Beloved Brands Blog

Five challenging questions to kickstart your Brand Plan

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]A brand plan is an opportunity to make decisions on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources. A smart brand plan has a vision, analysis, key issues, strategies and execution plans. Focus on the smartest ideas that will drive the highest return. Think of the plan as a decision-making tool to align your team. Make the best financial investment choices and the best decisions on how to deploy your people. The plan should then align and focus everyone who works on the brand, including the leader who writes the plan. 

When you start your brand plan, the worst thing you can do is open up a PowerPoint document and begin to type away on a blank page. You will get writer’s block, or you will assemble a complete mess. Remember back to when you wrote a term paper in college. The essay was always easier to write and a much better end product when you took the time to write out a rough draft outline before you started the final document.

Annual Plan on a Page

The annual brand plan has three distinct sections: analysis, issues and strategies, and execution plans.

  • The analysis section lays out the summary from the deep-dive business review with an overview of the top three points, which envelop what is driving your brand’s growth, what is inhibiting your brand’s growth, which threats could hurt your brand and what opportunities your brand faces.  
  • The key issues and strategies section focuses on the top three issues getting in the way of achieving your vision. You should put the issues in question format. And the strategic solutions are the answers that match up to each of those questions. Set goals to measure your brand’s performance against each strategy. 
  • The execution section maps out the specific plans for each of the chosen execution areas that line up to most essential consumer touchpoints.  

I first came up with this “brand plan-on a page” format when I led a team with 15 brands. It helped me see the big picture quickly, rather than having to hunt through a big thick binder. Also, the sales team appreciated the ability to see the entire plan on one page quickly. Most salespeople also had 15 brands to manage with each of their customers. Everyone who works on the brand should receive the one-page plan. And then, keep it close by to steer their day-to-day decisions.

Five Questions worksheet

While it is easy to get writer’s block, it can be worse when you sit at your computer staring at a blank screen with the word “Vision” staring back at you.

Here are five simple questions to help you kickstart your first thoughts about your brand plan and decide on the big picture elements of your plan before fine-tuning and perfecting the writing.

  1. Where could we be?
  2. Where are we?
  3. Why are we here?
  4. How can we get there?
  5. What do we need to do?

Your written answers will start to reveal a rough draft outline of your brand vision, analysis, key issues, strategies, and some thinking on your execution and measurement, which form the entirety of your brand plan.

To start your rough outline, force yourself to write out three bullet points for each of the five simple questions. Make it challenging to narrow down your list to the top three points, as the extra effort now will help focus your mind on the most significant points.

It is very easy to get lost in the planning process. Many brand leaders will spend a few weeks writing a plan. As you solicit conflicting input from across the organization, it will add a layer of confusion to the plan you must sort through. It is easy to get lost in a mess.

I recommend you start with the five questions then keep coming back to this document a few times throughout the process to make sure you stay on track. These five questions keep you grounded and focused throughout the planning process.

For more on How to write a Brand Plan, click on this link: http://beloved-brands.com/2012/06/24/brand-plan/

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version or the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

An inspiring letter from Starbucks’ Howard Shultz on race in America

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Everyone in marketing talks about brand purpose. The role of brand purpose only becomes powerful when are you prepared to make decisions that stand by your purpose. Today’s letter from Howard Shultz is a great example of standing for what you believe in. He speaks very honestly about what he wanted Starbucks to be, where it fell short, and what he sees its role in race relations in America.

When the incidents at the Starbucks in Philadelphia took place, I’m sure it shocked a lot of people. It was wrong. It seemed against the values of Starbucks. I kept thinking how many times I’ve sat in a Starbucks waiting for a friend. It’s only natural not to order, until your friend gets there. Especially, if it is a business meeting. I thought the CEO did a great job in flying across the country to meet face-to-face with the two gentlemen.

Here is the full letter from Howard Shultz to customers of Starbucks

This afternoon Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores and begin a new chapter in our history.

In 1983 I took my first trip to Italy. As I walked the streets of Milan, I saw cafés and espresso bars on every street. When I ventured inside I experienced something powerful: a sense of community and human connection.

I returned home determined to create a similar experience in America—a new “third place” between home and work—and build a different kind of company. I wanted our stores to be comfortable, safe spaces where everyone had the opportunity to enjoy a coffee, sit, read, write, host a meeting, date, debate, discuss or just relax.

Today 100 million customers enter Starbucks® stores each week. In an ever-changing society, we still aspire to be a place where everyone feels welcome.

Sometimes, however, we fall short, disappointing ourselves and all of you.

Recently, a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police a few minutes after two black men arrived at a store and sat waiting for a friend. They had not yet purchased anything when the police were called. After police arrived they arrested the two men. The situation was reprehensible and does not represent our company’s mission and enduring values.

