Brand flexibility

Conventional wisdom in the brand strategy world seems to be that for a brand to succeed, it needs to occupy a single territory on any of a range of spectrums relating to positioning. Whether that’s its product features, its sense of belief/purpose, its people, its product-service offer, or any of a number of potential positionings that allow it to express why it’s distinctive, in a way that is true to the brand and meaningful to its users.

The new landscape might make this a lot more challenging than it used to be. A big challenge to this thinking seems to have emerged.

Predictive analytics and automated advertising creates a dynamic landscape that traditional approaches to brand positioning might find challenging.

This dynamism could mean that control of messaging becomes so segmented as to render traditional positioning impossible if not planned and managed effectively.

The ability to precisely target audiences (individuals) makes it possible to segment with laser precision – which equally can result in dilution of positioning if not planned and managed effectively. Knowing the precise interests and drivers of two different audiences with two different reasons to believe in your brand can challenge the idea of a central brand positioning.

Recently, thinking around vision and purpose pioneered by the likes of Collins & Porras and many others has made a (welcome) re-emergence as organizations and consumers seek to make sense of the chaos and diluted trust in government and business in the wake of the financial crisis. This certainly offers one way to tie together potentially different stakeholder messages.

The real challenge is creative – can an idea be created that occupies a space that can cater to these different audiences without dilution. So maybe we’ve come full circle, after all.

Let’s continue the conversation.


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