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Building Sustainable Brands

ADVERTISING, DISTRIBUTION, & SALES

Amid constant change in change-averse markets, a brand needs sustainability—beyond the launch, beyond incremental technology improvements, beyond competitive encroachments. A good brand is unique, ownable, and deliverable. A sustainable brand is all of those but with a key difference: it is built from the ground up to influence market behaviors now and in the future—a promise with staying power in a volatile marketplace.

Building sustainable brands is a continuous process that involves the repetition of several key steps.
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A sustainable brand does this by leveraging the equity of the product and the company together and anticipating future offerings, indications, and market directions. The ultimate goal is a brand that starts strong and lives long, ensuring rapid market penetration and maintaining long-term leadership.

Originally developed for the device industry, the same principle can apply to combination products, which, like devices, will be subject to shorter life cycles and rapid market changes.

Building sustainable brands is a continuous process that includes the following phases (see figure).

  • The need: A rigorous analysis of the product offering, market conditions, and customer      behaviors helps determine short- and long-term customer needs.
  • The strategy: Perceptual and value insights gained from analysis fuel the development of the      brand focal point--the intersection of market perceptions and company values and      aspirations. Positioning and messaging are developed as core elements of communication      strategies that address multiple audiences with discrete needs and wants.
  • The concept: The creative platform is developed to give dimension to the brand promise.      Copy, visuals, and branding elements are built to maximize presence today while      anticipating future rollouts and indications. A library of templates and images is created, and      brand standards established.
  • The toolbox: The right mix of communications reaches both internal and external audiences      and reinforces product branding as well as procedural category and company value. Tactics      such as brand training for sales reps and loyalty programs for customers get everyone on      board and help establish a strong brand foundation for greater sustainability.

    Under this model, market conditions, trends, and behaviors are continuously monitored and results evaluated, and marketing tactics adjusted accordingly. A dynamic environment calls for a dynamic approach to launching, maintaining, and refreshing the value of a product.

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