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Since branded products first hit store shelves over a century ago, they‘ve captured our attention with bold logos, catchy copy, and flashy packaging. They’ve promised to make our lives better with claims like New & Improved, 20% Easier, and Great Tasting! Many have indeed positively affected us. However, many others haven’t evolved with the times, and they still believe getting our attention is done the Mad Men way.

Today’s savvy & involved consumers want more than the superficial. They seek to learn more about the products they buy and the companies that make them. They want to know what a brand stands for and what it believes in. Factors previously deemed inconsequential now weigh heavily on consumers’ purchasing decisions:

“Where is this made?”
“Were GMOs used?”
“Did they consider the environment?”

Consumers’ voices & opinions are more omnipresent than ever. They have the power to hold companies and brands perceived as shallow, irresponsible, or disingenuous accountable.

The bottom line? There’s been a big paradigm shift. The day when a brand could stand for superficial things or rely only on new features, an updated logo, or a shinier package has passed. Today, brands need to see their audience as more than just a transaction or a turn at shelf. Their consumers are smart, opinionated, and value-driven individuals. They seek products and services that don’t just meet their functional needs, but those whose values they share.

Built Tough: Ford Trucks have a come a long way since claiming to last 19.6% longer. Today, they share the values of ruggedness, outstanding performance, and dependability with their modern day audience.

So, what’s a brand to do? First ask some very significant questions:

“What are our brand values?”
“What’s our brand promise?”
“Are we living up to them
every day, in every way?”

A brand needs to know who it is, and who it isn’t. What it stands for, and what it doesn’t. Have a conscience (values), a unique personality, and ultimately be more human. Then, it needs to bring this to life in everything it does from product development choices, to advertising, to yes…that same package sitting on the store shelf.

Even though they made cameras, Kodak missed the mark by staying focused on film vs. a bigger promise like; “We’re in the business of helping you capture memories”. With a broader and more aspirational brand promise in place, they would have embraced digital in a much bigger way.

When brands are more consistent and true, they find their better selves. People that share those same values will seek and find those brands they connect with. We believe that when brands and the people they touch unite, great things can happen, including the potential to make the world just a little bit better.