As 360’s Chief Strategist, Tamala Barksdale is often tasked with delivering brand strategy that will grow brands from a Visitor to a Citizen brand. This is really a proxy for “make me hyper relevant and invaluable in the lives of consumers.” The challenge is “relevance” which depends solely on how consumers evaluate your brand through their life perspective. Disruption will get consumer attention, for a while. Cultural relevance will keep it and will lead you down the path to fame. Famous brands become Citizens in the lives of their customers.
On the Brand Equity Continuum, Citizen brandship is the holy grail. Modern brand mythologies are built on seizing the cultural zeitgeist, together with the customer. It’s simultaneously B2C and C2B. Either way, no brand becomes famous without the co-creation of culture as driven by experience.
Visitor Brand: You’re missing the demographic evolution of the old general market and believe “adjusted” general market efforts are adequate for connecting with identity-driven audiences. Your competitors may be in the same place but won’t stay there for long.
Guest Brand: You align to the size and influence of the new mainstream through the celebration of cultural beats or reactively through even-driven allyship, but product, brand and marketing innovations lag. Look at your category leaders. Chances are they are more confident in their relationship with the new mainstream. You can get there.
Citizen Brand: You have an innovative and growth-oriented mindset that’s landed you permanent purchase consideration. Congratulations. Consumers want to co-create personal mythologies with you.
BRAND EQUITY CONTINUUM QUIZ
Rate your decision on a scale of 1-5. Strongly disagree (1), Somewhat disagree (2), Neutral (3), Somewhat agree (4), Strongly agree (5)
Q1 – You would not be surprised if Hypebeast followed you on Instagram.
Q2 – You have a general market creative and advertising budget and separate multicultural creative and advertising budgets.
Q3 – Your lead creative agency is BIPOC owned.
Q4 – You’ve had a product innovation covered in the trades in the past year?
Q5 – Your lead product, event or service has been organically memed (in a good way) in the past year?
Q6 – There are at least a few customers out there that would tattoo your logo on their arm?
Q7 – You can produce a real example of a way you’ve gone to market based on consumer demand. (It has to be something relevant to the larger cultural zeitgeist)
Q8 – You can say with absolute certainty how your product makes your customers feel?
HOW DID YOU SCORE
40+ Congratulations! You are in rarified Citizen Brand air.
25-39 Guest brands are on the edge of opportunity. Explosive growth and category leadership are within reach with a deeper and more authentic commitment to the burgeoning demographic center of the US, the New Mainstream.
10-24 Visitor brands should act with urgency in getting to know the New Mainstream. Whether you’ve been around one year or 100 years, you will soon find yourself countering costly challengers whose strategies center on contesting the growth and influence segments that drive the New Mainstream.