Survival 101: Brand Agility

Abena Perryman
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Why Do brands need to be flexible NOW?

Historically, the best brands were those able to adapt to market conditions. However in 2020, brand agility isn’t a competitive advantage. It is a survival trait. So why do brands need to be flexible NOW more than ever?

Well, we’ll get to that.  But first, let’s start with what does brand agility actually mean?

What is Brand Agility?

Global brand consultancy, Landor Consulting, does a deep dive on brand agility in their Global Agile Brand Strategy Report. But let’s keep things simple. For us, brand agility means: a company’s ability to find the ideal mix of authenticity and adaptability to compete in today’s dynamic and competitive landscape.

Real World Examples of Brand Agility

Well-known brands that have been agile over the years include Xerox and Nokia. In fact, Nokia started off as a pulp and paper company in the mid 1800s. Then, in the 1990s, it switched gears into telecomm. At one point it was considered the world’s largest cellphone vendor.

Nokia Logo      

Over the years, the rate of marketplace disruptions fueled by technological advances increased. Into the 21st century the speed at which brands needed to adapt increased. Nokia experienced this when its series of missteps in early 2000s caused it to stumble out of the first place ranking to Apple & Google. This was when the mobile phone industry moved away from flip phones. And Apple is another example of a brand embracing agility. Back in 1976, Apple started off as just a computer company. Now, it is a global consumer electronics icon with product launches annually. In the past, companies have had time to adapt to market disruptions. In fact, it was upwards of 18 months to several years before companies’ risked becoming obsolete. 

Why Brands Need Agility Now

Today that window for adaption has dramatically shrunk. As we all know, 2020 has demanded brand agility as a core business competency for all industries. The economic meltdown, global pandemic and social justice movement has caused significant marketplace disruptions requiring brands to respond within days and weeks instead of months and years.

These disruptions include:

  • the rise of contactless interactions and the need for social distancing.
  • entire cities or countries quarantining, and
  • complete industry shut downs.

The playing field has been turned upside down, requiring immediate business adjustments. Pair that with advanced technology impacting distribution, ordering, communications and information dissemination. Companies have had to react swiftly and precisely. This tumultuous period has removed the customary trial or test period that so many businesses relied on to shift their rigid structures into more flexible ones. Flexibility and agility is critical for businesses to pivot successfully.

It has been a time of great uncertainty, fear and upheaval for many businesses. However, it has also been incredibly refreshing.  We have witnesses many innovations and the creation of new services offerings, distribution methods and products on the fly.

Lessons in Brand Agility for Entrepreneurs

At Andrew Perry, we compare this period to the metamorphosis that caterpillars go through when becoming butterflies. Many businesses must go through a similar business transformation. On top of that, we believe a marketing transformation is also required. But how? 

Recently I sat down with Marysia Czarski  from Velocity Partnership to chat about the concept of transformation and why brand agility matters for entrepreneurs. Check out that podcast here.

Further Reading on Brand Agility & Marketing Transformation

Read our latest blog posts on the transformation afoot:

5 Marketing Trends Post Pandemic

5 Marketing Trends for a Post Pandemic World

Do you find yourself thinking about what marketing will look like in the new world? Check out these 5 Marketing Trends for a Post Pandemic World.

Read more >>

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6 Elements to Guide Your Marketing Transformation

If you need to reinvent your marketing department, here are 6 elements to think about, along with some high level questions to help guide your marketing transformation.

Read more >>

So now what?

Whether it’s phrased brand agility or marketing transformation is inconsequential. One thing we can be certain of is: your business is going to look a whole lot different at the end of 2020, compared to where you started.

#MarketingTransformation #BrandAgility #Transformation

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