A brand needs more than just a campaign, which involves many aspects starting from the structuring identity process to brand development and maintenance activities. The concepts of a brand also include many different categories, both horizontally and vertically. However, many ideas or terms have scores of similar meanings that often confuse in a bunch of writing contexts. So, distinguishing almost identical words, spotting the essential elements in a branding model, and pointing out the most critical factors will be the first primary for a new brand.

1. Brand identity and brand awareness – what is the difference between the two concepts of a brand?

The first two common concepts of a brand are the confusion between brand awareness and brand identity when it comes to brands. The biggest problem here is, most people use them, assuming that they have the same meaning and have complementary relationships. However, the simple truth is scopes of these two concepts are entirely different, including how they create awareness and identification values.

Brand identity – a basis term of all concepts of a brand

Brand identity is a way to identify a brand in the public’s mind, using materials such as logo, slogan, company profile, design style, name card, brochure, and even colors across their designs. Brand identity usually starts from the brand’s values to create the first impressions and memories in the customers’ mindset. Among the concepts of a brand, brand identity can do more than as a brand face; it makes the brand memorable, creates a position for the brand in the market, and creates a particular attraction when the brand publishes an advertisement.

brand identity is one of the concepts of a brand

In Vietnam, Coca-Cola often appears on holidays, important occasions with two primary red-white colors and unique handwritten fonts. This brand always communicates to the public the values of reunion, family affection, inspiring people not to forget where they belong. Another example is the Apple logo’s story performing the image of “an apple with a bite” has a strong desire to reach perfect, rebellious, and unique values.

All the elements that appear, more or less, convey a specific aspect of brand value, vision, and mission. They also contribute to creating the unique memories that customers experience with the brand and stimulating closer connections.

Brand awareness – the highly-confused in concepts of brand

Brand awareness is the result of creating a set of values to make a brand different and essential. Awareness implies the mindset, perspectives of the brand’s role to customers and other market competitors.

To build a brand awareness process is to focus on connections and interactions mostly. However, it is first necessary to create an information platform that helps the audience get the whole picture of a brand. In particular, the crucial factors that can make this process done are content platform, product/service platform, and human factors.

brand awareness
Brand awareness remarks about the long-term connections and interactions of brand-and-customer

Content has a great ability to create a brand’s tone and voice while also shaping its style. This ability allows brands to set perspective and the appropriate direction usefully, similar to how Redbull conveys the messages from the “Give you wings” campaign with the desire to become the dream-maker.

On the other hand, product quality also dramatically affects the brand. Product quality is the launchpad for the next PR or marketing campaigns, but an inferior-quality product will make the brand fail no matter how good those campaigns are.

Starbucks has gone beyond the limits of a coffee shop with increasingly appreciated values. However, when it comes to Starbucks, everyone is pleased with almost all the drinks here. The excellent taste of the beverage menu has attracted and kept more customers.

Coca-Cola gets a very high level of brand awareness when almost 90% of the world population knows what Coca-Cola is. Like many other long-standing brands, Coca-Cola has created a cohesive consumer habit that can retain generation-to-generation and refreshed itself by creative advertising campaigns that add more imprints to customers’ mindsets. Did you remember the Coke bottle had your name printed? Have you ever taken a selfie with it? Yes, these name-bottles are part of the “Share A Coke” campaign – a campaign to help Coca Cola to surpass Samsung, to win the Gold Award – Brand Awareness category at The Smarties Vietnam 2015 (organized by Mobile Marketing Association in Vietnam to honor the best brands and agencies).

In another context, to maintain the identity values of perfection, rebellion, and uniqueness, Apple built its own extremely discriminating cognitive system. The brand does not narrow itself to any target market but towards a design that is everyone-friendly. It forms a unified brand culture from the inside out, including creativity and simplicity. Apple ignores the trends and competitions; it contrarily produces themed devices, generating new patterns for other brands in the technology market.

In general, brand identity emphasizes feelings of “love at first sight”. This concept tailors the brand’s face, helping customers classify the brand’s identity, functions, roles, and products. On the other hand, brand awareness conveys long-term values, internal values, and different values remaining in customers after using a brand’s products or services.

Those two concepts of a brand are not synonymous and equivalent, and brand identity is a part of a brand awareness strategy.

2. Essential elements of a comprehensive brand positioning model

Among the concepts of a brand, brand positioning models have been diverse, from the Minimal Viable Brand model provided by Eric Ries to much more complex models, namely the Brand Key (by Unilever) or Brand Pyramid (provided by Keller). There is a common-sense between these positioning models, which is the forming and maintaining values, from the root strength to the brand essence, which can eventually be long-lasting in the community’s mindset from generation to generation.

