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The future of marketing continues to evolve. While companies transition away from traditional methods of advertising, more significant pressure is being added to engage with more potential customers in measurable ways.

Companies are asking their marketing departments to have value-added components beyond traditional features/benefits. This has caused companies to rethink the way they bring their products to market. Not only has this affected marketing, but it has also challenged development teams to be more in touch with trends as well as a closer following of “customer voice” data and information. Taking this one step further, companies are now required to have a deeper understanding of their audience.

Screen Shot 2019-10-16 at 1.01.27 PMAutomotive company Suburu was made a concerted effort to engage with its customer base much deeper. As a “challenger” brand, they have invested in building relationships with a specific audience well beyond the vehicles they sell. Based on being a vehicle for adventure and the outdoors, they have been very strategic with their partnerships.

Suburu has utilized sponsor relationships with non-profit organizations like the National Ski Patrol, US National Whitewater Center, ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), The National Park Foundation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The company has committed to engaging with its customers, where they are heavily committed personally. The company has also invested in partnerships with brands such as REI co-op, several outdoor venues, and off-road driving schools. Its commitment has also included in its advertising through the support of pets in its continuing advertising campaign.

In business to business marketing, because of budget constraints, companies have to be more selective in their strategies and tactics.
The value that they can bring to the table is more education and content generation based. With the strength of the internet, companies have the opportunity to create content through the creation of webinars, white papers placed in a variety of social channels. They can also take advantage of sponsorships of industry organizations as well as educational institutions speaking opportunities.

As the challenges of marketing continue the evolve, brands will realize that the relationships they create will need to go outside the typical feature and benefits of the products they make. By being immersive in the lives of their customers, engaging them at the core of their purpose and passions, they have the opportunity to create sustaining relationships.

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As baby boomers give way to generation X, Y, and Z, brands are faced with new challenges. These millennials are increasingly making their voices heard, and presence felt in the business community. In the short term, Generation X is taking on new challenges in their lives and their careers and have additional requirements for their brand experiences. Beyond the obvious of being more digitally in cinque, the require this group expects their brands to help them with their busy lives as well as support what they believe in.

Overall, the younger the person, the lower their brand loyalty is. As a result, an ever-increasing amount of millennials are losing trust in the economy and businesses.  What they are looking for are the brands that are the disrupters, especially the one that push boundaries and the status quo to achieve a purpose that this group’s values align with.

So how will brands make this transition? One example is Patagonia. This environmentally driven brand has taken on everything from governments to provide grants and support. An example is the creation of  “The Activist Company” that states “the protection and preservation of the environment isn’t what we do after hours. It’s the reason we’re in business and every day’s work.” They have even included a search tool “Patagonia Action Works” that will find groups, events, and places to volunteer nearby. They have gone well beyond just having a purpose and created actionable resources to accomplish the goals and become a disruptor.

DIck’s Sporting Goods newest campaign, “Help Us Help Them,” aligns its marketing with a cause. Additionally, they have developed their “Sports Matter” program and YouTube channel . This series aligns the brand with youth sports to solidify its outreach to supporting young athletes and their goals, even within the most challenging circumstances. There are many more examples of brands that have gone outside their comfort zones to challenge and create an impact.

Brands that will attempt to be sustaining in coming years will have to make tough choices. Either sit safely on the sidelines and watch helplessly or take risks to be relevant and be disruptive with the risk of losing some markets to gain others.

reebok-logo-combo 2Many companies ask about the longevity of their brand and when is it time to rebrand their business. Many factors come into play.

While some brands have gone for years, even centuries, without going through a full rebrand of their business others, others don’t seem comfortable in their own skin. Many times a company’s brand is solid, it’s the execution that falls short.

Often companies believe that they have fallen into a rut and need to rebrand themselves to increase sales.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reason for considering a rebrand should be based on significant changes in any or all of the following business initiatives.
• A change in the structure of the business, i.e., product line, business categories
• A change in how you conduct business, i.e., geographic growth from domestic to global
• Value proposition
• Customer experience
• Company purpose
• Change in ownership
• Inability to differentiate your firms within the competitive marketplace
• Acquisition of competing brands

Case in point, Adidas acquired the Reebok https://www.fastcompany.com/3027567/how-reeboks-crossfit-logo-took-over-the-mothershipbrand and immediately rebranded it to fit within the Adidas stable of brands.  To accomplish this Reebok was established as the fitness brand with Adidas as the team sports partner rather than its competitor. At that point, Reebok severed all professional team sports relationships and focused on becoming a fitness brand. During the rebranding process, Reebok aligned itself with CrossFit, yoga, dance, and aerobics as a means of growing the business.

This is an excellent representation of how to add brands to a house of brands to allow them to co-exist through rebranding. In other circumstances, acquisitions are added that evolve into an existing branded house that retains none of their previous identity allowing them to leverage the equity of the house itself.

As you can see, many components are examined when considering a rebrand. From aesthetics to points of view and brand voice, they are all important and need to work together to create the most compelling experience.