How Brands Are

One brand is not the other. But the principles behind brand growth are the same for all brands. Sharp’s How Brands Grow carries that name with a reason and is mainly about the latter. In other words, behind the growth of Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen are the same principles. Although no one will claim that a Volkswagen is the same as an Alfa Romeo. Volkswagen has a different memory structure than Alfa Romeo. In short: a different brand.

Text continues below the image

A brand is basically nothing more than a memory structure in a consumer’s head. Ideally with as many people as possible and in the same way with all of them. Consistency is crucial for growth. Effective and efficient.

If you imagine the brand as a wheel (that wants to move forward), you need resistance on the road in order to move forward. In this metaphor, consistency is the pressure on the road that makes sure that the wheel rolls steadily and does not turn or bounces too much.

But what actually is your brand, where do you start? Or in other words: what is the basis for that consistency? It can be a purpose, a history of origin, a unique solution, but also for example an archetype (Jung), or a combination of all of this. It is about that you decide on the basis of what you do and what you say. In other words, what is in the brand wheel, the brand book, the brand compass, or whatever you call it.

There is How Brands Grow and there is How Brands Are

If you have that in mind, you take How Brands Grow. And every so many years, you look at your brand again, to adjust or sharpen it. To the time, to the circumstances, to a new reality. My colleague Mark Zoon told me the liberating quote: “There is How Brands Grow and there is How Brands Are”. Those two have everything to do with each other. And that is important to keep an eye on, with the development of the brand story, (brand) campaigns, marketing actions, but also in product development and innovation. This also helps with combining different marketing disciplines, sometimes referred to as marketing silos.

If you make plans for 2020. Make sure that these two are aligned with each other. With the crucial question: in what way do you want your memory structure to be in the consumers mind? Keep in mind what the memory structure is like at the moment and how you can refresh and stretch it. Because: consistency is fundamental. If you need to -for whatever reason- break with a certain element from that memory structure, know that it costs a lot of money, time and patience to reach the same point as where you are now. So, if you make a change in your How Brands Are, it affects your How Brands Grow.

Are you looking for more growth for your brand?