In the IAA - Why Brands Matter webinar, our panelists agreed that brands need to remain relevant to consumers. At the back of a difficult two years where people were pushed to extreme limits dealing with disrupted incomes and careers, trust has become the new currency. Age-old brands have an advantage in this setting, but new brands need to jump on the bandwagon and they should start by showing they care for the consumer.
That is why businesses ought to be obsessed with their brand; doing so means being obsessed with the consumer and understanding their needs. Investing and marketing a brand with zero understanding of the consumer is set up for failure.
Brand matters because it helps consumers make informed decisions at the end of the day. It also plays a pivotal role when it comes to what’s available in the marketplace, by identifying what is sold legally and illegally. A brand provides that assurance of quality, but when consumers are given the option to purchase a product at one third of the price tag, the urge to gravitate towards a ‘good deal’ is high. It doesn’t help that there’s a huge gap in pricing between a legal and illegal item, and that’s the reason why illicit products have managed to thrive.
Then there’s the issue of regulation.
A brand is an asset, and therefore has value. But as long as excessive regulatory restrictions are in place, the clamping down on a brand’s freedom of movement doesn’t only impact the brand in question, but the industries that work with the brand too. The end result is the creation of a monopoly for existing brands, while budding businesses end up not being able to enter the market at all.
Regulators ought to consider the economic impact and destruction that comes with enforcing regulatory restrictions. To do this, there needs to be an on-going dialogue or even a task force between government agencies and industry stakeholders so that brands don’t become casualties in the line of fire.
To conclude, brands need to create a trust surplus. Be genuine, be brave, make that stand for your consumer and act in accordance with their purposes and beliefs. The payoff, though not immediate, will eventually come.