After investigating what happened, we determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons—versus anyone who enters a store—and bias led to the decision to call the police. Our ceo, Kevin Johnson, met with the two men to express our deepest apologies, reconcile and commit to ongoing actions to reaffirm our guiding principles.

The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks. The reflection has led to a long-term commitment to reform systemwide policies, while elevating inclusion and equity in all we do.

Today we take another step to ensure we live up to our mission:

FOR SEVERAL HOURS THIS AFTERNOON, STARBUCKS WILL CLOSE STORES AND OFFICES TO DISCUSS HOW TO MAKE STARBUCKS A PLACE WHERE ALL PEOPLE FEEL WELCOME.

What will we be doing? More than 175,000 Starbucks partners (that’s what we call our employees) will be sharing life experiences, hearing from others, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how all of us create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong—because they do. This conversation will continue at our company and become part of how we train all of our partners.

Discussing racism and discrimination is not easy, and various people have helped us create a learning experience that we hope will be educational, participatory and make us a better company. We want this to be an open and honest conversation starting with our partners. We will also make the curriculum available to the public.

To our Starbucks partners: I want to thank you for your participation today and for the wonderful work you do every day to make Starbucks a third place for millions of customers.

To our customers: I want to thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks what I envisioned it could be nearly 40 years ago—an inclusive gathering place for all.

We’ll see you tomorrow.

With deep respect,

Howard

 

 

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Free Chapter of my new branding book, Beloved Brands

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

I am giving away a chapter of my new branding book, Beloved Brands. Click below to download a free copy of our chapter on Brand Positioning. 

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love. If you’re running a brand, this is the playbook to help you.

If you are a Brand Manager, the Beloved Brands playbook provides everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love. • How to think strategically

  • Write a brand positioning statement
  • Come up with a brand idea
  • Write a brand plan everyone can follow
  • Write an inspiring creative brief
  • Make decisions on marketing execution
  • Conduct a deep-dive business review
  • Finance 101 for marketers

To order your own copy of Beloved Brands, click on this link:

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

You have my personal promise to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

Marketing pros and entrepreneurs, this book is for you.

Whether you are a VP, CMO, director, brand manager or just starting your marketing career, I promise you will learn how to realize your full potential. You could be in brand management working for an organization or an owner-operator managing a branded business. Beloved Brands provides a toolbox intended to help you every day in your job.

Keep it on your desk and refer to it whenever you need to write a brand plan, create a brand idea, develop a creative brief, make advertising decisions or lead a deep-dive business review. You can even pass on the tools to your team, so they can learn how to deliver the fundamentals needed for your brands.

This book is also an excellent resource for marketing professors, who can use it as an in-class textbook to develop future marketers. It will challenge communications agency professionals, who are looking to get better at managing brands, including those who work in advertising, public relations, in-store marketing, digital advertising or event marketing.

If you are an entrepreneur who has a great product and wants to turn it into a brand, you can use this book as a playbook. These tips will help you take full advantage of branding and marketing, and make your brand more powerful and more profitable.

You will learn how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze

  • You will find models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer and situational strategies.
  • To define the brand, I will provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning.
  • We explore the step-by-step process to come up with your brand ideaand bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept.
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element.
  • From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the creative brief, innovation process, and sales plan. I provide tools for how to create a brand calendar and specific project plans.
  • To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on execution around creative advertising and media choices.
  • When it comes time for the analytics, I provide all the tools you need to write a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand. Write everything so that it is easy to follow and implement for your brand.

My promise to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

To order your own copy of Beloved Brands, click on this link:

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

What others are saying about the new book, Beloved Brands

“Graham Robertson hits all the right notes in his new branding book, Beloved Brands, a book every CMO or would-be CMO should read.” Al Ries – bestselling author of Positioning and Marketing Warfare

“Most books on branding are really for the MARCOM crowd. They sound good but you find it’s all fluff when you try to take it from words to actions. THIS BOOK IS DIFFERENT! Graham does a wonderful job laying out the steps in clear language and goes beyond advertising and social media to show how branding relates to all aspects of GENERAL as well as marketing management. Make no mistake: there is a strong theoretical foundation for all he says…but he spares you the buzzwords. Next year my students will all be using this book.” Kenneth B. (Ken) Wong, The Distinguished Professor of Marketing & Business Strategy, S.J. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University

