Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
It is time to acknowledge that nothing will ever be the same as it was before in our industry. Let’s talk openly and constructively about it. Let’s analyse the big elephant in the room, from the trunk to the tail, and let’s not ignore its presence and influence on our job. How can we let go of all that we have been clutching in our hands for decades, all with the aim of being successful in the long run?
This is how Mitja Tuškej, regionally acknowledged branding expert, announces his module Branding: The New Branding – Hocus Pocus, which will be held within the Direct Media Academy from May 28 to May 30. This module is the real deal for anyone who go to sleep and wake up with branding on their mind. If brands are your passion, and their communication is your challenge, then you shouldn’t miss the lectures of the Branding Module at DMA.
What were the changes that are most responsible for the fact that branding as we knew it no longer exist?
The changes are truly great! It is interesting that we as individuals don’t even understand the awesome power of those changes. When you work day by day you simply have no impression that everything around us is changing so profoundly. It is incredible how great our ability to adapt and accept all these changes is. Only when you analytically, step by step delve into the ‘history’, year after year, you see that great power of change. It is probably easiest to understand the changes in technology – it is clear to everyone that these changes have led to new communication channels that change the concepts and forms of advertising. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – I’m not saying it’s not important, but it’s not the one that would require us to fundamentally change the essence of branding by itself.
In my opinion, there are at least two facts that are more crucial and stronger than the rapid development of technology, although at the end of the day, the development of technology was what enabled this that we have all found ourselves in. One of the important things that requires the brands to adopt completely different concepts is the absolute information overdose. A fascinating piece of information for me – and I have no idea how experts calculated it – is that from the onset of civilization until 2003, the world has managed to produce a certain amount of information; the same quantity of information we produce today in just two days! Our brain somehow succeeds in expanding its capacity, but still: too much is simply too much. We don’t have enough capacity to turn everything that goes on around us into our memory. We constantly do selection and remember only what is in our real interest. And trust me, advertising messages aren’t exactly at the top of our priorities.
When we include the fact that the offer of brands is growing by the day, and that competition in most industries is becoming fiercer, it becomes clear that we have to make some important changes already at the conceptual level.
What is the best way to painlessly adapt to the great renaissance of branding values that is knocking on our doors?
Mitja Tuškej: Clearly, the big question is what and how to change. I searched for answers by doing all possible comparisons on different databases, in various surveys. I’ve looked at brand positions before and today in order to find a great case that would open the path to interesting conclusions. A comparison of data from one of my studies that I’ve been doing for a client for more than fifteen years now, and which monitors the perception of competing brands among consumers, has shown me how the differences between big competitors are getting smaller and smaller. When I paired these data with the actual market share, I found a phenomenal result: the brands that were getting closer each year were losing their position, and brands that somehow managed to ‘stand their ground’ and remain recognizable for their specific traits, especially in terms of values and personalities that they expressed through their communication, grew. What’s more, the brand with the greatest growth in the last ten years has been perceived literally the same over that entire period. Its story is pure, clear and focused, its target group is completely the same all the time. A full focus on what the brand is in its essence, and full focus on the loyal fans all the time.
Does this mean that branding as we knew it is disappearing or just changing its shape? I believe the concept of branding is radically changing. Branding is an extremely delicate, even filigree job today. Accuracy and constant checking of validity of the relationship between the user and the brand is an absolute must. The constant search for where our ‘partner’ is, how they think, what they are doing, where they are located, what excites them and how to engage them in co-creating the story of ‘their own brand’ – all these are tasks without which we will hardly keep our brand afloat. This, in my opinion, is what places the function of branding into quite novel framework.
For whom is the Branding Module intended, and what should participants expect from the lectures and workshops?
Mitja Tuškej: The Branding Module will be top choice for everyone working on any side of our triangle; in an agency, with an advertiser or in the media. I think that even the job title is not important. What is essential is the openness of mind and the desire to do something in a somewhat different way. I will invest all my energy to show the participants how important it is to make a very closed box, in which you need to put the brand and its consumers, so that, on this basis, ‘creatives’ could make solutions that break the boundaries of that box.
The two main characters in branding are the brand and the consumer. What does their relationship look like today, and what did it look like in the past?
Mitja Tuškej: Ha! In essence, perhaps there haven’t been radical changes in the relationship between brands and consumers. They were and still have to be in love, or even more – love is just the beginning, they must be in partnership. Respect, listening, and even small quarrels, a small misunderstanding here and there. The important thing is that this is a relationship that lasts. And it is important to understand that the relationship and the first love come when the brand and the consumer fit. And they will fit if a certain agreement is reached between them. If they think the same, if they have similar values and have a similar lifestyle. It works, and at the end of the day it has been confirmed by the largest branding experts in the world for a long time.
But not all is the same. All changes and the entire development has led to today’s significant segmentation among all of us. There are so many different options, there are so many different interests and so many shades that make us different and distinguish us. This makes it much harder for brands to find the right values and the right personality that will enter ‘my state of mind’ in the finest and the clearest way. And again, when we enter into a mutual relationship, we also enter into the world of constant mutual communication, constant wooing and the maintenance of love-partner relations. If I am changing, and I’m changing much faster than I did ten or fifteen years ago, if I get news, if I catch and receive memes and enter new trends, my partner, my brand, needs to do the same all the time. If it doesn’t invest in the relationship, there is a possibility and likelihood that another brand will offer me something that better fits my changed attitudes, so I’ll first have a small ‘affair’… which might turn into a new love and a break-up of previous relationship.
This relationship system for brands simply means that they have to constantly listen and work on analytics of insights from the target group, analytics of trends and relations between itself and its consumers and constantly adapt their story to their partners and their consumers.
The new book that you’ve published, “Hocus, Pocus: Focus”, deals with the same topic as your Module. Is Focus your message from this year’s DMA?
Mitja Tuškej: Yes, of course! My message is the complete focus on the relationship between a brand and its user. My focus will be on how to reach the right focus ?
What traits and skills should a marketing, advertising or communication professional have in the new era of communication?
Mitja Tuškej: Today, branding is based on focus, respect, love and partnership – remaining passionate about our brand and this value is the foundation for all professionals in our industry. You have to be in love with your brand, you must be committed to the relationship and you must constantly build it and nurture it. You have to listen, read and go into the greater breadth of knowledge of billions of different facts in order to find the right focus for your brand and to be able to properly maintain the love for your brand among the right people.