The Blake Project

Why a Branding Strategy Blog?

At The Blake Project our sole focus is helping organizations create brands that build and sustain trust. Branding Strategy Insider is an extension of our efforts to help marketing oriented leaders and professionals develop powerful brand strategies that build brand equity and drive strong brands.

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Derrick Daye
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What To Expect From A Rebrand


Setting Expectations for a Rebrand

Every company that rebrands does so with high hopes. Their expectation is of course that this will mark a new chapter in the life of the business. Given how much is being invested, that seems more than a reasonable goal on their part. But is it realistic? How much change can a company expect to see through a rebrand, and where? This article by Laurent Muzellec and Mary Lambkin from some years back lays out some evergreen principles and reminds us that no two rebrands are the same in terms of the results they generate.

It depends on the degree of change. Muzellec and Lambkin draw a clear distinction between evolutionary rebranding – a brand refresh – and revolutionary rebranding. The former are the many tweaks that brand owners instigate to keep their brands up to date. These are a necessary and important part of keeping a brand current, and many brands make these changes without consumers being consciously aware of what’s gone on. While much of the onus here is often put on changes to the visual language, I see no reason at all why a brand cannot refresh other aspects of its brand structure and still remain largely recognizable as the brand that people know.

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Brand Architecture

When To Add Or Eliminate In Brand Portfolios


When To Add Or Subtract Brands In Your Portfolio

Branding Strategy Insider readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers. Today we hear from Sylvia, a VP of Brand Strategy in New York, New York who writes…

“We have multiple brands (12) across the organization with varying identities. What are the best practices for deciding when to add or eliminate a brand?”

Thanks for your question Sylvia. In general, fewer brands are better. Having fewer brands reduces the required marketing resources and makes it easier to build brand awareness more quickly.

Each brand should have its own promise and positioning. Given that, each brand should have customer segments or customer need segments to which it most appeals. Brands that have similar or the same brand promises or positionings are candidates for rationalization. Further, if the products or services sold under those different brands are similar or the same, you should consider consolidating those products or services under one brand.

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Brand Strategy

3 Rules For Brand Survival


Agressive Brand Strategy

1. Don’t be afraid to kill weaker brands.

Capitalism rests on simple, predatory logic – weak brands must die and strong brands must kill them. Only then will the consumer be served and the market improve or progress.

Unfortunately, many marketers find this sharp end of capitalism unpalatable. We’re happy with the idea of deriving success from “delighting” customers but shy away from the side of that equation in which we “destroy” the competition.

In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple exemplifies the killer spirit when he proclaims he will spend “every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank” to destroy Android. Be aggressive.

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Brand Strategy

Personalizing The Brand Proposition


Brand Personalization Strategy

Personalization is the quest of the moment for so many marketers, with 70% of executives interviewed by Forrester saying it is now of strategic importance to their business. (What may surprise you, as it did me, is how generalized so much of marketing still is.)

According to the Forbes article, most personalization efforts are currently underpinned by customer preferences and purchase history. Looking ahead, marketers see social sentiment, contextual behaviors, time of day/week and location information as emerging factors in their bid to make experiences feel more specific.

Few retailers do personalization better than Amazon. Their ability to suggest offers that are relevant based on what they know about consumers from previous behaviors is insightful and addictive. But that doesn’t make personalization a panacea, and it certainly doesn’t mean it can apply universally. As Paul Boag points out, “Too often personalization is requested with no clear idea of what that means or what benefits it would provide.”

Boag identifies five other types of personalization beyond Amazon’s custom personalization approach:

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Brand Strategy

A Warning To Brands Defined As Product Categories


A Warning For Brands Defined As Product Categories

When I was named director of brand management and marketing at Hallmark, most of the company’s leadership team viewed the company as a greeting card manufacturing company.

With the advent of the Internet, it was easy to foresee the demise of “ink on paper” greeting cards. I felt it was my duty to get the company’s leadership team to think about our business more broadly and eliminate the risk of being defined as a product category. Ideally, brands stand for customer values and benefits, not specific products.

It was clear through research that Hallmark helped people maintain their relationships and express their feelings. Based on this, we determined that Hallmark should stand for “caring shared.”

At the time, Hallmark was mostly manufacturing “ink on paper” products – greeting cards, giftwrap, paper plates and napkins and related products. It also produced calendars and day planners. It outsourced collectable Christmas ornaments and other small gifts. Most of these were produced in Asia.

Opportunities Found, Opportunities Lost

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