Sunday, July 5, 2015

Brands: Which ones are Enlightened?

Once upon a time a brand was a mark burned onto an animal to indicate ownership. Later brands came to mean the names of products.

Today a brand is much more than the name of a product.  We now consider brands as if they were a living, evolving entity, not simply the name of a car, airline, or a pair of shoes.  Nations are branded and individuals are urged to consider their personal brand. 

Brand characteristics are studied, discussed and worried over by marketing people worldwide hoping to find ways to engage (obtain, hold) customers.  It isn’t enough to have a good product, price and pretty logo.  A brand must somehow be something special.

Which takes us to a recent publication by the trend forecasting service Trend Watching.  They provide information on consumer trends around the world.  Their most recent report highlighted what they call the newest type of brand:  one that is Enlightened.  What does that mean?   Enlightened brands “will take meaningful action to improve individual lives and the wider world.”

According to their research these entities are: Restless (working to make the world a better place), Empathetic (know what pains their customers and how to help them) and Demanding  (expecting to change their customers to become their best selves)

Who’s Enlightened these days?

E4, a UK television channel suspended service on the day of the general election, encouraging viewers to vote.  

Audi created an app that connects stranded drivers with drivers of Audi’s 4x4 vehicles who could rescue them.

Vodafone offers guaranteed maternity pay worldwide – even in countries where it isn’t required.  

No longer static marks - brands are alive and active. (At least in our imaginations).  Which ones should have this designation?  Which ones should be added to the list of The Restless (innovators), Empathetic and Demanding (be your best self)  - the Enlightened ones?

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