Jun 9, 2015

The Patient Brand


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A Note from the CEO –

After tearing my Achilles tendon on a recent vacation to Italy I’ve been doing battle with the topic of patience. We’ve all heard the saying, “Patience Is a Virtue”. But is that true? Of course it depends on the situation. In a life threatening event impatience can be an asset. But in the ordinary flow of life, impatience thrusts us into a preoccupation with the future, making it easy to miss out on all the wonderful things going on right here in the moment.

What about the life of a brand? Is it good to be patient or impatient? Classic brand management teaches that great brands are built over a very long time with a relentless focus on delivering against one positioning idea in both marketing communications and product/service delivery. It also helps to have a lot of money to throw at advertising.

But the era of classic brand management is over. Today, any company can build an iconic brand and it doesn’t necessarily have to take decades. Certainly there are exceptions and they can create a false sense of reality. Iconic brands like Google, Uber and AirBnB became iconic in five to seven years because of their complete disruption of the market and the power of their products and business models. In other words, marketing communications did not make these brands. It was the power of their ideas—and the advantage gained by massive media attention, which dramatically shortened the lifecycle of generating brand awareness, establishing meaning and trust.

So what are brands supposed to do when they are not market disruptors? The vast majority of brands fall into this category. Should we be patient or impatient? I take the view that we should be patient at a brand level but impatient at a tactics level. Brand power comes from committing to one central positioning idea and consistency in brand-building communications like advertising and product/service excellence.

But brand power also comes from understanding the ROI of lead-generation tactics and continuous improvement. Also, technology is changing marketing so quickly that innovators committed to real-time marketing success across social and emerging digital marketing technologies can gain advantage through experimentation and impatience.

Peter Murane is the founder and CEO of BrandJuice.

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