Usually, we are aware of the elements of visible benefits and measurable values. However, brands that leave an in-depth impression in the customer’s mindset create subjective and sensory values. Therefore, the positioning process worth considering includes discrimination and customer experience as well. Also, emotional and personal factors often require a high level of two-way interaction between both brands and customers, in general.

brand positioning model
A standard brand positioning model needs to adapt two-way interaction between brand and customer

Discriminations refer to values ​​making a brand different from its competitors. You can use product strengths, brand stories, or media messages to emphasize how you are different from dozens, hundreds of brands in the same field. A coffee shop with a mountain-view will be more attractive than another with small tables in 4 tight walls. Of course, the very first goal of people coming to a coffee shop is to drink coffee; however, gradually, people need more than a coffee cup when coming to the shop, such as to talk and discuss together, to work, to have group meetings, to take photos, or even dating.

People tend to be more interested in which coffee shop is suitable for taking pictures, which are tranquil enough for working. A tasty coffee-cup is one of the different values making customers frequent more; besides, people also care about the space, décor, view, etc.

Another fundamentally important factor for a branding campaign is customer experience. Experience is truly the accompanying actions or services, making customers feel they have received the attention and devotion when using certain products or services. Customer experience is one source of developing brand touchpoints and including various concepts of expertise, such as interface experience, shopping experience, or product experience of a brand.

Apple has successfully satisfied their customer experiences by designing an intelligent technology product-ecosystem to meet the seamless connection and interactions between devices and people, creating convenience and ease. Therefore, besides the brand itself’s discriminations, an excellent customer experience will be an active element for branding.

The digital age has witnessed a transformation of the brand-value system and concepts of a brand when almost all the customers are much more interested in sensory factors like emotional experience when using products. That experience requires brands to keep up with customers’ insight, creating compelling content to obtain customers’ trust.

3. Brand voice – the strength out of all the concepts of a brand

Why is brand voice important? Because it can speak up almost all the values of a brand and directly affect its audience. Voice can help personalize the brand, let itself create personality, and speak up as a human. As one of the key concepts of a brand, that is the most basic visualization of brand voice. However, brand voice is the element synchronizing and positioning brands at a higher level, shaping the brand identity and awareness. As a result, brands know what and how to reach the right audience target or market, developing both content styles and operation models consistently.

brand voice
Brand voice has a full power to personalize itself

We remember Pepsi as a symbol of dynamism, youthfulness, and positive energy. On the other side, Coca-Cola is reminiscent of family reunions, cozy and fun spaces. While Apple emphasizes the simplicity and quality of the product system, Samsung focuses much more on diversity and stunning design. These differences show that every single brand shapes the growing direction with unique concepts, then they will record in the user’s mindset of distinct characteristics and styles.

Whether branding is minimalist or sophisticated, businesses need to fully meet the most fundamental concepts of a brand to increase communication and interaction with their customers. Simultaneously, it is necessary to follow appropriate values integrating with development orientation to avoid overuse, and confusion, which then losing the discriminations brands want to convey.

14 thoughts on “Concepts of a brand – How much do you understand?

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Interactions between market and business
The business is a very diminutive part of a market; on the contrary, the market is a vast forest, including all transactions and many customers, respectively. During the operation process, the good-supply by the seller, combined with the buyer’s good-consumption, will create the circulation of goods and the business’s development. However, interactions between market and business are the main driving force for all factors to develop in orbit and increasingly innovate according to the times’ improvement and transformation.

1. How does the market contribute to business growth?

The market is the foundation for creating a business’s original values, deciding essential requirements and conditions a business needs to achieve to enter the stage of market presence. From then, customers with specific demands will choose to buy the items they want. The ultimate goal of a market is to meet the needs of commodity exchanges precisely. This process continuously compels businesses to maintain and update their business operations, immediately adapting to customer requirements and not falling behind other competitors in the same market.

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A market contributes to creating the environment of its businesses inside, which can be requirements and conditions for a company to approach the target customer with itself products or services

The market helps businesses approach customer behaviors more deeply, which is very important in resource management. That also presents in data sources such as the number of selling goods, rising goods consumption, or figures showing a sharp drop in merchandise sales due to the disease’s impact. These factors will contribute to the next analysis steps from collected data, approach the operation process more accurately, simultaneously regulate the level of goods production to meet just enough customer needs, avoid goods-excess or -shortage.

A market will reflect the competitiveness, scale, and position of all businesses within the market-share concept. Determining market share will point out precisely the revenue dimension compared to other competitors, also contribute to research and development activities, clearly identify competitors, customers, strengths, weaknesses, and at the same time, aim for following strategies to improve or increase sales.

2. What a business can do for its market?

Under the control and dominance of a market, businesses also contribute their values ​​to the general development custom, creating different development orientations and characteristics for each market type.

