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At The Blake Project our sole focus is helping organizations create brands that build and sustain trust. Branding Strategy Insider is an extension of our efforts as brand consultants to help marketing oriented leaders and professionals build strong brands.

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Brand Management

Defining Your Brand Purpose

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Brand Strategy

The term “purpose” has risen in business prominence as brands look for ways to connect what they are evaluated for in the short term, with their commitments over longer timeframes.

Nevertheless, there are still many who view this (re)definition of purpose as a feel-good that soft-frames the commercial realities of what businesses are there to do. Additionally, they say, it risks becoming too much of a distraction to the bottom-line responsibilities that organizations should focus on.

Advocates of the more single-minded approach argue that the purpose of business is to make money and that, in doing that, businesses contribute to the efficient functioning of markets through wealth creation and jobs. It is a functional view, centered on the immediate and commercial reasons for being and oriented in its evaluation of success towards results.

In the right hands, this focus on outcomes energizes and drives an organization’s business priorities and strategies. It is an approach that has powered many of the most effective globalization strategies to date. Coke’s drive to put a glass of Coke within arm’s reach of every thirsty person on the planet is reflected in its supply chain policies, in its product development, in its distribution and pricing strategies. That saw the company become the biggest seller of beverages in the world as outlined in this excerpt from their 2013 Annual Report:

“The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company. We own or license and market more than 500 non[-]alcoholic beverage brands … We believe our success depends on our ability to connect with consumers by providing them with a wide variety of options to meet their desires, needs and lifestyles. Our success further depends on the ability of our people to execute effectively, every day. Our goal is to use our Company’s assets — our brands, financial strength, [unrivaled] distribution system, global reach, and the talent and strong commitment of our management and associates — to become more competitive and to accelerate growth in a manner that creates value for our shareowners.”

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Marketing To Women

Why Women Will Redefine Brands

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Marketing To Women Strategy

It’s extraordinary isn’t it how so much has been made of the emergence of China and India and of the impact of new technology on the world’s economic wellbeing – and yet a factor bigger than either of these dynamics has been comparatively ignored.

The rise in the participation of women in the economy through full-time work has contributed more to economic growth than either Asia or online globally. Some have noticed and commented – author and speaker Fara Warner has written an eye-opening and important book “The Power of the Purse”, Tom Peters has been on about this for years and in 2006 the Economist coined its own term ‘womenomics’ to describe this gender-based economic upswing – but by and large, the attention pales in comparison to the space writers and journalists have devoted to Silicon Valley, the rise of the subcontinent and the Red Dragon, and of course social media.

And yet, in the first world at least, while there has been little upheaval in the layout of the executive washroom, the social situation could not have become more different. In the US, the participation of women in the workforce has risen from just 20 percent in the early 20th century to close to 50 percent today, and it is still rising. The numbers around that speak for themselves. According to Gerry Myers, American women now earn, control, and spend trillions of dollars annually. In fact, they are responsible for a whopping 80 – 85 percent of all purchasing decisions. Since the Second World War, they have transformed from the “silent economy” spending ‘someone else’s money’ to an economic force to be reckoned with, very much in charge of their own spending power.

So it’s extraordinary that so many marketers still regard marketing to women as akin to catering to a niche market. As Fara Warner points out, when you recognize that women are not just the majority but actually the vast majority of consumers, and that their power is only going to increase, it completely changes the commercial urgency of getting to grips with women buyers. It also helps explain why and how brands have evolved in recent years, and why the “experience economy” can only become more important.

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Value Creation

20 Ways To Kill Dull Products

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Product Innovation Strategy

When Nielsen analyzed over 3,400 new consumer product introductions launched in the U.S. market in 2012, it found just 14 managed to generate at least $50 million in sales in their first year and sustain that momentum into their second. Out of some 17,000 new products launched since 2008, just 62 of them have had that kind of success.

According to Taddy Hall, “Breakthrough Winners don’t rely on luck or genius. The hallmark of successful innovation is that they resolve struggles or fulfill aspirations; they perform jobs in consumers’ lives.”

With that in mind, here’s my 20 suggestions on how to arrive at wonderful products.

1. Rethink what’s assumed.
2. Redefine what gets done.
3. Make something much more accessible.
4. Make it so clear.
5. Do something simpler.
6. Bridge a little gap.
7. Add joy.
8. Connect/combine.
9. Startle.
10. Lift what gets paid for.

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Brand Architecture

4 Reasons To Maintain Different Brands

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Brand Architecture Strategy

Brand architecture is the logical, strategic and relational structure for your brands or put another way, it is the entity’s “family tree” of brands, sub-brands and named products. As organizations grow through mergers and acquisitions they are faced with many important decisions regarding brand architecture, including how many brands should be managed. Here are the reasons a company might want to maintain different brands or sub-brands:

1. If there are channel conflict issues, especially if key customers who resell to the end consumer want to offer something different from competitors
2. If the same (or very similar) products are sold at different price points – separate brands or sub-brands create more distance between the offerings
3. If one set of products are upscale or premium, while the other are standard or value products
4. If one brand appeals to a very different market segment with different needs from the other brand (making the messaging different)

Regarding linking brands, usually, there is no significant danger, especially if one is endorsed by the other. (The exception to this is if one brand’s associations somehow detract from the other brand.) Brand endorsement indicates the linkage but also creates some distance between the two brands. Endorsed brands make the parent brand relevant (or at least increases its awareness) to the market served by the endorsed brand.

The advantage of using fewer brands or a singular brand is marketing efficiency in brand building and customer communication.

Brand architecture strategy and the issues that arise from growth can be quite complex, for that we have developed this comprehensive guide to brand architecture. For those brands that need one-on-one help The Blake Project developed The Brand Architecture Workshop.

Sponsored By: The Brand Architecture Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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Brand Marketing

Brand Marketing Versus Inequality

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Brand Marketing Inequality

Inequality is in the spotlight. Not since Teddy Roosevelt set about busting trusts has this issue gotten people so exercised. But the hullabaloo around inequality is more than just an Occupy rallying cry for the 99%. It’s about whether the consumer marketplace can rally. A newly released report from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) made headlines with its conclusion that rising income inequality is a significant drag on the economy, both today and over the next decade.

The S&P analysis is not an indiscriminate censure of inequality. Unequal outcomes are expected and necessary in a thriving market economy, says the report, but when inequality becomes “extreme,” strong growth is unsustainable. Several factors are cited as reasons why, chief among them that middle incomes stagnate when income skews top heavy, thus forcing middle-class consumers to borrow to keep up. This leads inevitably to over-leveraging and economic downturns. The resulting damage to household balance sheets from these boom and bust cycles takes a long time to repair, keeping growth in check.

The bigger issue with inequality mentioned in the report, though, is the well-documented phenomenon of a declining marginal propensity to consume. This is to say that people with lots of money spend less of their next dollar of income than people with less money. It’s the intuitive idea that if you have a lot already, you don’t need more, so you save the next dollar you earn. By contrast, if you don’t have a lot already, you spend the next dollar instead of saving it. Inequality diverts income from middle- and lower-class consumers who would spend it, channeling it instead to the rich who just sock it away. Growth slows because demand is weakened. Princeton economist Alan Krueger estimates that the shift in income gains from the middle to the top since 1979 have reduced annual consumer spending today by $400 billion to $500 billion, or about 3.5 percent of GDP.

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