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.
Hardly a generation ago, the Rand McNally Atlas was the beloved source for navigation and finding your way around. Then came satellite navigation technology and a host of innovators popped onto the scene. Brands like Garvin and Tom Tom were born and prospered for a minute – then Google maps became ubiquitous on smart phones and consumers quickly forgot GPS devices.
The same painful lesson was recently experienced by Blackberry – one of the early innovators of the mobile phone. Blackberry is now in the bone yard of companies whose businesses were devastated by rapid technological innovation.
Radical innovation has given way to devastating innovation. Clever brand strategy and marketing can’t save those aforementioned once successful brands. They are now buggy whips in an age of technology innovation that devastates whole industries in nearly the blink of an eye.
The human mind is an amazingly powerful technology. Seemingly there is no stopping the rapidity of devastating innovation. It’s happening faster and with more profound effects than anyone can imagine in real time.
Business and management gurus can’t keep pace with the proliferation of innovation. It’s hard to imagine that the smart phone would have such devastating impact on a host of products and industries like still and video cameras, recording equipment, publishing, travel, music and entertainment, even flashlights. No one could anticipate the speed and ferocity of the new normal.Read More
No doubt, it will be fascinating to witness in the coming year the machinations of health insurance marketers as they create competitive advantage for their brands against the backdrop of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare implementation.
The good news for health insurance brands is they will have many more customers as the law mandates everyone must have health insurance coverage. The bad news for health insurance marketers is their offerings (as mandated by the law) will be pretty much the same – the only perceivable difference between them is the tiered “good, better, best” pricing structure the government allows.
And lets face it; price is the only thing that matters to consumers when it comes to health insurance coverage. Especially those consumers (think small business owners) who happen to own individual plans. For many people, the role of price is the main brand driver.
In the age clutter and social media transparency, consumers are caring less about marketing and more about community and shared values. Brands that fail this price of entry won’t be able to even get in the game.Read More
It’s been nearly 15 years since the first publication of Canadian author Naomi Klein’s book “No Logo” (1999). To many, No Logo has been considered the genesis of the alter-globalization and anti-branding movement.
Of course we live in a completely different world now than in 1999. Since it’s publication, there have been other voices in the anti-branding movement–most notable is Jonathan Baskin’s book “Branding Only Works on Cattle”.
Baskin implies that branding is a complete intangible providing little lasting value, and nothing more than a big waste of time and money. Baskin’s premise suggests consumer purchase behavior trumps the conventional activities of image / awareness branding.
For those who may not be familiar with Klein’s anti-branding book, its premise is organized into four sections: “No Space”, “No Choice”, “No Jobs”, and “No Logo”. The first three sections deal with the negative effects of brand-oriented corporate activity, while the fourth discusses various methods people have taken in order to fight back the big branding (corporate) bullies.
For those voices in the anti-branding movement, the proliferation of brands over the past 15 years might seem as though no one has been listening. The whole idea of brand is stronger and more embedded into our culture than ever before.
Measuring Brand Value
It’s an established practice by marketers everywhere to trumpet the rankings of Interbrand’s (in association with Bloomberg Businessweek) annual survey of The World’s Top 100 Brands. According to Interbrand, the survey “evaluates brands much the way analysts value other business assets”. The idea being the stock valuation of big companies is largely the result of the financial value of their brands.
The truth about accurately measuring quantitative brand value is a matter of opinion. The bigger question for many business leaders and marketers still remains–does branding drive real business performance?
Many advances in measuring ROI for marketing activities have been developed in recent years. However, there is a big distinction between measuring marketing effectiveness and the intangible value of a brand.
If the quantitative measurement of brand value is a black art, (as Jonathon Baskin suggests), why does branding matter at all? And more importantly if branding is nothing more than an intangible activity promoting more consumption and consumerism rather than responsible citizenship, how much influence do the voices of the anti-branding movement have today within modern marketing organizations to make things better?Read More
For many startup CEOs in their first and second rounds of funding, their focus is usually on product development rather than creating a value proposition that will form the strategic direction of their fledgling enterprise.
Your value proposition is not about the products or services you sell. Your value proposition must articulate a highly valued outcome the customer desires. Think of your value proposition as a “castle in the mind” of your customers and clients.
In every business category today, more businesses are being commoditized by the sheer abundance of choices customers have. This is true if your business sells products or provides services. This is true for businesses large and small.
Customers have abundant choice. It’s customers who decide who leads and who follows. When customers have abundant choice, the competition is always fierce. Those entrepreneurs who eventually grow up to dominate their market represent a compelling “idea of value” in the minds of customers that is simply not available from the alternatives in the category.
Here are some fundamental questions that will require you answer with clarity of vision and confidence in your actions if you are to create “competitive advantage” to your business from the value you bring to the marketplace:
• How do you differentiate your enterprise in ways that matter to your customers?
• How do you command premium prices and greater profit margins when everyone else is fighting to break even?
• How do you gain radical advantage over your would-be competitors in an ultra-competitive marketplace?
Customers care about their desires and outcomes far more than the functions of your products and the details of your services. It is of critical importance for startup CEOs to understand this distinction. Your value proposition is more about beautiful castles (outcomes) rather than bricks and mortar (your products and services).Read More