The competition among businesses promotes a much more vibrant market. It is also the driving force for enterprises to change and perfect day-to-day operating systems, update the trend not to fall behind other similar competitors, and finally optimize the customer experience.

vibrant market
Business is the driving force for the whole market to change and perfect itself every single day

Business growth expands the market dimension and stability. A speedily growing business will supply more substantial quantities of goods, focusing on research and improving goods quality. This approach will attract more potential customers; also new companies. The full penetration of market factors (sellers and buyers) concurrently affects the market size compared to a general economic picture.

3. Interactions between market and business in the digital transformation

Over 50% of companies are aware of the impact of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and feel it is taking place day by day. However, more than 70% of businesses do not fully understand their technology systems’ status and have yet to ascertain where and when to start deploying digital transformation.

While many other companies have quickly grasped and implemented digital transformation strategies for a long time and achieved specific success in the market, most of the remaining companies struggled with financial and technological problems. That contrary also affects the market, makes it move slowly and miss technology updates. Therefore, to successfully digital-transform, the interactions between market and business should not be overlooked.

interactions between market and businesses
The digital era has had the opportunity to witness firmer and tighter interactions between markets and businesses

First, market and business must satisfy the fundamentals of digital transformation, including connectivity and a stable internet platform. Connectivity refers to connection size and speed. Connection needs will increase continuously in the future, allowing businesses and markets to ignore their customer networks’ connections.

Next, the connection speed needs to be improved to help data transmission and processing take place faster. Since ecommerce sites have become more and more popular, customers have more options when shopping, and there is no reason to waste time waiting for a too slow-speed website. That is why the Internet platform is a vital imperative requirement to promptly meet the needs of markets, businesses, and users in the digital age. The Internet has become an essential part of daily life and a cornerstone facilitating the digital transformation process, promoting innovation, creativity, and new technology applications to the existing civilization.

Besides, focusing attention on improving digital skills for human resources is also a way to tighten the interactions between market and business. Digital transformation tends to impact old business models to upgrade and improve them into leaner and much more modern models. That prediction significantly affects human resources when some jobs have been automated and operated by artificial intelligence without humans. However, these automation jobs can produce more brand-new alternative jobs, namely quality management, market research and development, and product development.

Nevertheless, at the same time, it also raises the requirement to improve the capacity and digital skills of all existing human resources. Information technology skills have gradually become an essential condition for each individual to fully meet the labour market’s basic needs, especially when ecommerce becomes a trend worldwide. However, the ecommerce market also needs to improve data security issues, logistics, and payment security to gain the highest trust from customers and further development in the future.

The interactions between market and business are often subject to significant impacts from common development tendencies, technological advancements, and other digital transformation issues that make sense to be continuously updated and changed procedures to suffice customer needs and experience. Within those interactions, businesses will perform digital transformation responsibilities from the market requirements and vice versa; the market is the environment showing the exact business outcomes. When having reached the capacity and position, businesses can create a different market themselves with a stable and sustainable customer source.

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The thorough process of data digitization
In the context that the 4.0 era opens up an essential evolution for human society, data has become a priceless treasure of enterprises in researching objectives to implement business strategies comprehensively. It is also about time for businesses to admit a complete data digitization formula to optimize this process’s benefits. Therefore, digitizing data becomes a mandatory transformation requirement that companies need to complete to adhere to modern market trends and the inevitable development era. Data digitization will be the core foundation for more extensive digital transformation layers in a more prolonged vision.

1. Complete preparation for the data digitization process

Data digitization is a data-transforming process from traditional paperwork to digital format databases. After digitization comes to completion, the database will be stored and managed by software or technology platforms, enhancing this data system’s security and accessibility. This enhancement is an obligatory transformation requirement for traditional business models as most businesses face operational and management problems. At the same time, start-ups already can access new technologies and have a more modern changing mindset.

First things first, there are many difficulties in storing and preserving paper-printed documents. They are often bound to form in book-types with large sizes. Secondly, paperwork makes searching, synthesizing, and analyzing unnecessary time-consuming. Meanwhile, digital data sources can streamline the bulk of previous paperwork while still having enough digital space to store in the data systems. Those systems especially have many advantages about security and flexibility in supporting data analysis and research for business development strategies.

An essential data digitization process goes through 3 main stages: data classification, format conversion, storage, and management.

Data classification

To fully prepare for a digital data plan, businesses can start by sorting and sifting through document types according to digitalization objectives and strategies. Specifically, retailers can prioritize the data of products, inventory, customer information, or ordering reports. Besides, operating-oriented businesses may consider using internal data sources for in-house working and managing processes such as accounting data, factory data, operating records, and other related types.

data classification
Data classification helps to select and categorize the high-volume of information resource in a business

Format conversion for data digitization preparation

In the next conversion step, paper documents will be scanned and converted to image sources such as JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, RAW… With a much more improved budget, an organization can take advantage of more breakthrough technologies, namely AI, Machine Learning, Big Data… to digitize paper-printed data into editable formats. The data will then become streamlined and stored in data systems for the later exploiting and editing objectives.

