How Culturally Relevant Is Your Brand

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The power of a brand is that it’s familiar, but In this vlog, Grant explains that even if familiarity is a brand strength, there are times when a company must decide to change its positioning.

The power of a brand is that it’s familiar. So if familiarity is a brand strength, when does it decide to change its positioning?

Imagine working for Kit-Kat. You’d probably be sick and tired of the marketing and the strap line ‘Have a break …’ because it’s been used forever, but as a customer you’re probably not bored. While the marketers themselves might be really bored and be desperate for a change, as customers, if they did start to change the strap line and reposition the brand, we might just get confused and they really don’t need to. The reason is, for a brand to be successful, it has to be culturally relevant and although Kit-Kat had been using the ‘Have a brake…’ strapline for an awful long time, it is still culturally relevant. We still, today, we’ll go and get a cup of tea or coffee and have a morning or afternoon break with a bit of chocolate or another type of snack and, therefore, it remains in tune with what we do in our lives.

This is easy to understand if we contrast Kit-Kat’s positioning with a brand like Gillette. Our understanding of manhood and what it means to be a man, has dramatically changed in society over the last 30 years and, therefore, the danger for Gillette is if they stay with their traditional alpha male branding with their, ‘the best a man can get’ strap line, they could become a mere pastiche – the sort of razors that your grandfather used but you would never go near. And that is why Gillette are having to be bold and reposition themselves to stay culturally relevant, to be associated with the way we think about manhood in the 2000s and not the way we did in the 1980s. The power of a brand is that it’s known and trusted by its customers and, therefore, you should never change a brand in its positioning unless you really have to. Having said that, for a brand to stay powerful, it has to be culturally relevant and, therefore, you have to make sure that you stay in tune and aligned with your own market place and location, and as customers move, and expectations move, the brand has to reposition as well.

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  1. Good examples. Kit Kat have kept the strap line but also moved with the marketplace by diversifying their product portfolio to include the Kit Kat Chunky with different flavours. One of my favourite ever adverts is the Kit Kat advert with the pandas. Pure genius!

  2. Another example of a brand being ‘culturally aware’ is the move from Uncle Ben’s to Ben’s original in the rice market. One of my brands way back in the mists of time!

    1. Author

      Thank you Chris for another fine example of a ‘brand’ ensuring that it stays culturally relevant.

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