The current pandemic crisis is taking our world by storm. It is driving changes across how and where people interact and transact; how and where they work. With these changes, companies and businesses need to evolve internally and externally - Note that the changes occur on the customer side and less on the product side. This is the first imperative to consider brand purpose utilization. Accenture research anticipated 156% growth in digital purchase frequency in the near future however only 33% of enterprises globally are ready for the change.1
The second imperative is that we are now living in the experience economy, our majority of customers have shifted from ‘passive consumption’ into ‘active engagement and interaction’. Beyond the products, our customers want to experience. Accenture research shows that the company implementing Business-of-Experience (BX)2 outperforms its peers by more than 6x in 1, 3, 5, and 7 years in industry-indexed EBIT.
The third imperative is that we are now within the era of Industry 4.0. There are at least two differing views on what should be the end goal of this era: one view is toward having the ultimate monopoly3 by having the majority of the market within our ecosystem, the other view is the pursuit of prosperity-for-everyone by promoting inclusivity and access via digital technology. I tend to go with the latter: on which our understanding of customers and our ecosystem partners’ needs and wants become crucial in the process.
The aforementioned three imperatives can be enveloped in this: we live in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) era, an era we need to be agile and adaptive, to survive and thrive, to be relevant to our market and our (physical and digital) ecosystem. What is then, the things that one can consider to guide an individual and an entity, to have a sense of direction in VUCA: I would implore considering identity and purpose, who you are, and why you are here. The era may change, customers may change, products may change, you can however keep your identity and purpose intact. For enterprises, these are your brand identity and purpose.
Brand Purpose drives Market Relevance
If your brand identity and purpose is “A photography company with more than 50 years experience helping people capture their life memories” - your product may change from a manual camera, digital camera, digital camera module of smartphones, smart glasses, or perhaps as far as capturing life memories within metaverse as NFT. Your product may change, but your brand identity and purpose are still intact. Even your brand purpose “helping people capture their life memories” is the one strengthening your relevance to your customers and opening broader reach to a bigger market. We know well that some big brands in the camera industry went bankrupt and/or struggled as they chose to focus on their product despite staying true to their brand purpose and losing relevance to the market. One of Accenture study3 revealed that the average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 33%
Moreover, customers love a brand that articulates their values, i.e. when the brand purpose aligns with the customer’s values. Accenture research4 shows that consumers are willing to pay 12% more for brands that embody their values.
Brand Purpose Provides Unique and Sustainable Positioning in the Market
When one company hires a marketing team, a lot of companies face a challenge that the way the team does marketing looks similar and homogenous: riding on major trends, designed in common style, with a vague hope that it will go big or viral in the market. Yes, some people decide to purchase your product anyway, becoming a consumer with a so-so and non-memorable experience, then they churn and do not become your repeat customers. How if brand identity and purpose drive the marketing strategy, content, channel so that your customer can relate to your product, service, or solution; how if the brand identity and purpose deliver the brand promise, creating repetitive good and great experiences, becoming a brand reputation.
For example, Indonesia’s world-famous instant noodle brand, despite pandemic crises, similar marketing budget y-o-y, and growing health awareness of the educated, people keep consuming them. The brand booked double-digit growth in 2021 and continues to be a household brand.
It is said that marketing drives short-term sales, but the brand delivers long-term and repeats revenue.
Brand Purpose Encompasses Business-of-Experience2
We used to think that brand identity and purpose are part of the CMO's agenda, today branding is the CEO agenda, reflected in company values, vision, missions, and culture. Today internal branding and external branding are equally important. We are in a war of talent, thus internal branding and external branding become important in attracting and retaining talent. We are in a war of becoming top-of-mind in the head of our customers: our brand identity and purpose need to drive our unique positioning, our brand promise to attract and retain our customers, and if our customers repeatedly have a great experience with our product/service/solution - our brand becomes top-of-mind, our consumer become our loyal customers, and some even will go beyond as our brand promoters. This is what our startup colleagues referred to as NfX or Network Effect.
This business-of-experience is beyond customer experience, it involves employee experience, stakeholder experience, shareholder experience, and beyond. Most startup ventures are fully aware of this, in which we witness the global and local phenomenon of the rise of startup unicorns and decacorns.
In conclusion, we can always wisely choose between “chasing short-term profit” versus “driving brand identity and purpose towards sustainable growth”. Marketing is the primary tool of the first, brand identity and purpose are the core of the latter that gives us a sense of direction in the VUCA era and provides unique sustainable positioning in the market. Secondly, to be a market leader is also to be relevant to our customers: our products and offerings may change, only our brand purpose can keep us on track while being agile. Lastly, delivering brand promise towards brand reputation forming a formidable army of brand promoters will require business-of-experience (BX) beyond customer experience.
3 Thiel, Peter A. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. New York City. Crown Publishing. 2014
4 Research by BrandLearning, part of Accenture
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Addendum A - How Accenture helps its clients leading market through Brand Purpose
At a high level, we will start by helping our clients define and articulate their brand identity & purpose: who they are and why they are here. From here, we build the unified brand experience (UBX): (1) creative brand platform, a customer and employee-facing concept that expresses the brand purpose; (2) develop a complete multi-experience journey (employee, customers, partners, stakeholders, shareholders) along with the communication plan, to deliver brand promise; (3) engage the whole organization to deliver the promise and build brand reputation.
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Addendum B - How Accenture helps its clients on Business-of-Experience
Accenture's business-of-experience is the future of customer experience, centering organizations around exceptional experiences & customer needs.
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