As you are all aware, the marketing environment is changing at a dizzying pace. It has long been said that we are in an era of VUCA, where the future is difficult to predict, and the Corona disaster has made it even more difficult to foresee how sustainable growth can be achieved. In this series, we would like to explain how companies should respond to this situation, which has never been experienced by mankind before, from three perspectives.
The second issue is “Brand Strategy”.
In October 2022, the World Marketing Forum 2022, a gathering of academics and practitioners from around the world, was held in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. In his speech, the Forum’s founder, Professor Philip Kotler, emphasized the importance of “Entrepreneurial Marketing,” or marketing with an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to Professor Kotler, many other marketers have advocated the importance of entrepreneurship in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. While the word “entrepreneur” may conjure up images of business owners, the United Nations definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who creates and distributes new value that causes change and growth in a marketplace. Entrepreneur” is defined by the United Nations as “a person who takes bold risks to seize opportunities. In other words, entrepreneurship is not only possible by starting a new business, but also within an existing business.
How does this entrepreneurial spirit translate into actual marketing? Typically, our marketing activities are brand-centric. Brand strategy has always been at the heart of marketing. Brand strategy has always been a central issue in marketing because brands are the most important loyalty drivers for companies. The brand theory is part of corporate marketing in the sense that brand loyalty differentiates a product from other competing products and creates new markets.
So how should brand loyalty be enhanced to create new markets? A brand is not just a symbol that distinguishes a product, but something as alive and unique as a human being. In particular, it is well known from many examples that today’s brands are not given to us by companies, but are inside consumers, and even companies that own brands cannot destroy them on their own. Brands today are not created through a media mix centered on mass media, but through a customer experience (CX) that begins long before the purchase and continues long after the consumption. Before the Internet and social networking, the value of a brand was “delivered” by the company, but now companies must “co-create” value with their customers.
Co-creation at many CX touch points and the value of customer experience is the brand personality. In the process of creating the face of the brand with customers, companies need to show a brand with a consistent personality, but there is one thing they should not do. There is one thing that should not be done, and that is to show a contradictory face from time to time or to lie. Having a contradictory face gives a negative impression of a person who lies or has two sides to him or her, in human terms. Customers have a vast network of information, so they can quickly detect inconsistencies and lies in companies. It takes a long time to regain their trust and, of course, co-creation becomes difficult.
With an entrepreneurial spirit, companies must actively promote co-creation with customers to create powerful new values, and the brand personality they create must be embedded in consumers’ lives. The brand strategy remains a central concept in marketing, even as the new CX changes customer behavior. Co-create a brand personality that builds loyalty, is loved by many, and creates new value.