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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureDebbie Goldfarb

Qualities of relevant brands, and why it matters now more than ever

Updated: May 23, 2022

"We have to keep transforming ourselves to stay relevant for the future.”- Maurice Levy

Bob Dylan sang about it in his anthem in 1964… the times they are a-changin. Well, his message still resonates to this day. Times are a-changing indeed, they always have been, only this time they are changing drastically, or so it seems.

Nowhere is this change more apparent than in business. And the changes are impacting all businesses – big and small. To name a few, there’s…

  • Escalating inflation (40 year high) and subsequent rate hikes by the Fed

  • Skyrocketing gas prices

  • Labor shortage

  • The Big Quit

  • Housing crisis and soaring rents

  • Global slowdown

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

  • Ongoing COVID challenges

  • Global warming and climate change

  • Roe vs. Wade

  • Infant formula shortage

  • Monkey Pox threat, and the list goes on...

These are extremely trying times particularly for small businesses. It’s important now more than ever to be resilient and move ahead in business. A great example of this resiliency are key brands that have risen to the occasion by creating and renewing their role in this changing world!

Their secret... they’ve figured out how to be relevant.

In the Cambridge dictionary, relevance is defined as the degree to which something is related or useful to what is happening or being talked about. The concept of relevance is of utmost importance in branding your business to remain competitive and connect with your target audience.

So, how does one build brand relevance?

Know your company’s reason for being. Define your purpose and communicate it both externally (to your audience) and internally (to your employees) in that way it becomes a shared value that inspire people to move, to act, or do something towards it. Note too that your purpose should be fluid, moving with the times. So review and redefine it, when it no longer inspires or matters to your audience.

Trader Joes purpose, for example, is to transform grocery shopping into a welcoming journey filled with discovery and fun. With their low prices, high-quality products, friendly service and laid-back atmosphere, they have overtaken Costco as the most relevant brand in the grocery industry in 2022

Engage with your customers. Utilize data to learn more about your audience - where they are, what they care about, what motivates them and compels them to make a purchase. And use these data to create offers that are hyper-personalized to your audience.

Spotify is one good example of staying engaged with customers. Their mind-reading AI instinctively knows whether you’re in the mood for hard rock or smooth jazz. Spotify is now the world’s biggest music streaming platform based on number of subscribers. Bottomline, Spotify exemplifies how a brand successfully showcases their brand promise and dedication to resolving their customer's pain points.

Empower your team – make sure your employees embrace your brand promise and align with your purpose. Then they will be in an ideal position to be true catalysts of change, eager collaborators, and passionate about delighting customers and meeting the company’s goals.

A great example can be seen in Jacques D’Rovencourt - General Manager of a Hilton Hotel in Houston. During Hurricane Harvey Mr. D’Rovencourt had the forethought and wisdom to encourage all employees to stay at the hotel along with their families and pets. As a result, --of 600 employees one in three volunteered to stay with their kids and spouses which in turn enabled the hotel to offer free meals not only to their team members but to local police using their location as a command center, and 10,000 displaced Houstonians.

Relevant brands share these qualities:

  1. Authentic -- Honest, transparent, and real..

  2. Expert-Product & service leader, innovators and well-known solution providers..

  3. Committed--Respected and relied on to support and contribute to the community & employee causes.

  4. Relentless-- Do whatever it takes in pursuit of excellence and providing a unique customer experience.

All these qualities work together to create a relevant and growing brand while building a loyal brand following.

“Create relevance, not awareness.” – Steve Jobs

For more branding advice, check out my other articles. And for help with navigating your business amid the current market changes, email me at or call me at (310) 621-8784.

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