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    Entries in trend spotting (2)

    Monday
    Oct152012

    Solid Brands Are Timeless

    A strong brand should never become obsolete. Branding and marketing alike require a thought out process that allows for accountability and excellence to drive the brand forward. Before discussing the power of a well-developed brand, it is important to define what is not a brand. An established brand is not a fad or a trend, but rather remains timeless and relevant. In recent years, the ‘live strong’ yellow bracelets worn by cyclist Lance Armstrong have become quite a popular item.

    The bracelets original goal was to raise awareness and support cancer research. The bracelets became more of a fad then a brand, as once the ‘newness’ fell away, the public was off to the next market trend. Brand power is ultimately about longevity, as brand power develops the market around them, growing with the clientele. The bracelet example illustrates the importance of marketing, but also shows how a popular trend does not necessarily lead to a developed brand. A strong brand requires a commitment to quality, market momentum and industry leverage. With these three things in place, a product or organization can work towards moving past the trend stage and into a well-developed brand.

    Developing a strong brand is not an easy task, but must be planned, strategized and effectively orchestrated. A healthy brand builds deep relationships with their consumers, and has their hand on the pulse of what the market needs and wants. With longevity comes the ability to set products and ideas not around what the consumer wants today, but rather match what they wanted yesterday with what they will want tomorrow.

    In saying that no brand can last forever, critics negate many past examples of brands that have stood the test of time, and offered like Coca-Cola and Tide Detergent. These brands have continually adapted to market conditions without compromises the core values and objectives that have remained strong since their inception. Ultimately, for a brand to remain relevant across generations means that a comprehensive team committed to excellence has worked with a superior product or service over time.

    Brands that fail to remain competitive either lack one of the three key elements discussed, or are simply a fading trend. Brands that succeed have found a way to make it work. Whether it is giving the choice to customers like Burger King, or just creating a popular and desirable product like Coca-Cola, successful brands stand the test of time because they demonstrate the ability to set them apart and do what it takes to succeed.

    Tuesday
    Jul032012

    Strategic is Not a Trend

    In a world where things are hot today and gone tomorrow (like THIS or THIS), the concept of "trendspotting" has become "the thing to do," as if you can ride the wave up and hop off before it curls...you're a winner!

    You know it's big when Google has their own widget, and that's just what Google Trends is about.

    Similar to social or professional trends, there are loads of trendy words and phrases.  Uber, Organic, Outside-the-Box Thinking, Holistic...these words get used like they're on sale at WalMart, and yes...even I use them sometimes too often.

    One word that borders on "trendy" but if defined and excuted is anything but, is the word Strategic.

    Strategic Thinking, Business Coaching, Mission/Vision Development...the list goes on.  These are all areas that business consultants and business coaches have made millions off of packaging and re-selling to unsuspecting clients.  The difference (which can be difficult to pin down) is not as much on the what, as the "good" strategists use similar terms and excersizes as the "bad" ones...but rather it's in their process and more importantly the goals and objectives of the process itself.

    Let me explain.

    Anyone with a brain and an Organizational Behaviour 101 textbook can help you define your company's mission, vision, and core values.  It's getting past the "we promise to serve customers...deliver value" jargon and defining real, tangible, measureable goals for the company to live and breath.  It's no surprise that we are in the world we are in...

    The REAL test is if your staff, customers and suppliers can define your company's mission and vision without you telling them.

    For example: Joe's Diner is about quality food and a family-friendly atmosphere.  A customer knows that because they love the food and enjoy the family-type repour that they have with the staff.

    The fact is, we cannot afford to allow Strategy to become a trend.  The trend elements (i.e the poser consultant that charges you an arm and a leg to write a mission statement for you) will fade...the market is too smart for that...it's the deeper, life-long, steady-hand decision making that will remain.