Data storage and management

The benefits of digital data management systems are the minimization of storing space and cost, access time, operation, and management costs, simultaneously providing the optimization of security and data mining performance. These systems operate under two main requirements: the first is to store, the second is to support data access flexibly and quickly.

store and manage data
Almost digital data management systems allow users to store huge-range data and access them flexibly

One of the essential tasks is to use the right technology at a particular milestone to optimize the process’s quality and time. When matching both the above requirements, businesses no longer need to worry about the budget-exceeds anymore.

2. The role of digital data management systems

Solutions for data digitization processes will be much more comprehensive by using digital data management systems tailored to the data storage and access needs. Businesses also easily use data for business research and development objectives, improve products, service quality, or produce brand-new products and services to meet customer demands. Essentially, digital data management systems can:

  • Ensure data integrity. Digital data systems are a complete alternative to physical document storage spaces (paperwork, shelves, archives, etc.). This solution will reduce the previous cumbersome data-types while restricting the loss, fragmentation, or data damage.
  • Make information more proactive. Data migration to digital systems keeps it available for mining and fast retrieval of analytical, research, and statistical reports. Data will no longer be limited, but on the contrary, businesses can access it anytime, anywhere.
  • Minimize seeking-time. Modern and innovative management systems also allow multiple users to access information simultaneously, ensuring the smoothness and seamlessness of business processes.

One of the most popular digital data management platforms is ERP systems. ERP contributes to being an entire enterprise management system capable of using data as a business operation resource.

ERP system
ERP systems can be a seamless connection for all the business workload

In particular, ERP creates a high-logical storage arrangement for all business departments to develop the ability to seamlessly and quickly access, usage, and exploit information. However, ERP is a comprehensive transformation that requires businesses to accept innovation significantly and reform the traditional operating model.

3. Typical case studies of data digitization

Data digitization can also be effectively applied in national public services, forming e-government to transform the traditional administrative environment’s working process. E-government creation brings a massive advantage for both the government and the citizens when managerial procedures become faster and more flexible.

Also, information and data sources in the electronic management environment are more secure, safe, and transparent. A typical example of this strength is the blockchain application in managing the e-tax system of an enterprise. Blockchain possesses a significant advantage in data security, and value-added tax transactions are also real-time done quickly, minimizing fraud and tax evasion.

E-government
The e-governments now effectively apply data digitization to transform the traditional working process

Another data digitization case study is the accelerated development of retail technology applications by Saigon Co.op. With the most astounding purpose of optimizing the customer experience, this retailer aims to partner with leading technology businesses to create a digital shopping space.

As a result, the cooperation with Momo wallet has got implementation, and the brand has become the principal e-payment method in supermarkets. The combination with the Grab delivery system is also an essential breakthrough, promising GrabExpress freight forwarding services and food delivery GrabFood applied to the entire structure of Co.opmart, Co.opXtra in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, these successful case studies in typical pioneers’ digitization process do not mean that formula will bring absolute success for almost all businesses. Data digitization strategies mostly depend on external factors. They are even contingent on business demands. That is the reason why companies need to tailor standard processes and systems before conducting data digitization.

Digital transformation is an essential process of multiple scales, in which digitization is only a small layer. However, this layer is a critical core value of the whole digital transformation process.

Data digitization gives businesses many significant advantages to meet the digital transformation process’s basic requirements, converting the format of data platforms. Forms of storing and managing data are also quite diverse, and businesses can choose the right way to manage their digital data sources. However, technology is not the main factor for success, so is multiple platforms usage. Considering the correct strategies, data systems based on appropriate technology platforms will lead businesses closer to expected results.

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The 3 digital transformation layers
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created constant changes in modern life, applying digital technology innovations’ core values. In particular, digital transformation (DT) has also gradually attracted more attention from businesses and individuals, although it has crept into the business operational processes since computers became popular in the 1990s. However, DT has marked a spectacular breakthrough when it matures a hot topic globally. This term shows itself a tremendous impact on the future of business. DT’s critical elements – data digitization, process, and model digitalization have fully demonstrated the improvement tasks for companies to overtake future opportunities. They are also essential pillars in multilayer DT systems, forming data, technology, and people’s seamlessness.

1. Terminology speaking of digital transformation and related perspectives

Digital transformation is a necessary process for traditional business models to keep pace with technologies and times. Implementing DT that is suitable for each of the businesses will increase its competitiveness in the market, thereby increasing revenue while optimizing the operation process, creating values for corporate culture and human resources. A complete DT model is a three-layered design: data, process, and business model.

