INSTANT MBA: Your Brand Needs To Be Constantly Evolving

Jon Steinberg

Today’s advice comes from Jon Steinberg, COO of BuzzFeed, via LinkedIn:

“There is conventional wisdom that brands are something to be protected and that the safest thing to do with a brand is nothing. This wisdom holds that brands are like porcelain vases, delicate and if protected capable of maintaining their value over decades if not centuries. This is no longer the case.”

Steinberg says that Apple is a prime example of how active branding has sustained a company’s growth over decades — despite early setbacks. And while companies today have attempted to mimic Apple’s iconic marketing strategies, Steinberg says that branding teams are making the mistake of not recognising cultural changes that come with new media outlets. Companies just don’t understand that if you don’t speak for your brand, someone else will.

“I would argue that in this day and age, with the speed that brands rise and fall, playing it safe and saying nothing, is actually the riskiest thing a brand can do. If an iconic brand was to sit on the sidelines, how long before the decay would overtake it? We are in a world of increasing speed and competition. The notion that ‘we should be careful and not do anything to hurt the brand’ is almost as dangerous as carelessness with the brand.”

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