• Transform magazine
  • March 23, 2018


Insights: Evolution isn’t news


At the Transform Awards Europe 2018, the best in rebranding and brand development will be celebrated. Weber Shandwick is one of those shortlisted for the awards

We are currently witnessing a constant evolution of our media landscape, one that will continue to move and shift at breakneck speeds. This is stating the obvious, but when combined with our societal demands for authentic, purposeful, ethical and engaging brands, it can all start to become a little more intimidating. For those willing to dive in, these challenges will provide endless amounts of opportunity. Your roadmap to help you navigate through this resides at the centre of your brand.

It is easy to be reactionary to this pressure and simply take a scattergun approach for your brand across any and all media channels just to be at the party. We have all witnessed the adverse effects of this; it has never been the answer or suggestion. Finding the correct platform for your specific audience or message merely begins the conversation. All media necessitates quick strategic thinking, and most importantly, a firm grasp of what your brand stands for.

What is not changing in this communications landscape is what is the core of your brand? What is your driving thought? What is it that you stand for? Yes, you can alter your tone to connect with the specific audience – just as my story of last Saturday night may change if delivered to an old friend or my grandmother. The essence may be the same, just with a few embellishments or timely edits.

This centre of your brand is now more critical than ever, not only to understand what resonates with your audience both externally and internally, but to measure all decisions and actions. This allows for growth, provides the ability to say ‘no’ and the structure to cope with any change. Brands also need the ability to refresh, rejuvenate and reposition, but of course this should always exist within the realm of their core brand position or promise.

If you track the successful brands that for generations have been able to cope well with change there is an unwavering purpose or reason that has constantly directed them. This enables them to merge from one era into another seamlessly. The material girl may have had her day, however her almost chameleon-like ability to evolve throughout pop culture for decades has to be admired. Surely her brand essence was transformation?

Brands that choose to focus on experience over their product to position them is also not a new idea or concept. Red Bull, now 34 years young, has chosen a singleminded proposition around energy and daring to build a media empire that has conquered the world. From that simple concept, it has continually delivered an authentic and engaging brand that remains true to its promise – and it needs to make no apologies for what it isn’t. When brands do this well, a single brand promise can span countries and languages and deliver the same brand message across any form of communication.

The answer lies at the heart of your brand, irrespective of your brand’s age or current position. What is your single driving force or reason for being? What does that look like? How does that guiding thought translate across the landscape of messages?

The brands that are prepared for change, have malleable structures in place and an unwavering grasp of what they stand for, will continue to excite and add value to their advocates, users and audiences. Good luck will have little to do with it.

Dale Watkins is the creative director at Weber Shandwick

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