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.
Actions and reactions are a strange two-speed dance in the context of market agility.
Reactions are the responses that competing companies must actually make together and in a co-ordinated manner to shifts in market dynamics and / or customer expectations. Doing so sets a new norm over which the participants themselves can then compete.
The airline industry generally, with the exception of the upper-market carriers, has reacted to economic pressures by dropping ticket prices and introducing fees for services. Shifting the emphasis from prestige to transport, and charging people for everything and the seat has reaped them billions. They did that together.
As this article on the resurgence of Hollywood ticket sales shows, movie-makers have responded to the surge in available content and home entertainment gadgets by delivering experiences that still make it worth their while for people to go out and see a movie at the theater – action-packed franchises, amazing sound, 3D; features that continue to make cinemas the biggest and best way to see a movie. Again, they did that together.
Both sectors have looked to change the overall rules, meaning there’s now a new collective sector playbook that in itself generates new standards, new expectations, new reactions and perhaps new competitors.Read More
Brands and customers part company for all sorts of reasons. Relationships are tidal. We outgrow the need for a brand or product, our tastes or priorities shift, we don’t live where we lived or work where we worked or spend our time doing what we used to do all the time, perhaps we decide to pass on the latest upgrade.
And, objectively, that’s a healthy thing. Those ebbs and flows provide markets with movement. They ensure that new players can enter and gain new customers and current players can change their position in a sector as they gain or lose followers.
Most brands have their heads around winning new customers. They seem less certain on how to say goodbye with good grace. But how you do that can, in the longer run, and in the context of your brand, be as important as how you welcome customers in the first place. Wishing them well on the next stage of their journey, and assisting them to start that stage in the best light, may well put you a lot closer to welcoming them back.
The critical thing is to stay true to who you are and what you stand for, while keeping your mind open to opportunities to improve. The key question is, why are they leaving and what can you as a brand learn from that?Read More
For some time now, brands have pursued difference. Spurred on initially by Jack Trout, they’ve positioned, disrupted, innovated…all with that elusive goal in mind. To stand out and stand apart from their competitors. Benefits, positioning, pyramids, strategies…a lot of time and energy has gone into trying to help brands achieve difference. Everyone’s been on that quest to become a Purple Cow.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Seth Godin fan and, inspired by that, the call for differentiation has been a recurrent theme in my own work, but there’s no denying that for the most part marketers have failed to live up to Godin’s call to recolor the livestock. Nigel Hollis has written previously here on Branding Strategy Insider that less than 1 in 5 brands is seen as distinctive by consumers.
One can of course read that as proof that Godin’s call is as relevant (and challenging) as ever. Or one can take it as meaning that the quest for difference is simply not one that works for the majority of marketers.
Three reasons why remarkable difference might be unattainable:
- Marketers get tempted into pursuing difference for difference’s sake and take their eye off the very people who buy their brands.
- Difference isn’t a motivation for consumers. People don’t go to the supermarket to buy what’s different. They buy what they know and what appeals to them. They buy what they remember. Different or not.
- In a world of product parity, increasing regulation, impatient investors and embedded management orthodoxy, meaningful difference is too hard to achieve. Consider this characteristically provocative statement from Mark Ritson: “[True] repositioning is almost always impossible. No matter how attractive it appears or how commonly we use the term in marketing, the actual business of changing a brand’s DNA and being successful is ridiculous…actually changing a brand from black to white…is a ludicrous notion. Even when you can fool the people into believing the change has occurred…you cannot change the fundamental nature of the way a brand does business.”
So what’s the alternative? Conformity? Hardly. Perhaps a little more latitude – and more focus on the human condition.Read More
The Blake Project offers a highly impactful and interactive brand strategy workshop that pairs the insights of customers and brand stakeholders for a day-long collaborative session where a unique, customer-valued and brand-centric customer experience is co-created.
The power of this workshop resides in the collaborative process. Working, imagining and creating together, customers interact with their company ‘peers’ to create the template for an enhanced experience that will build equity and value for both the brand and its customers.
Facilitated by the seasoned brand experts of The Blake Project, the workshop’s day begins with an opening “Discovery” session and then moves into “Co-Creation” experience design. The day concludes with a “Consensus” session where top ideas are prioritized and expanded on.
DISCOVERY: Guided imagery storytelling will help customers articulate what the current category experience looks like for them. Staying brand neutral, touch-points are confirmed and insight is built around the pain points and frustrations as well as the unmet customer needs, expectations and desires that are the core drivers of satisfaction. The sponsoring brand is then introduced and creative visualization techniques help customers articulate the sponsoring brand’s experience and compare it to the overall category experience.
CO-CREATION: Utilizing agreed upon touchpoints and the sponsoring brand’s essence, promise and personality as a guideline for development, participants collaborate to co-create new, energized and valuable customer experiences.
CONSENSUS: The day will end with a strategic session prioritizing and expanding on the ideas that offer the highest levels of user satisfaction and brand differentiation.
Ideal For: Those marketers within the company responsible for brand management and brand experience, design and implementation.
Participants: Ideally, 6-12 brand team participants and 10-16 customers attend The Customer Experience Workshop.
- Shared buy-in and agreement on the brand experience ideas and concepts that will form the basis for a market-differentiating brand experience for the sponsoring brand.
- An energized sense of purpose and direction that will add speed, precision and power to the implementation of the brand experience.
- A comprehensive overview of findings.
- The ability to ‘Wow’ your customers, not just satisfy them.
Timeframe: One full workshop day. Preparation and customer recruitment will take 2-3 weeks for The Blake Project.
Outcomes: Clarity and confidence in the strategic direction of your brand experience.
The Blake Project is a leading brand consultancy with a history of helping brands overcome high-stakes marketing challenges, create new value and build an advantage in the minds of those most important to your brands future. Customer Co-creation is a core competency.
Please email me, Derrick Daye for more about how The Customer Experience Workshop can benefit your brand.Read More
I honestly can’t remember how I came to see this video. It features Katy Woodrow-Hill, the head of planning at Dare, describing her top four tips on becoming a ‘doing’ brand. But I thought the ideas were well worth repeating here.
I have amended the order in which the tips are given for what I hope is a good reason. One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is to focus on what they want to do or say without connecting it to the brand’s purpose, the difference the brand is intended to make in people’s lives. You need to start there and work out how to best publicize the brand.
1. Make what you do relevant to what you stand for
Good works are great in their own right, but if you want get the most out of your investment then you need to tie the actions back to what the brand stands for. The obvious example of a brand that does this superbly well is Red Bull. The brand invests in a myriad of different sports and events but they are all tied back to the idea that Red Bull uplifts mind and body.
2. Make what you do relatable
Assuming that your brand can make a difference in people’s lives, then the key question is whether what it stands for – the promise, positioning, personality – resonates with the target audience. What you do has to mean something to them, it has to resonate.
3. Make what you do simple for people to understand
So true but so often ignored in practice. “People will figure it out,” has to be one of the most over-used excuses for poorly executed creative. One time in a hundred the audience might be so intrigued that they want to figure out what is being shown or said. On the 99 other occasions, they simply click away to something of more interest.