Saturday, March 12, 2011

How “Brand Vision” Leads to Brand Growth

Defining a brand vision is an often overlooked task within a company mostly because it is not well understood as to its purpose or usefulness.  Strong brands and companies, however, usually do have compelling visions.  The purpose of having a brand vision is to state clearly a direction for the brand,  allowing differentiation in the market, standing for a set of core values, and ultimately gaining a loyal consumer base and building strong market share.

What is a Vision Statement?

My simple definition -- a vision statement is a description (or snapshot) of the world, that has been changed by having your brand accomplish its goals.    In other words – once you have changed the world for your customer – what does the world look like?  That is a “vision”.  

Here is an example.  Microsoft, back in its earliest days (mid 1970s), had a vision for their company

"We started with a vision of a computer on every desk and in every home...

– Bill Gates
Chairman and Chief Software Architect

This was a radical statement at the time, as  computers were never in homes (they didn’t fit in terms of size or household activity).  Brilliant -- home computers would require stand alone software systems for these individual boxes (a key enabler).  See how the vision works?

I love some non-marketing examples.  Martin Luther King, Jr. famously stated, “ I have a dream - that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  Wow – what a great snapshot of the inspiring side of vision.  John F. Kennedy said in the early 1960s that the US would have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.  While this was a bit more of an objective than a vision, its radical-ness alone made it a compelling vision. 

These statements (vision statements) were all unimaginable (at the time the were made) snapshots of the future for the the affected population (consumers), but inspired those who went to work on changing the world.  And, broadly speaking, these visions were achieved through the power of that inspiration.  Visions say nothing about how to accomplish this future state as that is not their purpose.

Why is Brand Vision Important?

A Brand, too, can have a vision and that vision can spark positive change in its direction and ability to satisfy the needs of consumers.  The point is to inspire and set the benchmark of how consumers live happier lives, have more time with their families, live on a more sustainable planet, etc. because your brand exists.   Today’s top brands have created loyalty, not only in delivering functional performance, but in ‘delighting’ consumers in their approach (2011 Brand keys Customer Loyalty Index).  A brand should clearly articulate the happiness, satisfaction or changed behavior in a world where problems have been solved by that brand having existed.  It is especially important in breakthrough ideas and new brands, but as the study also shows, mature brands can take advantage also.  

Key to Effective Vision:

  1. Snapshot of a changed world
  2. Simple, compelling and inspirational for the people who must work on the task
  3. Has a specific date when that vision is realized
  4. The brand should be inseparable and a key enabler to the realization of that vision

When a brand has a vision, the people working on it are inspired to change the world. That leads to consumers that are in love with the brand, and that leads to sustainable growth.

1 comment:

Label Design said...

Brands live or die on the shelf when consumers get down to the business of making a choice. At that critical moment, your packaging needs to deliver. It’s the one thing that consumers recall, consistently, long after all other elements of the marketing mix have faded away – and sometimes, when marketing budgets are tight or cut altogether, it’s all you have.
Label Design