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Category: Brand Management

Brand Management

Linking Wellness And Brand


Julie Rice And The SoulCycle Brand

According to a new study conducted by Edelman Wellness 360 in partnership with Edelman Berland, attitudes to health and well-being are changing with some ironic twists. Modern wellness goes beyond doctor’s visits, clinics, and gym memberships. A growing sense of mindfulness is bringing the mind and mind-body aspects of health into the norm, versus looking at health in terms of muscle and organ “mechanics”. What it means is: Well-being is no longer a health measure; it’s a life measure. And that holds great potential for marketers.

At work here is a trend called The “Now” Movement – which brings together the ‘in the moment’ aspects of the mindfulness movement with remixing traditions. Edelman’s study reveals there is ample opportunity to connect with consumers who attach great personal meaning to their health and potential. But there are curiosities in the data that hints there is much more that lurks behind the behavior.

  • From the PEW study, 89% feel they are responsible for their own health and well-being.
  • Despite an overwhelming majority mentioning the benefits of having a social support system, 43% didn’t ask anyone for help.

Clearly well-being is still perceived as mostly a private or personal experience which is ironic given the amount of everything else in modern life which is not private. Why would 43% not ask for help? Whatever the reason, it boils down to the fact that the individual did not have enough belief to drive action. When we look at this study in the full context of The “Now” Movement trend, it offers a possible explanation for the lack of belief.

Consider SoulCycle (Founder Julie Rice Pictured Above): This brand weds traditional fitness with elements of eastern spirituality (think Deepak). The addition of a spirituality layer is finding great appeal in our modern and increasingly agnostic society. 37% of the population acknowledges a higher power of some sort, and because they are not pursuing normal avenues to find that meaning, they are looking in many other directions. Micro-congregations happen every day at SoulCycle, Equinox, etc. While they are not religious, the communal value of celebrating each other’s desire to be healthier and happier is absolutely a spiritual win.

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Brand Management

4 Ways Brands Should Support Sales Teams


Brand And Sales Support

While there has been plenty of discussion around how marketing and sales teams should play well together, the onus on brand owners to proactively support people in the field seems to have attracted less attention. Customers, of course, make no distinctions between which parts of the organization they are dealing with at any one time. In that sense, brand is sales: a brand is only as good as its ability to attract, convert and retain fickle buyers.

So, could brand managers be doing more to help sales and frontline teams? Here are four ways that these historically distinct teams can get more done together.

1. Build a brand that people want to meet. Salespeople are going to struggle to get appointments if they represent a brand no-one wants to know. Likeability is absolutely a brand responsibility. By creating a brand that is insightful, honed, intriguing and trusted, brand teams can directly help open the door for sales. The more inclined buyers are to want to know more, the more likely they are, obviously, to take a call or a meeting, ask for a demo or search a site. The real power of perception lies in what it enables, and brand owners should be judging their effectiveness on that basis. The responsibility for brand people couldn’t be more clear-cut: build an interesting brand that is a pleasure to sell and represent.

2. Create environments where people come to you. So often, marketers expect sales teams to be the bridgers and closers. They expect them to take what has been prepared out into the world and to bring back new business. That’s a very one-sided view of marketing – because, in reality, brand owners should be intimately involved in the development of communications campaigns and branded environments, online and off-, that invite customers in and make them feel welcome. The role of sales is to drive and close decisions in favor of the brand. The role of brand is to help those decisions feel valuable.

3. Weave the brand through everything you do. The brand and what it represents should be the benchmark for all customer-facing behavior, and sales teams are no exception to this. But if the things they are rewarded for are off-skew with the brand’s values and priorities, then brand and sales will continually be at odds. For that reason, be very careful that what you encourage, recognize and incentivize in your sales team is in keeping with who you say you are and what you say you prioritize. Compassionate brands don’t reward greed. Exciting brands don’t accept complacency. Innovative brands want more on their frontline than order takers. Too many companies have sales cultures, marketing cultures and corporate cultures that are conflicted. Each carries an impression of what the brand is and what the brand encourages into their work and out into the world. As a result, brand encounters can be confusing, even contradictory, for buyers making decisions across different channels. No brand should be confusing. It dissipates meaning and energy. Getting everyone to understand the brand and to apply it specifically to what is required of them takes investment, time and clarity. Money well spent.

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Brand Management

5 Metrics For Measuring Brand Potential


Brand Potential

While the measures for evaluating what a brand is worth are well established, those for quantifying a brand’s potential seem less so. In general, brands are valued on their residual equity (what they are associated with and the depth and competitiveness of that association), their competitive performance and how much they are assessed to be worth.

