Brand identity: culture. The real KPIs of growth

corporate branding agency in india

A brand is a living, thinking being. Whatever you think, a brand reacts and interacts with its environment, its time, its customers. What was already true yesterday is even more true today, where the multiplicity of communication media pushes brands to a hyper-presence to exist and maintain a presence in the minds of consumers.

To differentiate itself in this uninterrupted flow of messages that appeal to every potential consumer, the brand must develop a system of values and a culture that are unique to it.

Brand culture is a heritage!

It is this heritage that binds the brand to the company. Brand culture refers to the brand’s roots and heritage.

For example :

Lacoste is a brand that finds its roots in the French aristocracy of the 1920s embodied by René Lacoste, and the beginning of a class sport, tennis.

Brand culture is a historical and often implicit system, a collective imagination built on an ideology, myths, rites, norms and beliefs specific to a brand.

For example :

the Nivea and L’Oréal brands are fundamentally distinguished by their culture, characterized by an ideology about what beauty is. For Nivea, women are naturally beautiful, while for L’Oréal, beauty is cultural and worked.

Brand culture: become a cultural agent

Example :

According to Daniel Bo, brands are much more than economic agents: they are cultural agents because what they convey goes beyond the simplistic advertising discourse that could be summed up as buying my slippers, my shoes, my cakes, because they are the best.

Today a pure product discourse as it was the case at the time of advertising, continues today with some advertising agencies that have no other purpose than to steal your money without exchange of concept, strategy, positioning. This makes a short and long term customer relationship almost impossible.

All this in the one and only primary sense of advertising.

Advertising and being an advertiser is advertising nonsense

The times do not lend themselves or more to be an advertiser. No matter what the big retailers Leclerc, Carrefour, Lidl, holding the audience with a lot of media plans is no longer enough to maintain a relationship and engage its customers. Simply because the offer is not sufficient and we have no choice but to go with our shopping cart to the supermarket. But let’s imagine for a moment that the offer is plural, that you can buy quality fruit, organic, locavores, mature meat for more than 30 days and not blood red as an exit from the slaughterhouse, because the purchasing centres of these distributors are running at full speed.

That is what is behind this example. An empirical value of margins and nothing else! You come by chance, you come because you have to satisfy a primary need: to feed yourself.

Nourishing your cultural identity: the success of brand culture

Each company has intangible values, a symbolic capital constituting the very essence of its identity. According to Daniel Bo, the advantage of brand culture lies in the combination of all product and company dimensions. The latter becomes the creator of values and a universe of meaning.

This is where your brand universe rests to start communicating with your potential audience or to share values with them. Everyone is an island and every product has a history, just like every brand.

Nike is in surpassing himself. The brand has been working for years with amateur sportsmen and women, even going beyond sports to enter the world of relaxation and work, with streetwear lines with which it is difficult not to identify, because these values are present in our minds, because they speak to us, and are part of us, of our existence.

Dig deep into your brand identity

So we have to dig deeper when we talk about brand culture.

Brand culture contains essential elements that must be taken into account

  • sensory reality,
  • body,
  • physiological,
  • cognitive,
  • technological,
  • collective,
  • social brands

Example: The noise of the Cafe Coffee Day machine, or the gesture of making a coffee or handling the capsule are an integral part of the Cafe Coffee Day culture. All these behavioural parameters are attitudes that have been tested and studied in order to respond to consumer’s expectations. V. G. Siddhartha did not make Cafe Coffee Day a success with the superb slogan “A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee”, of course not! We would have done it with someone else, it wouldn’t have had the same membership, it would just have taken a lot longer. The more insightful the choice, the more it positioned the brand as a premium, elitist, intellectual brand and an inaccessible brand.

That is why today you are ready to buy yourself a coffee between 125 and 145 Indian Rupees, because every morning you insert the capsule and watch the coffee flow, you feel strong, intelligent, mysterious, inaccessible, ready to conquer the world.

Brand culture is in you! That message got through! And the relationship with the brand becomes almost physical beyond sharing its cultural values equally.

Register as a cultural agent

We often forget this when we listen to the results of a marketing campaign that has not achieved the expected results, because one of the primary objectives has been overshadowed by an insignificant message: to become a cultural agent.

Let us never forget that a personality is rich if we want to be interested in it. If we want to dig into his story. There’s a little storytelling, because you only have to tell the good sides of the story. The world doesn’t care about the truth, leave that to historians and your critics who will do the dirty work to sabotage your brand.

Anyway, brand culture is the best to register as a cultural agent.