“Whether you’re an aspiring marketer trying to elevate your brand, or an established leader looking to separate your organization from the competition – Beloved Brands is an absolute “must-have” resource. Graham Robertson masterfully articulates the essence of effective brand marketing through a series of practical concepts and relevant examples that transcend products, services, and industries.  While many books focus on the task of marketing, Robertson’s work is rooted in something much more holistic – creating better brands by creating better brand leaders.” Keith A. Gordon, President & CEO of Fight For Children, Inc., and former President of NFL Players Incorporated

A look inside at the Chapter Summaries

Introduction: How this Beloved Brands playbook can work for you                    

  • The purpose of this book is to make you a smarter brand leader so your brand can win in the market. You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution, and be able to analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

1. Why being a beloved brand matters                                 

The more loved your brand, the more powerful and profitable your brand will be. While old-school marketers were yelling their message to every consumer, today’s brand leaders must build relationships and create a bond with their most cherished consumers. We will explore the concept of a brand idea, showing how it helps connect with consumers and organize everything you do on your brand. An overview of the brand love curve will steer your strategic thinking and your execution decisions.

2. How to use strategic thinking to help your brand win      

Strategic Thinking is the foundation of Brand Management. I will take you through the five elements of smart strategic thinking, including setting a vision, investing in a strategic program that focuses on an identified opportunity, and how to leverage a breakthrough market impact into a performance result. I will show how to turn smart thinking into strategic objective statements you can use in your Brand Plans. And, I will set up the four types of strategy, looking at your brand’s core strength, consumers, competitors and looking the situation.

3. How to build your brand around your core strength

Our core strength model forces you to select one of four possible options as your brand’s lead strength: the product, brand story, experience, or price. Each choice has a distinct strategic focus, brand communications, and desired reputation. I will show how the model comes to life with numerous brand examples and a case study on Starbucks as they build a reputation around their commitment to exceptional consumer experience.

4. How to build a tight bond with your most cherished consumers

Consumer strategy is about building a bond with your target consumer. I use the brand love curve to demonstrate specific game plans for each stage of the curve, whether your brand is at the unknown, indifferent, like it, love it or the beloved stage. This model sets up 20 potential strategies. A case study on Special K shows how they evolved from an indifferent brand to a beloved brand.

5. How to win the competitive battle for your consumer’s heart 

Competitive strategy leverages your brand positioning to win in the market. Brands must evolve their strategy as they move from a craft brand to a disruptor brand to a challenger brand all the way up to the dominant power player. Each of the four choices offers a different target focus, unique strategies, and tactics.

6. How to address your brand situation before you make your next move 

Before initiating your plan, you must understand what is happening internally, within your own company. You can learn four distinct situations, including fueling the momentum, fix it, re-alignment or a start-up. Each has different indicators and recommended strategies, as well as advice on the leadership style to engage.

7. How to define the ideal target market to build your brand around 

Everything must start with the consumer target you will serve. I will show how to develop a consumer profile that includes a segmented definition, consumer insights, consumer enemies, need states and the desired response that matches your overall strategy.

8. How to define your brand positioning to help your brand win

You will learn the four elements of a brand positioning statement including the target you serve, the category you play in, the space you serve that will help you win, and deal-closing support points. The best positioning balances functional and emotional benefits. You will access a tool to choose from more than 100 benefits.

9. How to create a brand idea you can build everything around

To become a successful and beloved brand, you need a Brand Idea that is interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and own-able. I will introduce a tool to help build your Brand Idea, and how to build a winning Brand Concept.

10. How to use your brand idea to organize everything you do 

Use the brand idea to organize everything you do around five consumer touch-points, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and the consumer experience. The brand idea should organize your brand positioning, advertising, media, product innovation, selling, retailing and the consumer experience. Learn how to build a brand credo and brand story, and learn from  Ritz-Carlton and Apple case studies.

11. How to build a brand plan everyone can follow  

Use a one-page format to simplify and organize your brand plan, so everyone in your organization can follow it with ease. You will learn how to find your brand vision, purpose, key issues, strategies, execution tactics, and measurements.

12. How to build your brand’s execution plans

Once you draft your brand plan, it’s time to build separate execution plans with crystal clear strategies for those who will execute on your brand’s behalf. I will show how to complete a brand communication plan, execution plan, and sales plan.

13. How to write a creative brief to set up brilliant execution

The bridge between your brand plan and marketing execution is the creative brief. I will show how to write a world-class brief using a recommended format. We will review smart and bad examples of a brief, broken out on a line-by-line basis. I also introduce a mini-brief for when you are time-pressed.

14. How to run your brand’s advertising process

I will take you through the 10 steps to inspiring greatness from those experts you engage. I will introduce a predictive model that measures branded breakthrough and a motivating message to consumers.