The data layer is necessary to digitize data sources by using technologies for easy-management. A business will implement transformative strategies for operational processes based on transformed data in the process and model layer. Companies can change their models to suit the prolonged orientation and develop corporate culture more extensively. They can also conduct step-by-step or simultaneously implement all the layers if there is a suitable option with the business requirements and specific transformation strategies in both the short and long-term.

Data digitization

Data digitization is transforming from paper-works to digital formats and then storing the digital database in computerized data management systems. Those systems are made up of the technology-implementation to store data intelligently, making data retrieval more manageable and faster. Therefore, data becomes more proactive and brings substantial value-in-use to the business.

Data digitization will create a more seamless working process while ensuring strictly systematic and complete data sources, building a comprehensive digital infrastructure for businesses. It simultaneously is the digital transformation process’s kernel, forming the foundation for all the remaining layers. Up to now, data digitization is an optimal solution ensuring the integrity and security of data systems in the long run, which significantly reduces operating costs.

Additionally, database management systems are the most critical archives that can maximize data access and exploitation efficiency. MySQL is an excellent example among the most popular DMS today, owning multiple useful features based on open source code while ensuring data speed and safety, even large-capacity data systems in the ecommerce field. Accompanying other DMS such as SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL can meet most of the data-usage requirements of storage performance, security, and data-safety standards.

These outstanding advantages help MySQL get more appreciation from technological experts by implementing them in many highly-complex technology industries.

Process and business model digitalization (PMD)

Based on the digital data’s core, the process and business model digitalization form a more widespread layer covering the core inside. This classification is highly complex and embraces various forms depending on the operations’ ways and objectives. PMD refers to the transformation relying on technology infrastructures and digital data frameworks to form a digital platform.

To complete the digitalization is to analyze issues in operating processes and business models. From an in-depth analysis, they can provide the right direction and strategy for transformation decisions. This transformation layer has supported businesses to meet the DT requirements, which fully are:

  • Customer connection in the business process;
  • Maintenance, development of the appropriate technological initiatives;
  • And over-the-time human resources optimization.

At the same time, a business needs to combine digital solutions to create customer values and build operating models.

Currently, businesses have successfully applied CRM platforms or ERP systems to optimize operational processes in terms of time and resources. It is well-known management platforms such as Zoho CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or Salesforce CRM that almost all businesses implement for stable development. Those names are tremendous supporting tools to create the business departments’ continuity of processes and operational processes.

Both CRM or ERP systems effectively help businesses achieve targeted sales and effectively disentangle complex manual processes or issues related to data controllability and preservation.

3 layers of digital transformation
3 layers of digital transformation process

Digital transformation (DT) is the largest category, the complete model to bring businesses closer to the 4.0 digital economy. DT represents the whole process of digitizing data and digitalizing operating processes, business models. DT’s ultimate goal is people-orientation, and at the same time, combining the corporate culture with the customer-centric foundation. DT sets macro-objectives of people’s direction in building strategies, corporate culture, digital technologies, and adapting to these digital transformations.

Generally, most companies carrying out DT encounter significant barriers. They frequently ignore a complete data digitization plan while only focusing on refining more macro-plans in the process and model digitalization layer, which does not bring the high-volume transformation effect due to the initial preparing step not been done thoroughly.

Also, preliminary estimates of time and the limited budget will present a significant challenge for DT tasks in specific periods. Multiples of businesses are unable to catch the expected results. However, despite the existing challenges that they have confronted recently (the COVID-19 crisis), digital transformation will provide comprehensive support on data systems and digital platforms, exclude all social distances, and connect the world easily anytime.

2. The finishing-point of digital transformation – ecommerce?

The digital transformation process has made both efficiency and sales for numerous B2C and B2B businesses. In detail, ecommerce is the most typical manifestation, having recorded impressive growth since 2017. B2C companies have also strengthened the development of a more powerful ecommerce channel than ever.

Meanwhile, B2B models pay much more attention to transforming chains/systems/processes such as production or goods distribution processes by gradually turning into online methods to adapt to the flexibility and rapidity of the 4.0 supply chain.

ecommerce in digital transformation
The digital age witnesses traditional commerce becoming e-commerce with fully-transformation

Up to now, ecommerce can be considered as the complete performance of the digital transformation process. Ecommerce channels can update information quickly and continuously while also ensuring UI/UX optimization to provide perfect user experience, excellent customer experience, and as a result, increase sales. These are also the requirements to digitalize the markets and perfect the business’ operating system. Depending on the DT objectives, the company will stop at the stage that best suits its business model. Some of the businesses only need to digitize data for more effortless operation.

