A powerful tool for CEOs and brands that need to respond quickly and not lose themselves in the process.
“To market at the speed of culture, you need to be clear on your purpose. Brands that are clear on this can deliver new initiatives quickly because they understand why they are doing it and how it aligns with their brand values.” – Carolyn Bendall, Head of Marketing, ANZ
Every brand has a lifecycle.
But because people think of the “lifecycle” as part of some inevitable bell curve, it’s something else in reality.
It’s more accurately “The Survival Curve of a Brand” since it shows the brand at any point in its life, which could be:
- in a slump or demise
- in a death spiral or
- in a recovery or rebound.
I call it “the survival curve” since it shows a brand’s health (or oncoming demise). Or, put another way, it’s any brand’s elevation or decline.
The Lifecycle of a Brand: The Truth about Brand Elevation
Like anything, brand’s have spectrums with heaven at one end and hell at the other.
On one end of the spectrum, the vital signs are healthy with your brand growing and expanding and proactive in its activities. It’s in the zone and is calling its own shots. This luxury flight has the best personnel, great legroom, comfortable chairs, and the finest food and drinks.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have contraction and erosion, with the brand frantic and in a reactive mode, responding to every little shift and bump.
In short, the business climate determines the company’s culture and is reacting to what’s happening around it (which is vastly different from anticipating shifts and planning how to maximize those changes). This is the flight from hell with you being sandwiched between two scantily dressed sumo wrestlers and the snack cart, when it finally arrives, only having a packet of stale crackers.
For the sake of illustration and seeing the incremental steps to heaven (or hell), I introduce:
The Survival Curve of a Brand — Decoded
This lifecycle of a brand is easy to miss because one is so involved in it, they miss the nuances that are easier a bit removed, like from the flight tower.
To help you in yours, here are the 7 stages of brand elevation you’ll encounter depending on where you are in your brand’s lifecycle.
- Soaring: Distinct voice, navigating brand voice, leadership position with strong visual identity, high customer loyalty and engagement.
- Coasting: Riding on previous achievements, losing distinction, starting to erode, other brands begin to sound and look similar.
- Pigeonholed (losing cabin pressure): no current control of brand voice or reputation, the past dictates the brand, no customer loyalty to brand.
- Deep decline: no clear advantage, nothing impacts brand presence, reactive branding, reduced to transactional relationship, competition dictates how you’re perceived
- Soul searching: (“God, if you can hear me now, I promise I will….”) — Suddenly, we realize there is a Hell and possibly have something worth saving; new awareness surfaces, “Maybe I was wrong….” (often accompanied by a desperate search for forgiveness.)
- Rescue mission: Trim the fat, throw all the stuff we knew was crap (the meaningless brand elements we hoarded) overboard, lightening the load since ” any heavier, we’re dead in the water“ — beware of anyone grabbing onto your sleeve as they may mistake you for something that can be thrown overboard.
- Catastrophe averted (sense of well-being): This leaves only two roads: The first is taking to heart what you promised above. You’re a changed person. Or the alternative which is, “That was a special circumstance. I survived. Therefore I am immune to this ever happening again. Who else wants to drink some arsenic with me?” This is often accompanied by an announcement over the loudspeaker (which some mistake for the voice of God after such an experience): “Sorry everybody for the turbulence. It should be smooth sailing for the balance of our trip. Drinks are on us.”
With this tool, where you land is now up to you.