15. How to make advertising decisions using our ABC’s model   

This section outlines principles for achieving Attention, Brand link, Communication, and Stickiness—the model I call the ABC’s. I will show examples of some of the best ads in the history of branding, to support those principles. I hope it will challenge your thinking about your brand’s advertising.

16. How to make media decisions to break through the cluttered media world     

Six questions help you frame your media plan. Factors to consider include your brand’s budget size, your brand’s core strength and how tightly connected your brand is with consumers. Then identify which point on the consumer journey you wish to impact, where your consumers are most willing to engage your message and what media choices best fit with your creative execution.

17. How to conduct a deep-dive business review to uncover brand issues   

The deep-dive forces you to take a 360-degree view of your brand by looking into the marketplace, consumers, channels, competitors, and the brands. You will learn some of the best analytical tools, including consumer tracking, customer scorecards, brand funnels, and the leaky bucket. I provide the 50 best analytical questions to get you started, and a format for how to bring it all together into a business review presentation.

18. Brand Finance 101 to help manage your brand’s profitability 

Learn what you need to know about brand finance, including the eight ways you can drive profit. Learn how to dissect an income statement and use the key formulas you need to know including return on investment (ROI), growth, forecasting, cost of goods sold (COGS), and compound annual growth rate (CAGR).    

To order your own copy of Beloved Brands, click on this link:

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

 

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

The non-negotiable behaviors that will destroy a Marketer’s career

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]I like to talk about the skills, behaviors, and experiences you need to succeed in Marketing. However, this list in today’s article is not about growth, but about what could destroy you. To succeed in your Marketing career, you must hit deadlines, know your business, be open with communication, take control of your brand, be able to use feedback, and then listen to the experts around you, before you decide.  

Trust me when I say this: if you do not nail these six behaviors, you will eventually annoy someone enough to get rid of you. You’ve likely heard of CLM’s, also known as “career-limiting-moves.” These six behaviors are non-negotiable CLM’s, and if you miss them continuously, you will be gone. Fix these.

For many Marketers, these could be a blind spot. You could be amazing in all other aspects of your job. And when one of these brings you down, you will be left wondering what happened.  

1. You must hit deadlines.

Never look out of control or sloppy. Marketers have enough to do, so if you begin to miss deadlines, things will just stockpile on each other. Do not be the one who is seen trying to negotiate extensions constantly. That might work with a University essay. But in the real world of Marketing, there are no real extensions. Just missed opportunities. If you miss one, two or three, your behavior will be viewed as a pattern. I went to school with someone who always asked the prof for a deadline on everything. The professor always said yes. And she thrived in school. Yet, never made it in Marketing. In 20 years in Marketing. I never asked for an extension. 

2. You must know your business.

Avoid getting caught off-guard with questions that you cannot answer, such as profit (sales, growth, margins, spend) market share (latest 52, 12, 4 weeks for your brand all significant competitors) and your sales forecasts. Make sure you are asking the questions and carrying forward the knowledge. I was lucky in that I grew up a baseball stat geek, so I could easily remember every number on my business. I was never the type of manager who openly tested people for the sake of it. But, when I had 15 brands and you had one brand: how do you think if I felt when I knew your numbers better than you did? It is your job to know your business and your numbers.

3. You must be open with your communication.

There should be no surprises, especially with your boss. Keep everyone aware of what’s going on. If something could go wrong, make sure everyone knows. When you communicate upwards, always have the situation, implications, options and then quickly followed by an action plan of what to do with it. And when something does go wrong, have a plan ready in place, action items laid out, before your boss says “Oh man, we need a plan.”

4. You must be able to take control of your destiny.

Act like the owner. Tthe best Marketers run the brands; they never let the brands run us. Always be slightly ahead of the game, not constantly chasing your work to completion. Once you are chasing, you can never catch up. Instead, you should always be proactively looking for an opportunity in the market, and work quickly to take advantage. Watch your tone. When you don’t know something, it is perfectly acceptable speak in an “asking way,” but do so with a limit on how many times you show up begging for help. When you are in charge of a brand, and when you know the answer, you have to teach yourself to speak in a “telling way” even to the CEO.

Once you are given the reigns of a brand, it is expected that you tell everyone what to do. As your boss, I would rather that I have to step in and push back on something, rather than to have to encourage you to voice your thoughts. 

5. You must be able to use regular feedback for growth.

Always seek out and accept feedback, good or bad, as a lesson for you. Do not think of it as a personal attack or setback. Identify gaps you can close, never think of them as weaknesses that hold you back. You should always be striving to get better. It is true, the best marketers are ambitious. They want to get better. It is perfectly acceptable to not enjoy getting negative feedback. I would never judge someone’s reaction at that moment.

