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Brand Management

Sacrifice And Focus: Power For Brands

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It’s tempting for brand owners to leverage as much value as they can from the equities of their brand– sometimes at the expense of why your brand matters in the first place.

If you’re responsible for managing a successful brand, of course you would want to seek as much opportunity to grow revenue as you can. Brand extensions may not only provide the perfect tactic to add to your revenues, but they can also strengthen the brand’s original meaning in the bargain. This is precisely what makes the art of sacrifice such a hard pill for many marketers to swallow.

I like to think of brands as if they are beasts of burden – everyday they plow along with great strength and endurance as long as they stay healthy.  One of the big indicators of brand health is resonance. If you stretch your brand’s meaning too far with exaggerated licensing deals and brand extensions, well –you’re hastening its demise. Before you start making big shifts by adding more stuff to what your brand encompasses, be confident it aligns to the organizing principles of your brand strategy.  Don’t muddy your long-term brand equity by losing your resonance with the tribe that got you there to begin with.

Like a good parent, sometimes you just have to say no. The good news is the more you say no, the more highly-focused (and valuable) your brand becomes.

The art of sacrifice, in my view, is what makes enlightened brand managers grow brand value with skill and discernment. There will be tempting, quantifiable opportunities to slap your logo on stuff that seems to make sense, but deep inside you may intuitively know that doing so will distract the brand from its reason for being. Yet in the meeting with the finance folks, you’ll be asked why you’re not aggressively  “maximizing brand revenue”? Your answer will require great courage.

Sure, you could argue a very tight brand focus won’t work for every situation or product category, but if you study the attributes that have comprised all successful and enduring brands, they never lose their meaning and connection with people who highly value their relationship with the brand.  It’s not customers who are disloyal to brands, it’s brands that are disloyal to customers. Customers determine the competitive hierarchy. Once their mind is made up about a brand, it’s near impossible to change it.

Sometimes a razor sharp brand meaning it is the most important component of competitive advantage and marketing success. Remember too, the further up the need hierarchy (from basic functionality to deep emotional connection) your brand meaning climbs, the more difficult it is for competitors to emulate what your brand delivers.

Practice the art of sacrifice.

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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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