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How 'Agile' should 'Agile Marketing' be?
I recently came back from a Strategic Brand Planning Excellence Training that I had with Marketers in a big bluechip company. We had a great discussion around “How ‘Strategic’ can we be if consumers, shoppers and the environment are changing so fast? Does this require a new approach to how we deal with Marketing? Is it finally the “end” of Strategic Marketing Thinking to follow the pace?
Indeed, everyone wants to be “Agile” and it seems to be the new “Magic bullet” to solve our issues and adapt to the changing environment.
“Agile Marketing” originally was used in the IT. By adopting successful tools and techniques such as Scrum, Kanban or Design Thinking, Marketers try to increase their
agility and gain speed to market in terms of new product launches and activation. No doubt, that especially big global bluechip companies are lacking
speed-to-market which easily turns into a weakness if small competitors with faster decision processes raise. However, is the purpose of being more agile
not reflecting a different question to the “WHY are we not agile?” or in other words “Do we really need to be more agile or is the problem lying somewhere else?
Strategic Brand Planning is still crucial for big as well as small companies to continuously build brand values & equities and to ensure efficient and effective brand growth. There is a high risk of diluting powerful brands if “agile” turns into a principle of just doing things faster but not about asking “Doing the right things”. The Gold standard is probably “Doing the right things faster”.
Strategic Brand Planning helps you to understand the “right” things and identify the leverage points to set the path to growth. This is nothing that takes years if you are able to make decisions! It is anyway a continuous iterative approach that as a “Guardian of your brand” you should own, monitor and track with KPIs continuously.
If you are clear about what the “right ways” are to grow your brand, you can be much faster in executing these strategies in an agile way.
One principle in Strategic Brand Planning that is more true than ever, is a deep customer understanding. It can’t be replaced by any other thinking and should be in the DNA of every Marketer. So the right question that Marketers should ask is: “How can we be more agile in understanding our customers deeply and in leverageing those customer insights for brand value creation?”
Design Thinking e.g. is definitely a brilliant approach if used early in the Innovation funnel to create new brand ideas and come up with customer-centric innovation. But cultural change is more than just implementing new tools. It is about mindset change, trust and “agile” values lived and breathed in everything we do – inspired by leaders.
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