I have worked with many amazing marketers, who looked devastated and ready to quit, in the heat of the feedback. I’ve seen that look 100 times. That’s perfectly fine. However, I also know, those same great people came in the next morning, ready to make a change and ready to demonstrate it to everyone who was watching. Marketing is an iterative career. Honestly, we repeat the same 20 key skills over and over again, at junior, mid and senior levels. The best get better each time. The worst don’t. 

6. You must listen first; then decide.

There is a somewhat bizarre relationship Marketers have with subject matter experts. We don’t really do anything. We don’t make the product, sell the product, make the ads, buy the media or make the event happen. But as the ultimate generalist, we do decide everything.  Very early in your career, you must figure out the magic in using your subject matter experts to teach you everything you need to know about your job, while still leading them, even if they are 10 or 20 years older than you. These subject matter experts have seen hundreds of marketers come through the door, and if you do it right, they will quietly teach you more than your boss ever will.

As you hit the director or VP level, you must figure out how to use these same subject matter experts as an advisor or sounding board to the toughest of issues or what you think are great ideas. Subject matter experts don’t want to make decisions. They want you to do that. Subject matter experts don’t want to be a leader. They want you to lead them. At these senior levels, you have to learn to listen to them and make sure you really hear them out. You can question and challenge them. And, then it is expected that you will give the direction that pushes them towards the end goal. While you make every decision, if you don’t manage this unique relationship well, they will influence the decision to get rid of you. 

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version or the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

How to align the internal and external connections of your brand.

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]The brand idea should help capture the attention of consumers. It should define the brand and manage the reputation. The brand idea should steer everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand. It should stand between the brand soul and the brand reputation. A brand finds itself in equilibrium when the brand reputation, brand idea, and brand soul are the same. 

The brand idea must represent your brand soul

The brand soul defines the moral fiber for why everyone who works on the brand “wakes up each day to deliver greatness on behalf of the brand.” The brand soul must be an inspiration to align the team behind a common purpose, cause or excitement for why they do what they do. Just like the soul of a human, every brand brings a unique combination of the unexplainable assets, culture, motivations, and beliefs. Support your brand purpose with a set of values and beliefs, deeply held in the heart of everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand.

From the outside eye, the complexity of an organization can appear to be a complete mess. Many organizations are filled with silos of conflicts that get in the way of what the brand stands for. There are varying opinions on where the brand should go next. Everyone in your organization must be able to describe the brand in the same way.  This includes the most remote sales rep, the technician in the lab, the ad agency or the CEO.

When a brand is in trouble, the first thing I ask is, “Describe the brand in seven seconds for me.” When I start to hear conflicting answers or confusion, I know the team lacks alignment. If you cannot consistently describe your brand within the walls of your organization, how could you ever expect consumers to hold a consistent reputation in their minds?

When the brand does something in conflict with the brand soul, a healthy organization should resist and possibly even reject that action as outside of the cultural norms and beliefs of the brand. To accept something that goes against the brand’s soul would put the culture at risk.

I have met brand leaders who would rather fail than give up on their principles and beliefs. They say, “I don’t want to sell out just to be successful.” I respect their conviction because they understand themselves. A brand should be extremely personal to trigger the passion of everyone who works on the brand.

The brand idea must manage your brand reputation

The brand reputation lives within the minds of your consumers, out in the crazy, unstructured, unorganized, and cluttered real world. While a brand tries to project itself out to the market, a brand reputation meanders, and adjusts to the constant changes and complexities of the marketplace.

There are constant challenges to the brand reputation, including continually changing consumer need states, conflicting voices from competitors, key influencers, or retailer partners.

The role of the brand idea works in the middle, between the brand and the consumer, acting as a stabilizer between the internal passion at the heart of the brand soul and the outward opinions of the brand reputation.

The brand idea blueprint

I created a brand idea blueprint, which has five areas that surround the brand idea.

On the internal brand soul side, describe the products and services, as well as the cultural inspiration, which is the internal rallying cry to everyone who works on the brand. On the external brand reputation side, define the ideal consumer reputation and the reputation among necessary influencers or partners. The brand role acts as a bridge between the internal and external sides.

  • Products and services: What is the focused point of difference your products or services can win on because they meet the consumer’s needs and separate your brand from competitors?
  • Consumer reputation: What is the desired reputation of your brand, which attracts, excites, engages, and motivates consumers to think, feel, and purchase your brand?
  • Cultural inspiration: What is the internal rallying cry that reflects your brand’s purpose, values, motivations, and will inspire, challenge, and guide your culture? 
  • Influencer reputation: Who are the key influencers and potential partners who impact the brand? What is their view of the brand, which would make them recommend or partner with your brand?
  • Brand role: What is the link between the internal sound and the external reputation?