However, from a much more general perspective, almost all companies convert to an ecommerce system to control their business independently and connect directly with customers, partners and come closer to the DT outcomes. Those objectives are also the straightforward development orientation of most retailers today. They focus abundant resources on developing the ecommerce channel to expand the business scale.

For instance, The Coffee House is a case study of the F&B industry’s impressive DT outcomes in Vietnam. The brand has achieved their ordering application for more intensive data resource management and operation. This application was initially built on a requirement to increase the loyalty program’s ease and improve customer care service quality.

However, until now, this sales channel has grown more than that and has become a mainstream business channel that seamlessly integrates with the brand’s existing offline stores.

The story of The Coffee House brand
The Coffee House has implemented impressive digital transformation outcomes in Vietnam’s F&B industry

The TCH app aims to connect and interact directly with customers based on the D2C model, allowing app-users to create membership accounts to earn points and order quickly. These features allow brands to access customer data and shopping habits easily. In-depth data analysis will contribute to new product strategies or menu amendments to better suit the customer’s taste.

Digital transformation is a long-term journey that needs to be done with a detailed and complete strategy while meeting the time and budget, matching the current business’s capabilities. Digitization/digitalization layers also need to fully play their role in digital platforms, transforming entirely and efficiently. A complete ecommerce system considerations are also required for supply chains currently in the marketplace. Ecommerce will be the most agile driver of digital transformation; however, make sure that you can implement a strategy with the right priority in the current situation to give the best effect.

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digital transformation
3 ways brands transform into the digital age
As the digital age has been developed genuinely, platforms have a more robust transformation, marking a significant milestone of globalization. Brands, of course, do not accept falling behind the market and continually innovating to suit the tastes of consumers. This worthy improvement helps brands attract customers’ attention and ideally bring the best user experience. To come into the digital age, brands transform in various ways, focusing on utilizing brand touchpoints, customers, and potential opportunities.

1. Invest in touchpoints to make brands transform

With no exception, brands transform as always to keep up with the digital age’s swift trends. To complete the digital transformation, investing in brand touchpoints is a concept that worth-considering. Most generally, the brand touchpoint is the simultaneous interference from both businesses and customers, creating the highest attraction for the business and providing the best customer experience.

However, some people argue that the concept of brand-touchpoint is vague and quite broad because any existing factors can potentially affect the movement of brand touchpoint for better or worse. This argument will be recognized if businesses do not know where to start creating a touchpoint. Brand touchpoints stem from business core-values, the level of customer experience, and a little bit of difference when needed.

Systematic

System assets help businesses grow in both quantity and quality. A standardized system not only allows products to shape within the unified normative framework but also ancillary services. A complete digital transformation of a brand does not stop at the product level. Developing and continuously improving the system are the keys to meet the second requirement of the brand touchpoint: user experience. The apt system helps businesses get in touch with product-and-service convenience and can create an isolated ecosystem to make brands transform.

product system in digital transformation
A complete product system create a much more convinience for customer experience

That was how Apple had been successfully producing a technology-product ecosystem that made a stunning attraction for users. Simply put, the term ecosystem in this context implies a group of products that can interact with each other in harmony to optimize customers’ convenience. Apple has generated an almost-efficient technology ecosystem that performs seamless interactions. However, what makes Apple enthusiasts completely satisfied is the personal ID system with high privacy and data security.

To take another example, Nike has wholly changed their business since their growth stalled, and the earlier business model was no longer sufficient. The mandatory change in the brand requirements has shifted to using an online business network to interact directly with consumers. The online trading system completely replaces the traditional product-distribution through intermediaries, as well as exclusive distributors. Nike also combines the accompanying member programs with trendy and fashionable items, creating a close connection with customers. As a result, the transforming system contributed to an increase in ecommerce revenue by 38% in November 2019 (data provided by Brands Vietnam).

Brand honesty

To transform successfully in the digital age, make sure that the brand is honest and authentic. All information about the business can be delivered more quickly than ever in the internet era. A restaurant with a 1-star review will undoubtedly make customers turn away. Therefore, providing authentic information will make users feel secure and reliable when using products. Brand honesty helps create a pure life for products while contributing to the user experience’s seamlessness, making the brand touchpoint in harmony. Transparency in product quality and working manner will create a unique touchpoint system.

