Brand Manager 2.0

Disclaimer: I promise to work on the 2.0 fetish -#7 here

I’ve always been a fan of this thought – ‘the tyranny of the big idea‘. This is also a great read on the same subject. The one line take-out would be that in the presence of the big idea, smaller ideas which might have had the potential to make the brand more interesting would get lost. I can safely say that I’ve seen this happen, with smaller, but good ideas being thrown into the bin because of the lack of sync with the prevalent communication theme. While these posts are around a couple of years old, in a world where conversations are becoming more important, the relevance of the thought remains as much as before, in fact more important.

So, continuing from yesterday’s post, ideas being non-commodities, it’d actually make more sense for brands to have the idea-buckets that the posts speak of. Which leads me to this post, which mentions that “a brand can, and should have more than one one proposition for itself.” For those who believe in the inflexibility of positioning, this would be difficult to swallow. But look at it this way, on any given day a technological or even an environmental change could deem your entire communication premise infeasible. Theory, huh? Okay, another perspective, what’s google to you? Search engine? Mail? IM? Office Tool? Communities? …. You get the picture? Meanwhile, the thing I’ve been wondering is, in this new way of brand diversification, how different should the different propositions of a brand be? Do they have to be related to each other so that the strengths of one can be used to help the other? Or can they be like Big Adda and Big FM and Big Flix, seemingly unrelated? And the last question, as audiences become more fragmented and individual niches become too small to monetise each separately, would it force brands to become aggregates of several similar niches along the long tail?

Which brings me to the point of my post. What does all this do to my role – that of a brand manager. The very fact that I’ve got my brand being different things to different people means that my audiences are differentiated and there’s probably no single animal out there who I could define as the brand’s audience. Its more a zoo. It also means that I’ve keep myself abreast of the conversations and the needs of different sets of people. That makes me more of a communities manager. Is this the natural evolution of the brand manager. Wait, that’s not all, I also have a human angle to this. When you’re dealing with communities, it works best if you are part of the audience itself in terms of interests. It  lends credence, and thus, in a way, the line between professional and personal interests start blurring. Which perhaps is a great thing, as more and more people get to do what they’d like to do. But given the fact that we’re still dealing with businesses and individuals here, how exactly can processes be evolved in this scenario, where there is so much of the individual in the brands he deals with? Bluntly, what happens when the person leaves, or something like this happens?

until next time, people management 2.0 😉

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8 Responses to “Brand Manager 2.0”

  1. Some interesting thoughts! Provoking won’t be a bad word either…but would like hear more examples of brands taken through the same route…

    Can you??


  2. manuscrypts Says:

    Hmm, lemme see, entities like ITC, HUL, Wipro, TATA are the easy ones… but they are brand conglomerates (though they didnt start that way)..
    HP, Moser Baer is starting out, MTV with accessories, and i’m still thinking 🙂

  3. How different should the different propositions be? In my opinion, they can be as different as you can imagine – as long as each proposition doesn’t contradict any of other ones. The example I would say is of Volvo supplementing their safe proposition with ‘thrilling to drive’. i think there’s something contradictory about that – but not about safe and stylish on the other hand.

    Having said I believe that brands will end up with contradictory propositions – not unlike us people. And that’ll only make them interesting and human.

    In some cases they’ll be caught offguard as in the delicate irony of Unilever promoting real beauty with Dove and also portraying women in a completely different and unflatteing light with Axe.

  4. ah, the last bit was where I had a sort of dilemma.. Is Unilever a brand in itself? Or just a collection of brands?

  5. Unilever is both a brand – a uber-brand, if you want to make the distinction – and a collection of brands. My simple rule is if you can name something, it’s a brand. A name basically makes reputation sticky – and shareable with others.

    Having said that Unilever as a brand has a different audience, one that probably isn’t too concerned about integrity or inconsistency – shareholders, retailers, distributors, business partners, agencies, etc. Unilever’s brands have the audience we recognise, the one we call consumers.

    The new development of signing off Unilever commercials with a Unilever logo is an attempt to spread the brand identity to the latter segment.

  6. Btw, doesn’t wordpress have a ‘Recent comments’ feature/plug-in? Difficult to find posts where there are ongoing conversations.

  7. manuscrypts Says:

    yes, that seemed to be the idea, though its debatable if its a good one or not… and i guess unilever is a brand too, that operates in a different space…

    just added the widget.. didnt add it earlier because there weren’t any conversations 😀

  8. This is much better 🙂

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