The brand idea should steer everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand.

Brand leaders must manage the consistent delivery of the brand idea over every consumer touchpoint. Whether people are in management, customer service, sales, HR, operations, or an outside agency, everyone should be looking to the brand idea to guide and focus their decisions.

With old-school marketing, the brand would advertise on TV to drive awareness and interest, use bright, bold packaging in store with reinforced messages to close the sale. If the product satisfied consumers’ needs, they would repeat and build the brand into their day-to-day routines.

Today’s market is a cluttered mess. The consumer is bombarded with brand messages all day, and inundated with more information from influencers, friends, experts, critics, and competitors. While the internet makes shopping easier, consumers must now filter out tons of information daily. Moreover, the consumer’s shopping patterns have gone from a simple, linear purchase pattern into complex, cluttered chaos.

The five touchpoints

Five main touchpoints reach consumers, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. Regardless of the order, they reach the consumer; if the brand does not deliver a consistent message, the consumer will be confused and likely shut out that brand. While brands cannot control what order each touchpoint reaches the consumer, they can undoubtedly align each of those touchpoints under the brand idea.

 

How the brand idea stretches across the five consumer touchpoints

  • Brand promise: Use the brand idea to inspire a simple brand promise that separates your brand from competitors. Us it to project your brand as better, different, or cheaper, based on your brand positioning.
  • Brand story: The brand story must come to life to motivate consumers to think, feel, or act while establishes the ideal brand’s reputation to be held in the minds and hearts of the consumer. The brand story should align all brand communications across all media options.
  • Innovation: Build a fundamentally sound product, staying at the forefront of trends and technology to deliver innovation. Steer the product development teams to ensure they remain true to the brand idea.
  • Purchase moment: The brand idea must move consumers along the purchase journey to the final purchase decision. The brand idea helps steer the sales team and sets up retail channels to close the sale. 
  • Consumer experience: Turn the usage into a consumer experience that becomes a ritual and favorite part of the consumer’s day. The brand idea guides the culture of everyone behind the brand to deliver the experience   

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version or the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

How to capture more ATTENTION to your advertising

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]The best way to earn the attention of consumers within the cluttered media world is to take a risk. Do something creatively different from what consumers expect, which entertains, takes advantage of the media, and is shareable for consumers to influence others.

When judging advertising, the most important thing I look for is to ensure the creative idea within the ad that drives the attention, tells the brand story, communicates the main benefit and sticks in the consumer’s mind. When you see a story, device, copy, or a visual that does not fit with the delivery, then you have a red flag. You run the risk that the creativity of the ad works against your objectives. Here are four questions to ask:

  • Is it the creative idea that earns the consumer’s attention for the ad?
  • Then ask, is the creative idea helping to drive maximum brand involvement?
  • Is the creative idea setting up the communication of the main consumer benefit?
  • And, is the creative idea memorable enough to stick in the consumer’s mind and move them to purchase?

How to draw attention through brand communications

1. Be incongruent with what consumers expect

This technique is an excellent choice to help brands stand out from the clutter. Consumers notice when you are so different from what they expect or so different from what they are watching at the moment. Many brand leaders are afraid of this technique because it is a higher risk, less certain type of creative.

A great example of being incongruent is the Hathaway Shirt “Man in the eye patch” print ad. The eye patch is a very simple addition to a very boring visual of a man in a shirt. Apparently, David Ogilvy picked up a few eye patches on the way to the photo shoot. This unorthodox visual made the ad stand out and the brand famous. It was a lasting brand visual for decades.

Another fantastic ad is the “Think small” campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle. When every other car was going big, the VW Bug went small. The ad does two things to capture our minds. First, it plays on the commonly known phrase, “Think big.” Second, the extreme use of white space, with a barely visible car, is equally arresting. It delivers a message of simplicity and minimalism, with the advantages of a small car down below. AdAge magazine ranked this ad as the best ad of the twentieth century.

The common link is the use of incongruent visuals and copy to draw our attention. We can learn a lot from historical ads. With the modern-day clutter of digital media, this is a recommended technique to use to gain the consumer’s attention.

2. Entertain consumers

Another technique to gain attention is to make viewers laugh, cry, or dance. People engage media to be entertained. Make your ad part of the entertainment. Be aware of the evolution of the art of creativity to make sure you match the latest type of entertainment. As much as movies, TV, or music evolve, so should your ads.

The Old Spice “Smell like a man” campaign’s quirky, over-the-top humor is so different, it captured immense attention and helped P&G reinvigorate the Old Spice brand. The ad uses a series of quick cuts, putting the actor in crazy circumstances. His dry, over-the-top delivery adds to the humor.

