Managing Your Brand in 2017

By Daniel Rosentreter

Enough of the quit-smoking, start-running New Year’s resolutions. Why not make some positive resolutions for your 2017 brand management strategy instead? Here are my top 5 suggestions.

1. More Freedom, Fewer Rules

Today brands have to perform on an infinite number of analog and digital touchpoints, in different formats, and on multiple devices. Predefining elaborate guidelines for all of these brand experiences is a waste of effort. Instead, brands need to be easily adjustable from the smallest device to large-format displays based on a limited number of guiding principles. Coherence, not consistency, is important today. Touchpoints do not need to look the same anymore but should feel the same everywhere. Time to say goodbye to hundreds of pages of strict rules and hello to more creative freedom.

2. Interaction Is All that Matters

True difference cannot simply be achieved through graphics and words. Start to think about the behavior and functionality of your brand. How intelligent does it behave? How smart is it about the user? What value does it create in people´s lives at each point of interaction? An extreme focus on the user and the combination of data and technology in smart and unexpected ways will make your brand stand out in this world of sameness.

3. Lift the Fog of Complexity

What stands between your brand strategy and your customers’ experience? In most cases it is complexity. Complexity is like a fog that hangs between your idea of what your brand should deliver and what actually happens in the real world. It distracts users and obscures and clouds interactions with your brands. Simplicity is rare, but when you achieve it your audience can finally enjoy your brand in way it was intended.

4. Learn to Let Go

Managing a brand is a challenging task. It’s exciting, sometimes nerve-racking, but you feel passionate about the results. And still, we have to learn to let go. It’s foolish to believe a brand belongs to its creators. Instead, it belongs to the people it is intended for. Be brave and leave the ivory tower. Open up your brand and invite people to participate to create its future together.

5. Going the Extra Mile

My favorite quote is attributed to Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You might have the best ideas, but they are worthless if you can´t get people behind them. Same with your brand. It takes your whole company to stand behind it and deliver it every day anew. The brand needs to be part of the fabric of who you are and how you make decisions at every level. Driving the brand into an organization is like training for a marathon: it is painful, won´t happen overnight, and the biggest obstacles might arise late in the process.

Daniel Rosentreter is Head of Strategy at MetaDesign Berlin.

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