Over a decade ago, Byron Sharp et al. fundamentally changed the marketing industry. Laws of Growth ushered in ‘the age of penetration,’ and brand marketers the world over have since been scrambling to apply these laws to their brands in pursuit of growth. Yet, most businesses struggle to achieve sustainable growth – even some of those who adhere rigidly to Sharp’s philosophy. In our view, there is a reason for this disconnect and it lies in neglect of tailoring how you approach marketing to your own organisation’s own unique needs. Here we make the case for your organisation’s “way of marketing” being more important than ever.
At Kantar, we have helped a vast range of clients across industries find growth in uncomfortable places. In turn, we work with these businesses to then equip their marketing and sales organisations with the capabilities to deliver on these growth opportunities. When building capability strategies and plans, we find that co-creating a tailored ‘way of marketing/building brands’ is required to ensure that teams are ultimately given more than a one-size-fits-all approach to delivering growth.
Today, a relevant and tailored way of marketing is especially important as brands look to establish themselves as meaningfully different – in a way that is authentic and credible for consumers demanding transparency and activism from their brands. Whilst laws of growth focus in on salience through mental and physical availability, being distinctive and indeed different from your competition is often the real competitive advantage.
To co-create your “way of marketing” – or, in other words, your unique recipe for HOW you do marketing – we consider the following lenses:
1. Strategic direction
Where have you decided to play? Your strategic choices are likely to directly influence your approach to building brands and attracting consumers. For instance, if you are operating in an already highly penetrated category, you may be looking to redefine your brand’s playground and stretch into new virgin territories. This will require a focus on brand stretch and perhaps skills associated with being a challenger.
2. Company/brand DNA
What is your company or brand’s story? Your unique history and identity should be an intrinsic part of how you build brands and create emotional connections with your consumers. Founder-led businesses with a strong brand story can uncover a licence to operate in ways that other more corporate facing brands don’t have.
3. Your consumers
What do consumers think of you? Understanding why consumers buy your brand(s) is of course a fundamental. It also should inform how you approach both satisfying your existing consumers and attracting new ones. For instance, if your consumers perceive you as a particularly innovative, challenger brand – you capitalise on this by investing in agility and creativity as key pillars within your way of marketing.
4. Existing capabilities
What are you already good at? If you are currently strong at insights or brand experience, then it makes sense to fully leverage these strengths within your marketing approach. Conversely, if you are weak in certain areas you will most likely want to address these capability gaps and may need to actively hard-wire them into your marketing way.
These challenges are not exhaustive; the list of barriers or pitfalls on an organisation’s growth journey are countless. Regardless, this all points towards the fact that growth is not easy to find, strategic choices must be made, and capability shortfalls must be addressed.
If you are interested in designing, developing, or deploying your way of marketing, Kantar may be able to help.