How to Reposition brands in a Connected World

Whether or not many companies and marketers accept it, we’re living in an extremely connected world. Mobile phones have revolutionized the way we verbally communicate with each other; Internet has drastically changed our behavior within our groups and society at large; and the integration of both these technologies, has shifted our perspectives of “reaching out” to the world outside of ourselves. As a result we’re discovering hundreds of different ways everyday to re-invent ourselves on every frontier of our existence – perhaps like never before!

However, what about the brands, which have been constantly giving us meaning and reasons to use them, since our toddler days?

Many brands have been able to retain their stronghold, by delivering the values they have been promising over all these years. It means that these brands have been extremely successful in differentiating themselves from the competition. It means that these brands have been consistently maintaining their presence within the purchase consideration set of their customers, and in most cases making sure that they are indeed the chosen ones from this set.

Then, there are many other brands who have found themselves cat-napping during the communication revolution happening around them. How can these brands re-invent / reposition themselves?

The answer lies within the “communication revolution” itself. Here’s how:

Creation of a new value-system of the customers (Image (C) Shantanu Sengupta)

A brand is after all a composite set of direct and indirect value-based proposition / promises delivered to the customer, in order to differentiate the core product from a competition. The best way to visualize brands is perhaps to visualize them as human beings / personalities in the real world. In this way, brands are able to mirror important facets of their target customer personalities, while creating a unique set of promises that satisfy the customer’s needs at the time of purchase.

Therefore, just the manner in which the customers are changing their ways of communicating and evolving into new “avatars” or personalities, these “cat-napping” brands too need to reposition, by following the changes embraced by their prospective customers, to evolve into new “avatars”. The figure below makes it clearer.

Today’s Customer M, who is connecting more and more frequently thru various virtual means, to other customers with different value-sets, is destined to adopt additional set of values, influenced by his network. As a result, Customer M has now an augmented value-set (Core + Influenced values). On a longer time frame his core values may have the chance of being proportionally dominated by influenced set of values – to the extent that he might now have a newer value system – “MX”.

Lesson for “cat-napping” brands:

  1. Augment the value proposition, by promise of the additional benefits that meet the needs of the socially enriched customer
  2. Retain the Core values intact during the process of augmenting the value-proposition
  3. However Give Up Control, if the core value system is meta-morphing into a new, but composite value system
  4. Re-Gain Control by promising long-term benefits, reflecting upon the new-composite value system
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About shantanu.sengupta
I'm a passionate Strategic Marketing professional who deeply understands the interplay of Technology, Collaboration and Design that drives brand innovation and growth in a post-recession world today. I believe that marketing solutions cannot be found by referring to historical case studies, esp. since no two marketing problems are the same. As a result, instead of adhering to a jargonised approach to marketing, I follow Design Thinking principles, challenge existing norms and processes, and search for innovative ways to solve marketing problems. I specialize in developing and implementing marketing and communication strategies across B2C and B2B channels, with a clear focus on brand development and customer engagement that increases future brand value.

2 Responses to How to Reposition brands in a Connected World

  1. Jayadev says:

    Shantanu,

    Please share some thoughts on the Values .. with examples of the Values that are associated with some popular Brands!

    What were their Core values and in what way they evolved or got augmented.

    Thanks!

    Jayadev

    • shantanusengupta says:

      Jayadev,
      Take the case of APPLE whose Core value is “Innovation” – this remains to be so, till today. You see this value reflected in every product they launch – even in their updated versions too. As the times changed, they have added to this value proposition further, e.g. “young”, “Lifestyle”, “creative”, “design” and “Self-expression” are apple’s augmented values. So much so that their best selling products, iPod, iPhone and iPad not only have been manifestations of each of these augmented values, but also have been replicating the “social-media ecosystem” through their very own “Apps, itunes and iBooks” stores ecosystem. The results – which are too well known.

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