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Branding Strategy Insider

December 13, 2012

Clarity On Corporate Values, Missions And Ideals

Corporate Mission Vision Values Ideals

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting at a private bank in Beijing, China. I had taken a copy of my book, The Global Brand as a gift, but that proved unnecessary. Not only had our contact already bought a copy, he had also bought a copy of Jim Stengel’s Grow. And subsequent questions not only proved he had read the books, but he was already actively trying to apply the learning to his business.

My reason for being at the meeting was to share the ValueDrivers framework and demonstrate that it applies just as well to financial services brands as to any other brand. But before I had finished outlining the need for a brand to have a clear purpose, the first element of the framework, I was asked how this fits with vision, mission and ideals.

It is an excellent question and one that I struggled to answer easily at the time. I ended up scribbling down a matrix in my notebook and we filled the subsequent pages with diagrams, trying to clarify how the different aspects of corporate mindset fit together. A clarified version of the matrix is shown below.

Corporate Mission Vision Values Ideals
Like any simplification the matrix forces clarity, when in practice, things tend to blur together. But I think that the key dimensions do help identify where the different elements fit.

Continue reading "Clarity On Corporate Values, Missions And Ideals" »

December 12, 2012

Brand Aid For The Holidays

2013 is on the horizon and with it the x-factor of increased competition. The stakes are high. How will your brand fare? Will it meet expectations? Brand Aid helps marketers around the world build an advantage in their marketplace. This indispensable guide to building winning brands will help you and your colleagues too.

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Brand Strategy Brand Aid Brad VanAuken
In writing this book, Brad draws upon his over thirty years of experience building world-class brands. It is full of templates, formula, case studies, research findings, and other useful tools on topics ranging from brand research, brand positioning and brand advertising to brand equity measurement, legal issues in brand management and creating a brand building organization. 

Brand Aid avoids jargon and is succinct and easy to read. It covers all of the most pressing brand management and marketing issues faced by today's busy marketing manager in today's complex marketing environment.

Key features include:

  • rare overview of the entire brand management process
  • analysis of the 40 most common brand problems together with their solutions
  • 17 checklists (450+ questions) covering all areas of brand management
  • extensive coverage of two very timely topics - (1) brand building on the Internet and (2) creating a brand building organization
  • 60+ non-traditional marketing approaches that work
  • extensive brand management and marketing research findings
  • template for conducting a comprehensive brand audit
  • extensive directory of online brand management and marketing resources

Continue reading "Brand Aid For The Holidays" »

December 11, 2012

Brand Strategy: The Disruption Opportunity

Brand Strategy Pepsi Generation Michael Jackson

If building big brands is so valuable why aren't there more success stories? 

My experience is the pay-off can be huge but there are obstacles that must be overcome. 

Big companies have the resources, however middle managers are more often empowered to "say no" than yes. 

Timing is everything

The only reason for small companies to exist is to think differently and act differently. My advice to big brand companies is take your smaller competitors very seriously and constantly track small companies' brand strategies. 

Disruption is almost always lead by product innovation. 

For example, Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo should take SodaStream seriously as a real game-changer. How did Folgers, at one time the leading coffee brand lose the retail coffee service market to Starbucks? 

In 1994 I was asked by Kodak to advise how they should think about their digital future? My advice was, "Their future would not be about picture taking, but picture making". Kodak at the time had a $20 billion market cap. They could have acquired both Adobe and LexMark together for less than $5 billion. The market cap of Adobe and LexMark today is much higher than $20 billion. In those days, Kodak was known for recruiting the best chemists from the best technical universities. But culturally Kodak was hermetically sealed in Rochester, New York which was a long way from the disruptive risk taking world of Silicon Valley. 

Perception leads reality. 

When I was appointed marketing VP of Pepsi-Cola Co. we were way outsold by Coca-Cola. 8 years later, brand Pepsi had passed brand Coke as the largest selling packaged goods product in the USA as measured by AC Nielsen. How did we do it?

Continue reading "Brand Strategy: The Disruption Opportunity" »

December 10, 2012

Brand Strategy Sequence

Brand Strategy Laddering

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. To that end we're happy to answer your marketing questions. Today we hear from Pam, a brand manager in Cincinatti, Ohio who writes… 

"We have done a lot of consumer research recently to understand who our target is and what they see as key benefits for a brand we are about to launch. I need some help now pulling together my branding plan and getting internal buy in. Can you offer some brand strategy advice?"

Thanks for your question Pam, we're happy to help. Having carefully defined your target markets, done your research and determined the most important customer benefits puts you in a very good position. Now it is time to focus on the top one, or at most, two benefits that are highly important to your target customers and unique to your brand. They should be emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefits or even shared values with your customers. If you are still at the functional level with your brand's benefits, you need to ladder up to an emotional and shared values level.

