The 3 topics that will make up 2020
If there is one good news for this year, it is that the transformation of our brand consultancy expertise is coming to an end, making it a generator of value, accessible to all companies.
Other than branding, we help drive companies through the brand by bringing together leading experts on every topic.
The hybridization of the know-how, so dear to DRAGON ROUGE, is expanding, at a time when the creative translation needs to give meaning to a diversity of audiences that struggle to unravel the truth from the false, the fair from the unfair, the useful from the futile.
There are 3 topics that emerge from this context. Let’s find out about them together.
1. Brand purpose, we have mastered it
« Buzz word » of late 2019, companies have found out about a component of the loi Pacte (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation): the brand purpose. This law encourages companies to define their brand purpose, allowing them to register it to their status and become a ‘B corporation’. Atos, Yves Rocher, la Maif, Carrefour, Danone have received a lot of attention from doing it in 2019. For some, this brand purpose was already part of the DNA of their business model and the only thing they had to do was to formalize it.
By contrast, when it comes to changing everything, we have seen, read and heard all sorts of things. So how can we go about it when there are as many theories as there are experts?
Le Cercle des Entreprises à raison d’être (CERE) offers a clearer view through the sharing of experiences and feedback during conferences, and in the media.
First, this needs to come from the top down. It seems complex to be staking everything on a bottom-up approach. The need for the CEO to embody the project is undisputable. Indeed, the brand purpose will become the company’s strategic compass, and the reference in terms of successful cross-company projects. Once the brand purpose formalized, the entire organization must be consulted in order to build together the evidences and the operational changes needed to carry it out. Thus, the top management becomes a transformation facilitator. It improves the trust that one places in his/her organization, through its ability to set in motion the projects related to its brand purpose. This constant exchange between the management teams is a key factor, as is the necessity to name sponsors/ambassadors that will be in charge of delivering the key messages and facilitating the on-going iteration that the transformation implies.
This ambition for the general interest, that the leaders intend on pursuing, is not limited to quoted joint stoke companies. All companies can get on board with it (ex: DRAGON ROUGE helped to bring Openclassroom’s brand purpose to life: make education accessible, everywhere, all the time.)
This will give a new momentum and meaning to a market economy in need of reinventing itself.
2. The second life of things and actions
The holistic and circular approach of business models, embedded in the brand greet which we created with Accor, will sooner or later become the norm for all industries. The value of what companies will produce is evolving.
The lifespan of the products is increasing. Independent business ecosystems contribute to making brand offers singular. In other words, the deterioration of the value of things is changing: it is slowing down. And the brand is more valuable than ever to slow down this deterioration of value. The automotive industry is experiencing this issue since the leasing has taken-off. The stronger the brand, the longer the value of the products and services delivered will last. For this reason, a luxury car is more competitive in leasing than a mid-range car. The high-range manufacturer knows that his vehicle will keep its value longer.
In the fashion industry, this trend is becoming a paradigm. Thred Up believes that the second-hand market will weigh more than the fast fashion market in 2028, which explains H&M’s investment in Sellpy, Vinted’s 21 million members and The Go for Good movement of the Galeries Lafayette, as present on the price tags as it is on the brand’s logo. Today, second-hand purchases represent 6% of the fashion purchases of Americans, while fast fashion brands represent 9%. In 2028, it should weigh 13% of purchases, while fast fashion should weigh 9%.
Other than fashion, automotive or appliances, we will be initiating a global reflection on the value chain of each industry.
Sains & Saufs or SiBio ! offer fruit products that would have been downgraded or tossed. They are an example of supply reflection. How about using the same resource at another production stage? How about creating a range of failed products? In short, a field of possibilities will open up to those who let their imagination flourish. Otherwise, get on board of a hackaton with your favorite dragons!
3. Retail, towards a reasoned emotion
We do not see places the same way we used to. Cornerstone of a necessarily responsible brand promise, the concept of place is shifting towards more meaning and social utility.
(example: DRAGON ROUGE helped reposition La Confédération des Buralistes around the idea of “merchant of social utility”)
We are moving from a rather hedonistic experiential marketing, to a marketing of responsible emotion. We are more mindful of the way we experience our living areas, our businesses, and our hospitality.
In face of this evolution, places are now planned out to make the meaning of the brand come to life. They are the repository of all brand evidences. We have to think of everything! Responsible materials, the teams’ working conditions, the accessibility, the customer experience, the power consumption. The customers are becoming more and more mindful of what we “put” behind the concepts.
In this spirit, brands are getting involved and forming partnerships for the recycling and recovery of their products, their CSR policy…and these partnerships speak through their point of sale/service.
The integration of partners in the design service is key, but beware of the accumulation process! Today, the work consists in finding new ways to use them in the place so that they become an integral part of the concept. (ex: the use of Yuka – French nutritional and social score consumer app – in the shelf spaces)
Take the example of donation. There is a lot of backlash regarding the integration of donation in payment terminals. Donation is now thought of as an activation which is parallel to the act of purchase. Nicolas Violette from agency partner, Common Cents, insists that “these activations are based on the emotion created by the communication device combined with the partners’ commitment to pass on key messages”.
Between distrust and wait for change, we, consumers-marketers-citizens are one. No matter our role in the commercial agenda, we are all united in our search for meaning. Placed under the sign of the brand purpose, the brands that will be one step ahead during this decade will be those that will create a real social added-value.
By Mathieu Sakkas
Managing Director, Corporate, Service and Retail branding