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What’s at the Core?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Core competency — Branding 101. Determine what it is, market it, and never let it go away. That core competency is the thing that makes most brands run. It’s the one competency that, at the end of every day, brands can thank for making it through. And it doesn’t have to be life-changing; it simply must work, and work consistently. Without that competency the brand disappears and the need for it to exist goes away. See how important this core competency is for a brand?

These core competencies can change and evolve for a brand over time. It’s unrealistic to think that what once started a brand will always be its winning attribute. But it’s also important to note that the change must be for the better and make sense for the brand. Remember that little word “relevant?” Yeah, it’s back again to remind brands that change is good if it follows the rules.

Apple is pretty relevant (sarcasm in case there was any confusion). The brand had an original core competency in computers and that has more than shifted through the years. Still a strong brand, still has a core competency — just a new and different one. And Apple’s products each have a core competency as well. Like Apple’s Maps, which has a core competency to provide direction. Oh, right; it forgot to do that. Luckily, the new Google Maps App is restoring order to the world and people can now find their way. Thank the map gods.

So Apple, here’s the question. Why would the capability of a core competency be overlooked? It’s the number one thing a brand needs to ensure works properly and Apple forgot. Sure, it looked pretty and felt snazzy, but it forgot to work. So what happened? Customers revolted, the buzz was beyond a mild chatter, and Google came to the rescue. The lesson is simple; there is nothing more important than a core competency. And in a list of where to put dollars, resources, and focus, the answer is always back towards the competency. Simple as that.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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