Navigating the shift to the new brand model

Conventional knowledge says that building a strong brand only involves a cool brand name, witty slogan, and advertising to potential buyers. This, and enforcing brand clarity and consistency in all customer interactions. “Do you stand out visually? Do you have a brand identity that tells a consistent, coherent story without saying a word? ”

But is this actually accurate? Building a brand will always reflect the product or service itself, rather than the one building the product. How does the brand communicate visually through platforms? Digital, print, but also personal. Of course, even the best visual identity or design cannot save a failed product. But if the product or service is effective, a strong brand will certainly add value to you and your customers. And a good brand can make or break a business.

What will contribute to this experience being called a brand? It all starts with a strong concept, the basis of the entire spectrum of visual and verbal communication. If you deliver luxury clothing to the elderly, not only the design, but also the tone of voice will be completely different from other target groups, products, services or even the socio-cultural context of your brand.

The old versus new model of a brand

However, an incredible amount has changed since the digital age. Building a brand has become much more than just coming up with a strong concept and consistent implementation. The customer has come fully to the forefront, to the point that they actually exert influence on the product itself.

On the left is the old model of a brand. A model that worked great during the time of mass production and the industrial revolution. A company makes a brand to which it hangs products, markets it to customers, the brand attracts customers and customers keep the company alive through purchases. It couldn’t be simpler.

On the right, the new model of a brand. It is almost the same, but with an important difference. Instead of starting to build the brand, we start with the customers. By building the product and attracting customers via, for example, social media, the brand is formed by both purchases and ambassadors. The customer-formed brand can then carry the company. And when this goes well, the circle will go round again, reinforcing the brand more and more.

This new model takes into account a deep truth when it comes to brands; Your brand is not what you say it is, but what your customers say it is. With this new model, you get the chance to grow your brand with followers who are actually behind you, supporters of your mission and fans of your personality.

In the old days, a company could find a hole in the market, fill it with a product, determine a price, and drive the product into people’s lives with heavy advertising and distribution. The only choice customers had was to buy or not to buy. The real power lay with the company, whose leaders were seen as authority figures.

– Marty Neumeier
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