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Category: Brand Management

Brand Management

Brand Management Today

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Brand Strategy Nike

I mentioned previously that branding goes as far back as recorded history. However, in the modern era, outside of brand identity development, branding activities were largely confined to consumer packaged goods companies such as General Mills, Kraft Foods, Nestle, P&G and Unilever. Then, in the mid-to-late 1990s, companies began to realize that their corporate brands were assets of great value that needed to be managed and leveraged. This is when companies started creating brand management positions at senior, and sometimes even corporate officer levels in the their organizations. I was the beneficiary of this movement at Hallmark Cards, when I was named Hallmark’s brand czar (not my real title).

Since that time, municipalities, universities, museums, professional trade associations, sports teams, churches and even individuals have gotten into the branding act. Talk of brands and brand positioning has become ubiquitous within our society.

Today, when we are asked to facilitate brand positioning workshops for organizations, the workshop participants are almost always the organization’s CEO and his or her staff, not the marketing department (although they participate). Further, increasingly, we are asked to facilitate a mission, vision, values workshop for the company just prior to the brand positioning workshop because the two activities are closely linked for organization brands. I have also written about the need to touch organization-wide communication, training and development, organization design, recruiting, performance appraisal, budgeting, capital investments, customer service design and other functions as a way to ensure that the organization delivers on the promises that it makes. These activities are clearly outside of the scope of a typical chief marketing officer’s role and responsibilities.

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Brand Management

How To Get The Marketing Budget You Need

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Marketing Budget Request

This is the time of year when many marketing departments decide how their particular share of the industry’s enormous marketing spend will be applied in the following year.

In practice this means senior marketers make predictions for the coming year, perform an objective review of the performance of the previous year’s expenditure and then finally allocate their spend across their chosen marketing investments.

The vast majority of firms still use a top-down budgeting system. Senior managers decide on the total marketing budget for the year and leave marketing to allocate it accordingly. This figure is usually calculated in one of two ways. In its most pathetic form, top-down budgeting involves senior management looking at last year’s budget and then increasing it or decreasing based on expectations of turnover.

Or else they apply an ‘advertising:sales ratio’. Senior managers estimate how much they expect to sell in the coming year and then apply a completely arbitrary percentage to this estimate. Thus the marketing budget is set.

The problems with a top-down approach should be obvious. It is non-strategic, takes no account of new initiatives within the company, and ignores changes in the external market.

It also involves estimating how much a firm expects to sell before making any decision on marketing spend, thus inferring that marketing is an inconsequential expense, rather than integral investment. Firms that use the top-down approach are hindered in their marketing strategy, long before that strategy has even been devised.

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Brand Management

Customer Segmentation Explored

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Cross Category Segmentation Strategy

Two universally scarce commodities are time and money. Some people have one or the other but not both, other people have neither, while a few fortunate people have both. Brands can command a price premium or a time premium or both. This leads into a universal cross-category segmentation scheme.

Regardless of the category, some shoppers are driven primarily by price or price discounts. These people tend to lack money or are fearful that they will. Some shoppers are driven primarily by convenience. “What brand is available near me now? Which brand will be the quickest to purchase?” These people are time deprived. Maybe they are single parents with one or more jobs or maybe they have very demanding professional jobs that spare them little time for anything else.

Others are category enthusiasts. That is, they are extremely active in the category and are always seeking out the latest product, service or brand. This makes them extremely knowledgeable but less brand-loyal.

Finally, there is a group that is brand loyal. These people are comfortable with the brand that they have been using over the years and feel no need to explore other options. Their satisfaction is high and their need to seek out new options is low.

So the generic segmentation schemes are “price conscious,” “convenience oriented,” “category enthusiasts,” and “brand loyal.” Usually, people are primarily motivated in one of these four ways. That is not to say that there can’t be price conscious brand loyal consumers or convenience oriented brand loyal consumers, but usually one of these is the dominant driver of their purchase choices.

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop, the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series and Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

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

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Brand Management

How Brands Lose Sight Of Their Customers

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Customer Service Brand Strategy

How do service organizations, specifically large service organizations lose sight of the customer and the shifting demands of a dynamic market?

Everybody says they’re in business to serve the customer, but the people who are actually customer facing and customer serving are often those with the least experience, the least knowledge and the least authority because that lowers cost-per-serve. Unfortunately, it also lowers quality, depth, flexibility and engagement, compromising the brand experience and making service a commoditized set of processes that frontline staff are judged on their ability to conform to.

The situation should logically resolve itself as people become more valuable to the organization, and therefore gain what has been missing when they were on the frontline – experience, knowledge, authority, influence and networks. But what actually happens is that those people are shepherded into talent programs that promote them further and further away from a direct relationship with customers – which is an increasing juxtaposition in itself – and their focus moves. It becomes more and more introverted.

Market-based innovation then becomes increasingly difficult, because the people now empowered to make change decisions are locked into an internal bubble that seals their own market impressions firmly in the past. They are also fighting battles and priorities that actually have increasingly little to do with where the money comes from.

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop, the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series and Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

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

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Brand Management

Brands Must Proactively Build Systems Of Trust

By

Brand Strategy Uber

As any banker will tell you, the moment a bank is forced to ask depositors for trust is the very moment at which, for all practical purposes, that bank becomes insolvent. A run is sure to ensue. Nobody wants their money in a bank with even the slightest chance of losing it. The mere mention of trust spooks people.

Financial regulators know this. Saving banks from having to ask for trust is one of the main purposes of deposit insurance. Government guarantees that all account losses will be made whole give troubled banks a turnaround chance they wouldn’t get if they had to ask customers to keep calm and just trust them. These guarantees are one part, if not the key part, of the system for trust.

Trust is a third rail for every kind of business or brand. It is an intangible requisite for staying in business of which companies dare not speak. As soon as you ask for it, you lose it. If trust cannot be taken for granted in the everyday course of business, if trust is not beyond question, then customers immediately jump to the conclusion that something is out of sorts.

Trust is in scarce supply nowadays, so many brand marketers have made trust a prominent part of their communications strategy. But asking for it is not the way to win back the confidence of wary customers. The solution is to have the systems in place needed to guarantee it.

Many argue that the locus of trust these days has pivoted from institutions like brands to networks of peers. Certainly, peers are more important than ever, but peers alone are not enough to guarantee trust.

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