I love Budweiser’s “Wassup” campaign because it just makes you laugh. The ad offers zero message, but everyone knows Budweiser, so it is a great way to stay top of mind. The ad is highly entertaining and easily breaks through the clutter of other beer ads. The “Wassup” phrase became part of pop culture, especially among Budweiser’s 20-something core target.

3. Use media choice to your brand’s full advantage

Put your ads where your consumers are willing to see, listen, and engage, matched with creativity to take advantage of the media choice. 

For the last decade, John Lewis, the UK department store retailer, has owned the most beloved Christmas ad of the season. It has become such fan favorites the media has leaked the launch date and song choice. These ads generate 50 million views online per year. And while retailers struggle around the world, John Lewis has used its emotional bond to fuel continuous growth.

With such an impulse product, McDonald’s has become the master of outdoor ads, with a playful spirit, designed to trigger your hunger for McDonald’s products.

4. Create shareable content

Over the last decade, everything has become about creating content that is so engaging consumers want to share it on social media. The key is to use high impact story-telling ads that are highly entertaining, deeply emotional, or inspiring enough to engage and captivate consumers.   

One of the best viral ads is for Dollar Shave. The brand created a hilarious, edgy, low-budget YouTube-driven video, which has generated millions of hits. The tagline for the ad is “Our blades are f**king great,” which will undoubtedly alienate many people. However, it will inevitably make the  younger male audience quickly love them. The ad tells a quirky story of why the brand doesn’t waste money like Gillette does, setting up the idea its razors are much cheaper than Gillette’s. The ad helped launch the brand, which Unilever bought five years later for $1 billion.

One of the first viral videos is “BMW Films,” which launched in 2001. BMW gave $1 million to famous directors to make short movies, which had only one stipulation: you must involve the BMW car. These 10-minute videos included stars like Madonna, Clive Owen, Gary Oldman, Don Cheadle, and Dakota Fanning. Even though the videos launched in the early days of YouTube, they have generated over 100 million views.

One of the more modern approaches was Red Bull’s live coverage and subsequent viral videos of Felix Baumgartner jumping out of a rocket ship 24 miles above the earth. The video fits very nicely with the target market and the brand. Red Bull is a brand sponsor of many extreme sports, with this being the most extreme sport possible. While, legally, Red Bull is no longer allowed to say, “Red Bull gives you wings,” this event positively screams the brand idea, loud and clear. With millions watching the live streaming video online and over 100 million watching videos on YouTube, this stunt was a huge attention getter for Red Bull.

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order Beloved Brands, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

 

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

How to use media decisions to move consumers along their journey

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]With every brand, consumers move along a similar journey from awareness to consideration to search to purchase. And then if satisfied they move to repeat, loyal and then they become brand fans who influence others. A smart strategy turns an early breakthrough win into a shift in momentum, positional power or tipping point where you begin to achieve more in the marketplace than the resources you put in.

A strategy should always drive a market impact

Many underestimate the need for an early win. I see this as a crucial breakthrough point. You start to look at a small shift in momentum towards your vision. There will always be doubters to every strategy. The results of the early win provide compelling proof to show everyone the plan will work. You can change the minds of the doubters so everyone can stay focused on the breakthrough point.

The magic of strategy happens through leverage, where you can use the early win as an opening or a tipping point. From there, you start to see a transformational power that allows you to make an impact and achieve results in the marketplace. A smart strategy should trigger the consumer to move along the bug journey. Or it can help tighten the consumer’s bond with the brand. 

Moving the consumer along their journey

To drive awareness, you need to stand out and be seen in a crowd. Invest in mass media to gain entry into the consumer’s mind using TV, digital, viral video, out-of-home media, or magazine. Where it makes sense, sponsorships and experiential events can increase the consumer’s familiarity with the brand.

To move consumers to the consideration stage, use influencers to teach those seeking to learn more. Use public relations to make the brand part of the news, whether through traditional, social, or blogger channels. Engage the online user review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, or category-specific review sites.

For more complex or higher risk purchase decisions, consumers will rely on search for almost everything, even if to just confirm what makes sense. Marketers can use search sites, such as Google, expert review sites, and online content, or long copy print media. The brand website comes into play and should include the right information to close off gaps or doubts, then move consumers towards the purchase decision. You can use media to manage the consumer journey.

Media options to help trigger purchase, include point-of-sale advertising, with in-store signage, displays and sales materials to prompt consumers at the purchase moment. Remarketing is a great tool to push consumers who might feel stuck at the consideration stage to reconsider and buy.

