The New Brand Growth Playbook

Digital transformation isn’t the problem that is keeping the Modern Day CMO up at night. It’s their stalling or declining brands. How can they kickstart a growth trajectory and how do they ward off the disruption of newcomers to the industry?

What we typically see in this moment of frenzy is to run to our trusty brand growth playbook (which probably hasn’t been updated in 15 years). But we need to grow and we need to grow now. So we put together an incentive and have our agencies develop a new ad campaign. That should do it. It used to work.

But what we find now is that, although this may drive some short term gains, it fails to succeed in the long run. Not only are we minimizing our profits with an incentive and creating a new cost behavior for our products and services, but we’re cheapening our brands through this type of action and communication. And a cheap brand is not a brand I, as a consumer, want to be loyal to. 

Not only that, in 3 months the problem of Brand Growth that they're losing sleep over is still there. So, what’s the answer? 

We need a New Brand Growth Playbook. One that has us look at our brand, business and consumers differently. One that is actually worthy of our brand. One that works both in the short and long term. This New Brand Growth Playbook won’t look like that of the past. It's a reconfiguration of what Brand Growth is today. 

The New Brand Growth Playbook

Business Modeling: For a traditional company, the Business Model has been established for decades. It's usually something like manufacture a product or provide a service and advertise to generate new sales. It's not as simple as that anymore. The stakes have changes with consumer expectations. Not only do we need to have a product or service that works, we need an end-to-end view of our brand and business to understand where our holistic value and revenue opportunities are within that experience. We need to completely understand who our audience is, what we truly offer them and build an integrated Brand + Business relationship to fulfill that value proposition across the organization and audience base. 

Market Development: The mindset of market development is shifting as well. In today’s saturated marketplace, we can’t be singularly focused on simply acquisition or adoption. We must measure ourselves against consumer lifetime value. We need to become exclusively obsessed with maintaining and retaining our current client base. This requires us to fully understand our audiences, their behaviors and patterns to ensure we are fulfilling their needs as well as our brand promise. Doing so allows us to continue to add value along the journey and find ways for incremental revenue.

Consumer Experience: The efficacy of a product or service is just the foundation of repeated purchase decisions. If the efficacy falters so will the sales. However, there is a new kid in town when it comes to purchase decision. It’s the consumer experience. Building a holistic experience between the brand and consumer that not only connects touchpoint to touchpoint through product usage, but also learns and grows along with the relationship. Each positive experience a consumer has is one step closer to massive growth.

Commerce Modeling: An extension and crucial aspect of the consumer experience, the way consumers purchase your product is quickly becoming a way to spur brand growth. It's providing an easy way to buy and consume your product or service by creating incremental value along the purchase funnel. These models might include subscription, freemium, recurring or single moments of purchase. Connecting the dots between purchase and consumption will make it easier and more effortless for a consumer to be a part of your brand. 

Communications: Tapping into the New Brand Growth Playbook, the mindset of communications massively shifts. It moves beyond a campaign mindset to an always-on mentality where we’re continually telling a story and engaging with our community. Yes there are opportunities to run campaigns, but they should support moments identified through always-on relationships. Understanding that acquisition is only the first step in the long-term relationship we’re building with our consumers is critical to the success of the Brand + Business Growth. Listening, learning and growing these relationships will not only provide opportunities for repurchase, but will also create added value moments, brand loyalty and the holy grail, brand advocacy. 

Activating against The New Brand Growth Playbook gives you the tools to systematically transform your brand and business. It provides an agile and always on approach to brand growth for both short term and long term gains. It may take a new mindset, but executing the old playbook simply won’t work anymore. We need to shake up our thinking to break the cycle of brand decline. 

** A Note on Technology Enablement

While this post started with the words digital transformation, we purposely didn’t go into digital specifics in the New Brand Growth Playbook action items. We have to face the facts that we live in a digital world now. There is no such thing as a digital strategy, it’s just strategy. However, we do believe that the right strategy mixed with the right technology is a crucial driver to The New Brand Growth Playbook. The action items above are innately digital AND innately consumer focused AND innately brand specific. We need all to work together to truly spur sustaining Brand Growth.

Paul Miser