Brand Building is an Investment: Highlights from Brand Summit 2023
First Published: 08
Josh Bosher, the Marketing Manager at BetterCo, recently attended the highly anticipated Brand Summit and is excited to share his valuable insights and key takeaways from the event. Keep reading to discover his perspective on this game-changing summit.
Consumers Connect with Brands that are Authentic.
It’s vital to understand what’s important to your business and your customers – Don’t be afraid to talk about the things that matter to them.
Bringing together an amazing line-up of both local and international speakers, NZ Marketing Association held its first-ever Brand Summit in October 2023. Sponsored by MediaWorks, it gave New Zealand marketers the chance to hear from industry leaders about world-class brand campaigns – including all the challenges associated with brand marketing – and the learnings that came from them.
There’s one word that sums up the overarching theme of the event – authenticity.
Move With the Times or Get Left Behind.
During the first presentation of the day, Chief Growth Officer at Lion, Anubha Sahasrabuddhe, spoke about the 3 forces that constantly change, shape, and challenge a brand's ability to remain relevant: cultural context, competition, and consumers. Understanding what’s important to consumers is what should drive the direction of brand marketing; As times change, so does the public perception of brands.
Innovation Applies to Every Industry.
Big or small, every business, and every industry, is at risk of becoming irrelevant. However, innovation doesn’t necessarily mean creating a brand-new product or service, something Matthias Blume, VP of Marketing ASEAN and South Pacific for Coca-Cola discussed throughout his keynote presentation. Although the formula for Coca-Cola has remained unchanged for decades, they’ve utilised consumer data to reinvent their engagement model – prioritising experiences over traditional advertising, whilst still maintaining the legacy of their brand.
The Foundations of Brand Building Start from Within.
Don’t expect the decision-makers in your organisation to automatically understand. Your people need the same care and attention as your consumers, if not more so.
Clarity + Simplicity = Alignment.
Two visuals and four bullet points. That was all that was used when communicating the rebrand from Vodafone to One New Zealand to the entire business, said Georgia Mahaffie, GM Brand & Marketing for One New Zealand. As many other speakers also reiterated on the day, simplicity gives you the best chance at ensuring everyone is clear on your ‘why’, which makes it a whole lot easier to stay aligned.
This is especially true for B2B brands, as mentioned by Paige Wilkinson, Global Marketing Manager for Active Living, Fonterra Co-operative Group. Often with no retail stores, your staff are your salespeople. Get them up to speed, make sure they understand the brand and its purpose and then turn them into your champions.
Credibility is Key to Fostering Long-Lasting Connections.
It’s one thing to communicate what your brand stands for, but it means nothing if you don’t walk the walk – your reputation depends on it.
A Good Reputation is Hard-Earned.
To quote Anubha, “If you **** up your brand, you’re not going to have a business”. With her keynote aptly named ‘Revival of an Icon’, she detailed the extraordinary amount of effort it required to turn the XXXX brand around after it had been neglected for 10 years.
But the perception of a brand can also change overnight. Something Anna Shipley, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of The Warehouse Group said she has experienced. Rather than your purpose and values being nothing more than a poster on a wall, use it as a tool when making decisions about your brand; As with any issue, not everyone will agree. So, being clear on your position and preparing for situations where you can’t control how people feel about it is an important factor in maintaining your integrity.
People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel.
During the Exploring the Role for Audio And Brands: From Advertising to Sonic ID’s discussion, panel members examined how audio is the perfect opportunity to give your brand a voice and connect with humans, as humans. To build on this, a study presented by Andy Lark, Global CMO, Entrepreneur, Author, and Speaker, proved that 69% of consumers say emotions count for over half their customer experience.
Maintain Momentum with Perspective.
Playing the long (hard) game.
It’s easy to feel discouraged when focusing on the day-to-day, especially if something doesn’t perform as expected, however, doubling down on brand building was another point that Andy made. Whilst sales activations result in short-term sales uplifts, without the dedication to building your brand, the potential for long-term growth is significantly reduced. As was mentioned multiple times throughout the day, if you need that extra boost of confidence, take a moment to review just how far your brand has come.
What became clear over the course of the event was that it’s up to us as marketers to re-educate the decision-makers about the value of brand marketing. To help them understand that the true value of a business is its brand. By aligning marketing objectives with the long-term goals of a business; utilising indisputable data to inform decisions; and taking as much time as required to communicate what a brand stands for, to the people who actually work for the brand, first; we can minimise the possibility of internal objections and continue on the journey to build almost irrational connections with consumers.