In Bryan Smeltzer's Podcast, LIFESTYLE BRANDING | How to Create a Community of Loyal Brand Advocates I discuss a brand must follow its Vision and ensure they are not putting a product in the market which does not match this Vision. As a result, Degrading Brand Equity, Trust, and Authenticity.
Brand Equity, Difficult to Build, easy to Tear Down…
As we have discussed, you must have a cohesive, vertically integrated product creation process led by the Product team.
In addition to being led by the Product team, this process must involve the three engines of a brand; Product/Marketing/Sales (The Power Triad). This Power Triad affects all functional segments of the brand, and when the leadership of each is on the same page working together, they successfully execute the brand Vision, and it runs like a machine.
To create a cohesive team, working together as one (interdependent), you must first have established a Vision for the brand. This is a shared bond, one not to be broken and sacred as you continue to grow. The common bond is woven into a company and brings everyone together towards a common goal. Break this bond, and you break trust; you break the goodwill and community engagement. All crucial to maintaining your Brand Equity.
What happens when this is Bond is Broken, and the Vision is blurred?
One Case Study involved Under Armour as they were looking to enter the football cleat market. The brand Vision aligned with the product line extension opportunity, and they had established creditability with the market.
However, one crucial piece to be addressed before bringing a product to market; Is the product ready for Primetime, and does the final product match the brand Vision?
These are critical questions, and if a brand follows The Power Triad product ideation and commercialization flow, the answer should be Yes! However, in this instance, marketing moved up the process chain, overriding a product that was not ready for the market.
As a result, because of their established validation in the market, they were able to build a 30%+ market share in their first season, but this quickly evaporated once the product hit the field. Performance did not meet expectations, trust was broken, and authenticity was damaged.
Fortunately for Under Armour, this was not the end of the story as they were able to re-gain trust after pulling the product line from distribution and starting over. It was a painful lesson, but one that holds true when a brand does not follow its Vision and its foundational authenticity. The road back for Under Armour was long and hard, but to their credit were able to ride out the storm.
The is a Product Case Study in following your Vision, but knowing the process to execute the Vision and not take shortcuts. These shortcuts will cost you in the long run. So just Don't do It!
Stay True, stay Authentic, be Different, be Great!