Brands transform with simplicity and minimalism

That viewpoint may sound strange, but most customers in the digital age need simpler products, services than cumbersome and complicated ones. Simplicity and minimalism in branding still can create brand touchpoints while focusing on the pillar values of the brand, such as strengths, target customers, differentiation, missions, quality, and messages. These keys, eliminating other complex elements, will be more focused and orientated for businesses in the long run. Simplicity and minimalism make businesses quickly adapt to the ever-changing digital age.

simplicity in brands
The brands truly need simplicity and minimalism more than a complicated system to produce brand touchpoints

2. Customer-in-center to make brands transform

Product-centric is still an essential factor in most campaigns. However, customer-centric will be the necessary combination to enhance user experience, which making brands transform. Products exist in the world with the ultimate goal of meeting customer needs. Therefore, identifying customer needs is a crucial starting point for a digital transformation campaign.

customer-in-center philosophy
Growing up with customer-in-center mindset will create more brand values than only keeping a product-centric mindset

That is how the Maggi brand cleverly introduces cuisine recipes combining with soy-sauce on their website. This action increases convenience for cooking lovers. Customers feel more excited when their everyday-cooking gets more of the brand-attention though buying only one soy-sauce bottle.

In general, customer-centric is a long-term transformation requiring businesses to have a proper awareness of their target customers. This awareness should also form in every staff of the company to make brands transform. Besides, this customer-in-center philosophy acts as a value connecting businesses with their customers; but not a task to be completed and to get rid of.

3. Challenge-utilizing to turn into opportunities

The digital age witnessed rapid and unpredictable changes requiring businesses to have timely adaptive solutions. Products are not only produced for quality but for customer convenience. Other customer needs are also considerable except for products themselves, namely membership programs, accompanying promotional gifts. Customers also tend to shop more on ecommerce websites, which leads to a requirement to manage information, data, and technology platforms. Epidemics also become dangerous, increasing unforeseen risks for businesses.

challenge-utilizing
Challenge-utilizing in the digital age is a very important to-do-step to make brands transform

Utilizing the challenges will be sure leverage when brands transform into the digital age. Besides, people are still the critical factor, no matter how advanced technology is. Therefore, businesses first need to focus on the internal structure: human resources, processes, products, and customer services to complete the transformation.

The COVID-19 crisis has globally worsened since the Government issued a social-distancing-order as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to increase. However, recently, the ecommerce industry has had a speedy growth, as people now prefer to shop online while staying home. This time is much higher challenging for every business in Vietnam and an opportunity to make brands transform themselves.

At SECOMM, we will accompany clients on every ecommerce step to ensure comprehensive solution-providing for their ecommerce transformation. The brands transform successfully in a digital age when they are operated with a sustainable website platform. We will be the starting point for this revolution. Contact Us for more detail.

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process and model transformation
Readiness for process and model transformation
Digital transformation will be a risky journey if it is not driven by a fundamental strategy to assess current capabilities and considerable foresight. Most businesses are still quite vague and face certain limitations in planning a complete digital transformation process. Aside from the digital-data core, combining the process and model transformation is also essential to a much more strategic-vision of a future digital market with a complete and seamless digital ecosystem.

1. Challenges for business process and model transformation

Given the characteristics of the current Vietnamese market, digital transformation has received positive attention from enterprises. However, this process still faces many cultural barriers, strategies, and implemented technologies that make the process and model transformation not entirely useful.

Cultural barriers in process and model transformation

The corporate culture foundation is a crucial determinant contributing to the model transformation progress. Culture concepts refer to quite large factors of human resources (HR) thinking and perception existing inside the business, including:

  • Leadership thinking
  • HR potential
  • Connection between the two above

The most significant problem creating cultural barriers is the traditional business ideology that developed businesses cannot collapse by digital transformation requirements or any other peripheral factor. It was not until being trapped by the outdated technology that they found they significantly fell behind the bustle of a much more modern market.

cultural barriers
Traditional businesses can trap themselves with outdated technology that they soon fell behind the bustle of a much more modern market

For corporate culture, leadership is the core value creating a complete preparation process to start a digital transformation strategy. The leadership factor plays a decisive role in the business’s strategic changes, simultaneously helps all employees understand and adapt to these changes fully and quickly. In particular, key leadership positions such as CEO, CTO, and other decentralized management levels are the driving force behind implementing more micro changes for each employee. Finally, rely on individual conversions to shape the overall change-process in the digital transformation strategy.

To satisfy all the above conditions, an organization needs prolonged-vision leaders of the current business models. It is complacency and “resting on their laurels” that make the traditional models stumble into the old path and have difficulty maintaining the position they once had in the market.

The HR potential is the next factor in becoming a cultural barrier in the process and model transformation. A significant change often encounters many difficulties when it comes to impacting HR awareness.

HR in corporate culture
HR-transforming priority is a must

No matter how strong the HR is, it will be disrupted in the beginning if employees don’t fully get preparation for a ready-to-change and adaptive mindset. Lack of staff training in digital transformation strategy is likely to face harsh objections from the inside if forcing them to suddenly change their working style while they do not have enough time to adapt to new workflows. Simultaneously, the HR potential will also be a dangerous weapon that demolishes the digital transformation results if it is not prioritized and used accurately.

