentic lived values. And that’s pretty hard to copy competitive factor.
# 2: Smart Brands are developed and managed agile
Based on our consulting experience, we recommend that companies that want to develop covetous brands do not do so behind closed doors by a select elite. Rather, in a co-creation process they have to incorporate different functions, hierarchies as well as markets but also external partners and customers into the development process right from the start. In order to be able to implement the brand after the definition and development have been implemented across all contact points and markets, it needs a certain amount of flexibility as well as the necessary focus. Only if a brand allows this freedom and room for interpretation will it find acceptance on a broad basis.
In times of increasing market dynamics and at the same time ever higher customer requirements, brand management inevitably becomes more and more complex. “Customer Relations” or “Brand Management” should no longer be separate departments – because everyone in the company is responsible. Ergo: Instead of losing themselves in complicated brand management tools or lengthy guidelines, top management and brand managers are better advised to make it clear to their own team why their own brand is so important. Furthermore, they must set the necessary action field and be the engine for the desired change through their own past lives.
Modern management methods such as the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) model helps to ensure measurability, speed, and adaptability for the future through a clear focus. Brand helps to make strategy tangible and implementable.
# 3: Smart Brands are not algorithms
In the near future, we will live in a world where cars drive themselves and refrigerators shop independently. In the study “Future of Brands 2030”, the US consulting firm Foresight Alliance predicts that autonomous brands will emerge with artificial intelligence – for example, because they know the needs of their customers faster and better through algorithms than the customers themselves. What is certain is that the number and Speed of available data will increase. This also significantly increases the possibilities of how brands can deliver even faster, better and more comprehensive relevant solutions in the future.
Will brands be so smart in the future that they can lead themselves? We believe that as long as we are dealing with people as customers, it will take people to develop and manage those brands. In other words, there is no app for greediness. And as long as that is the case, in times of bots, voice computers, and drones, real people will continue to make a positive difference in the world of their customers in the future.
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