Time to take another look at your brandscape?

viewing the brandscape

Why you should take a look at your brandscape?

Brands don’t exist in vacuums, but are part of complex brandscapes. They not only live alongside other brands but are affected by them and together shape their commercial environment. Understanding your own brandscape not only allows you to be responsive to the changing tides, but also to identify profitable opportunities.

At one time marketers focused upon ‘competitive positioning’. This was a simplistic view based upon a combative, ‘us-and-them’ concept. Today we understand that there’s space for many brands in all sectors. Rather than spend time, money and energy on commercial conflict, it’s more productive for us to identify our place in the brandscape and work on developing our offering to maximise the opportunities.

So where do you start understanding your brandscape?

It starts with a big picture view… concentrating on people. Who is the audience? – What do they want and need? 

The next step should be easy. It’s about having a clear understanding of your own brand. Identify your values, your product or service strengths, and where you currently live in your brandscape (needs some brutal honesty here).

If you look at any collection of businesses or brands you’ll see a wide range of differences and variations, even across the same sector. Take any two similar brands and though they may display many similar qualities, they are likely to possess them in differing quantities and effectiveness. The first task is to identify these key dimensions in the brandscape – and then look at the variations.

An obvious example might be the size of the organisation. That might range from those with many hundreds of employees to single owner director businesses. So size may be a dimension worth comparing and noting as a useful measure

It’s important to remember that whatever measure we create is only a comparison – it’s not a score. Taking the example above, some consumers might see a large brand as being a reassuring factor when choosing. However others might find it intimidating and seek the more intimate service they might expect from a smaller brand. 

Understanding the players in your business arena, and your place in it, is the foundation for developing a brand with a unique offering based upon values.

It’s all about the customer.

While it’s vital to have a measure of the supply side of your brandscape, most important is having an understanding of the consumers who make their choices there.

The traditional approach might have been to collate masses of quantitative data – market size, value and volume, demographics and economic statistics etc. However, another approach can be to study qualitative data such as published media information – press, broadcasts and digital. Together with interviews and personal experiences this can provide a more emotionally sensitive picture. Sometimes called ethnographic research, rather than just answering questions, this approach can allow cpnclusions to emerge about about social behaviour and choices.

Bringing it all together

Now we have three dimensions and their interactions:

  • You and your brand.
  • Customers making choices.
  • Other brands and their offerings.

These are the key components of your brandscape. By considering the details, not only can you have an overall view, but also see the dynamics at play.

What you’re able to do is look for gaps or niches. Where can you develop or build upon your strengths to service overlooked customer needs?

Points to remember.

Brandscapes are constantly changing. Customer needs, economics, new entrants, businesses leaving, technology and legislation changes – create new challenges and new opportunities. It’s important to regularly monitor the environment.

Any data we collect is only a snapshot in time.

Engage in your brandscape. Don’t be a passive observer. Meet and talk with customers, suppliers, other businesses and the media. Data will gather itself, and openings will appear.

The brand is a living thing – observe it, nurture it. And when change is needed, embrace it.

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