5th August 2015

Premium Brands Use the Green Cross Code

It doesn’t matter what sector you’re in, or the size, and scale of your organisation, to be a world class brand, you must listen to your audience.

Today, listening is often a forgotten art. We are too busy monitoring for spikes, having conversations and thinking about the next big thing to pay attention to what is happening in our own community. Quite often the answer to many brands’ issues, challenges or campaigns lies mainly with their own audience. After all, if an audience is invested in the brand, it will get excited by new developments and have the power to elevate the brand beyond its peers.

Let’s take Lego  – the company with listening booths –  has completely transformed its brand in recent years by allowing its consumers to have an input. Named as the world’s most powerful brand, by Brand Finance , earlier this year, the maker of plastic bricks transcends the generations, but recently has struggled with its image given its core market, children, were more focused on technology than building blocks. Instead of running away, the business changed its philosophy, flung open its doors and embraced the new. With a focus on new content (including a film, website, artwork etc…), licensed partnerships, a solid brand marketing plan and a real-time approach to social conversations Lego has shifted itself from toy to desired, age-spanning, powerful brand. Today, Lego is revered by many marketeers worldwide and more importantly has a growth trajectory that shows its relevance and recency.

Another, slightly more unassuming, listening success belongs to resource management company Veolia. Through its listening approach, the organisation, under the guardianship of Estelle Brachilanoff in the UK and Europe, has managed to move itself away from cleaning and waste management experts to circular economy and sustainability pioneers. How? Simple. It listened to the interests of its customers, understood what they wanted and needed from a partner to complement their own business targets and acted on it. With its customers desperate to improve their own sustainability credentials, focus more on waste disposable and increase their circular thinking, Veolia realigned its own business approach and now has a firm footing as a champion in each of these areas. Complemented by their marketing communications approach, Veolia is now a content house, focused on providing the day-to-day business services to its customers to ensure it adds value to the communities it works with and the organisations it works alongside.

Many brands could learn from the Lego and Veolia approach. Actually listening (not just employing a social tool to do so) and not dictating what customers need, you can position your business as a sector leader and, indeed, world beater. Equally, the benefit of listening to your own audience will enable you to effectively adapt to the changing market, increase revenue, drive growth and push boundaries outside of your sector.

Whether an FMCG or B2B brand, the approach is simple – stop, look and listen. Most brands simply cross the road on autopilot, but it’s the ones that adhere to these three simple words that truly succeed.

By Helena Reid, B2B Associate Director