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.
Category: Brand Consulting
Leading brands are always differentiated by their shared values. If the values your brand represents are not aligned to the values of your target customer, no amount of marketing will move them to your brand.
Customers build an emotional connection with brands whose values align with their own. This alignment separates brands that lead and brands that follow. To help brands gain and maintain the advantage values alignment delivers, The Blake Project developed The Brand Values Alignment Workshop.
Shared values form the basis for all relationships
The Brand Values Alignment Workshop helps you to determine the values that are authentic for your brand and mirror the values of its target customers. The workshop is preceded by customer research that identifies the values that are most important to your customers along with the values that are perceived to be appropriate for your brand and its product/service category.
In this one-day, research based, strategic workshop, we help you select the most powerful and authentic values for your brand to own. And then we help you articulate those values in a truly compelling way. And finally, we facilitate a high-energy ideation session in which you are able to generate many meaningful ways to demonstrate and reinforce those values at each point of customer contact.
Leading brands connect with people on a values level
One of the most powerful things a brand can do is align its values with its customer’s values. While brands can promise functional, emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefits, those whose values are aligned with their customers’ values are much more likely to achieve a deeper and longer lasting loyalty. This coupled with today's competitive environment makes brand values alignment a priority of every brand marketer.
Please email me for more about how The Brand Values Alignment Workshop can benefit your brand.Read More
We are creatures of evolution. Humans have shared beloved stories since the dawn of our existence. The ancient tradition of storytelling serves to remind us of who we are, and how we relate to each other within the structures of our organizations, our village, our culture and our world at large. Brands are no different.
At the core of every great brand you’ll find a mythological narrative that transcends “marketing” activities. Within the DNA of highly valued brands lies a storyline that inspires the actions, beliefs and behaviors of its devoted tribe members over the long term.
Brand storytelling is about the art of connecting the hearts and minds of internal stakeholders and customers alike to shared values and ideals that define the “sacred truth” of why the brand exists and who benefits from its existence. Sacred brand stories are not veneer slapped onto the next ad campaign. Compelling brand stories serve to reveal and remind all audiences of something sacred and valued about themselves rather than the ubiquitous marketing of new product offerings, features or additives.
Clear and consistent storytelling is absolutely crucial to effective brand communication programs.
The manner in which your brand communicates with customers, employees, partners and investors must be carefully crafted from the unifying principals of a core brand story. Brand messaging must align with and substantiate the brand’s overall positioning, and be nuanced to ensure brand communications are relevant for each different audience the brand needs to engage. Not expressing a clear brand story theme and a messaging plan is a sure way to dilute the effectiveness of your brand building communications.
The Brand Storytelling Platform defines and organizes the verbal and visual message structures of the brand’s universal narrative.
Developing a successful brand-messaging plan starts with defining the components of a Brand Storytelling Platform. This platform distills the essence of all brand communications into a framework that defines the primary and secondary messages for each target audience. Through the processes and creative thinking in The Blake Project’s Brand Storytelling Workshop, participants define key audience segments, and from there, craft compelling brand messages appropriate for each audience segment.Read More
I want to share insight into one idea that guides The Blake Project's brand consulting practice. Attraction Marketing is not a new idea, on the contrary, it’s an idea as old as commerce itself. The premise is simple: people are tribal in their associations and in their behavior. Like attracts like. Not unlike quantum theory that suggests like particles vibrate and attract to form matter. Not to stretch my metaphor too far, but I would like to suggest that the discipline of marketing is the energy that vibrates in the marketplace attracting those customers who value the proposition, their association with it, and share its value to others. It is a natural attraction, not something contrived or forced. Consumers like to buy, they don’t like being sold. With so much choice, and so much me-too branding going on, consumers must have the “what’s in for me” question clearly answered before they associate with your brand’s promise. Brand building is not a transaction.
Interestingly enough, this idea of attraction marketing has more resonance today as consumers take control of marketing channels. Today, word of mouth advocacy takes its form as a YouTube video post – random, immediate and powerfully contagious. Consumers have the control now, not the marketers. Add to that the increased fragmentation of media channels, sophisticated demographics and customer segmentation models, and you don’t need to be clairvoyant to see the writing on the wall. Like the music industry, the global advertising industry is scrambling to find ways to navigate this sea change with a business model that serves consumers and adds value to their clients. Consumers want trustworthy relationships with brands. They want clarity, not clutter. They want to be pulled into the gravity of a two-way conversation with like-minded people.Read More
A startup business faces many difficult challenges getting off the ground. For many early stage CEO’s assessing their priorities, product development and the seed money to grow are their primary concerns. Few if any are thinking much about the critical importance of brand building.
For startup CEOs, brand building needs to be as important to early business success as product development and raising money. You can have the most innovative, groundbreaking product ever conceived, but if you can’t create a strong foundation for communicating that value to investors and the marketplace, chances are the business venture won’t go far.
You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Everyone has heard that statement before. But for startup brands the statement holds even more significance. Whatever startup brands are doing, chances are they’re doing it for the first time. The first presentation to an investor, customer or important employee must be simple, clear and compelling — there are no second chances.
Developing a strong brand is critical to the early success of startups and emerging companies.
A workshop designed to build an advantage
Over the course of this one-day workshop you’ll build a strategic foundation for marketing success in your early stage business through focus in four critical areas:Read More
Branding Strategy Insider welcomes and answers marketing questions of all types. Today's question comes from Andrew, a Brand Manager in New York City, New York. He writes:
"I am starting the new year with a new company, managing a brand that needs a great deal of help. It seems the threat to the brand is just as much internal as external. Do you have any suggestions for ‘selling in’ outside brand strategy expertise? My management team does not understand the concept of brand management, its value or why outside brand consulting help would be beneficial."
Thanks for your question Andrew. I have found that it is very difficult to “sell in” the concept of brand management if the organization’s top management doesn’t understand the value of brands. However, one approach to making them aware of the power of brands is to outline how much of the organization’s financial value is the result of its brands and other intangible assets rather than tangible assets (plants, equipment, inventories, etc.). After rigorous research, CGI reported that 50 percent of a traditional company’s value and 90 percent of an e-commerce company’s value result from nine intangible factors:
- Quality of management
- Employee quality/satisfaction
- Brand investment
- Product/service quality
Several independent studies over time have confirmed that brand equity accounts for between 5 and 7 percent of the change in a company’s stock price and many experts believe this percentage is somewhat conservative.Read More