When you think of today’s leading brands, what comes to mind? Maybe Nike? Amazon? Disney? Netflix? Red Bull? Perhaps even L’Oréal or Starbucks? Regardless of the brands that make a sudden appearance, there’s one thing that top-tier mentor brands have one significant similarity: they give their consumers more than a great product.
Think about it. All of these brands have gone far beyond the product that initially brought them success. Nike isn’t just the powerhouse of athletic apparel, Disney isn’t just an animated mouse, L’Oréal isn’t just selling hair dye, and Starbucks isn’t just a one-stop coffee shop. These brands, and the leading mentors in alternative categories, have all innovated new ways for consumers to interact with their brands in a more meaningful way. They haven’t capitalized on a single idea, and have instead embraced a complexed approach to building their brand in intriguing ways.
Take Nike. Founded by Phil Knight, the “Just Do It” brand has created a library of cutting edge athletic apparel while simultaneously establishing communities and empowering people to get moving through workout apps, like Nike+ Running Club and Nike Training Club, both of which have earned 4.7/5 stars and nearly 200,000 combined reviews. Disney is a multimedia powerhouse, with TV and radio channels, who owns 11 theme parks that operate across the globe. They also oversee approximately 400 retail stores, which positioned the brand as the first entertainment company to venture in to the world of “retail-tainment”. L’Oréal has created parallels between the beauty and technology industries to implement more interactive ways for consumers to test trends, try products, consult with professionals, and make purchases through their apps. And Starbucks, the notorious king of coffee concoctions that mixes flavors as unique as their customer base, is well-known for their philanthropic efforts and their initiatives to bring their internal success outward through the Starbucks Foundation. As you can see, the best of the best don’t operate on a singular strategy. Their brands are multi-faceted, and consumers are buying in to it… Literally.
This is the new standard for brands who are paving the way in their industries. Target audiences want a collective brand experience—they want to see mission, purpose, and innovation that elicits an honest connection to the brands they support. Today’s creative teams have a responsibility to identify opportunities for their companies to venture in to uncharted territory. Take Crayola for example. After almost 135 years in business, the artists supply company has refreshed their brand and reached “Crayola alum” through various make-up collaborations, most recently with popular online retailer, ASOS. A limited time 58-piece collection in an impressive 95 shades, the line of lip crayons, eye shadow palettes, highlighter, and mascara gives its audiences a nostalgic feel. In light of recent make-up trends that revolve around bright, vibrant, highly saturated hues, these initiatives translate as a marketing tactic that reengages previous audiences and ultimately expands the experience of the Crayola name.
The “double-dipping” concept, if you will, is the future of today’s brands. Even as technology continues to advance the ways we think, design, develop, and manufacture products, brands need to be prepared to think beyond what they’re selling. What constitutes the identity of your brand? What’s your mission? Your ethos? The way you relate your brand to the the desires, values, and ideals of your consumers? In what ways can you challenge your thinking to discover new ideas that differentiate your product from competitors? How can you maximize creativity and use innovation to your advantage to surprise your audience? All of these questions are imperative if you plan to stay relevant to your audience in the coming years.