Does your brand have an answer to the digital shift?

The “German Brand Monitor 2019/2020” shows surprising results for this survey, according to which, ensuring consistent brand management across all channels is a top priority, but still something which companies very often neglect.

Almost 300 brand managers and decision-makers from companies with annual sales of between 10 million and 5 billion euros, mainly from the B2B sector, took part in the survey, which was commissioned by the German Design Council in Frankfurt and GMK Brand Consultancy, Cologne.

Digital brand management

In addition to consistent brand management, the development of brand-typical content and digital value-added offers are considered to be the biggest challenges. Over a third of respondents emphasized the increasing need for a fast response and for the promotion and facilitation of interaction on digital channels. Furthermore, suitable technologies have to be selected, relevant key performance indicators identified and marketing automation used correctly. Almost 20 percent of managers considered cooperation with influencers to be important.

According to the study, the primary goal of brand management is competitive differentiation. An increase in brand awareness and a better presentation of product quality are also some of the most important concerns of the individual companies. The authors of the survey stress that “a sophisticated but at the same time practicable content and design strategy, which meets the complex requirements of the digital environment” is key to brand management.

Desire and reality

Although everyone attaches the utmost importance to digitalization, in practice, little is done: over half of the respondents admitted that both they and their brands had “no or no adequate response to the digital shift.”

The reasons given for the discrepancy between theory and practice are, on the one hand, the complex system of social media which makes it hard to retain an overview of what happens where and how on Facebook, Twitter and Co. On the other hand, there are problems with internal brand implementation.  While most decision-makers attest their brand’s “high relevance for the company’s success” and confirm clear definitions of brand and brand values, they attribute less importance to branding within the company. They admit that their brand does not have a clear profile for customers, and that even their own employees do not always know exactly what the corporate brand stands for.

In view of these results, the authors of the study criticize the fact that companies miss the opportunity to position themselves as an employer brand. This is a problem, especially when you consider the increasing shortage of skilled workers and the so-called “war for talent”.

To sum up, in many cases, there is still a wide gap between wish and reality when it comes to brand management in the age of digital change. Many companies shy away from the necessary investments in training and manpower or simply do not know how to tackle this complex issue. Opportunities that exist, for example through the use of social media, often remain unexploited.

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