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 Trends
It’s been nearly 15 years since the first publication of Canadian author Naomi Klein’s book “No Logo” (1999). To many, No Logo has been considered the genesis of the alter-globalization and anti-branding movement.
Of course we live in a completely different world now than in 1999. Since it’s publication, there have been other voices in the anti-branding movement–most notable is Jonathan Baskin’s book “Branding Only Works on Cattle”.
Baskin implies that branding is a complete intangible providing little lasting value, and nothing more than a big waste of time and money. Baskin’s premise suggests consumer purchase behavior trumps the conventional activities of image / awareness branding.
For those who may not be familiar with Klein’s anti-branding book, its premise is organized into four sections: “No Space”, “No Choice”, “No Jobs”, and “No Logo”. The first three sections deal with the negative effects of brand-oriented corporate activity, while the fourth discusses various methods people have taken in order to fight back the big branding (corporate) bullies.
For those voices in the anti-branding movement, the proliferation of brands over the past 15 years might seem as though no one has been listening. The whole idea of brand is stronger and more embedded into our culture than ever before.
Measuring Brand Value
It’s an established practice by marketers everywhere to trumpet the rankings of Interbrand’s (in association with Bloomberg Businessweek) annual survey of The World’s Top 100 Brands. According to Interbrand, the survey “evaluates brands much the way analysts value other business assets”. The idea being the stock valuation of big companies is largely the result of the financial value of their brands.
The truth about accurately measuring quantitative brand value is a matter of opinion. The bigger question for many business leaders and marketers still remains–does branding drive real business performance?
Many advances in measuring ROI for marketing activities have been developed in recent years. However, there is a big distinction between measuring marketing effectiveness and the intangible value of a brand.
If the quantitative measurement of brand value is a black art, (as Jonathon Baskin suggests), why does branding matter at all? And more importantly if branding is nothing more than an intangible activity promoting more consumption and consumerism rather than responsible citizenship, how much influence do the voices of the anti-branding movement have today within modern marketing organizations to make things better?Read More
Evgeny Morozov is a scold. Little if anything about the direction in which digital technologies are moving these days meets with his approval.
Morozov is not alone. A small coterie of other like-minded critics – Nicholas Carr, Sherry Turkle and Jaron Lanier, chief among them – have added their voices to a Greek chorus of Cassandras chiding consumers that 21st century digital technologies are a Trojan horse imperiling civil society and personal well-being.
It goes without saying that digital technologies are upending all aspects of life. Every sweeping change like this, whatever its motive force – technology, demographics, the economy, politics – comes with challenges that menace the opportunities. But before we throw the digital baby out with the bath water, let’s put the apprehensions in perspective and ponder our digital futures in more constructive ways. Unlike public intellectuals who earn their keep by stoking our anxieties, brand marketers must fashion real-world solutions that negotiate trade-offs to deliver value propositions that measure up to our manifold hopes and dreams about the good life.
Fears that technological advances have unleashed a fast-approaching social apocalypse are at least as old as Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic, Frankenstein, originally sub-titled, The Modern Prometheus, which was published barely a generation after the first stirrings of the Industrial Revolution.Read More
There’s a profound shift in power taking place in the business arena. With a whole new breed of exceptional new brands living by the rules of Business 3.0, consumers are now attracted to unproven and unknown brands the way they were attracted to established brands in the past. In fact, ‘established’ is now often just another word for tired if not tainted. The future belongs to Clean Slate Brands. Newer, better, faster, cleaner, more open and responsive; consumers are rushing to Clean Slate Brands and are now lavishing love, attention and trust on brands without heritage and history. Driving this trend:
1. Lust for the New > Why for consumers, ‘new’ now truly means ‘better’
The consumer arena has never been more fixated on the ‘new’. Thanks to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings. Lower barriers to entry has gone from buzzphrase to reality, especially online.
And to underscore the ‘for and by’ element of the democratization of innovation, new players are by default more nimble and laser-focused on what consumers want now (as opposed to yesterday) than the bigger legacy-laden brands they compete with.
So from being something that was pushed to consumers by businesses (‘new and improved’), the ‘new’ is now subject to an increasingly strong pull from consumers. Excited by positive experiences of a ‘new’ that is genuinely ‘better’, consumers are hungry for more.
