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.
We are happy to answer marketing questions of all types here on Branding Strategy Insider. Today we hear from Jose, a Chief Marketing Officer in Chicago, Illinois who writes…
“I have a question regarding the measurement of negative and positive impact sub-brands may have on each other and the master brand. I understand there are different methodologies such as BCM and factor analysis that can help me understand key associations for a particular brand relative to competitors, but they do not highlight the specific impact sub-brands may have on each other. What methods would you recommend to better understand the full impact?”
Thank you for your question, Jose. I would approach this in one of two ways:
1. PRE & POST: First, I would seek perceptions of the master brand. This could include reaction to a battery of predefined associations (rating them on a five-point scale) or open-ended responses or both. Next, I would present an ad form concept that links the new sub-brand to the master brand. Then, I would seek perceptions of the master brand again. Finally, I would note any changes in master brand perception pre and post-exposure to the ad form concept.
2. SPLIT CELL: I would seek the responses of two demographically/psychographically identical groups. One group would provide perceptions of the master brand without any exposure to the new sub-brand (again, through a battery of predefined associations, open-ended responses or both). The other group would first be exposed to an ad form concept that links the new sub-brand to the master brand and then be asked to provide perceptions of the master brand. In this case, you would identify the differences in responses between the two cells.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 Chris, a VP of Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia who writes…
“I head up the marketing efforts for a regional sports bar & grille chain with 50+ stores. I work with many restaurant operators and have not been able to put into simple terms how the short-term strategy of promotions is a mistake versus marketing our brand for long-term growth. The casual dining industry has been struggling and patience is not something my colleagues have and so easily we fall into the “we have do something” trap and come up with another promotion. We communicate WHAT we have [i.e. the promotions: $5 Cheesesteaks; Trivia @ 7pm; Kids Eat Free on Tuesdays, Late Night Happy Hour, etc.] instead of communicating WHY a potential customer should visit us [we are fun, we love sports, we have great food, etc.].
We have not marketed our brand in the past. There’s always been an offer attached or we just advertise an offer. I’m trying really hard to break the cycle. Research we just conducted shows our brand awareness is weak. We’re trying to be all things to all people so we don’t differentiate ourselves. We’re not providing the WHY. Anything you can share that will help me explain this on a level that an owner/operator can understand would be greatly appreciated.”
Thank you for your question, Chris. Brands exist to differentiate one company’s products from all other products in its category. By definition, brands are able to charge a price premium over commodities – the stronger the brand, the higher the price premium that can be charged. Brands deliver other benefits to companies as well:
- Increased revenues and market share
- Increased stock price, shareholder value and sale value
- Increased word-of-mouth marketing
- Increased customer loyalty
- Increased ability to attract and retain talented employees
- Increased employee job satisfaction
- Increased clarity of vision
- Increased profitability
- Decreased price sensitivity
- Increased ability to mobilize an organization’s people and focus its activities
- Increased ability to expand into new product and service categories
- Additional leverage with vendors and retailers (for manufacturers)
Brands are built over time through strong brand identity (logos, taglines, etc.), marketing communication and customer service. Most importantly, you must consistently deliver on the brand’s unique value proposition each time the brand interacts with the customer at each point of customer contact.Read More
The brand position or brand positioning is how the brand is perceived in the context of competitive alternatives in the mind. As brand consultants, when we develop brand positioning statements for clients, we include a target customer definition, brand essence, brand promise, brand archetype and brand personality, giving the intended brand position / positioning (as opposed to the actual brand position in the mind of the customer) greater depth.
A complete brand positioning statement includes the following:
[Adjective] [adjective] [noun] (the “heart and soul” of the brand, its timeless quality, its DNA)
To [target customer description]
In the [product or service category] (establishing the competitive “frame of reference”)
In the context of [market condition or trend that makes the benefit or value even more compelling]
Because [proof points or “reasons to believe”]Read More
Once a brand has been established, it is difficult for people to give it up. They become emotionally attached to it. It may even be a source of self-esteem and personal pride. They invent a variety of excuses for why it should never go away.
The people I am talking about are not the brand’s customers or consumers but rather its creators and caretakers.
Often, brands create as much or more of an emotional connection with the people who manage them as they do with the people to whom they are marketed. Therein lies the problem with organizations that are skillful and prolific at creating new brands or that have grown through numerous mergers and acquisitions.
The Blake Project has been retained by many an organization that needs to simplify its portfolio of brands. The complex brand structure usually results in increased complexity, cost and customer confusion. However, the brands are entangled in so many ways with their individual support systems, including their dedicated managers and teams, that they are very difficult to terminate.
How likely is it that the person who created the brand or currently manages the brand will say, “yes, my brand should go away’? Not only does that person understand the brand’s equity, consumer franchise and complex expressions but that person’s ego, and perhaps livelihood, also depends on the brand’s survival.Read More
As you probably know, we spend most of our time helping our clients craft brand strategy, including the brand’s promise and its unique value proposition. We draw on in-depth qualitative and quantitative category, customer and competitor research, brand equity studies, the organization’s core competencies, management’s strategic intent, and the knowledge and creative intuition of many informed individuals. When we arrive at a brand strategy that has widespread support throughout the organization, it has been well vetted as the most advantageous approach. The way we have arrived at this is not trivial, nor is its conclusion.
The next step is the frequent source of significant difficulty. Now it is time for a creative team to translate the brand strategy into a name, tagline or marketing campaign. Some brand promises or unique value propositions are extremely difficult to translate to a pithy tagline or campaign, especially one that has not already been used by another organization. And creative people don’t like to be constrained. If they come up with an idea that they love, it doesn’t matter if it is off strategy. They know they can sell it anyway because it is brilliant (and maybe it is). The problem is, it does not reinforce the brand strategy.
This compounds the problem – some clients are not sophisticated enough to reject creative content that may be compelling but off strategy. They are carried away by the creative content while contracting amnesia about the agreed-to brand strategy.
Here are some ways to mitigate this problem. If you are in charge of developing the creative content in support of the brand strategy, NEVER present a creative option that is off strategy. If other people are developing the creative content, invite them to be active participants in (or at least observers of) the brand strategy formulation. Also, establish creative content evaluation criteria that includes “reinforcement of the brand’s promise and unique value proposition” as a primary criterion.
If you succeed in your brand strategy formulation but then stumble in translating that to creative execution, all of the previous work has been for naught. Don’t let down your guard during creative translation of the brand strategy. Be ever vigilant in seeing a strategy through to its proper execution.
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Don’t miss The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley October 17-18, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 50 participants
As in Your marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn
Sponsored by: The Brand Storytelling WorkshopRead More