Future Brands

Breakthrough with branding: Here’s how to be brave.

Tess Robinson

There is no denying the power of branding is absolutely unstoppable. Branding is the ultimate sway your business will have in its desired market. As the world continues to immerse itself deep into the digital depths, branding has become a top priority for leading companies looking to differentiate their offerings and in turn, increase their bottom line.

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According to Forbes, 86% of consumers prefer an authentic brand image and honest personality, especially when it comes to social media driving digital trends and changing how we look at brands in the future.

‘Branding is no longer an afterthought, it’s the primary fuel powering your business and driving sales.’

- Forbes.com

Increasing perceived value is just one of the many benefits to strong, resonant branding and certainly one of the most effective. There are a number of ways to be brave with branding that won’t break the heart of your brand but position it for market success and cut-through. Here’s how you can modernise, flex and flourish without diluting your brand vision or losing the key assets that have got you to this point:

Be brave with your approach

A clearly defined brand is no longer a competitive advantage— it’s a baseline. It’s widely documented that the way consumers interact with brands has evolved exponentially, however despite this evidence many brands are wading in the safe shallows in the same predictable and restrictive ways. Bravery isn’t defined as throwing out what is valuable, it means having the courage to view your brand assets with a new perspective — a strategic and considered approach that allows you to fully understand how best to drive relevance for your brand, while also ensuring effective differentiation. We define bravery as being distinctive.

Distinction is the foundational fabric that will give your brand the competitive edge required to flex in a flooded market.


Recognise change and adapt

Can brands continue to passively go with the flow, reacting to industry change only when it directly impacts them? The short answer is no, they can not. It’s become both expectation and necessity for brands to adopt a more proactive approach in anticipating both their own needs and those of their target audience. Agility in adaptation teamed with an astute awareness of the industry landscape are table stakes for brands, new and old, embarking on their branding journeys.

Brave brand in focus: A brand that boldly influenced many to change their most sacred held ritual (the morning coffee), by suggesting that oat milk was not only incredibly delicious but something that was uber modern and a better choice than the regular offerings. Oatly used strong branding in line with its strong brand narrative to turn a twenty year old product with little brand awareness or interest into a memorable movement— one that recently led to a $13 billion IPO.

Brave in thinking but equally brave in action, Oatly’s ‘It’s like milk but made for humans’ headline cuts through the category’s immense clutter by framing the product in a way that’s both blindingly fresh and disarmingly simple.


Get comfortable with conflict

Brave brands consciously reject category conventions and when needed, lean into conflict. They effortlessly reframe the product, alluring you into taking unimaginable leaps, from something you actively avoid to something you highly desire. They do that by juggling a set of seemingly conflicting requirements. They communicate nuanced ideas in innovative ways, simple enough to grasp in a mere millisecond. A brand can be much more than a warm and endearing sense of reassurance or nostalgia, it has an innate power to harness those deep, long-held beliefs and completely flip them on their head.


Straddle challenging and credible

A brand has a supreme power to face opportunity head-on and make the rest of the category feel woefully downmarket without the need to call out its superior product. They do this by implementing a thoughtful, targeted design aesthetic and engaging tone of voice. The best brands will manage to balance aspiration and provocation, recognising that different points in the consumer journey often require a different tone and approach. They’re able to effortlessly challenge existing behaviours without ever feeling preachy or arrogant.

In a time where getting noticed and remembered is presenting as one of the biggest challenges for emerging and established brands, the biggest risk at this point in time is to not take one.


Build an ecosystem

The power of a brave brand creates its own momentum, attracting new consumers, strengthening the bonds with existing ones, and making a company an attractive prospect for potential investors. Brand equity is now seen as a critical marker for continuing growth.

Did you know?
According to Brand Asset Valuator, the world’s largest study of brands, brand equity is measured on four key pillars:

Differentiation: a brand’s ability to capture attention in the cultural landscape. A powerful driver of curiosity, advocacy and pricing power.

Relevance: how appropriate and meaningful a brand is to consumers. Drives brand consideration and engagement.

Esteem: a measure of how highly regarded your brand is and how well it delivers on its promises. Leads to trial and commitment

Knowledge: the depth of understanding and information people have on a brand — both positively and negatively.

Many established brands will have built knowledge and esteem over their years of existence, however, are often at risk of falling flat when it comes to relevance and differentiation. This creates a promising opportunity for those new brands entering the fray to disrupt, innovate and resonate across these driving pillars.


Utilise storytelling

Do not underestimate the power of storytelling. Storytelling is a strategic tool used by the best and brightest brand makers to enable brands to deliver a message directly and authentically to their audiences — differentiating them in their relevant spaces and even influencing or shifting their perceptions. However brave the thinking is, if you can’t capture it in words, you’re on a fast track to failure. When it comes to branding, a strong strategy deeply rooted in your brand vision and values will enable an engaging narrative to emerge that will form a highly connected voice for your brand.

‘We live in an era of identity overload. Standing out is more arduous than ever. But those brave enough to reject the reassuring conventions of their categories are reaping the rewards.’

- Max Ottignon, Co-founder of Ragged Edge


Convert consumers into a community

A brave brand can quite seamlessly turn one-time consumers into brand advocates. Connection and loyalty can become strong enough that your audience becomes your biggest fans – promoting and marketing your product free of charge. Converting brand loyalists is a critical piece in the branding puzzle to ensure cut-through and a steady presence. A Trustpilot survey recently documented that ‘social proof’ (recommendations from peers) increased the chance of purchasing for two out of three consumers.

‘Consumers now expect experiences that are tailored to them as individuals. Mass appeal is no longer desirable. Ford’s ethos is dead.’

- Marketingmag.com.au



Brave brands will not only prevail in the sea of same-same when it comes to their relevant industries but stand to differentiate themselves on a much larger scale, influencing ideals and shaping social norms in a world so eager to consume, cancel and call out our every move.

Smack Bang specialises in boosting brands for success in tomorrow’s market. Get in touch here or view our latest projects.

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