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 Management
Brands and customers part company for all sorts of reasons. Relationships are tidal. We outgrow the need for a brand or product, our tastes or priorities shift, we don’t live where we lived or work where we worked or spend our time doing what we used to do all the time, perhaps we decide to pass on the latest upgrade.
And, objectively, that’s a healthy thing. Those ebbs and flows provide markets with movement. They ensure that new players can enter and gain new customers and current players can change their position in a sector as they gain or lose followers.
Most brands have their heads around winning new customers. They seem less certain on how to say goodbye with good grace. But how you do that can, in the longer run, and in the context of your brand, be as important as how you welcome customers in the first place. Wishing them well on the next stage of their journey, and assisting them to start that stage in the best light, may well put you a lot closer to welcoming them back.
The critical thing is to stay true to who you are and what you stand for, while keeping your mind open to opportunities to improve. The key question is, why are they leaving and what can you as a brand learn from that?Read More
I honestly can’t remember how I came to see this video. It features Katy Woodrow-Hill, the head of planning at Dare, describing her top four tips on becoming a ‘doing’ brand. But I thought the ideas were well worth repeating here.
I have amended the order in which the tips are given for what I hope is a good reason. One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is to focus on what they want to do or say without connecting it to the brand’s purpose, the difference the brand is intended to make in people’s lives. You need to start there and work out how to best publicize the brand.
1. Make what you do relevant to what you stand for
Good works are great in their own right, but if you want get the most out of your investment then you need to tie the actions back to what the brand stands for. The obvious example of a brand that does this superbly well is Red Bull. The brand invests in a myriad of different sports and events but they are all tied back to the idea that Red Bull uplifts mind and body.
2. Make what you do relatable
Assuming that your brand can make a difference in people’s lives, then the key question is whether what it stands for – the promise, positioning, personality – resonates with the target audience. What you do has to mean something to them, it has to resonate.
3. Make what you do simple for people to understand
So true but so often ignored in practice. “People will figure it out,” has to be one of the most over-used excuses for poorly executed creative. One time in a hundred the audience might be so intrigued that they want to figure out what is being shown or said. On the 99 other occasions, they simply click away to something of more interest.
Every brand transformation program I have ever worked on has been set in motion by a problem. And in every case the issue that has galvanized action and that everyone is so focused on answering is not the real problem at all.
As Simon Sinek has observed, people intuitively deal with what they know before they deal with the things they don’t know or feel less comfortable dealing with. The easiest question, and the place most people start is “what?” They deal first with the symptoms they can see and quantify. And often they address them with a “how” that is equally familiar – the methodology they always use.
But while a particular problem may have set off the trip-wire, in reality that problem is probably a symptom of what’s really happened rather than the real cause.
It’s the prompt.
And just having a way to address that problem does not guarantee any quality of answer. It simply provides a process for everyone to map to.
Do you know the lovely story of Abraham Wald? His reasoning shows why what you think you see can be so misleading. The mathematician was called in to determine how to make bombers safer during the Second World War. Everyone agreed they needed more armor. But where? Armor is heavy. If you put it everywhere, the bombers would never get off the ground. The answer seemed obvious. Put the armor where the planes were being shot the most. So Wald went to work and sketched all the places where bombers returning from their runs were most shot up.Read More
Brands and the organizations, products and services that they represent must deliver real customer value. That is, they must address real human needs and desires. And they must do so for monetary and convenience-related costs that deliver at least a reasonable, if not an outstanding, value. So, brands should deliver real functionality. Often, the most visionary and innovative brands and the ones that make the best use of emerging technologies are best at doing this. So are brands that are backed by operationally excellent organizations and whose organizations stress outstanding customer service.
Having said that, there is a less tangible, but equally, if not more important element to branding – what the brand stands for symbolically. Research has shown that most decisions are made emotionally. And people are emotional beings. A brand that has a clear and admirable mission, vision and purpose, that has strongly articulated brand values, that is associated with important ideas, that takes a strong stand for what is right – that brand will win people’s hearts and loyalty. Further, research has shown that these brand associations can be created well before the product or service purchase or usage experience. And they will actually enhance the product purchase and usage experience even though these associations are completely intangible.
While some brand managers, depending on organization structure and roles, may have control over the more tangible brand benefits, every brand manager should have control over the symbolic brand values and associations. And this is where the magic occurs. I encourage you to think deeply about how your brand can inspire people, how it can make them feel good about the state of the world. Take your brand to the next level. Take it beyond functionality to the world of compelling ideas and emotionally moving values.
Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop
Where Marketers Evolve: The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
May 6th and 7th, 2014 in South Beach, Florida
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 50 participants (Selling Out Quickly)
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn
~In Partnership with the American Marketing Association and the Miami Marlins~
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
There’s an increasing temptation to see technology as the harbinger of hope and hazard. Every day, the trendy press and commentators on social media carry reports of the next “it” technology together with their recommendations on what every business needs to be doing to ride the wave. Many of these wonder-techs seem to live a few days longer than their press release in the collective conscious. Some though will indeed change the world we live in and how we interact. This report by McKinsey for example identifies 12 such technologies that the company says could have a potential economic impact of between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year by 2025.
But should our assessment of the risks and opportunities that sectors, and the brands within those sectors, face focus just on emerging innovations and their expected functional impacts? That seems simplistic.
In a report of its own from a couple of years back, KPMG pondered the impact that ten interconnected and interacting sustainability megaforces will have on business over the next 20 years – broadly speaking, a parallel timeframe to the era being considered by McKinsey. Decoupling human progress from resource use and environmental decline, KPMG suggested, represents both the central challenge of our age and one of the biggest sources of future success.
So yes, while there are forces that are clearly pushing economic opportunity forward, there are also clear constraints and restraints that will work to hinder the growth plans of many.Read More