Drawing on its cultural environment in the broadest sense:

  • historical,
  • geographical,
  • artistic,

You will find there the foundations of an identity at the same time coherent and in perpetual adaptation. This approach encourages us to project ourselves as close as possible to our target and to anticipate our communication by detecting and encouraging changes in lifestyles and creating the trends of tomorrow.

Objective meaningfullness

Your major challenge for your brand is its semantic consistency, its ability to give meaning and sensations to consumers.

Altruistic you are! Altruistic will be your brand!

To surprise, enchant, seduce, make react, solicit, create emotion with the consumer, must be a constant of your communication.

It is a question for brands to stand out from the crowd and share a moment and accompany their customers every day.

This bond so carefully woven becomes so rich in meaning for the consumer, for whom this relationship can become so intimate that he will befriend you because he shares the same things as you.

Social networks: KPIs do not plead in favor of your turnover

It is difficult as an agency to hold this speech that social networks are not a major medium for your communication given their audience. But if we are pragmatic and our only objective is to sell a product, whether we do brand culture or not, we must admit that the KPIs do not plead in favor of your turnover.

For that, we leave it to Douglas Holt, founder and president of the Cultural Strategy Group, who is unquestionably one of those marketers who are both iconoclasts and visionaries, who cultivate neither the language of wood nor ready-to-think.

Holt said, “Social networks had to allow companies to bypass traditional media to connect directly with customers. Telling them exciting stories and connecting with them in real time would enable brands to transform themselves into platforms for a consumer community. But what the promoters of brand content then presented as a revolutionary marketing method was in reality “only one of the vestiges of the mass media era, whose image has been redone into a digital concept”.

According to Express writers, 25% of the global corporate marketing budget is now allocated to content creation and no less than 118.4 billion dollars will have been spent on brand content and content marketing worldwide in 2015!

Branded content collides with the reality of statistics

All these huge investments were not there. Because not only the performance of most major brands in terms of commitment remains poor, but on the basis of KPI as primary as the number of views, visits or subscriptions, the results remain more than mediocre.

It is necessary to see the insolent success of the stars of the sport and the song on the social networks, but also and especially the insolent success of all these new figures of the Web 2.0 that became the bloggers, YouTubers and other Instagramers stars, who accumulate the views, subscriptions and other interactions by millions on the social networks. While most brands generally only have a few thousand acquired with millions of dollars.

On these networks, the top of the pavement is held by artists coming out of nowhere. Or, more precisely, artists propelled by huge communities of socionauts, gathered around themes generating spectacular commitment, such as the subculture of video games.

In comparison, the first corporate YouTube channel and by far is that of Red Bull, whose annual marketing budget of 2 billion, largely devoted to brand content, allows it to rank 184th in the ranking of YouTube channels.

As for McDonald’s, to take just this other example and despite the amounts invested, its YouTube channel ranks 9,414th (275,000 subscribers), which is 200 times lower than PewDiePie’s performance, while its video production costs are 100 to 1,000 times higher!

But Douglas Holt nevertheless sinks the nail by mentioning the rout, so symptomatic, of Coca Cola’s marketing strategy, whose brand content has become the main battle horse in recent years.

Indeed, it was in 2011, for those who remember, that the world’s best-known soda company unveiled a new, more than ambitious marketing strategy. Very officially named “Liquid & Linked”, it aimed to put aside the creative excellence that had made its success in its approach to mass media and replace it with content excellence.

The flagship of this new policy, the brand’s static website was transformed into a real digital magazine in 2012: Coca-Cola Journey. Perfect embodiment of a brand strategy, with an over-media launch. But to the great displeasure of its designers, who had for him the disproportionate ambition to see it appear among the first world media, the Coca-Cola site unfortunately records almost no visit!

Since its launch, this online magazine has never made it into the top 10,000 sites in the United States or even into the top 20,000 worldwide. And the brand’s YouTube channel (No. 2,749 in January 2016) had only 676,000 subscribers (1 million today).

Inbound and outbound as real media to sell

Every medium has its purpose and must be considered as such and nothing else. Social networks, as we have just seen, are no longer on the lookout for a relevant ROI and a hyper-growing turnover.

If for 10 years they have replaced the big media, scattering the audience on multiple supports, it must however be considered that a single message cannot be introduced into the canon and shot on different supports. But an inbound, outbound approach will be more judicious to convey the “Hook” messages via the inbound to create traffic and bring your audience to you, and the outbound conveying your “brand identity“. Both will create adherence to your image, your messages and the act of buying, hence the growth of your business.

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