Can the oldest tree in the world teach us to build a resilient brand?

Pando, the oldest living tree in the world celebrates an estimated age of over 80,000 years

In my post Education, Biomimicry and becoming better beings I shared my thoughts on nature being the perfect model to support the of address of societal challenges.

A common and crucial issue for the individual, the organisation, or the system in today’s VUCA world is that of resilience and adaptation to an ever-changing environment. Today, guest contributor, Sarath Perera, Global Marketing Manager at BoardPAC, considers the resiliency tactics of our oldest tree for longer-term brand success.

A resilient brand

A resilient brand is described and illustrated by many marketers as the ability for a brand to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. For example,

“a resilient brand can be compared to a long-lived tree—the type of tree, strong roots, suitable height, and with suitable soil, it can withstand harsh conditions.”

Why brands fail

Fundamentally, to cure illness and to suggest medication, first you need to identify the root cause of a problem. While many factors can cause a brand, excellent product or service to fail, such as weak management, lack of skill, financial mismanagement, etc. In most instances, it boils down to the basics. Organizations fail on investing time on the marketing mix–product, price, place, promotion while extending to people, physical evidence and processes in a service industry. Kodak, Nokia, Xerox, Blockbuster, Yahoo, Motorola, MySpace and Blackberry Motion are prime global examples.

Did you know?

According to oldest.org (2019), Pando is the oldest living tree in the world, an estimated age of over 80,000 years. The secret formula is the combination or the correct mix which includes the type of tree (aspen), the root system, the type of soil in South-Central Utah, the height and the ability to continuously clone itself. This tree has gone through numerous setbacks and turmoil in the form of, forest fires, tornados, earthquakes, human intervention and many other negative situations. However, Pando still stands tall.

The lesson

Like a successful brand Pando has its correct marketing mix. The right mix has led to its resilience over time. So, what can 80,000 years of resilience teach us?

Product

An Aspen tree has the ability to continuously clone itself––first get the product right, the base of the brand and the tangibility lies in the product itself. Any product has its lifecycle (PLC), after a certain time period, it requires to have a new look and feel to be relevant and competitive. For example, the change in the design of phones over time.  

 Place

A location with supportive soil near a river in South-Central Utah–the location where the product or service is marketed is important. Identifying the ideal location or locations is critical. A brand must carve the market which the product can fit right in. For example, you cannot take a premium product and market it to a rural village; it will fail due to the lack of demand in the environment.

 Price

The suited height for the stability and longevity of the tree (if the tree is too short, it is more prone to an impact of a disaster, and if it is too tall, it has a higher chance of attracting lightning or instability due to the height. The price point on a product or service is critical. A maximum and a minimum price threshold for any goods or services exists. Essentially, brands need to figure out the best price point for growth and stability. For example, a price tag which is too expensive or too cheap can kill the growth of any brand.

 Promotion

The strong root system and the ability to continuously clone itself–the promotion plays a critical factor for vitality. Having strong brand roots with consumers is critical. This is known as the top of mind (TOM) . Any brand persona gets fatigued with time, requiring any brand to continuously relaunch/ re-innovate itself. If not, it will eventually reach maturity and thereafter decline gradually until failure.

 “Crisis or change is like ‘time’, you have no control over it, but to go with it. It is inevitable.”

The ability for brands, products and services to adapt and move forward, is the true test of RESILIENCE.

Thank you to Sarath for sharing your thoughts.

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