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25 Must Read Articles For Stronger Brands

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25 Must Read Articles For Stronger Brands

What will the new year bring brands? From our perspective of the marketing world, at least 365 opportunities.

Opportunities to know your customer better, build stronger bonds, create value only you can deliver, forge new relationships and accelerate growth. Opportunities as large as the future you seek for your brand.

As we surge forward into a new year we thank you Branding Strategy Insider readers for offering your ideas, questions, suggestions, opinions and sometimes opposing views. You have given us the opportunity to grow as authors, educators and brand consultants, and have helped make Branding Strategy Insider the leading resource for marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

Now a look back on the 25 most read thought pieces of 2017 on Branding Strategy Insider. From new perspectives on the competition to dramatic shifts in how brands are built and the disruptive marketing trends responsible to what brands need to do to stay relevant, we kept our focus on preparing marketers for what’s now and what’s next and for the journey every brand must take to earn a place in the future.

1. Strategy Is Not About The Competition: The concept of strategy originates in war, where the objective is to destroy the enemy. In business, if the enemy is your competitor, then the objective of strategy must be to crush the competition. The problem with this thinking is war is mostly a zero-sum game, and business is mostly not. Companies are disproportionately rewarded when they create new value for customers and grow the market for everyone.

2. Disruptive Marketing Defined: It’s important to realize why the world of marketing is disruptive at this point of the 21st Century.

3. Brand Storytelling In The Post Truth Era: It is easy to understand why many are gravitating to the idea of a “post truth era.” There’s been a blinding spotlight on ‘fake news’ and we now know how influential social news can be in creating perception. More amazing is seeing how algorithms designed to show us things we’re most interested in can (unintentionally) create echo chambers where ‘news’ is often posted with no context or journalistic integrity.

4. Brands And The Rise Of Frictionless Retail: Retail brands need to understand how to use positive and negative types of friction to achieve the most optimal experience for their brand.

5. Nine Benefits Of Building Strong And Admired Brands: Surprisingly, we have paid so much attention to brands as identifiers and marketplace differentiators that we have not paid much attention to the substantial, real, and strategic benefits that brands can provide to companies. But these benefits are numerous and significant.

6. The Six Attributes Of Human Centric Brands: When brands want to influence customers as friends without overpowering them, they must possess these six human attributes.

7. Why Mobile-First Brands Are Poised To Dominate: Mobile has emerged as the great enabler for new “mobile-first” brands and the killer threat for legacy brands who still think customers listen with loyalty in mind.

8. Don’t Let Creative Threaten The Strategy: Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising.’ ~ Jef Richards Brands that forget this will always pay a price either in failed campaigns, lost market share or worse depending on the stakes.

9. Why Strong Brands Are Emotional Not Transactional: Transactional brands offer the right product at the right price at the right time. They launch ad campaigns that capture the audience’s attention. People pay a fair price, they are not particularly loyal, and the relationship is completely rational. Emotional brands, on the other hand, create irrational relationships—irrational in the most positive ways. They generate irrational enthusiasm. They charge irrational prices. They have customers who ignore the competition. They have evangelists who proselytize with clothing, online reviews and impassioned conversations around the dinner table.

10. Rebranding Strategy Guide: Rebranding is one of the most difficult brand strategies to execute successfully. Many try, many fail. To help marketers better understand when a rebrand is prudent, we asked the Branding Strategy Insider team to share their views.

11. Brand Strategy: Art, Science Or Process?: A mapped journey is a better journey and brands that don’t understand where they are heading, why, and with what measures of success, are literally marketing blind.

12. Brand Growth Requires A Full Funnel Approach: Marketers can often see their future in the analysis of what gets measured and with that in mind the full funnel must be considered.

13. Fourteen Ways Brands Can Evaluate Customer Journeys: How should brands map more effective and engaging customer journeys? By recognizing that such journeys are really about how customers feel over the course of the entire journey not just how they feel at any given point in that journey.

14. Five Step Guide To Crafting Well Defined Strategy: Successful strategies are ones that challenge conventional wisdom, allowing you to do things that your competitors haven’t yet thought to do.

15. The Origins Of Brand Positioning: Remembering branding pioneer and Branding Strategy Insider Co-Author Jack Trout and the concept of positioning that he helped create.

16. Is Brand Experience The New Sugar?: Right now, it feels like almost every brand wants to hook their customers on sweet moments that have them coming back for more. But is that what people want or have brands simply made high-energy experiences the new must-add?

17. Brands Must Retire The AIDA Model: The AIDA framework (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action) is outdated and is somewhat too simplistic to inform the journey of today’s always-on, hyperconnected consumer.

18. Brand Storytelling Beyond The Hero’s Journey: For countless years, storytellers everywhere have relied on a model commonly known as The Hero’s Journey to captivate audiences. Enter the collective journey.

19. How Participation Builds Brands: Participation is the X factor in marketing.

20. Ten Obstacles To New Product Success: Many obstacles can slow the spread of new products and services, we’ve identified ten of the most common and categorized them as obstacles to adoption and obstacles to use. Will they or do they impact your new offering?

21. How Stereotypes Weaken Brands: Stereotypes make everything about storytelling easier. It becomes simple for audiences to connect to situations, and we relate faster because everybody knows “that guy.” But we’re living at a time in which there’s significant conflict and contrast in the real world. And what might be easy to remember or laugh at in the short run isn’t playing out when the long-term is considered.

22. Seven Ways To Use Story To Inspire Brand Change: At some stage, many marketers will be called upon to explain why a brand change is needed. Here’s how to frame the business case as a story.

23. Four Mistakes Brands Make About Human Behavior: This year, University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the decision-making habits most people are prone to when it comes to making purchase decisions. Here are the implications for brands.

24. The Psychology Of Influencer Marketing: While many articles have been published on how to create a successful social media influencer campaign, few look at the psychology behind influencer marketing.

25. How To Achieve Brand Culture Program Success: To best understand why a brand culture program can succeed, you must first understand why these programs fail.

*26. (Honorable Mention) Three Mandates For Elevating Your Brand: Marketers often talk about competitive advantage as if it is one thing. In point of fact, there are a number of ways you can achieve a lead in a market.

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

Build A Human Centric Brand At Marketing’s Most Powerful Event: The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World, May 14-16, 2018 in San Diego, California. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 50 marketing oriented leaders and professionals.

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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