Those metrics provide a snapshot of what the brand is worth now – and, with tracking, it is possible to spot trends over time – but they do not necessarily work to quantify the potential for a brand looking ahead. These are the measures I use to assess where a brand could go, and whether there is a business case for further investment.

1. How franchisable is the brand association? Brands generate value through the emotions they stir in consumers. There is some debate as to how we should treat the various aspects of brand association (as one thing or as a series of elements) but overall emotion is a lynchpin of a brand’s ability to compete. The question I like to ask is – where could the brand go on that emotion? What’s the feeling worth – and where?

Nike used the concepts of athleticism and democracy (Just do it) to expand their business into a powerful sports and lifestyle brand. And the emotion was so lucrative because it was universal. There were no impediments culturally to the acceptance of those ideals anywhere. Where could the associations that are the cornerstones of your brand take the brand and how big is the market for that? More importantly, is that aspirational market just bigger or is it actually more valuable?

2. How much is the brand talked about? Brands need to be buzzworthy, but there also needs to be correlation between awareness and return, and that equation often gets missed. The metrics of visits and likes are secondary to the overall favorability that the brand attracts (especially in sectors where reviews are highly influential) and to intensity of the ownership that consumers have for the brand. The critical translation though is how that talk and awareness at the open end of the sales funnel translates to conversion and profit.

In the light of this, it’s important to assess the talkability of your plans. Why will what’s being planned be exciting to consumers? How and why will they pick up the news and share it? Why will they want to be part of it? (rather than just how is the company going to promote it?) Who will the brand reach that it doesn’t reach now? And how will that change the conversation for the better and to your advantage?

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Brand Management

Brands And The Boundaries They Must Keep


Brands And Ethics

Marketers face this dilemma every day. They must push some boundaries past the point of pain in order to get the jump and be competitive. At the same time, they must clearly stay within constraints such as ethics and regulatory requirements in order to retain integrity, reputation and a clean record.

The two should balance: think ambitiously; compete responsibly.

Bad things happen when they don’t. Bubbles form. Temptations rise. And as they do, the urge to scuff the chalkmarks increases. The Global Financial Crisis is the poignant repercussive example of what happens when borders get realigned: when organizations reset their ethical boundaries and then use those reframed parameters as the basis for more ambitious (read: morally dubious) behaviors that they rationalize as necessary, even “responsible” in order to remain competitive.

It’s comfortable for most marketers to forge ways to profitably pursue their purpose because the money triumphs and the purpose justifies. You can make target and validate getting there as having done something good in the process. It’s a much greater challenge for brands to work through how they will purposefully pursue their profit – because then, the behaviors are front and center and the profits are the validation that customers support and reward you for choosing to behave that way.

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Brand Management

6 Sure Signs Of A Truly Trusted Brand


Brands And Trust

It’s the thing that every brand craves – to be an unquestioned part of its customers’ lives. But how do you know you’ve become a truly trusted brand? Here are six ways to evaluate whether your brand is winning over today’s highly aware and cynical consumers:

You’re believed: Obvious, right? Absolutely – but rare. Consumers continue to look sideways at most of the stuff that is marketed to them. By contrast, trusted brands are seen as genuine, sincere, “one of us”. As a result, they effectively act as an ally in someone’s life and the part they play is not questioned – or at least it hasn’t been until recently. According to Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, top brands are no longer able to retain their status as market leaders for such long periods…consumers are prepared to commit to up to five brands as long as they believe the brand adds value to their lives or society in general … a certain brand paradox exists in the world today where people will wholeheartedly buy into specific brands, while putting less trust in brands in general at the same time.”

The half-life of brand trust is in decline overall. The brands that have consumers’ trust need to fight harder than ever to keep it.

You’re included: Trusted brands are supported as much for what they stand for as what they sell. Whilst I have consistently questioned the commercial conversion of Likes for brands, it is interesting to look at why people follow brands on Facebook in the first place: According to MediaPost, “Fans choose to Like brands in key consumer categories predominantly to fulfill emotional, expression and relationship desires…the single biggest reason (49%) brand Fans in our study report becoming a Fan is “to support the brand I like … Other key reasons for becoming a Fan of a brand include: “to share my personal good experiences” (31%); “to share my interests / lifestyle with others” (27%); and “seeing my friends are already a Fan or Liked” (20%)

People trust brands that feel most like them. The “use=them” relationship adds to the perceptions of empathy, like-mindedness and shared beliefs and ideals.

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