New and upcoming brands need to embrace the idea of soft power, Landor Associates' Dominic Walsh told a gathering of future brand custodians at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.
Walsh, who is managing director of the brand consulting firm, said being soft, social and simple are the keys to success in today’s crowded market.
“Firstly, you need to use the idea of soft power. It’s not necessarily about big media budgets and distribution muscle to create a brand. It is about legitimacy and attraction,” Walsh said.
“I would ask myself ‘what’s my true north and what’s my purpose’, and if you have that strong intent the world will be attracted to you and you are creating attraction through legitimacy as well.
Being social, transparent, having a dialogue with your customer and understanding their needs is a must according to Walsh as this allows experiences to be customised.
“And finally it needs to be simple. There has never been greater complexity from a consumer’s perspective. What that means is people crave simplicity and we need to make things easier for them.”
Examples of power brands are Coke, McDonalds and Apple. But Walsh says there is a “real change taking place” in what it means to be a power brand with Google coming in as a high power brand.
“The rules are changing, now we have Google which don’t produce a product, they provide website and a service, as the second most valuable brand in the world.
“You can lose brand strength just as quickly as you can gain it, change is the only constant.”
Technology has put consumers in power according to Walsh, who says large media budgets are no longer necessary to create a strong brand.
“If you produce brilliant content there is no need for media expenditure…you are building a better mouse trap and world is coming to your door.”
He used Red Bull as an example of a brand who is more focused on creating content than spending on advertising, citing the space jump (below) which netted the energy drink millions of views.
On simplicity, he said since there has never been more choice that brands who do one thing, and do it well, will stand out. To demonstrate his point he showed the audience the Little Flowers website, a florist that sells just one arrangement of flowers per day until they sell out.