Oriol Iglesias has a simple formula for sustainable brand growth in this quick-to-absorb piece
Professor at the Department of Marketing Management, ESADE Business School, and Academic Director of the ESADE Brand Institute
The Journal of the Medinge Group, vol. 6, no. 1, 2013
Strong brands can better resist uncertain economic environments and are better able to support sustainable growth. But, how is a strong brand built? By investing in I + E + A.
Innovation: strong brands invest significantly and continuously in innovation, not only in products and/or technology but also in concepts. Before Apple launched the Ipod there were many other MP3 players around, but the concept of the Ipod and its ecosystem was radically new. In parallel, innovation should also be less dispersed, concentrating more on core brands and avoiding often pointless extensions of lines. Although there is a rampant economic crisis, studies show that the vast majority of consumers want to have choice and not have to rely solely on own-label brands. But at the same time, they also feel overwhelmed in supermarkets when faced, for example, with over thirty different kinds of deodorants.
Experience: brands are not only built through communication. The experience of each client is key to building a strong brand. Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, puts it neatly when he says, ‘A brand is what it does, not what it says.’ From this perspective, every employee and department that interacts with customers builds the brand’s reputation. Therefore, brand strategy and management should become an obsession for the entire organization.
Authenticity: internet and social networks are resulting in businesses losing much of the control they used to have over their own brands, because they enhance the effect of positive and negative recommendations. This open and transparent environment rewards brands that provide their customers with innovations and experiences that are relevant, authentic and differentiating. Additionally, this environment also requires corporate social responsibility to be an inseparable part of any brand; but in a way that is genuine and authentic. Consumers value and reward authentic brands.