Once you arrive at this, then it is time to communicate it outwardly through your brand's identity, including its name, logo, tagline and general look and feel. It is also time to create your brand's story and communicate it consistently through a brand elevator speech (employees can articulate) and marketing communication. But, perhaps most importantly, it is time to make sure everything your brand does deliver's on its promise. This can be done by deliberately and thoughtfully developing brand promise proof points at each point of customer contact and by creating new points of customer contact.

Finally, you will need to develop a plan that helps you focus your brand's resources on the most important drivers of customer brand insistence - awareness, relevant differentiation, value, accessibility and emotional connection. The best way to get internal buy-in is through leadership team consensus-building workshops throughout the branding process and a carefully thought-through internal brand communication and education plan. 

Thanks for your question Pam, I wish you much success in your brand building efforts.

Do you have a question related to branding? Just Ask The Blake Project

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December 09, 2012

Brand Strategy And Politics: A New World

Political Brand Strategy

This is the second of three posts on the brand marketing lessons to be learned from the recently-concluded Presidential election. The first can be found here.

There is one thing in particular about the recent election results that Baby Boomers should take care not to overlook. The world Boomers live in nowadays is no longer their own.

This is to say that, as a group, Boomers voted one way; young people voted another. Exit polling data from Pew found that 60 percent of voters under 30 voted for President Obama while only 48 percent of voters 30 and older voted that way. Contrast this with 1980. Reagan captured 56 percent of the under-30 vote, along with 62 percent of the 30-and-over vote. In other words, in 1980, young Boomers, as a group, voted the same way as their parents. Not so in 2012.

This generational divergence was first seen in the 2004 race between Kerry and Bush. In that year, 54 percent of under-30 voters voted for Kerry versus 47 percent of over-30 voters. But it has only been in the last two elections with Obama that the political preferences of young people have overwhelmed those of older voters.

As far back as McGovern versus Nixon in 1972, young people and older people have swung the same way politically (with the one exception of Clinton versus Dole in 1996), barely differing in proportions in most elections. No longer. In the last three Presidential elections, young voters have marched to a completely different drummer, and now older voters must make do in a world at odds with their overall preference.

The sort of ascendance of Millennials is an unprecedented generational phenomenon. Boomers came of age with new values but the same politics as older people; so, too, GenX. Millennials are the first generation since the end of WW2 to start off with a completely different politics than their elders, and they are doing so in such numbers that their preferences are dictating terms for everyone else.

What is true of politics is true of brand marketing as well.

Continue reading "Brand Strategy And Politics: A New World" »

December 03, 2012

The Anti-laws Of Luxury Marketing #23

Luxury Brand Strategy Rodeo Drive

23  Do not look for cost reduction 

Creating value is the motto in luxury marketing. But this value creation must not come from cost reduction. It must come from added value. Being creative is not enough to sustain a systematic price increase - which is the key issue in luxury. For example, brands need lots of creativity in a low-cost industry to reduce costs and invent new business models, sell at a significant lower price than competition, and be profitable - but this is the job of the CEO. Luxury brands 
need lots of creativity in the fashion industry to keep selling at the same 
price point - but this is the job of the designer. In luxury, you must install 
the whole company in the creating value process: luxury value creation does not rely only on the talent of a creator, but on each employee of the company:

• Production people: lots of new ideas originate on the workshop floor. This is the reason why a luxury company must make its products and not relocate production - creation teams live in symbiosis with artisans.

• Sales staff: new ideas come from customers - not by pandering to their wishes, but by understanding their dream. This is why you must have your own sales staff (they are fully part of the company) 
and why they must be local - the customer must be able to talk in 
his or her language with sales people sharing his or her culture.

• And, of course, top managers must lead the value creation process.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: JN Kapferer, excerpted from his book, The Luxury Strategy with permission from Kogan Page publishing.

See all of the Anti-laws of Luxury Marketing here.

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November 29, 2012

Brand Audits: Three Powerful Rings

Brand Strategy Brand Audit

When conducting a brand audit, the simplest models often work the best - BCG’s Growth-Share matrix, a SWOT analysis, an organizational chart. These models work because they distill tons of information, identify what’s important and are easy to grasp.

Our favorite model for identifying brand strengths and weaknesses – the 3-Circle Model – is stunningly simple, too. It involves just three overlapping circles representing the brand, customers and competitors. Mapping the intersections of customer desires, brand capabilities and competitive strengths allows strategists to classify and prioritize different types of ‘value’. 

Why it Works

The 3-Circle analysis is powerful in three ways:

1. Broader look at potential differentiators
A typical brand analysis appropriately focuses most attention on points of difference as potential sources of competitive advantage. In addition to identifying points of difference, a 3-Circle Analysis highlights potentially leverageable points of parity as well as unaddressed customer needs. If these are important to customers and if no one else is talking about them, or if your brand can talk about or deliver them uniquely, they may be more relevant and potentially more differentiating than so-called ‘points of difference.’ Countless brands have achieved success by focusing on category benefits (Raid Kills Bugs Dead, Lysol Kills 99.9% of germs, Foster Farms chickens California-grown) or creating a point of difference that lies outside of the product (Keebler Cookies are the only ones made by elves in a hollow tree, a gecko assures Geico customers they will save money). 

