Brand as a term is defined by marketing and there is an impression that brand is managed by marketing. The reality is different. Brand design – decisions that change the brand and influence company competitiveness – are made by different staff: managers, sales, HR, and engineers. Engineers especially had a big impact on the brand through RnD, which now expanded to other organizational aspects, most importantly marketing and sales.
Here are top ways engineers design a brand:
1) Product design – engineers build and in many cases design the products;
2) Marketing automation – engineers can improve and automate marketing processes, especially with inclusion of AI and bots;
3) Sales automation – engineers can improve and automate sales processes same as marketing;
4) Business intelligence – collection and processing of data with AI can drastically influence brand design.
Engineers are more focused on big data and evidence based decision making than other staff. Big data has high authority in brand design and can change the values accepted by customers. It is important that engineers fully understand the brand and engineering impact on its design. If there is a disconnect between brand strategy and engineering decisions, this can cause loss of brand equity.
One example of failure to organize engineering around the brand strategy is Sony’s loss to Apple in 2000s. Sony was not able to compete against Apple because their engineering teams did not adopt a brand strategy which would unify different engineering departments – something Apple was very good at. Nobuyuki Idei, Sony CEO, quote from this period summarizes the management challenge: “Top leader is not a person with supernatural powers”. Sony has lost its position and is depending on Playstation (above image is from Playstation 4 Star Wars Battlefront game).
As technology and engineering are gaining ground, it is also important to align people behind the technology with the brand strategy. Without the alignment, even maintaining the market position will be a challenge. Engineering and technology require guidance and brand strategy is the best way to focus them and unite them with other departments. On the other side, engineering and technology which are well integrated with brand strategy can offer a great advantage.