The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Archive for October, 2011
Brand naming, whether it be corporate or product names may seem simple, however it is anything but. Generally, for a final brand name that makes it through all of the evaluation hurdles and is accepted by the client, hundreds, if not thousands of names were explored. So, what makes naming so difficult? First, the proliferation of brands in the market. Second, with the advent of the Internet, a brand must compete not just within a small geography, but throughout the global market. Which leads to the next point, the URL needs to be available. And one wants to own “.com,” not “.net,” “.info,” or some other equally obscure URL suffix. And one should not add “company,” “llc,” or other unexpected modifiers to the end of the name.
The name should be:
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to spell
- Not used by any other brand, but especially competitors in the same categories and markets
- Easy to recall
- Not have unintended or negative meanings, including in other languages/cultures
- Broad enough to outlive a product category or a business owner
- Easy to trademark (and still available to trademark)
- Available as a “.com” or “.org” or .edu” URL, depending on the type of brand
It is also desirable for the brand name to communicate the brand’s unique value proposition if possible. (This is a tall order, so many brands should be happy to rely on the tagline to do that.)Read More
The Blake Project offers a highly facilitated, day long, workshop that is designed to gain complete consensus among your organization’s management team and marketing leadership on the brand’s target customers, essence, promise, personality and archetype. A compliment to our one-day and two-day brand positioning workshops for B2C brands, this workshop integrates insights about the elements that most often differentiate business to business companies from each other.
We work with you to develop your B2B brand’s position in its current marketplaces, while designing flexibility for its future growth. This includes identifying, analyzing and selecting the brand’s target audiences, competitive frame of reference and key customer benefits (functional, emotional, experiential and self-expressive). The workshop focuses on developing the brand’s essence, promise, personality and archetype. We also ensure that your brand has chosen the most powerful benefits to own and that it has developed the proof points and “reasons to believe” for those benefits.
We believe that the primary brand benefit should deliver against these objectives:
• The benefit is extremely important to your target audience(s). • Your organization has unique, sustainable competencies (and strategic intent) in delivering against the benefit. • Your competitors are not delivering against the benefit (nor would it be easy for them to do so in the future). • Any benefit chosen must be unique, compelling, motivating, understandable and believable.
We generally plan for attendance by 6 to 10 key organization stakeholders, including the organization’s leadership.
Previous research steps provide critical input to this workshop. With or without a formal research component, the workshop is preceded by a questionnaire designed to accomplish the following:
• Provoke thinking about the brand’s positioning elements by workshop participants just prior to the workshop • Invite other stakeholders not able to attend the workshop to provide their input • Help us understand the thinking of the key stakeholders prior to facilitating the workshop
We include educational components on B2B brand management throughout the day so that all participants are speaking a common language. For instance, we make sure people understand the five drivers of customer brand insistence: awareness, relevant differentiation, value, accessibility and emotional connection. We also make sure that people know the difference between brand terms such as unique value proposition, essence, mantra, promise, personality, associations and position.
The deliverable is a one-page brand positioning statement that incorporates the following essential elements: target customer, brand essence, brand promise, brand personality and brand archetype. This is delivered at the end of the workshop and can be a direct input into tagline development. This can also be used to inform and rally employees and staff, guide external communications, inform customer touchpoint design, influence corporate strategy and serve as a foundation for other brand identity work. This statement is always valued by advertising agencies as an important component of the creative brief.
Brand owners know, the stakes are high in brand positioning. The positioning work will greatly impact the success of the brand for years to come. The Blake Project’s B2B Brand Positioning Workshop process has been validated by 100+ brands across numerous industries, business categories and business platforms. It has been very well received around the world by CEOs, senior marketers, executive directors, heads of government, celebrities and other organizational leaders for its ability to align and energize the organization and its management team with the brand’s positioning.
Our B2B Brand Positioning Workshop is lead by renowned brand strategists, including Brad VanAuken.
