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From DigitalStrategy toBrand Mastery:Strategizing for apost-digital ageCreating and managingbrand value TM
Interbrand | Pg. 1From Digital Strategyto Brand Mastery:Strategizing for a post-digital ageby Jeff ManciniInterbrand believes that brands are fundamental we breathe. Online and offline content, then you may have lapsed into a lack ofto competitive business advantage in the virtual and real worlds are all merged now perspective that can, at worst, convert yourmarketplace. Businesses who leverage brands into a larger ongoing experience. And that digital spend into a stream of ill-spent dollarsmost effectively are better positioned to drive experience – how audiences encounter down the virtual drain. But to the degreechoice, create loyalty, and command a premium. your brand – determines the vitality of that such metrics are rooted in business andOur recent, broad-based survey of the digital your company. brand, helping advance your larger cause,strategies of 672 companies revealed that there then digital strategy is being appropriatelyis much room for improvement when it comes to There is no viable digital marshaled in service of business strategy.using digital strategy as part of brand strategy, strategy that isn’t integrated Defining the challengethus maximizing the value to the business and into your larger brand andROI from digital engagement. To better understand this challenge, business strategy. Interbrand conducted a survey of 672For brands seeking to master their Many of us remember a world where companies across 10 sectors to get amarkets, the second decade of the 21st online was the place we went to learn about snapshot of the state of digital strategycentury promises to be even faster, more offline experiences. The reality is that your in business today. Some of the resultsinterconnected and more transparent customers are living in a seamless hybrid were expected – only 16 percent of thosethan the first. A scant ten years ago, many world where online and offline experiences surveyed are digitally inactive, a number thatcompanies were only beginning to grapple are entwined and a continuum of devices will continue to shrink. Also unsurprisingwith digital channels as an element of interact both with each other and with the was the fact that a full 68 percent oftheir business. Now digital strategy is part user’s “offline” daily world. Because this is the respondents believe they are ahead ofof everyone’s arsenal, pretty much experience your audiences are having with the competition when it comes to digitalubiquitous. But just because you have a your brand, this is the starting point for how strategy. But their rosy self-assessmentdigital strategy, and even if you allocate to think about digital. To best drive choice, does not correlate to the rest of the data,tremendous resources to it, does not mean create loyalty, and command a premium in revealing instead a crisis of over-confidenceyou’re getting good ROI. In fact, our recent the marketplace, organizations would do and a sense that perhaps many of us havesurvey bore out what our experience with well to consider that they are functioning in trouble evaluating ourselves.clients was suggesting: Not all digital a post-digital era.strategy is sound brand strategy. To underline the vast room for This is the latest reality check in a time of improvement, 56 percent of digitally activeBeyond digital perpetually accelerating change. But in companies do not have a social media policy.Ask yourself: Is your organization using the throes of great upheaval it’s always This is significant because 551 respondentsdigital in a way that aligns with your larger important to stay grounded in business are involved with social media – meaningpositioning? Many of those we surveyed fundamentals. The overarching perspective that 39 percent of companies involved withoperate day to day in the great divide one needs for an effective digital strategy social media (216) are operating without abetween the status quo and the tremendous is just that: perspective. The perspective to social media policy. It’s akin to discoveringopportunities that digital offers. Ironically see that one’s organization should define that a statistically significant proportion ofthe best way to close that gap and reap the success by the time-tested measurements the driving population has never learned torewards is to think beyond digital. When it of the bottom line. When digital metrics drive and is going on gut instinct.comes to brand strength, we are no longer in such as impressions, click-throughs, anda digital era because digital is as integrated Facebook likes exist in a vacuum, or begininto the daily life of business as the air to function as the tail that wags the dog,
From Digital Strategy to Brand Mastery: Strategizing for a post-digital age Interbrand | Pg. 2F igure 1 : INTERBR AND’ S 10 COMP ONENTS OF BR AND STRENG THInternal External Clarity Authenticity Clarity internally about what the brand stands for in The brand is soundly based on an internal truth and terms of its values, positioning and proposition. Clarity capability. It has a deﬁned heritage and a well grounded too about target audiences, customer insights and drivers. value set. It can deliver against the (high) expectations Because so much hinges on this, it is vital that these are that customers have of it. articulated internally. Commitment Relevance Internal commitment to brand, and a belief internally The ﬁt with customer/consumer needs, desires, and in the importance of brand. The extent to which the decision criteria across all relevant demographics and brand receives support in terms of time, inﬂuence, geographies and shared across the organization. and investment. Protection Differentiation How secure the brand is across a number of dimensions: The degree to which customers/consumers perceive legal protection, proprietary ingredients or design, scale the brand to have a differentiated positioning distinctive or geographical spread. from the competition. Responsiveness Consistency The ability to respond to market changes, challenges and The degree to which a brand is experienced without opportunities. The brand should have a sense of leadership fail across all touchpoints or formats. internally and a desire and ability to constantly evolve and renew itself. Presence The degree to which a brand feels omnipresent and is talked about positively by consumers, customers and opinion formers in both traditional and social media. Understanding The brand is not only recognized by customers,but there is also an in-depth knowledge and understanding of its distinctive qualities and characteristics. [Where relevant, this will