2. Keeps customer needs in focus

The 3-Circle Model also provides a “final resting place” (pun intended) for a brand’s areas of ‘non-value’ –features that may be differentiating or important to keeping up with competitors but that are simply unimportant to customers. The average supermarket now carries over 38,000 items, many of which are minor flavor or size variations. In the technology category, the features arms race continues unabated. According to Harvard professor, Youngme Moon, “There comes a point beyond which we are hard to impress…beyond which additional improvement ceases to add value.” At that point, it’s time to take a closer look at what customers truly value.

Continue reading "Brand Audits: Three Powerful Rings" »

November 27, 2012

Brand Marketing Trends For 2013

Brand Strategy Trends 2013

The New Year, 2013, approaches. And as everyone knows, the number 13 holds great symbolism. For the religious among us there were the 13 guests at the Last Supper and the 13 tribes of Israel. Scientists know the Universe is governed by 13 fundamental constants of physics, and the relationship between the volume of the Earth and the Sun is 1310. For shoppers there’s added value of 13 items comprising a “baker’s dozen.” Anthropologists study the 13 skies of the Aztecs.

But for marketers and brand managers who want to look beyond the horizon, we have identified 13 critical trends for 2013:

1. The Expectation Economy

Over the past decade, customer expectations have increased on average by 28%. But brands in all categories overall have kept up by only 8%, which anyone at the checkout counter can tell you is an awfully big gap between what brands offer and what customers desire. Accurate measures of real, often hidden, expectations provide significant advantages to brands that understand their value and point to how to delight customers.

2. Me-tail

The consumers’ heightened awareness of their actual control, added to the commoditization of brands and products, equals a significant segment of consumers craving customized and personalized products and services (see success of Pinterest). Customization will become an even more important brand differentiator, with returns-on-investments of loyalty and profitability made-to-order for your brand. 

3. (E)tail Everywhere

Along with consumer expectations, online retailing increases daily. But increases in brand equity, and usage among online retailers, will come with consumers’ desires to be constantly connected to these brands. Brands will have to watch for online retail pop-up stores, like Amazon, and physical kiosks for brands like Groupon, and think in terms of broader access.

Continue reading "Brand Marketing Trends For 2013" »

November 26, 2012

Brand Strategy: Politics & Positioning

Political Brand Strategy Politics

Now that the dust has settled some after this year’s U.S. Presidential election, a critical imperative for brand marketers stands out. For all the hoopla of late about data, digital, diversity and nudges, none of these much-ballyhooed marketing innovations matter until old-timey fundamentals have been taken care of first.

President Obama’s successful reelection campaign is a reminder that whatever you’re selling or how, it starts with the most basic thing of all – a great brand positioning.

The stories hot off the presses about Obama’s success have focused on the nifty new stuff. The data and digital angle has emphasized the campaign’s high-tech use of Big Data and the predictive models developed to classify and prioritize voters for fund raising, ad targeting and get-out-the-vote efforts.  The diversity angle has focused on Obama’s disproportionate margins among the nation’s fastest growing demographic groups, particularly Hispanics (and the challenges this presents going forward for the Republican party). The nudges angle has highlighted the campaign’s utilization of insights from behavioral economists and social psychologists about the best ways to persuade and motivate people. But these stories, while true, overlook the most important element of Obama’s campaign.

In a New York Times op-ed the day after the election, Obama’s lead pollster, Joel Benenson, took exception to these narrowly focused accounts of the campaign’s success. As he put it, “the president’s victory was a triumph of vision, not of demographics.” Or to put it in brand marketing terms, a great brand positioning.

Continue reading "Brand Strategy: Politics & Positioning" »

November 18, 2012

Brand Naming: Testing Origins

Brand Naming Testing

Tucked away inside a Wall Street Journal article about creating titles for movies was a wonderful tidbit about research and name testing.

Pollster George Gallup pioneered "title testing" in the 1940s at the Audience Research Institute, which he created to help studios maximize profits of their movies.

Mr. Gallup urged studios to keep titles brief and to the point. Surveys would ask people to look at groups of titles and try to describe what a film would be about based on them.

The British film The Rake's Progress, about a serial seducer, was instead released in the U.S. in 1946 under the name Notorious Gentleman.

Why? Polling revealed that American audiences expected the film to be about the evolution of gardening tools.

From this two teachable moments surface about new names:

•Don’t assume your audience knows what you know.

•If you’re considering a term that’s obscure or unusual or archaic – look before you leap.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Steve Rivkin

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