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: Branding: Just Ask…
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 Los Angeles, California who writes…
“First some background as I lead up to my question. I am leading the branding exercise for a university medical center with an integrated clinical delivery system. We currently have a segmented brand. We have traditionally represented the academic and professional brand. Our health system comprises the clinical and consumer brand.
We recently completed a strategic plan that outlines the vision and goals for the academic, research and clinical enterprises. Interpreting the strategic direction of the organization from a branding perspective will help inform naming and visual identity. Concurrently, we have embarked on a visual identity exercise and are in the final stages of selecting a new logo.
What should we explore and clarify in regards to the brand strategy and brand identity of these two brands?”
Thanks for your question John. In our view, brand identity is designed to create differentiation, recognition and recall for a brand. It should be based upon the brand’s intended essence, promise and personality, that is, its positioning. Advantageous positioning is the result of thorough competitive analysis, deep customer understanding (for each segment) and an honest assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses. A robust identity reinforces the most advantageous brand position and is based upon rigorous stakeholder research and competitor analysis.
Consider exploring these topics as you move forward in your branding exercise:Read More
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 Karen, a Brand Manager in Boston, Massachusetts who writes…
‘What brand research is best to build an emotional connection with customers?’
Hi Karen, thanks for your question. A number of companies have asked us to move their brand from a position based on unique product attributes and features to a brand that is highly emotionally connected to its customers based on aspirational qualities and shared values. Some of these organizations have sophisticated brand management functions with rigorous quantitative research and analytics. Unfortunately, some of these companies also insist that we conduct quantitative research to discern statistically significant differences between how their brand delivers on a variety of product functions and features (and sometimes customer benefits) versus the competition rather that yielding to a process that identifies deeply held customer values through qualitative research and then links those values to authentic brand values through a more intuitive and exploratory strategic process.
In brand management, there is a time for quantitative analysis and there is a time for qualitative discovery. If you want your brand to connect with people on a deep emotional level, qualitative discovery is the approach you want to take.
Karen, you will find more on building emotional connections to your brand here.
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