It takes sweat, tears and toil to build a brand. Congratulations, if you are already a proud owner of one. We salute your perseverance and hard work.
I hate to break the bad news but just when you think you can put your feet up in the air and enjoy your Martini let me apprise that building a brand is just ten per cent of the task. The most daunting assignment, of maintaining it still remains unattended.
You might scoff at the idea.
Dig into history and you will find it inundated with case studies where mega brands like Xerox, Nokia, Kodak just faded into the oblivion. Parle G is the most recent addition. They are all set to cut 10,000 jobs or more.
So what is Brand Maintenance?
- Expanding Brand Basket
- Maintaining the Brand Genetic Code
- Brand Hygiene
This is the key to maintaining a healthy Brand Life Cycle.
Of course, every brand has a life cycle. The curve of Inception to fade out is dotted with growth, maturity, stability and decline. Royal Enfield has been constantly innovating; from mountain bike to cruiser, café racer to the repackaged vintage bullet, they are trying to stretch the maturity cycle, infusing it with cyclic spurts.
Do in Rome as the Romans do!
You can be the market leader or the segment leader for that matter, yet be adaptable and nimble. Be in sync with the external environment and the changing winds; go green no to plastic, save water, no animal testing are issues which your brand has to adhere to. Also, taking up these issues makes it look like a more ‘socially conscious brand.’ Most of the car and scooter companies are launching the electric version. That is adaptability.
Expand Brand basket
Worldwide, Dove was a soap brand. For years, despite the odds, the maintained their distinction and catered to the soap market only. Gong by the traditional point of view, the focus was absolutely correct. However, they were missing on to another spot on the bathroom shelf, Shampoo that was a big market in itself. No wonder, today Dove sells shampoo too.
Maintaining the Brand’s genetic code
Till the time you are serving the same genre, the same market, even after product expansion the genetic code of the brand has to be the same. Let us take the case of Dove. Even the shampoo operates in the same visual and product imagery of Dove; gentle, nourishing and caring. The white color packaging, dainty fonts clearly position it as an extension of the brand Dove.
As your brand will grow, the market will expand. With multiple vendors, host of media mix; from outdoor to TV, kiosk to leaflet, your logo, messaging will be everywhere.
This is one phase where the chances of the Brand getting hijacked are immense. Brand Fonts start getting replaced by other fonts, Brand colors start showing variation, and the logo is used as per convenience, not the brand guideline.
Stick to the Brand Manual. Be rigid, almost unreasonable when it comes to excuses for meandering from the manual.