Often in life we try to evolve and improve our lifestyle (maybe it’s learning to eat better and exercise more). So too we must focus on maturing the brand we govern and guide. Why? Well, when we fail to think about our own health and development – we come to a standstill, stunting our growth. When we don’t prioritise brand maturity – our brand can lose relevance in the ever-shifting market it exists in, and ultimately, miss key opportunities to build, refine and keep transforming.
Brand maturity is the state of your brand in your market and the perception of your brand by your target audience. Your maturing brand moves through the ranks by making itself known to your market, firmly establishing its position and clearly communicating its substance with its target audience. Your brand’s position on the maturity scale can be reflective of its success – and, vitally, its potential for growth.
There are multiple levels of brand maturity from an entry level to a remarkable brand.
When your brand is at an entry level of maturity, it has a presence in your industry and your target audience is aware it exists (including knowing its offering or the problem it solves). Most brands never extend beyond this level.
Often commodity product brands are at this level. You see, they often don’t have brand and product differentiation, a messaging framework or a value proposition to extend further up the maturity scale. These tools are critical in communicating the value of your brand and help it to connect with the people it serves. Discover more about messaging frameworks in our blog 5 brand fundamentals you haven’t nailed yet.
When you can clearly articulate your brand’s value proposition to your market, and you have implemented a messaging framework to guide storytelling, your brand is well positioned to move up the maturity scale to a foundation level.
At this level (like at an entry level) your brand is established and known in its industry. Plus, the market is also aware of your brand’s value. If you take a look around, less brands have reached this level of brand maturity – but, it’s definitely an attainable goal for many.
The contender level of brand maturity is less common. This means your brand has captured a large portion of its market’s attention. At this level, the market perceives your brand as the best partner to meet their needs.
Just like the more attainable levels above, your brand must have a clearly articulated value proposition and messaging framework. Plus, you must have fostered a community of fans who have formed a connection with your brand.
To manifest this connection (usually) you must clearly and consistently articulate your brand’s story. This is one of the strongest opportunities for a connection to grow between your brand and your audience.
On top of this, you must have a clear understanding of your audience persona and consistently communicate your brand’s personality. When you truly know your audience (inside and out) you’re best placed to know what resonates with them, helping to form a bond. A consistent brand voice provides your audience with a clear understanding of what to expect from your brand – building a level of trust. When your brand reaches contender level maturity, you know it’s a strong brand.
Getting the market to see your brand as the best partner to meet their needs takes a lot of effort. It also requires much change in your audience’s mind.
Just because your audience views your brand as the best partner to meet its need doesn’t always mean it’ll buy what you’re offering. Your brand must make a sound connection with your audience that’s strong enough to either pull them away from their current solution provider, or push them across the line to make a purchase. A buyer needs to fully understand the true points of difference about your brand to break its bonds with another brand – and, importantly, form and emotional connection to your brand.
At this point, a true alignment of your customer to your brand is formed, where your customer becomes a brand ambassador.
At the end of the day, a mature brand matters to your audience. Your audience has a need and the mature brand best meets that need. Aim to go beyond your audience just knowing what your brand offers. Aim for them to see your brand as the best quality provider and the only partner that can fully meet their needs.