With resilience is increasingly recognised as a key skill for thriving in the future workplace, by extension, brand resilience is equally important in crowded marketplaces plagued by economic headwinds.
What does brand resilience mean? According to several industry leaders resilient brands prioritise the needs of their customers, backed by agile operational models that ensure business relevance at all times.
Relevance a moving target
Zuko Mdwaba, area vice president and county leader, Salesforce South Africa, believes that brand resilience and brand relevance go hand in hand.
“Relevant brands speak to the needs and preferences of the market, with the result that half the brand resilience battle is won,” says Mdwaba.
But, Mdwaba adds that relevance is a moving target. “With the pace of change in most markets today, the challenge is one that cannot be tackled without the right tools in the form of relevant customer data.”
With data playing a more important role than ever in understanding and reaching audiences, brands need to invest in tools and technologies that unify data efficiently, to create unique customer profiles, execute automated campaigns, and infuse personalisation at scale.
“Personalisation is about more than targeted messaging, it’s hyper-personal understanding,” says Mdwaba.
This explains why, as demand for data-driven, personalised, and scalable customer experiences continues to rise, more brands are investing in the power of artificial intelligence (AI).
“Leveraging dynamic customer insights is essential to every businesses’ ability to adapt their strategies and optimise the impact of each interaction. Increasingly, this is where brand resilience will start,” Mdwaba explains.
Brand enhancement with technology
Brent Haumann, managing director at digital communications firm Tilte, echoes Mdwaba’s sentiment. “To remain resilient, organisations across the continent would do well to make brand enhancements in line with accelerations in technology, customer experiences and customer expectations.”
Haumann says we are living in an unprecedented era of technological acceleration.
“Nowhere is that more true than in the customer experience space.”
In Africa, says Haumann, on the one hand, unlike in the so-called ‘first world’ economies, some common services like the post office are either highly inefficient or have ceased to exist at all.
“On the other hand, across the continent, things that seemed totally implausible a decade ago are now commonplace and almost taken for granted. These technological advancements are shaping customer expectations,” says Haumann.
Games for brand equity
Brand resilience may rely on relevance and be strengthened through meeting customer needs, but resilience is also about having brand equity, says Glenn Gillis, CEO at Sea Monster South Africa.
“Resilience is really about having a much deeper relationship with your client that is based not only on extrinsic but intrinsic factors.”
Gillis believes that this is where games can play a big role because they can help balance the nature of the relationship and expose some of the softer, storytelling elements of equity that are built up in brands.
“Through games, brands can engage with customers in a way that is really about a fair exchange of value – not only at the time of purchase but also at the time of consideration,” says Gillis.
Of course, you need to get the transactional piece right to remain competitive.
“But in actuality, relevance and resilience is going to come from the depth of your relationship with clients and the knowledge that you have about them and that they have about you. Fostering a sense of brand loyalty is therefore crucial,” he shares.
Brand resilience may mean different things to different brands at different times, but the wellbeing of the brand and its customers must be prioritised is true, irrespective of industry.