The world always changes and now it does even faster due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clearly the waves of change smash like a flash especially when it comes to the behaviors of consumers who are increasingly buying products and services online. As commercial arenas are on the online world with no boundaries, competition among businesses is even fiercer as they want to be outstanding, different and memorable in the eyes of consumers who have wide choices.
Therefore, today’s brand building aims at not only quickly raising awareness for a brand but also making it “top of mind” among consumers and ready to adapt to rapidly changing trends. Agile Branding is a brand building approach that businesses can apply.
What is Agile Branding?
Agile Branding is the combination of the principle of Agile, which emphasizes the most agile process of work that allows the quick changes and launches of new products to suit situations, and Branding, which refers to the creation of brand awareness among consumers. Therefore, Agile Branding means the design of a brand that is agile and ready for business expansion in the future when it comes to new products and services, new customer segments and new channels & touchpoints. This will allow a brand to grow steadily.
Many world-renowned organizations applied Agile Branding. They included Alphabet which began with the search engine service named Google. With the business, the company has access to huge data, especially those concerning the trends of consumers. The data were used to expand products and services including Android, an operating system for smartphones, Google Could and YouTube which is the world’s biggest online video platform. Various products and services enable Google to reach numerous groups of customers.
Another example is Facebook. It started as a social media platform and gradually entered online advertising before becoming a large advertising platform and expanding further to a social commerce platform and a payment system known as Facebook Pay.
Regarding the examples, it can be said that what Agile Brands have in common is their position that is always ready to change the creation of products and services and the design of Brand CI which responds to the trends of consumers.
Where should Agile Branding start?
As the world changes, successful brand building cannot depend on a fixed image. It needs the creation of exciting images through new ways of communications while maintaining the core value of brands.
There is not a fixed method for the development of an Agile Brand. However, there are 3 bases – 1) understand your own brand and present it clearly, 2) understand markets and adapt to changes and 3) always ready your teams for adjustment.
1. Understand your own brand and present it clearly
Agile Branding emphasizes agility, but first you must understand your own brand. A brand must answer these 3 questions.
- Who are target customers?
- What are the problems of customers that will be solved?
- What are the strengths that make your brand superior to competitors?
To answer the questions, businesses should not adhere to their old brand building strategies. Adjustment should not be limited to brand architecture but should also involve other elements related to corporate identity (CI) including logos, taglines, fonts and colors to increase understanding about brands. For example, Starbucks has changed its logo for many times since it established its brand. At the latest change, it removed the word “Coffee” from its logo so that it can expand its business in the future.
How can a brand know if it takes a right path? There are 3 steps for adjustment. Firstly, “build” a prototype from ideas and concepts about a brand to start a new way. Secondly, “measure” outcomes by really using the prototype. It can be presented within an organization and to customers and there can be marketing campaigns for the prototype via the social media of the brand. This is to collect feedback from parties and use the information to develop new methods in the future. Thirdly “learn” from previous methods. In general, learning will happen after a few trials of new methods. This depends on the budget and time that an organization can afford.
2. Understand markets and adapt to changes
Agility is the heart of Agile Branding. During the initial period of brand building, business organizations acquire understanding of markets and quickly try new solutions without adhering to old work processes to discover new opportunities. The key to the agility of a brand is willingness to listen to new ideas and opinions from customers, consumers, employees and partners. Especially in the present customer-centric era, customers play important roles in the world of business and products and services must serve the changing demand of consumers.
Another necessary element for the development of an Agile brand is to attach importance to customers. It begins with finding channels to communicate with and reach right customers. They include the use of social media to communicate marketing content, the development of applications to provide people with easier access to products and services and the demonstration of responsibility. Regarding responsibility, an Agile brand must be responsible for consumers by presenting the products and services that are safe and real and can truly solve problems. This is equivalent to keeping the promises made when a brand was built in the first place. Besides, an Agile brand must be responsible for society by basing the selection of its raw materials and its production on environmental protection and sustainability.
3. Always ready your teams for adjustment
The last basis is to prepare teams to handle changes by instructing them to finish assignments quickly and streamline work procedures and allowing them to make important decisions.
Besides, teams must have regular communications both within and among them so that they can exchange information, receive feedback on their work and solve problems right away without having to wait for work completion. If an organization has good communications, its personnel will see the same picture and be ready to change collectively.
It can be said that Agile Branding is a way to make brands ready for any changes that can be crises or new opportunities resulting from business expansion, new groups of customers and new operations. This is to ensure that brands will always be on consumers’ mind and grow steadily.
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