2. Instant Trust > Why consumers are immediately comfortable with, even prefer, turning to Clean Slate Brands
The whole concept of ‘brands’ rests on the idea that consumers need recognizable, trusted symbols, honed over many years, to help them navigate the wealth of available choices. However this idea is being swept aside in a business arena now characterized by Instant Trust.
This trend is most relevant in mature economies, where trust in big business has never been lower: only 28% trust big business in the UK, 30% in Japan, 32% in Australia, 33% in the US and 34% in Canada. In emerging markets however, consumers’ trust levels are much higher: 83% in China, 72% in Turkey, 65% in Brazil and India (Havas, January 2013). The question is: will big business maintain this trust?
Four forces are making consumers immediately comfortable with (and even prefer) turning to Clean Slate Brands:Read More
At root, all marketing is local, but never more so than today. Economically, the geographies that matter to brand marketers are sub-national, mostly local. In particular, marketing is increasingly all about cities.
For one thing, local city economies matter more than national economies. A recent paper by Brigham Young University economist Todd Mitton found that the economic performance of sub-national regions within the 101 countries studied is influenced more by natural factors than by institutions, except when these regions function autonomously. Which is to say, when not dominated by far-away national institutions, everything comes together, natural and institutional, to enable key sub-national regions to excel and outperform the rest of the country. The takeaway is that national economies as a whole fare better when local economies are unleashed and untethered.
What is true for macroeconomic policymakers is true for brand marketers, too. Local is where the action is, cities in particular. Not the least reason is that cities are where people are. Excluding urban “clusters,” which often include small towns, the 2010 Census found that 71.2 percent of the U.S. population lives in 468 “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people. But the concentration within cities is even more pronounced – the top 48 urbanized areas account for more than half of the U.S. urban population. It is estimated that 60 million of the additional 100 million people projected by 2043 will live in one of nearly two dozen “megapolitan” areas.
It’s no surprise, then, that cities are also the engines of economic growth. A Brookings Institution analysis of 2009 economic data found that in 47 of 50 states, metro areas accounted for the majority of a state’s economic output. Even more, in 15 states, just one metro area accounted for the bulk of output. Cities produce a disproportionate share of exports. Cities attract the most talented, best educated people (whom Richard Florida famously described as the “creative class”). And cities possess the most valuable assets for future growth.
What’s true for the U.S. is true globally as well, particularly in emerging economies. From 2010 to 2050, the urban population of the developed world is projected to grow 0.6 percent per year. In contrast, the urban population of the developing world is projected to grow 2.4 percent per year, or a total of 2.6 billion people. In 2007, a mere 600 cities (out of 4,000 or so worldwide with populations of 100,000 or more) accounted for 60 percent of global GDP. Between now and 2025, the top 600 cities will account for 65 percent of GDP growth in the global economy. The mix of the top 600 cities will change, with 136 new cities, all from the developing world, 100 of them from China.Read More
The Facebook newsfeeds we will see at the end of next year will look very different from the ones we see now. We will see the rise of bigger, bolder, more interactive – and intrusive – Facebook advertisements in 2013.
It was only a matter of time before Facebook sought to monetize and justify its massive valuation. The drive for effective and revenue-generating advertising will draw on its powerful social ecosystem, pushing the creative formats and placements far away from the ads we see today.
Brands will be permitted to be more visible on members’ newsfeeds, growing the use of sponsored stories and video ads (which will become highlighted in users’ feeds). Advertisers will also be prominent across more of the landing page – expandable and richer formats will be prevalent by the end of the year. With these new opportunities will come increased responsibility for advertisers to deliver quality content that enhances the user experience rather than invades the platform.
Facebook will morph from a relatively private social space to a business entity driven by the bottom line. Brands will need to tread carefully as they explore these new opportunities. Some users will tolerate prominent advertising in return for free access to their friends and social connections, but others may balk at increased commercialization. Seeing their personal data sold for targeted advertising may cause resentment, unless brands deliver engaging content that is appropriate for this personal space.
As brands start to invest higher CPMs in more impactful ad units, it will become increasingly important to optimize visuals and messaging. Some of this will be measured in real-time, and copy-testing of Facebook ads will also start to be more widely employed. By the end of 2013 we will better understand users’ reactions to Facebook advertising, and we will know which formats successfully deliver brand impact without alienating users. – Martin Ash
2. Social Media Listening Evolves From Monitoring To InsightRead More