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Archive for October, 2011

Brand Watch

Brand Arrogance: The Threat Within


Netflix reed hastings brand strategy  
Consumers don’t value brands; they value the idea the brand represents to them. This idea will always be worth more than the product, or the actual bricks and mortar of the business enterprise. When marketers behave arrogantly, the value of the idea people care about is instantly diminished. And once this happens, the road to redemption is long, difficult and expensive. 

A recent example of a marketer’s arrogance towards its customers is NetFlix.

The story is classic, almost cliché. In Netflix’s case, an innovative technology quickly ramps into an innovative business model with rapid customer acceptance and advocacy, and then inexplicably breaks its trust bond with the very people who were making it great. Other brands have done this as well. New Coke comes to mind.

Of course, much of the hubris and arrogance was initiated by Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings.  When the decision was made to raise prices and change how customers receive value without any consideration to the value of the brand’s “reason for being” and what it represents to people, the value of the Netflix brand was instantly diminished. Not even a gracious mea culpa from the CEO or promotional incentives will undo the damage done.

The Netflix brand paid an incalculable and heavy price.

The lesson for brand managers is clear:

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Targeting Consumers: A New Perspective


Consumer Targeting Brand Marketing Strategy

Direct marketers have long known something that brand marketers haven’t: responsiveness counts. And not much else.

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Brand Differentiation

Brand Strategy: Rethinking Brand Differentiation


Diamond Shreddies Brand Strategy Differentiation

The ultimate goal of any brand effort is differentiation. Setting your product apart from its competitors is an essential first step toward creating preference and loyalty. According to research firm, Millward Brown, “Brands that are perceived as being different have a much higher potential for growth than do other brands.” Consequently, identifying and communicating meaningful points of difference has become the focus of much strategic branding work.

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Branding: Just Ask... Derrick Daye Place Branding

What Experts Are Best For Community Branding?


Brand Strategy Place Branding Community Branding City Branding

We welcome and answer marketing questions of all types here on BSI. Today’s question comes from Lisa, an economic development executive near Toronto, Canada. She asks:

“I work in economic development for a small municipality that is challenged with negative brand perceptions from an association with radioactive waste. As I prepare a Request For Proposal (RFP), can you tell me who is the best partner to help us change these brand perceptions and help better the future of our city?”

Thanks for your question Lisa. First let me share, the best partner in place branding, city branding or community branding projects as they are known, is actually two partners. A brand consultant or brand consultancy that focuses on strategy, and an advertising agency or creative partner that focuses on implementing the brand strategy creatively. Each possesses a different skillset and specializes in one of the two critical areas of expertise you will need. Look at each in this way:

Advertising Agencies traditionally focus on the execution of creative strategies. That is, they will determine the best marketing vehicle to reach your target audience and will use compelling creative to make a connection and entice a reaction. The best ones are strategic in nature and see tactics as a second step.

A Brand Consultancy traditionally lives by this philosophy: Instead of trying to communicate a brands’ features and benefits, they recommend studying the minds of the target audience first and then try to “position” the brand in the mind, taking advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of the brand and competing brands. This process ensures that your brand has selected the most powerful benefits to own and that it has developed the proof points and reasons to believe for those benefits. Brand consultancies also aid companies (in this case municipalities) in any strategy-related brand decisions from brand equity measurement to brand extension.

Advertising Agencies and Brand Consultancies both strive to create brand insistence – creating a ‘category of one’ brand with no substitutes. Each work together for the good of the client.

In your case Lisa, you need specialists. Pairing a seasoned agency and consultancy will offer you the best team to help your city shed these perceptions and replace them with new, positive ones. To find partners, I suggest issuing two RFP’s segregating your search for brand strategy partners from creative strategy partners. I think you’ll find this approach will produce the best results.

I have a few other recommendations. For help in writing your place branding RFP I suggest a visit to here. For more insights on place branding go here (and scroll down) and see here for a closer look at changing brand perceptions.

Have a question related to branding? Just Ask…

Sponsored byThe Brand Positioning Workshop

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Branding: Just Ask...

Brand Licensing: The Answer For Sears?


Sears Brand Licensing Strategy Die Hard Battery

Regular readers of Branding Strategy Insider know we welcome and answer marketing questions of all types. Today’s question comes from Ryan, a senior analyst with a private investment fund in New York City, New York. He writes:

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