Please email me for more about how this workshop can benefit your brand.
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand EducationRead More
In thinking about the passing of Steve Jobs, it’s inspiring to be reminded there's a little Steve in every one of us. All it takes is a personal decision to pursue a vision that matters to you with his level of unbridled passion and belief. And once that decision is made, never accept the status quo.
There is a great lesson and legacy gifted to us all by the life of Steve Jobs. No doubt, in the years to come, his incredible accomplishments will become mythic legend. But Steve Jobs was not special. He did not possess anything that is unavailable to any other human being. Perhaps even he would acknowledge this.
There’s a Steve Jobs in each of us. To celebrate his example and his legacy, here are some lessons from his life most noteworthy for our own brands and businesses:
This mantra was the force that gathered all the necessary molecules that formed themselves into the greatest technology business the world has ever known. It’s more than an advertising slogan or a clever brand positioning idea. If you think like and follow the status quo, you’ll never discover the inner voice of your own true genius. More importantly, you must believe in your different thinking. Believing is seeing, not the other way around.
The key to innovation and business growth is curiosity. You have to appreciate and practice the discipline of being curious, asking questions, and questioning the answers that come up. To be innovative requires you bring things into the world that no one is asking for, but once realized, become the very things the world was waiting for. No one was asking for an iPad, now millions can’t live without it.
When organizations and brands are in the process of changing their identity, I’ve noticed a tendency that it’s easier for executives to focus their energy on “breaking the change to the world” through measured marketing communications, rather than creating a prior strategy of bringing the inner-vested into the identity conversation early on. People naturally want to know “why are we doing this, and what’s in it for me?”
In communicating the aspects of identity change, is your focus on the inner (employees and shareholders), or the outer (more marketing)?
There are powerful market forces that shape identity change. Corporate identity changes are often driven by the CEO as a response to forming the outer market’s perceptions of the value to their enterprises, particularly after a merger or acquisition. Brand identity changes are usually driven by circumstances in the outer media and sales channels. These outer drivers are powerful forces indeed. Identity changes have an equally compelling effect on people inside the organization who will be tasked with contributing to “a new idea” they may know little about.
When you provide the reasons why your identity requires change, it’s imperative to have these ideas resonate positively within your organization first, before the outer world. When that happens, it’s like putting Miracle-Grow on the seeds of your brand image. People on the inside must believe the changing organizational or brand identity will have a positive impact on their lives before they’ll be an influential-buzz-generating machine twittering away in our transparent digital age. The reason most successful brands seem to have an inner glow about them is no accident.
Having an internal brand building and communications strategy in place at the very beginning of the process, is fundamentally important for a successful outcome. Better when clarity begins the process.
Sponsored By: The Two-Day Brand Positioning WorkshopRead More
Yesterday, I was drawn in again by a street person’s story. It is not the first time. If the story is good enough, it tugs on your heartstrings. While, as a brand marketer, I am always leery of being taken in by total fiction, at the same time, if the story is good enough, it doesn’t even matter if it is true. It has entertained me. I give the person some money. Several times a week my wife and I get phone calls from various not-for-profit and political organizations asking for contributions. Again, there are stories. What will happen if they don’t get enough money. What will happen if they do. The telephone solicitors are scripted to paint a compelling picture with words. Don’t religious leaders do the same thing? How many of Jesus’ parables are recounted in the Bible? And there are Hindu and Buddhist parables and stories. I can’t think of a religion that doesn’t have its stories. I even hear stories from people who want to sell me investments. Stories of people getting rich. They paint a picture of how I will significantly increase my net worth too if I invest in what they are selling. And how about the stories told by places? Come to our country or city or resort and have this type of experience.
Story telling is a strong selling tool. Every brand should have its stories. The stories should be unique and engaging and admirable and entertaining and purchase motivating. Does your brand have a story to tell? If your target customers heard it, would it be enough to get them to purchase what you are selling?
Sponsored By: Brand AidRead More