What Is Brand Stewardship?
Stewardship refers to the responsible management and care of something, typically involving resources or property, entrusted to one’s care. It implies a duty to manage these assets wisely, sustainably, and for the benefit of others, rather than for personal gain.
In a business world marked by volatility and uncertainty, we are seeing a high turnover among marketing and brand managers, resulting in challenges relating to maintaining a consistent brand voice. This reality underscores the vital role of brand stewardship, a responsibility that, when managed effectively, can significantly impact a company’s success. The inspiring story of LEGO’s transformation in the early 2000s exemplifies the power of focused brand stewardship.
LEGO: Representing The Importance Of Brand Stewardship
LEGO’s near downfall was precipitated by a loss of brand identity, as the company ventured too far from its core values and products. The arrival of CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp marked a strategic return to LEGO’s roots, emphasising quality, creativity, and engagement with core audiences. This change not only rescued the company from financial distress but also reinvigorated its brand, leading to a resurgence in popularity and success.
This LEGO story offers valuable lessons for businesses facing similar challenges. Here are some key points and simple tips for effective brand stewardship:
- Understand Your Brand’s Core Values: Identify what your brand stands for and ensure all marketing efforts align with these values. This clarity helps in maintaining consistency, even with changes in your marketing team.
- Engage a Professional Agency for Continuity: Agencies can provide stability and strategic guidance, helping to navigate through staff turnovers and market changes. They can act as custodians of your brand, ensuring consistency in your brand’s voice and message.
- Establish Strong Brand Guidelines: Develop comprehensive brand guidelines that cover all aspects of your brand’s visual and verbal communication. These guidelines ensure consistency across all marketing materials and platforms, regardless of who is creating them.
- Ongoing Training and Support: Regular training for your team on the brand’s values and vision is essential. Consider workshops or sessions led by your agency partners to keep everyone aligned and updated.
- Collect Unbiased Feedback: Agencies can gather impartial feedback from customers and clients, offering a clear picture of how your brand is perceived externally. This feedback is invaluable for adjusting strategies and maintaining relevance.
- Foster Open Communication: Encourage open dialogue between your internal team and your agency. This ensures that all parties are on the same page and working towards common goals.
- Adapt and Evolve: Be open to evolving your brand strategy based on market trends, feedback, and internal changes. Agility in response to change is a key component of effective brand stewardship.
- Prioritise Customer Engagement: Like LEGO, reconnect and engage with your core audience. Understand their needs and preferences to ensure your brand remains relevant and appealing.
- Monitor and Measure: Regularly review the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and brand positioning. Agencies can offer tools and expertise for this analysis, helping you understand the impact of your brand stewardship efforts.
The Advantage Of Employing A Branding Agency
The role of a professional brand agency in this context is to be a steady guide, helping businesses navigate the complexities of brand stewardship amidst internal changes and market dynamics. While the responsibility for a brand’s direction ultimately lies with the business, a partnership with a skilled brand agency can provide the expertise, perspective, and continuity necessary to maintain a strong, coherent brand identity.
Remember, effective brand stewardship is not a one-time effort but a continuous alignment, adaptation, and engagement process. By embracing these principles, businesses can ensure their brand remains strong and resonant, no matter the market changes or internal dynamics.