The Brand Complacency Spiral

July 27, 2015

Brand loyalty is no longer a reflection of heritage, trust, exposure or credibility. Brands have to work to earn every individual engaging moment from their audiences. Innovation is not about creating new formulas or products, but about shifting and reinventing. The Internet and personal devices give brands an untapped resource to engage on a moment-to-moment basis, however some brands still seem to miss these opportunities and cause their business to become complacent.

Two main forces drive complacency: habit and comfort. When a business holds either of these two factors, their brand falls into a loophole that can be devastating. Signs to watch out for include:

  • Stability – no brand is ever stable in today’s competitive world. No matter how well you may be doing today, there is always a challenger brand out there waiting to take that stability from you.
  • Defence – the belief or explanation that your product/people are better than others is never enough. This is a cycle that needs to be broken by proof.
  • Preservation – The heritage and history of your brand may of value but is not enough to hold on.

Once a household name that became a culprit of complacency, Kodak was the global photography brand leader. The yellow and black was so iconic and resonated with audiences as they had built up such a strong brand presence over the years. But not long after the digital revolution we started to see Kodak quickly sinking. Kodak saw the digital camera as a threat and a replacement, when they should have embraced the technology and used it to enhance their brand story.

Our advice is to keep your brand authentic and engaging. Know your audiences like you know your best friend and connect with them just as frequently – at every touch point possible. Listen to them, understand what they want and respond accordingly. “There’s no secret why Starbucks and other companies like Nike have been successful. They have become part of the daily lives of their consumers. They share each other’s experiences and advance a movement. They aren’t positioning themselves, they are the position. And they live it every day through their products, social engagement and expressions of lifestyle” says Armando Azarloza, president of the Axis Agency. Does your brand need a little push outside of your comfort zone?

Reference: Sales Deplata, Memographer, Tattered and lost photographs, Brand Strategy Insider, Glenn Llopis, Think With Google

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