One of my major challenge of the last years has been to move the Brand positioning of the company from a pure B2B “technical” approach to a “consumer insights” approach. The Brand has been crucial in this process in order to push the organization to define in a new way its own “reason why”.
In the past advertising was considered something on top of the real reality. We were used to create nice advertising spots with attractive messages without really caring about other internal realities sitting into companies. Usually marketing was considered totally disconnected with the values. Now, more and more, the internal world needs to be aligned with the external one. Moreover, a “purpose” needs to reflect the overall strategy of the company if it needs to be credible and impactful. Nevertheless, of course this means also a complete change in the attitude and in the marketing strategies and therefore a wide internal activation is necessary to ensure the coherence all across channels and actions.
We cannot bet only on advertising anymore and we need to create a story that is realistic, valuable and reflected all across the organization, in order to be able to win in the future scenarios when the personalization of marketing activities will become stronger and stronger.
The Brand purpose becomes therefore the foundation that companies use to build up a strong identity and a clear focus on what they stand for. In addition, it is forcing all professionals (even not working into communication environment) to embed the concept and use it properly.
Once that the purpose is defined and clear, one important tool to be used to make it happen is about convincing stakeholders to move to a “single minded” approach: using only one strong and differentiating argument defined on external consumers’ needs and not on internal listing of products’ benefit. The word “differentiation” here is not minor; almost many would like to copy competitors but studying and analyzing competitors is needed to be better and different not to follow.
All this means moving totally the attention from the product to the external world. It is a change in paradigm and, to have a very good product, is not sufficient if nobody is willing to pay for it. We need to address our main attention to consumer’s insights even if we work with professionals.
Then, how concretely we made it happen? Mainly with never ending internal workshops and internal on-boarding on Brand purpose together with each single business in order to match the overall Brand strategy with the Divisional one and co-create in this way their specific story line. This was a very important exercise to create a common understanding but also to get all the insights needed in order to move next steps into the communication strategies.
Marketing and communications teams were also deeply challenged into the way they were working. It was a key point to move their approach to a single minded one and therefore translate the used communication language into the new language and new creative conceptual development.
Because actually the Brand can easily be confused by a simple readjustment of the corporate design. This is not possible anymore; the overall narrative needs to be adjusted in alignment with the new needs and the new digital touch-points.
Beside all this steps, the process is never-ending and internal training and activation (especially on the international level) is still in constant progress in order to generate a common understanding and to be successful in the mid-long term.