You have read the stories.
You heard the advice.
For years, experts preached about the importance of your brand.
Then the pandemic hit, and it changed so many aspects of the branding game, forcing you to re-examine how your customers view who you are and what you do. At the NAED Virtual Regional Conference later this month, keynote speaker and branding expert Stefan Olander will explain how branding has changed, not just for you, but especially how your customers' awareness of your branding is now far more important.
“I don’t know if branding has changed that much,” Olander said on a “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast. “The core tenants are pretty timeless. To some extent people have more time. People are working from home and there are gaps in your day, and that time is used in different ways, including research as it relates to products and services that we all need. And you can get a little deeper under the skin of brands.”
Olander, who is the Founder of BrandNew, a network of innovators that help organizations bridge the gap between physical and digital and deliver solutions that create value for both customers and businesses, says as a result of customers having more time, they are digging deeper into who you are. “Back in the day, it was a very superficial relationship,” Olander explains. “Where now there is complete transparency. You know the values a company has, and you know the background. That means for brands you need to be very clear that what I am selling is as good as I say it is.”
A part of his presentation at the NAED Virtual Regional Conference will touch on the need to remove what he calls “friction” from the lives of your customers. “It’s really about the fundamental human needs and how you better serve them. And step one is be really clear about who you are."
“As I think of branding, it's really something fundamental to who you are as a company. All the way back to why you exist as a company. It’s all a connected chain. None of that has changed as a result of the pandemic, but it’s really tied to a belief system, because your brand is a promise, and that promise is under more scrutiny,” Olander said.
Olander also said branding will quickly move into a digital world, where your current and potential customers will be able to get a much better idea of who you are as a business. “You can either be incredibly cheap, or you are quality. And digital means transparency. Digital means information at the tip of your fingers. Be very clear on what your true value proposition is, and then ask if it is true. Because people will find out if it isn’t.”
Olander added that now is not the time to ignore or under-value the importance of your branding effort. “It’s really hard to cut corners. It’s really hard to pretend. That’s what the best brands have. They aren’t great brands because they have great marketers. They are great brands because they have great missions, and they have great culture. And that gets manifested through branding,” Olander said.
There is still plenty of time for you to register to attend the NAED Virtual Regional Conference February 22-26. The event includes four days of virtual meetings and a day of education sessions, including Olander, post-pandemic business strategies with Michael Marks of Indian River Consulting Group, key government affairs issues that impact NAED members, and how NAED’s Market Data and Economic Outlook work together for you. To register, go to https://www.naed.org/2021virtualregionalconference.