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.
Today on Branding Strategy Insider, another brand strategy question from the BSI Emailbag. Jim, an Executive Director at a nonprofit organization in Seattle, Washington writes:
“I work for a nonprofit organization that needs to rebrand. I am getting resistance from the board and a major client. Do you have any advice to help me get the buy-in I need to accomplish this without alienating critical stakeholders?”
Hi Jim, thanks for your question. Given the potential resistance to the rebranding effort, I would start with a survey of key stakeholders to determine how they are feeling about the organization and its brand including the strength of its unique value proposition, its traction against competitive organizations, any concerns, etc. Without being too biased or leading, help the organization’s stakeholders come to their own conclusions by getting them to think about the issues that could be solved by a rebranding effort. I wouldn’t initially talk about rebranding.
I would then share the results of the survey and create a discussion around it. If people begin to see the need for some changes, I would then talk about brand strategy refinement. If the discussion starts out as a strategic discussion, it avoids the issue of people’s attachments to specific brand identity elements. I might then conduct more customer research to determine organization and brand perceptions. Using all of this input, I would conduct a consensus-building brand positioning workshop with key stakeholders. The result should be a new brand positioning statement including the brand’s essence, promise, archetype and personality.Read More
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Anna, a Product Manager in Stockholm, Sweden who writes…
“I have recently become the product manager of a pharmaceutical product. This product is 1 out of 8 in the Nordic market. All products but one are original. The biosimilar product markets itself on price, however due to very aggressive marketing they have been taking the market by storm. The product category is old, tried and tested and all substances are pretty much exactly the same. The differentiation is in the administration device. Two products have clear product advantages (in the administration device) that are of real value for the patient. Mine doesn’t. In fact there is nothing of value that my product has that no one else hasn’t. Our price is OK but my team is struggling to convince the doctors to use it when better alternatives are available. We currently have about 5% of the market and I am failing to reach my year-end target. I have 5 months left to change strategy, inspire my sales team and turn this around. If I do, I will be the first one to ever bring us above 5% market share.
To add to the challenge the previous PM had somewhat of a cluttered style. I have cleaned up the messaging to focus on the only thing that I can see sets us apart, our product was the first of its kind on the market (however we are marketing it under a license from the company that invented it). Furthermore, we have been ordered from HQ to have a short term approach in our marketing and my budget is small. At the moment the bulk of the budget is spent on conferences and educational events for the doctors. A price only strategy is not an option since we could never compete on price in the long term.”
Thanks for your question, Anna. Many brands share your brand’s dilemma. The product itself is a commodity. That is, it is undifferentiated from competitive alternatives. First, I would direct you to our blog posts on branding commodities. They list a number of general approaches for differentiating commodities.Read More
Brand architecture is the logical, strategic and relational structure for your brands or put another way, it is the entity’s “family tree” of brands, sub-brands and named products. As organizations grow through mergers and acquisitions they are faced with many important decisions regarding brand architecture, including how many brands should be managed. Here are the reasons a company might want to maintain different brands or sub-brands:
1. If there are channel conflict issues, especially if key customers who resell to the end consumer want to offer something different from competitors
2. If the same (or very similar) products are sold at different price points – separate brands or sub-brands create more distance between the offerings
3. If one set of products are upscale or premium, while the other are standard or value products
4. If one brand appeals to a very different market segment with different needs from the other brand (making the messaging different)
Regarding linking brands, usually, there is no significant danger, especially if one is endorsed by the other. (The exception to this is if one brand’s associations somehow detract from the other brand.) Brand endorsement indicates the linkage but also creates some distance between the two brands. Endorsed brands make the parent brand relevant (or at least increases its awareness) to the market served by the endorsed brand.
The advantage of using fewer brands or a singular brand is marketing efficiency in brand building and customer communication.
Brand architecture strategy and the issues that arise from growth can be quite complex, for that we have developed this comprehensive guide to brand architecture. For those brands that need one-on-one help The Blake Project developed The Brand Architecture Workshop.
Sponsored By: The Brand Architecture Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Sandra, a VP of Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia who writes…
“Who in a company should have leadership responsibility for the brand and how should a company be organized to best manage and grow its brand?”
Thanks for your question Sandra. For most companies, the brand exists at the organizational level. Therefore, the person who is ultimately responsibility for maintaining, growing and leveraging the brand asset is the organization’s leader – CEO, executive director, president, etc. That person should know what the brand stands for, how it aligns with the organization’s mission, vision and values and what makes it unique and compelling in the marketplace. Further, that person should model brand-supporting behaviors.
Practically, that person will likely assign the day-to-day responsibilities for managing the brand to a senior level chief brand advocate, who will likely have at least a small staff to help him or her monitor, manage, build and leverage the brand. This might include a brand identity manager, who is responsible for maintaining brand identity accuracy and consistency throughout the enterprise.
Often the brand function, while senior in level, has little direct authority across all of the functions in the organization that impact the brand. This is why the chief brand advocate needs to be a highly skilled influencer who is also highly respected. The brand managers will often work through interdisciplinary groups. For instance, the brand identity manager might chair a brand identity council comprised of people throughout the organization who use the brand in communications. The role of that council would be to insure brand identity accuracy and consistency. It is essentially a self-policing organization.Read More
We are often asked about the impact of brands on financial, business performance and growth. Enough research has been conducted on this over time throughout the world that one could write and entire book on this subject. I will not do that here. But I will be a bit more detailed than I have in the past about this. The bottom line is that strong brands have a very strong positive impact on financial and other business results. Following are data points on some of the ways in which this occurs.
A recent Nielsen study demonstrated that strong brands command higher loyalty rates. Consider the lifetime value of more loyal consumers. The study also showed that strong brands generate three times more market share than brands with moderate reputations.
Millward Brown Optimor reported that its BrandZ Top Most Valuable Global Brands significantly outperformed the S&P 500 in 2013.
In another study, Feng Jui Hsu, Tsai Yi Wang and Mu Yen Chen examined the relationship between brand value and stock performance using Interbrand’s Global 100 Brands ranking. The brand portfolio outperformed the S&P index in various holding periods and generated a significantly positive risk adjusted alpha.
An earlier study (for the period 1994-200) reported by Thomas J. Madden, University of South Carolina, Frank Fehle, Barclays Global Investors and Susan Fournier, Boston University, found that firms that have strong brands create value for their shareholders by yielding larger returns with less risk than industry benchmarks.
Another study conducted by Andrea Guerrini, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Verona and Francesco Zaffin, management consultant, looked at the top 60 brands in Interbrand’s annual ranking between 2006 and 2010 and identified positive correlations between brand value and share prices primarily in the intangible product categories such as business and financial services.Read More