Amazon. Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING
Amazon. Picture: REUTERS/RICK WILKING

According to Kantar Millward Brown’s recent analysis of 2,000 brands mentioned between 2014 and 2017 in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands survey, fewer than one in 10 showed any growth. On the other hand, Amazon doubled its rand value over the same time period. The differentiating factor is Amazon’s use of disruptive tactics. These have made its consumers’ lives simpler and more cost effective and convenient, which translated into solid growth for the brand.

Of course, not every brand can be an Amazon, but there’s still a lesson to be learnt. Kantar Millward Brown reports that the use of disruption can create even a 1% growth in market share, which, for any established brand, is significant.

While most brands are happy operating in their comfort zones and having a “business as usual” approach, the first step to growth is embracing change, the report points out. Routine is the enemy of creativity, while a shift in the way things are done – any small change – brings new value to the customer and releases brand potential. Communicating to consumers a little differently causes them to see the brand in a whole new way.

Second, when brands understand their consumers, know how they think and why they behave the way they do, they also know what needs to change to engage better with them. The report states that perceived differentiation was the indicator of success for the 6% of brands that had shown growth over the three-year period.  Knowing what needs to change informs which marketing activities will differentiate the brand among competitors, as well as what to measure to see which activities have been successful in this regard.

Important to note is that consumers are willing to pay 14% more for brands they perceive to be different in a way that is meaningful to them. Growth opportunities arise from knowing which consumers to target and from creating meaning and the perception of difference among them that makes the brand appear more valuable.

The big take-out

The difference between brands that grow and those that don’t is how disruptive they are in the market and how well they understand their consumers in order to create campaigns that stand out and resonate.

When it comes to finding disruptive ideas, where they come from is less important than whether they resonate with the target audience, maintains the Kantar Millward Brown report. And knowing what will resonate with an audience goes back to the brand having a deep understanding of its consumers. Bringing together data from multiple sources that highlight both behaviour and attitude is important for learning the most about audiences and finding the best opportunities for growth.

Disruption, according to the report, is also brought by investing in creativity and the best campaigns to fit the right opportunities. The report states that too many campaigns fail because of insufficient investment, and advises scaling the budget to the task at hand.

Feedback, too, is vital, in terms of knowing what isn’t working and moving fast to correct it, as well as learning from failures and mistakes. Tools to ensure accurate measurement include sophisticated analysis of search and social data, combined with survey data, to determine the success of a campaign.

Finally, success cannot be created by one disruptive campaign alone, but from constantly seeking the next growth opportunity. Marketers should be measuring consumer response, studying data about brand and advertising performance and analysing previous campaigns to bridge the gap between behaviour and attitude and to understand brand growth fully.

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