Part 1 of 3 in “The Future is Bright for Business and Brands”, a thought piece for First 5000 on the importance of optimism in building business and brands.
In building brands that attract, retain and engage customers, employees and stakeholders to drive business results and raise brand value, we seek to achieve “a great place/product to buy”, “a great place to work” and “a great reputation”.
Great brands are inherently optimistic. They look to the future, aim to solve people’s problems and make people’s lives better. In challenging times, great brands have the power to drive optimism amongst their audiences – customers, employees and stakeholders. People first, not last.
Brands that are positioned in the future have to be optimistic in imagining a better world and encouraging their customers, employees and stakeholders to imagine and buy into it: large engineering and built environment brands such as ARUP and WSP, technology brands like Samsung and industrial brands like GE. But optimism is not just for these brands.
Historically during challenging times, optimism has been driven by smaller priced items such as the rise of lipstick sales for ladies to cheer themselves up, referred to as “the lipstick effect”.
With the shift from material items, particularly amongst the younger generations, we’ve seen experiences grow as a source of optimism. For example, where purchasing a house may seem less feasible, enjoying smashed avo brunch is a positive experience with friends. Many beverage (alcoholic and non) and QSR (quick service restaurants) brands do this well.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an increase in large corporate brands that provide optimism by supporting you in life and business during good times and bad – such as AMEX, Westpac, NRMA, ANZ, AAMI.
The recent fires across Australia have taken the support platform to a new level, we see optimism being driven by altruism in community support and now regeneration – brands that are giving individuals the platform to not only feel good, but do good and invoke optimism, themselves.
This goes beyond charity brands seeking community donations to customer and business brands contributing portions of their sales to affected areas, tourism and place brands encouraging people to holiday in affected areas, and employer brands motivating employees with additional annual leave and volunteer days to holiday in and help affected areas.
Brands are doing amazing things to drive optimism and set themselves up for the future.