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Category: Branding: Just Ask…

Brand Storytelling Branding: Just Ask...

How Leading Brands Should Respond To Attacks

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How A Leading Brand Should Respond To A Challenger

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from John, a VP of Marketing in Dallas, Texas who writes…

“We are a global B2B brand and the the market leader in our sector. We have a much smaller brand attacking both us and our offer and using very clever brand messaging to do so. Our response so far has been restrained and very much in keeping with your brand storytelling strategy of redirect, refute, re-position and remind. That hasn’t stopped them. In terms of best practice, when do you feel is the right time for a leader to send a more direct message that draws clear contrasts with the challenger brand offering? I know the inherent risks for giving free mindshare impressions, and generating big guy beating up on little guy perceptions, but keen to hear your thoughts.”

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Branding: Just Ask...

When Brands Are Criticized: SeaWorld

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Sea World Brand Strategy

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Michelle, a journalist in San Francisco who writes…

“I’m working on a story on this week’s news about SeaWorld’s new ad campaign ‘#AskSeaWorld’, which takes the company’s opponents head on by addressing its care and concern for killer whales at a time when there has been considerable backlash on that very topic.

I want to gauge why SeaWorld might be taking this approach while in the midst of crisis (attendance and revenue are falling), what’s at stake and how and whether SeaWorld might gain or lose with this approach. I would love to get your insights into this one!”

Thanks for your question Michelle. Every brand is subject to potential criticism. It’s part of participating in the hyper-connected world in which we all do business. SeaWorld needs to see the documentary and the campaign that followed as part of the atmosphere of scrutiny that all brands are under today.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that not for profit organizations such as PETA have added social media tools to their communications arsenal to publicize the things they care about.

SeaWorld needed to respond to the criticisms that had been leveled against them through the Blackfish documentary. That film did the company a great deal of reputational harm. They needed to respond because if they didn’t they risked an ongoing conversation that would do them no favors. SeaWorld’s reaction time has been slow by today’s standards.

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Branding: Just Ask...

The Best Corporate Structure For Brand Building

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Brand Leadership Strategy

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Sandra, a VP of Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia who writes…

“Who in a company should have leadership responsibility for the brand and how should a company be organized to best manage and grow its brand?”

Thanks for your question Sandra. For most companies, the brand exists at the organizational level. Therefore, the person who is ultimately responsibility for maintaining, growing and leveraging the brand asset is the organization’s leader – CEO, executive director, president, etc. That person should know what the brand stands for, how it aligns with the organization’s mission, vision and values and what makes it unique and compelling in the marketplace. Further, that person should model brand-supporting behaviors.

Practically, that person will likely assign the day-to-day responsibilities for managing the brand to a senior level chief brand advocate, who will likely have at least a small staff to help him or her monitor, manage, build and leverage the brand. This might include a brand identity manager, who is responsible for maintaining brand identity accuracy and consistency throughout the enterprise.

Often the brand function, while senior in level, has little direct authority across all of the functions in the organization that impact the brand. This is why the chief brand advocate needs to be a highly skilled influencer who is also highly respected. The brand managers will often work through interdisciplinary groups. For instance, the brand identity manager might chair a brand identity council comprised of people throughout the organization who use the brand in communications. The role of that council would be to insure brand identity accuracy and consistency. It is essentially a self-policing organization.

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Branding: Just Ask...

Measuring Brand Equity In A Busy World

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Brand Equity Measurement

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Olusesan, a VP of Marketing in Nigeria who writes…

“I read your article on Measuring Brand Equity for B2B Brands and it was very meaningful. I am currently working on a Brand Strategy for my B2B company and the yardsticks you offer in your article make sense. However, I have a problem with kind of research tool that could be used. My Target market is mostly Nigerian mid to high managers/CEOs who will definitely not have time or will feel awkward to fill in surveys. I would like to know what kind of research tool is most appropriate for a market like Nigeria where people even hardly check their emails.”

Thanks for your question Olusesan. There are a few ways to address the problem you anticipate encountering with Nigerian business executives. Busy high status people often respond better if they are provided with a monetary incentive. For instance, when we seek the input of physicians, we often have to pay them $250 apiece to participate in the research. Some companies will not allow the personal receipt of such incentives, so sometimes we donate the incentive in their name to one of a few preselected charities or to the charity of their choice. Another option is to schedule a time for them to take the survey with their secretary or personal assistant. Calling them on the telephone to invite their participation and to follow up on their participation also helps.

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Branding: Just Ask...

Branding vs Promotions

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Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Chris, a VP of Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia who writes…

“I head up the marketing efforts for a regional sports bar & grille chain with 50+ stores. I work with many restaurant operators and have not been able to put into simple terms how the short-term strategy of promotions is a mistake versus marketing our brand for long-term growth. The casual dining industry has been struggling and patience is not something my colleagues have and so easily we fall into the “we have do something” trap and come up with another promotion. We communicate WHAT we have [i.e. the promotions: $5 Cheesesteaks; Trivia @ 7pm; Kids Eat Free on Tuesdays, Late Night Happy Hour, etc.] instead of communicating WHY a potential customer should visit us [we are fun, we love sports, we have great food, etc.].

We have not marketed our brand in the past. There’s always been an offer attached or we just advertise an offer. I’m trying really hard to break the cycle. Research we just conducted shows our brand awareness is weak. We’re trying to be all things to all people so we don’t differentiate ourselves. We’re not providing the WHY. Anything you can share that will help me explain this on a level that an owner/operator can understand would be greatly appreciated.”

Thank you for your question, Chris. Brands exist to differentiate one company’s products from all other products in its category. By definition, brands are able to charge a price premium over commodities – the stronger the brand, the higher the price premium that can be charged. Brands deliver other benefits to companies as well:

  • Increased revenues and market share
  • Increased stock price, shareholder value and sale value
  • Increased word-of-mouth marketing
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased ability to attract and retain talented employees
  • Increased employee job satisfaction
  • Increased clarity of vision
  • Increased profitability
  • Decreased price sensitivity
  • Increased ability to mobilize an organization’s people and focus its activities
  • Increased ability to expand into new product and service categories
  • Additional leverage with vendors and retailers (for manufacturers)

Brands are built over time through strong brand identity (logos, taglines, etc.), marketing communication and customer service. Most importantly, you must consistently deliver on the brand’s unique value proposition each time the brand interacts with the customer at each point of customer contact.

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