Brands are failing or succeeding at rapid rates. It occurs in blogs we read, comments we write, and when we bestow a thumbs up. One day Bank of America is brought to its knees in response to new customer fees. On the other end of the spectrum, a company like Tom's Shoes continues to spread good will and to help others by giving a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. How do we explain this new business environment? What has happened to business when the rules have changed and the path to success is no longer clear?
Welcome to the brand revolution
At the core of this revolution are brand behaviors. Twenty years ago, brands were limited in how and where they connected with consumers. TV, print, and product packaging drove the interactions. Today, brands are as dynamic, interactive, and lifelike as their customers. This transformation is fueling great brands to exhibit all sorts of behaviors: entertaining behaviors, responsible behaviors, generous behaviors, and many more.
Brand behavior, in itself, is nothing new. If you watched the Super Bowl this year, you saw a bevy of advertisers attempt to use entertainment (primarily humor) as a main driver. Some were successful, but some were downright pathetic. Most brands never move beyond this one behavior -- the quest to be entertaining. It takes courage to move away from models that have worked in the past, and being entertaining always got a laugh. If done right, it always will.
Yet some brands are breaking away from their competitors by exhibiting behaviors that allow them to create robust experiences. The Apple Genius Bar demonstrates a nurturing behavior that generates incredible brand loyalty and trust. Patagonia's "The Footprint Chronicles" exhibits honesty and has became a beacon for eco-friendly sustainability in the sports apparel industry. (By behaving in new ways, these brands have become more meaningful in the eyes of their consumers.) Deep relationships are formed with brands that transform consumers into brand devotees, who not only buy their products but help market them, evangelize them, and ultimately withstand the competitive pressures to switch brands.
Modern brand behaviors
People choose their brands the same way they choose their friends -- through judging behaviors. Want to be friends with someone who behaves like a jerk? How about someone who consistently lies or is never loyal? Brands are now just like us. This fundamental shift is transforming their very being, but more importantly, it is allowing brands to become more valuable, courageous, and meaningful in the lives of customers.
Modern brand behaviors provide a framework for brands to flourish and become living, breathing entities designed to interact with people, not just sell a product or service. A brand must use a behavior to create a meaningful experience. If used correctly, each behavior will propel brands out of complacency and into action. It is important to note not all behaviors will work for every brand. And not all behaviors need to be used. Most leading brands find their sweet spot with two to three core behaviors, while the majority of complacent brands never move beyond one behavior. We recommend running a "brand behavior analysis."