As brand consultants we know tenure matters: the more we know a client and a brand, the better work we can produce for them. Virtually every project we work on begins with a brand assessment, evolves into a concept and identity and eventually we are able to construct a compelling a brand platform. This is often the end result of that first engagement and, preferably, the very beginning of our relationship with a client.
A brand platform is the foundation of any brand strategy and the inspiration for every brand experience. It’s the most fundamental articulation of a brand: what it stands for, how it behaves and its purpose in the world. Brand platforms seldom change (or should change). Innovative brands are not those that attempt to write a new book every three years. Instead, true brand innovation resembles more a new chapter of the same book; a new spin to the same story.
Tenure enables a strong brand platform as a mean to an end: it yields a framework capable of inspiring memorable brand experiences for customers to engage with. Most of the elements that make up a brand platform are seldom seen or heard by customers; they serve as internal reality checks. Is this message aligned with my brand story? Does this website/campaign/packaging look and sound like me?
There is a learning curve to developing these brand experiences. It’s a subtle process to master the language, the tone and the personality of a brand. New connections emerge as a result of an organic evolution of the story and tenure plays a massive role in getting it right. We have seen this happen time and time again: a story in constant evolution along the same identity axis. That is successful branding.
Tenure matters because it provides perspective and references to build upon such brand platforms, adding new layers of complexity that eventually result in further engagement with customers. When every brand experience stems from the same vision a remarkable alignment occurs and the results speak for themselves. Think Coca-Cola, IKEA, Netflix or Miele.
In many ways, our tenure with a client and a brand is equivalent to economies of scale: as the relationship grows, each experience is better, more seamless and intuitive. While not necessarily easier, it makes branding more efficient through better use of resources to design and deliver these brand experiences. At Sonnet tenure allows us leverage existing equity and push the story in incremental improvements.
For brands, the benefits of robust platforms based on tenure are two-fold. Internally, they help increase buy-in and enhance your team’s commitment and willingness to rally behind (and sell) your story. Externally, they ensure a consistently on-message brand and help forge a recognizable identity to build associations, loyalty and advocacy.
Strategy is about the long run; it helps achieve sustained success with a plan to look ahead while, every now and then, looking at the map for reference. Great strategy values substance over flash. It’s a relationship, not an affaire. Tenure is the bedrock of that plan.