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Move Over Marketing, Brands Today Need To Craft An Entire Ecosystem

A brand today is not just the identifier for its products, or a logo but an entire ecosystem that encompasses how stakeholders experience a brand across multiple touchpoints. Orchestrating a consistent experience that is relevant to the customer is a big challenge for brand owners and managers today.

The process of building a strong brand starts with the right name. Brand Naming involves considering not just the current and future products, but also the various stakeholders who will be engaging with the brand and the competition. The name emerges from the Brand Essence, which is the fundamental upon which a brand is built. This includes defining the brand's functional and emotional benefits, and giving it a distinct personality and attitude. For instance, Coca Cola is a cola manufacturer whose essence lies in sharing 'happiness.' Its personality is fun and joyful, reminding us to live life to the fullest.

Brand Personality helps strengthen the roots of the brand, and paves the way for its communications across different media. Strategic brand communications depend on choosing the right mix of media, and deciding what message will be delivered on each of those platforms.

Very often, brands use market research to validate the personality and communications before launching it to the target audience. This kind of market analysis helps a brand be sure of reaching out with a relevant and effective message to its audience. The emergence of big data and the kind of micro-level analysis it enables has empowered brands to be more relevant and engaging in their interactions with customers.

On the basis of the brand's communication, people begin forming notions not just about the company's products but also its values. Brand perception is a sum total of all interactions a stakeholder has with the organization, both positive and negative. Therefore, brands need to actively manage their reputation by building brand awareness in a consistent and planned manner. Typically, every signature element - be it its logo, people, distinct communication style - are brand assets that it can leverage to create a delightful and meaningful experience at each touchpoint. Branding today is not just about perfecting the product and marketing it right, but about creating an entire ecosystem that adds values to the customers' lives.