Among the two human factors, the coherence and connection between them also play an essential role in corporate culture. Connectivity includes the spiritual values businesses build to promote consensus, cooperation, and trust to turn strategies into realistic actions. The discrete connection or the disparity in digital capabilities reduces both efficiency and progression of the whole process and model transformation strategy.

Technology challenge

There are two behavior tendencies in businesses making technology a barrier to process and model transformation strategies: being afraid of technology-changing mindsets that lead to obsolescence and technology-overusing that lead to wasting cost and time.

Up to 80% of SMEs in Vietnam use old technologies in the 1980s (statistics from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry – VCCI) report. In addition to objective reasons such as lack of staff, skills, lack of a robust digital platform, it is much more significant that limited thinking and understanding in technology application are fundamental causes impacting the digital transformation process.

Indecision in adopting technology is also a negative factor. Technology overuse can create unnecessary conflicts with the process and model transformation. These techs will not bring optimal efficiency but a waste of budget and time to recover. Technology is a driving tool for digital transformation, and at the same time, it is also a rule-setter for businesses in the digital market. However, it is more important to decide which technology is suitable for which model instead of determining how many technologies to apply.

2. Solutions for process and model transformation

Technology orientation in process and model transformation

Technology solutions can solve lots of problems with data and process optimization inside a business. In the very beginning, they need to fully and comprehensively redefine existing processes, and at the same time, model them into maps and charts to identify:

  • How specifically each of the whole process elements works,
  • Factors need having a priority in that process,
  • Interoperability, two-way relationship between processes when running concurrently.

Analysis and control of the entire processes help businesses find out weaknesses and facing-problems, then apply more appropriate technology solutions to optimize the process and model transformation.

Technology orientation
Best-fit technology solutions can optimize the process and model transformation

At present, a business has hundreds of requirements with suitable technology-types for their concurrent process and model. However, companies can develop solutions based on combining the big-four technology platforms in digital transformation: Big Data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. These tech-types possess lots of outstanding benefits that businesses can apply to create the most suitable digital solutions:

  • Big Data: A potential resource with a considerable data-amount that businesses need to exploit vital information to serve fully digital transformation requirements – optimize customer experience and maximize business performance.
  • Cloud Computing: the ideal storage and analysis platform for big data and other digital transformation applications. Cloud computing possesses outstanding advantages that can meet varied requirements for more than 90% of businesses in the today-market. This tech-type can significantly reduce management costs, operating workforce while increasing automation, work-load velocity, and optimizing the resources-using inside the company.
  • Artificial Intelligence – AI: It helps businesses perform intelligent automation functions that could substitute for humans in the future. Currently, AI is delivering positive results when businesses apply it to many different fields indeed, typically:
    • Marketing: search-engine optimization, sales system, building a customer-based personalization, and more,
    • Manufacturing: improving supply chain momentum using coordination robot systems instead of human resources, fully automated product quality control and monitoring systems, inventory-forecast software, and so much more.
  • Internet of Things – IoT: The connection between hardware and software in a system, scalable and integrating customized-functions to suffice end-consumer requirements while ensuring data confidentiality and security.
Internet of Things
IoT creates a seamless platform for all the connection in the technology environment

Organizational culture re-creation

Human and cultural solutions will effectively address corporate sustainability, change, and develop a digital transformation mindset for all employees in strategies and initiatives products/services to increase advantages over competitors.

  • Leadership thinking: plays a crucial role in building a specific vision and plan for the business process. This term is an unavoidable revolution for the lead-generation to proactively embrace innovations, be ready to perform new experiments, and make quick decisions to move businesses consistent with the market’s growth effectively.
  • Empowering culture: forming rights and obligations in each of the tasks employees undertake. At the same time, businesses can build an open culture where every staff becomes an archetypal representative in all connections with customers and the market. Deriving from core value “employee-centricity”, the digital transformation culture will develop into a complete model including the following components:
    • Customer-centric orientation: to optimize the customer experience in the digital age,
    • Innovations: to continually examine new transmutations and eliminate unsuitable factors inside the business model.
    • Flexibility, understanding when making decisions based on digital data: to thoroughly and accurately exploit customer needs from a huge source of big data.
    • The spirit of cooperation based on a modern-and-open culture are two factors creating the spirit of proactiveness and agility in all plans and actions also.
    • Digital-first mindset: the ability to use and apply accurate technologies to produce appropriate and reliable digital solutions.

Businesses can complete the process and model transformation with technology and cultural solution-orientations. Therefore, technological solutions will maximize their business operation efficiency. They also contribute to stimulating businesses to be always requirement-active in the digital age. And these positive results are based on a sustainable digital culture possessing robust and responsive leader-generations combining with high-quality human resources.

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