The Blake Project

Why a Branding Strategy Blog?

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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Derrick Daye
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Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy And Customer Memory


Brand Strategy And Memory

Paul Marsden’s piece on “Thinking Fast and Slow” raised some great marketing implications from Daniel Kahneman’s work that are well worth reading.

I loved the thinking about experiences versus memories, and the observation that our “remembered self” is the one that matters because that’s what motivates us. In the piece, Marsden discusses Kahneman’s theory of “fast thinking”, which is the non-logical thinking that powers consumer decision making. It reminded me of some notes I made some time back while re-reading Malcom Gladwell’s Blink.

This was the question I scribbled in the margin. “If blink is the phenomenon of knowing before you know – then what is your brand’s blinkpoint?” In other words, what is the subconcious association you want consumers to have the next moment they encounter your brand before they even recognize how the brand makes them feel? What will they know before they even know it’s the brand?

Gladwell fans will also get the reference to “tipping point” in this blinkpoint idea because that associative memory of a brand and its meaning is something that I’d like to suggest accumulates and accelerates over time. The memories we have of a brand reach a critical point where, from then on, they drive the experiences we anticipate.

But if buyers have a bad experience, three things happen:

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Brand Innovation

Dreams And Design: Pathway To New Brand Value


Designing Brand Value

I remember years ago when my inquisitive 5 year-old daughter was watching me drawing some logo ideas in my Moleskin sketchbook. She asked me what I was drawing and I replied “an idea”.  Then she asked me “where do ideas come from”?  I replied, “They come from inside my head”.  She proceeded to give me a funny face look and then she asked, “How do they get in there Daddy”?

Out of the mouths of babes, a great question indeed – how do they get in there?

For over three decades I have been completely fascinated with ideas and innovation.

Or to put it another way– turning nothing into something. Creative ideas are what have separated human beings from everything else on this planet.  From stone tools to our modern technology, ideas, inspirations, and flashes of insight has been the genesis of every innovation humans have conceived. First it has to be a dream, and then it has to be designed.

Dreaming and designing is the activity that turns nothing into something, bringing new value where there was none before.

Moving ever deeper into the 21st century, we are collectively leaving our industrial age frame of reference and bias and embracing the challenges inherent in the new normal – a global economy now based on ideas.  The shift places a premium on the talent and skill of dreaming and designing. Individuals and organizations must excel at both to thrive in the brave new world.

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Brand Storytelling Brand Voice

The Next Era Of Brand Conversations


Brand Conversations

Too many brands continue to fail at convincingly placing what they have to offer inside the lives of the people they are trying to reach. A lot of that seems to come down to a simple mis-alignment of priorities: while marketing teams ponder data and speak earnestly about really understanding their buyers as individuals, those interests are not reflected as clearly as they should be in what they end up saying.

Brands often seem most interested in talking about:

  • Who they are
  • What they sell
  • What it retails for
  • Their size and geographical spread
  • Their ownership
  • Who their customers are (usually in demographic terms)
  • Their financial performance
  • Their innovations/news
  • Their CSR and what they sponsor
  • Their social media/content marketing initiatives

Contrast that with the priorities that play on the minds of consumers:

  • Is the brand desirable both aesthetically and functionally?
  • Does the brand’s image and reputation fit with who they are? Is this a brand they will be proud to be seen with?
  • Is the brand well made?
  • Is it well supported across a range of channels? Can it be easily accessed? Does it respond?
  • Is it made by a company that behaves ethically?
  • Is the brand interesting? Is it in the news? Do people talk about it?
  • Who’s the brand associated with? Who speaks for the brand? Are they someone the buyer admires?
  • Is the brand consistent? Do consumers get what they think they’re getting?
  • Is it easy to find? Is the choice set manageable and not overly-complicated?
  • Is it priced right?

So while companies focus on what they are doing and think about that quantitatively and in terms of deliverables (because that is how they are judged internally), consumers focus on how the brand makes them feel and which of the many brand options available to them feels most like them (because that’s how they make their decisions).

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Brand Strategy Workshops Brand Voice

The Brand Voice Workshop


Brand Voice Strategy Workshop

Brands, just like people, have a voice – the tone, manner and personality of communication that distinguishes one personality from another. Brand Voice is a more specific and highly useful tool for marketers to create and manage the unique personality of their brands over time.

In the clutter of the modern marketplace there are three essential hurdles all brands, large and small, must overcome with their audiences to enjoy competitive advantage:

Your brand must be heard.

Your brand must be recognized.

Your brand must be remembered.

The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, offers a one-day creative development workshop for corporate communication and marketing executives to develop the foundation of their unique brand voice to help everyone in the organization tell the brand’s story in a consistent and compelling manner.

More importantly, the brand must tell the right story. A story based in purpose and the shared values that shape the organization delivering on the brand’s promise. Aligned with the brand’s identity (who the brand is), brand voice establishes the distinctive personality of your brand that builds deep emotional connections with customers, employees, strategic partners and stakeholders. Brand voice is what you say and how you say it that will differentiate and resonate.

Through highly facilitated, interactive discussion and team exercises, participants will gain clarity, confidence and consensus in the strategic and creative decisions they will make in building the foundation of their brand voice.

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Brand Management

Overcoming Complex Marketing Challenges


Complex Marketing Challenges

Every brand transformation program I have ever worked on has been set in motion by a problem. And in every case the issue that has galvanized action and that everyone is so focused on answering is not the real problem at all.

As Simon Sinek has observed, people intuitively deal with what they know before they deal with the things they don’t know or feel less comfortable dealing with. The easiest question, and the place most people start is “what?” They deal first with the symptoms they can see and quantify. And often they address them with a “how” that is equally familiar – the methodology they always use.

But while a particular problem may have set off the trip-wire, in reality that problem is probably a symptom of what’s really happened rather than the real cause.

It’s the prompt.

And just having a way to address that problem does not guarantee any quality of answer. It simply provides a process for everyone to map to.

Do you know the lovely story of Abraham Wald? His reasoning shows why what you think you see can be so misleading. The mathematician was called in to determine how to make bombers safer during the Second World War. Everyone agreed they needed more armor. But where? Armor is heavy. If you put it everywhere, the bombers would never get off the ground. The answer seemed obvious. Put the armor where the planes were being shot the most. So Wald went to work and sketched all the places where bombers returning from their runs were most shot up.

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