1.052009

no money, no problem

2009 is here — woo hoo!  Despite the doom and gloom that fills predictions for brands and businesses in the coming year, I’m actually quite optimistic about 2009’s prospects.

Certainly past downturns

have produced great marketing and media innovations (Taco Bell‘s 59/79/99 cent menu, born out of the early 1990’s dip, forever re-shaped fast feeders’ menuboards, for example) — and many studies have proven that increasing advertising spending during a recession results in share and sale increases that are sustained in subsequent years — so this may be a good year for brands that remain smart and bold.

But my positive outlook actually stems from what I believe is the biggest opportunity for brands today — that is, “brand-as-business.”

“Brand-as-business” is the management approach that employs a brand perspective and brand-based tools throughout everything the company does:
•    applying a brand lens to generate insights about the business that resonate throughout the organization
•    improving business planning decisions with brand tools that guide choices about which activities to do and which not to do
•    using the brand to facilitate ongoing execution broadly across all stakeholders and across time.

The time is right for companies to adopt “brand is business.”  Rather than fretting over limited marketing budgets and skyrocketing media costs, brand leaders should seize this opportunity to focus their efforts internally and work on getting their brand in the driver’s seat of their organization.

The understanding of customers, development of value propositions, and delivery of brand value must be aligned and integrated throughout the company. The goal should be a “brand-as-business” organization.

Recently I’ve been learning, thinking, and writing more about this topic and so you’ll be hearing more from me on this in the coming year and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

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