extend to consumer understanding of the company that owns the brand].Brand Strength as a measure of We filtered the results of our survey is inadequate – perhaps the most troublingpost-digital strategy through the most relevant Brand Strength lack of commitment of all in that it speaks to dimensions to better understand how well a failure to imbue personnel with what theyAs we pointed out, focusing on the companies are delivering on the essentials need to be effective representatives of theirfundamentals is critical. For Interbrand, of a strong post-digital brand. organization. This is like leaving money onthe most critical measurement of a brand the table in the battle for customer heartsis its value, and that can be gauged by We found gaps in Commitment that and minds. In sum, while progress is beingmeasuring Brand Strength. Over the years, suggest many companies are falling short: made on internal brand commitment,we have developed and refined from our Despite a high rate of social media activity, nearly one third of respondent companiesexperience a set of 10 key components that essentially half of the responding companies believe their digital strategy to be eithermeasure Brand Strength and help us create (49 percent) do not have a dedicated underfunded, or that their employees areBrand Value (see Figure 1). Strong brands social media group. More than one third undereducated on the objectives.start with four internal factors, and that of respondents feel that an inadequatestrength is reflected in the six external brand amount of resources has been dedicated to Differentiation is one of the most powerfulstrength factors. Taken together, they help their company’s digital presence. And as for attributes a brand can possess in the fighttell us if an organization is primed internal brand engagement, a full 36 percent for consumer attention and loyalty. Whilefor success. feel that their company’s investment in 65 percent of digitally active respondents employee education on their digital strategy
From Digital Strategy to Brand Mastery: Strategizing for a post-digital age Interbrand | Pg. 3The time for post-digital thinking,and bottom-line-focused strategicintegration, would appear to beright now.believe their brands to be very distinct, only of their brand, and likewise, just over half F igure 2 : EX TERNAL BR AND STRENGTH COMPONENTS13 percent of respondents claim they audit have policies on their employees’ personalcompetitors continuously (see Figure 2). engagement in the online space. Almost DIFFERENTIATION:It is difficult to imagine how a brand would half – 47 percent – are not yet formulating 13% Only 13% claim to audit competitors onbe able to assess its distinctiveness when digital guidelines for employees, and only a regular basisso little time is invested in studying 44 percent of digitally active companiesthe competition. have a social media policy at all; meanwhile, CONSISTENCY: 39 percent of companies are active in social One third of brands believeOn Relevance, too, opportunities arebeing missed. More than a quarter of media yet have no policy on it. At the most basic level of data protection, the 33% their brand experience to be inconsistent acrossthose surveyed are not soliciting customer digital touchpoints survey revealed that only 54 percent offeedback to inform their thinking on respondents’ companies back up all contentappropriate digital experiences. And housed on their sites. It is worth noting thateven more – 46 percent – are not mining F igure 3 : FUNDAMENTAL DIGI TAL AC T I V I T IES 42 percent of respondents have developed OF DIGI TALLY AC T I VE COMPANIESpublically available data for these purposes. their digital strategy within the past twoThis is all the more reason why the 68 years, which may explain why much of On average, digitally activepercent of respondents who claim to be the protection efforts enumerated above companies engage in fewer than halfahead of the competition seems to be an seem to be lagging. Underscoring most (seven out of 15) of the fundamentalindicator of a degree of self-delusion. companies’ need for some assistance is digital activities necessary toWhen it comes to brand strength, the fact that on average, digitally active establish a comprehensive presence. companies only employ half (5 out of 10)we are no longer in a digital era • Offers a corporate website of the standard brand protection activitiesbecause digital is as integrated outlined in our survey (see Figure 4). • Offers an e-commerce siteinto the daily life of business as • Advertises online Finally, it would help if there seemed to • Actively engages in search enginethe air we breathe. be more Consistency and forethought optimization and/or marketingTo reiterate the gap between self- in framing digital endeavors as part of a • Has a mobile version of the coherent business strategy. But a patchwork corporate websiteassessment and actual performance, when approach still rules the day for many. • Has a mobile version of theit comes to Presence, companies active e-commerce sitein the digital space may have an inflated While 74 percent of respondents think • Has a mobile appsense of their own reach and grasp. On the objectives of their digital strategy are • Has a customer-focusedaverage, digitally active companies engage clear, the consistency appears to degrade online communityin fewer than half (seven out of 15) of the downstream. For instance, 43 percent of • Has active social networking pagesfundamental digital activities necessary digitally active companies believe their (e.g.Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.)to establish a comprehensive presence digital strategy decisions are made in a • Has active microblogging accounts fragmented or decentralized environment, (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr, etc.)(see Figure 3). Yet they believe their brand with each touchpoint or product’s digital • Has active video/presentation postingis easily accessible in the digital space. pages (e.g. YouTube, Slide Share, etc.)Brand Protection is critical for marketplace strategy being managed separately. • Participates in location based social mediastrength, and yet it appears to be largely This silo effect hampers efficiency and sites (e.g. foursquare)approached in an ad hoc manner and is, curtails alignment with overarching • Has an online blogtherefore, a tremendous source of risk for a business strategies. Clearly more • Has an employee intranetnumber of companies. Only 53 percent of harmonization is needed: Nearly one • Has an internal social media policyrespondents are monitoring for defamation third of respondents believe their brand for employees experience to be inconsistent across digital touchpoints (see Figure 2).
