Brand Principles – Survival of the Fittest

20th December 2018

Brands that should rightly come to the fore have a common vision, mission and set of values, which are distinctive and relevant, and which are recognised and understood by all stakeholders. A successful financial brand will adopt, embed and manifest its values wherever it appears and in whatever form (from its corporate image, marketing collateral and website to the customer experience received at every touchpoint).

In commercial terms, an ecological system is analogous to a ‘free market’ of perfect competition. Just as living organisms compete, often with limited resources to survive, so do financial institutions.

Herbert Spencer coined the phrase, ‘survival of the fittest’, in Principles of Biology (1864), to describe Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection of living species. It is interesting to note that the concept of Natural Selection is not about the ‘survival of the fastest’, ‘survival of the strongest’, or even ‘survival of the biggest’. Of course, ‘survival of the fittest’ in this context doesn’t relate to the most highly trained and physically energetic. It means those organisms which are the most suited to their environment and, ultimately, to survival itself.

The three essential components of evolution via natural selection are:

Genetic Diversity: Even members of the same species have characteristics that vary from one individual to the next. Brands must hone individual attributes and a core essence that effectively differentiates them from everyone else in their business environment.

Relative Fitness: In any given environment, some individuals have characteristics that put them at an advantage over individuals who do not possess them. Look for unique value propositions, new attributes and message gaps that your competitors do not own and yet are of high relevance and importance to the customer and to the changing conditions of the environment.

Population Shift: Those individuals who can demonstrate advantageous characteristics will generally be healthier and thrive. Organisms that are not suitably adapted to their environment will either have to move out of their habitat or die out. The current economic uncertainty could allow nimble brands to create their own space and colonise areas left behind by competitors. Conversely, strong new organisations could emerge, with more powerful attributes than before and dominate a market. Just as the survival of organisms may be linked to a particular ecological niche, i.e. they are a good fit for their environment, so financial organisations focused on geographical sectors or industry segments can thrive if the conditions are right.

Which brings us to our point: An individual brand with distinctive attributes, perfectly suited to needs of its environment, can create market shift. It can only sustain or improve its competitive superiority where it adapts to the demands of its changing environment continually.

 

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