The only constant in the world is change, and while some brands are terrified of it, the ones that succeed are those who thrive on it. These are the brands that stay competitive by stepping out of their comfort zone, and are open to transforming their image, positioning and offerings. We gathered some of Atlanta’s most savvy marketers to get their perspective on brand transformations at our March AMA Innovation Marketing Luncheon at Atlantic Station. Moderated by Scot Safon, CMO of UP tv, the roundtable discussion tapped into the minds behind the brands that have embraced the changing consumer ecosystem and made their mark.

Here’s what we learned:

    1. Transformations aren’t for the faint-hearted.
      Brand overhauls shouldn’t be done on a whim—any changes should be backed by research and have clear goals, metrics and KPIs. Whether it’s transactions, sales or social engagement, define what success means and measure it. Quantifiable numbers show hard proof that the transformation was a success with consumers.


    1. Make a strong internal case on metrics`.
      Garnering buy-in for a brand overhaul across the C-suite should be driven by the promise of business performance. Look at what the business is achieving now and show how the transformation will affect it in the future. Seth Freeman, CMO of Buffalo Wild Wings says, “Look at the brand attributes and connect them to business performance measurements. This helps build the story of why the transformation is needed.”


    1. Authentic and diverse brands connect across generations.
      Engaging Gen Z is important, but your core consumer base should feel included as well. Devin Barnwell, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley (one of the owners of Atlanta’s mixed-use development, Atlantic Station), says, “People want to have authentic experiences and go to authentic places. It’s not just about spending money on food or shopping anymore.” Brand transformations should amplify the company’s personality and make the whole interaction an experience.


  1. Be a purpose-driven brand.
    According to Jason Ippen, VP of Integrated Brand Building at Georgia Pacific, “Having a meaningful purpose helps guide brand transformations as a North Star.” Freeman adds, “Brand vision was Buffalo Wild Wings’ start. We went back to the roots of the brand and looked at why consumers fell in love with us in the first place.

Event photography: Amy Bley Photography