How to Ensure Smart Branding Evolution
If you’ve been walking almost anywhere outside the past few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly either seen or almost run into someone on a beeline trek with their head in their phone, searching for a nearby Pokémon character. The Pokémon Go craze is in full force – it’s everywhere you look in real life, and now is making its way into the business world. Brands are using the phenomenon in their marketing, advertising and product development decisions, hoping to ride the coattails to success.
But some brands are still standing on the sidelines and out of the fray. Their brands are uninfluenced by the latest sensation to grab the public’s attention. Instead, they are hoping to stand out by standing out – a strategy of being unique doing the very things that were commonplace a month ago.
From a branding standpoint, there is a definite risk involved here. When brands don’t latch onto a trending topic or event, there are going to be those in the marketplace who will see this as being out of touch or having an inability to adapt. These brands will reap the benefits of those caught up in the mass hysteria, while turning their nose at the brands that aren’t playing the game.
However, one of the most sought-after brand characteristics is stability, and these brands are showing the have it. Staying true to themselves, trusting in their brand strength, staying the course in their brand persona – these are just a few of the nails they are hitting right on the head when it comes to building a strong brand.
Now, this isn’t to say that every new successful trend should be avoided at all costs by strong brands. There are some that come around that are perfect fits and should be capitalized upon. But the distinction lies in the fit – change for the sake of change and being “hip” just because everyone else is doing it is a one-way ticket to weakening your brand.
Being a strong brand isn’t synonymous with being rigid and unwilling to change; in fact, it should be flexible, providing room to shift and shape as time passes. It’s one of the hallmarks of long-lasting brands. The marketplace changes, consumers evolve, and those that survive evolve right along with them – to a point.
They know that there is a sweet spot in their brand landscape where they are best set up for success – their “home” full of ideal audience targeting, on-brand messaging and brand elements that fit ideally into their strategic direction.
For strong brands looking to evolve, defining “home” is crucial. Staying within themselves and not going outside of their brand’s comfort zone will allow for evolution without compromising the brand. By keeping this in mind, they can ensure their brand is up-to-date with the current market landscape while simultaneously allowing for it to stay strong and consistent.
So next time you see a brand advertising their connection with Pokémon Go right next to a brand who has chosen to stay out of the trend, take note of how their brand played into the decision, and whether they are staying “home” with their choices.
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