There is conventional wisdom that brands are something to be protected and that the safest thing to do with a brand is nothing. This wisdom holds that brands are like porcelain vases, delicate and if protected capable of maintaining their value over decades if not centuries.
This is no longer the case. In fact, much like startups being being less risky than most people believe, and traditional jobs being more risky, the inverse with brands seems to be true today.
In the space of 15 years Apple went from a nearly bankrupt company to the most valuable company on earth. To say in the late 1990’s that Apple would be one of the most valuable brands on earth, would be to be laughed out of the room. This was on the back of tremendous product success but also due to amazing and skilled marketing and communication. There are countless brands that have had a similar trajectory.
The opposite direction has been similarly fast and steep. How many drinks, foods, toys, games, retail chains, that seemed unstoppable a decade ago are forgotten or even nonexistent today? Think of brands or products that you thought would be around forever that are now gone. And to have predicted that these brands could go to zero would have been inconceivable. Some of this can be attributed to product weakness or technology changes, but some can be attributed to underinvestment or overprotection of the brand.
Social, content-driven marketing has risks. Anytime you speak there are risks you might say the wrong thing, despite the greatest of care. And, the more you speak, the more risk you incur. But I would argue that in this day and age, with the speed that brands rise and fall, playing it safe and saying nothing, is actually the riskiest thing a brand can do.
Even the most “iconic” brands are in a state of decay (not unlike even the healthiest bodies and most well built homes) and the only counterforce is communication and adaption to the changes in the media landscape. If an iconic brand was to sit on the sidelines, how long before the decay would overtake it? 10 years? 15 years? We are in a world of increasing speed and competition. The notion that “we should be careful and not do anything to hurt the brand” is almost as dangerous as carelessness with the brand.
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Read the original article: Why “Protecting the Brand” is the Riskiest… – LinkedIn
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