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February 22, 2017

BRANDING | The Way Forward: Thinking Outside The Box | Part Four

When facing these new challenges, brands must avoid textbook solutions, and instead think outside the box. Below are four new ways to think about brand building.

The blurring and merging of communication and distribution channels can be seen as one of the most important developments of the past few years. In the future, communication with indirect references to sales offerings will be even more crucial than today, when it comes to establishing customer loyalty, identification with the brand, and proximity to purchase decisions. On the other hand, distribution is increasingly becoming a facet of (brand) communication. Here again, strict separation between the two categories hinders the exploitation of the brand’s full potential. From now on, efficient interaction between brand management and sales management will be a decisive factor for brand success.

For example, Deutsche Telekom’s new shop concept includes different options for a variety of consulting situations and information needs. The most important aspect is that potential customers can decide for themselves how much nearness or distance they desire, and whether they want to access information at a terminal or talk to a salesperson. So to make optimal use of brand management and add value to the company, it will in the future be necessary to analyze all of the diverse brand touchpoints. Once the most important touchpoints have been determined, it will be necessary to formulate the brand themes and define how each of the brand’s various appearances can work in concert to create a coordinated brand identity. The crucial point here is to think beyond traditional “advertising media.” In the service sector in particular, where customers can’t “touch” what they are buying, customer service—and therefore employees themselves—becomes a key medium for transporting the brand identity. Once again, there is great potential for success through carefully coordinated interaction between the two disciplines.