From Digital Strategy to Brand Mastery: Strategizing for a post-digital age Interbrand | Pg. 4...just because you have a digitalstrategy, and even if you allocatetremendous resources to it, doesnot mean you’re getting good ROI. of a strategy that will yield brand business strategy.F igure 4 : STANDARD BR AND AC T I V I T IES ambassadors who will, in turn, representFOR DIGI TALLY AC T I VE COMPANIES All of this adds up to a focus on brand to your organization consistently and drive your business and your strategic accurately across every channel they use.On average, digitally active thinking. We have always believed brand iscompanies only employ half (5 out of 2. Go beyond social the lever to pull to energize your business.10) of the standard brand protection Digital channels are not limited to Facebook, And digital is a tool for activating brand.activities outlined in our survey. Twitter, and YouTube. Social media tools The stronger your brand, the better position are important, but they are not the only you are in to deliver on these four essentials.• Monitor domain names for gripe sites digital tools at your disposal. Apps, ads, and/or trademark infringement Moving beyond tools online experiences – all are in your arsenal,• Proactively register domain names to or should be. Your digital strategy needs There’s an optimistic story in the numbers defend against cybersquatting to be comprehensive, always leveraging produced by this research, for certain: Most• Monitor the digital space for potential defamation or unauthorized use of logo the full complement of digital tools, both companies have entered the digital fray,• Proactively register usernames on established and emerging, as appropriate to however tentatively or imperfectly. It is also social media sites to protect against your business strategy writ large. only fair to note that some of the failures we username squatting see are early bumps in the road. Remember• Monitor usernames on social media sites 3. Build a seamless experience that almost half of respondents report that for trademark infringement As discussed, there is no division anymore their organization has only had a digital• Back up all content posted/housed between the online and offline worlds. on digital sites strategy for two years or less. Your audiences experience the story of your• Review privacy and registration and brand – its noble purpose, what it offers, The results point to exciting challenges that policies of social media sites before engaging in activity how it offers it, and why – in a nonlinear companies are, by and large, working to• Create policies to account for employee and decentralized array of touchpoints that overcome every day. To meet the challenges personal engagement in the online space range from websites, apps, social media that a truly integrated strategy calls for,• Create guidelines for employee presence, and online ads to billboards, perspective is invaluable. Consider that engagement in the digital space on broadcast, retail, real estate, and other IT is the department most involved in behalf of the brand environmental avenues. Building a seamless digital activities across all sectors, yet IT• Share relevant laws with employees so they are fully aware of brand experience of your brand that fits this new has virtually no role in formulating digital protection issues audience reality is essential. strategy. This casts a harsh light on the disconnect between business strategy 4. Seal the dealThe essentials of building digital into a and digital strategy. Integration is the first Market share is about loyal customers,strong brand strategy essential step. and that means you need to drive behavior change. The best way to change customer It’s early yet. But in the fast-movingRegardless of economic sector, size, or behavior and grow the bottom line is by environment we live in, and with thescope, there are four essentials that every using brand to build trust in your company, transparency and real-time urgency ofsound digital brand strategy needs to which will engender loyalty and ultimately social media encroaching and unfurling alldeliver on. enable your company to command a around, it is easy to fall behind. The time1. Start at home premium in the marketplace. Digital for post-digital thinking, and bottom-line-Internal engagement with your employees strategy is best viewed as a tool or series focused strategic integration, would appearis the foundation for all you do in the post- of tools to accomplish that virtuous cycle, to be right now. ■digital world. Broadcasting your brand just like every other tool in an organization’sand educating your people is a key part kit. There is no viable digital strategy that isn’t integrated into your larger brand and