Common Ground: Shaping Brand Strategy to Avoid the Quicksand of Social and Political Melee

Common Ground: Shaping Brand Strategy to Avoid the Quicksand of Social and Political Melee

The social and political turmoil of recent months have highlighted a sea change in what’s expected of organizations operating in the public square. Consumers are hungry for a better world. They want organizations (private and public companies, non-profits) to have clear positions on important social and political issues and be willing to use their muscle to help drive things in a better direction. Those who waffle, equivocate or simply respond randomly to the “melee of the day” risk damage to their reputation.

In working to respond to these changes, traditional marketing practices and reputation management that rely on control, consistency, and stability have collided headfirst with forces of the digital age. In particular, the democratization of information, with its ever-shifting and multiplying channels of engagement have amplified the voices of political and social melee. The result? A new paradigm for marketing that urges companies to align their brands with a purpose.

In this time of uncertainty, Heart & Mind Strategies’ clients are asking us to provide strategic guidance on how to meet these changing expectations. We have a long history of providing counsel to political, government, association, corporate and non-profit leaders, giving us a unique and comprehensive perspective on these complexities. Additionally, our approach to uncovering and mapping the values that drive decision-making is rooted in more than 40 years of research among business leaders, consumers and policy-makers. Our clients have benefited from guidance on how on how to define and instill organizational values that will help them effectively navigate the quicksand of rapidly shifting social, political and economic change.

It’s important to have a framework for thinking about challenges this complex. Common Ground is the structured approach we have developed to help marketing and communications leaders identify, map and create strategies that account for the full spectrum of values that must shape their response to these challenges.

As marketing guru John Gerzema observed:

“A values revolution is reshaping the consumer marketplace. Companies, regardless of their size or target market, must understand the significance of this social trend. Those who grasp it and adapt will find extraordinary opportunities.”

To learn more about about the Common Ground approach, click here for a brief (6 minute) audio booklet:

5 Steps to A Successful Rebranding Effort

When is the right time to rebrand? In many marketing strategy engagements, this question invariably arises as research implications underpin shifting market dynamics and evolving consumption models for our clients.

Critical to answering this question is understanding that rebranding or refreshing a heritage brand, intended or not, signals to the market place that something of significance about the business is changing. Too often rebranding is undertaken as simply a reactive means to garner attention or supercharge a campaign launch that will drive engagement in the near term, but lacks sustainability and risks leaving internal and external audiences underwhelmed and disappointed.

A successful rebrand requires a coordinated effort across the organization so that the brand evolution is delivered at every touch point from senior management to frontline employees and product/service experience. It requires discipline and rigor, but also the energy and excitement to tell the organization’s new, compelling story. Getting this right is as much art as it is science and the brands that get it right put their customers and authenticity at the center of every aspect of their approach.