Using media to create brand fans

After the purchase, you must turn usage into a ritual among your most loyal users. Cultivate a collection of brand fans, using VIP programs and experiential events with special deals. Layer in emotional advertising to tighten the bond.

Once you have a strong base, you can mobilize your brand lovers, by intentionally creating shareable experiences, which will trigger brand lovers to share with their network through social media. With the new social media tools, the smartest brands are getting their most engaged consumers to drive awareness.

The beauty of the media that has been added over the past ten years, is that it enables brands to hang onto the consumer past the satisfied stage. You can now build a relationship with your consumer, using media to tighten the bond with your consumer. Brand building starts with cultivating close relationships with consumers. The best brands of today follow a very similar path to the rituals of a personal courtship. 

Why does brand love matter?

Through the eyes of consumers, brands start as complete strangers, randomly purchased a few times without much thought. They become acquaintances and, when the brand successfully delivers on expectations, they move into something similar to a trusted friendship.

As the consumer sees a consistent experience and trust, they begin to open up, and the romance begins. The consumer allows their emotions to take over and, without knowing, they start to love the brand. As the brand weaves itself into the best moments of the consumer’s life, the consumer becomes an outspoken fan, an advocate and one of the many brand lovers who cherish their relationship with the brand. As long as the brand delivers on the excitement of the original promise that attracted the consumer on their first encounter, the brand moves into a position where the consumer sees it as a forever love.

To replicate how brand building matches up with the building of a relationship, I created the brand love curve, which outlines how consumers move through five stages: unknown, indifferent, like it, love it, and onto the beloved brand status.

Brand Love Curve

The Brand Love Curve

It takes a strategic mind to figure out brand love.

For new brands, they were completely “unknown” to consumers. Unless there were genuinely compelling messages, consumers would walk past without even looking. To achieve some success, the priority for these brands is to get noticed within the clutter of the market. 

At the “indifferent” stage, consumers feel O.K. about the brand, similar to how they usually feel about commodities, like fruit and vegetables. These brands satisfy the consumer’s basic needs. They will buy the brand when it is on sale, but switch back to their other brand choice when it is not. Your brand has to be seen as more than just a commodity. Brands need to be seen as better, different or cheaper. Otherwise, they will not be around for long, and you waste your investment.

Brands that reach the “like it” stage experience the first sign of business success. Their consumers see the brand as a logical, functional and smart choice. However, the lack of any emotional connection leaves the purchase up to chance. Consumers will still switch brands randomly. Brands at the like it stage stress the product performance so much they forget to trigger any emotions.

Build an emotional relationship with your consumers

Brands at the “love it” stage start to see more emotionally engaged consumers. The rule of love you must follow: Consumers must love the brand before you can tell them they should love you. Consumers see the brand as a favorite choice, usually connected to a favorite part of their day. They are loyal and build the brand into a routine. These brands must also find a way to demonstrate their love toward these consumers to continue to tighten the bond with their most loyal brand lovers.

The “beloved brand” stage is where the brand becomes iconic, with a core base of brand lovers who cherish and defend the brand. These consumers see the brand as a personal choice, a badge they proudly hold in their hand or wear on their feet. At the beloved stage, the brands must create magical experiences that inspire brand lovers to share with their friends.

How consumer strategies match up to the brand love curve

Five major brand strategies help move your brand from one stage of the brand love curve to the next.

  • For unknown brands, the strategic focus should be to stand out so consumers will notice the brand within a crowded brand world, where they see an estimated 5,000 brand messages per day.
  • For indifferent brands, the strategy must establish the brand in the consumer’s mind so they can see a clear point of difference over their current brand choice.
  • At the like it stage, the strategy is to separate the brand from the pack, creating happy experiences that build a trusted following over time. Only after they trust the brand, they begin to open up.
  • At the love it stage, the focus shifts tightening the bond with the most loyal brand fans.
  • At the beloved stage, the strategic challenge is to create outspoken, loyal fans who are willing to whisper to their friends on the brand’s behalf.

20 consumer strategies

The brand love curve should guide strategic and tactical decisions that go into the writing of your annual brand plan. Here are 20 potential brand strategies that match up to where your brand sits on the curve and how to move your brand to the next stage.

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

And, to order the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

How to build your career on your true, core strength

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup] To succeed in your career, you have to realize everyone brings a core strength as a marketing leader. What is your strength? Running a business, marketing execution, strategic thinking or passion for people. While marketers are usually trained as a generalist, maybe it’s time to make a decision around your one true, core strength. And then, go build a new career around that core strength.

Here’s a tough career question for most marketers to answer

What is your core strength? Pick only #1 strength as a marketer from these four potential choices:

    1. You like running the business and managing products
    2. You have a passion for marketing execution
    3. Strategic thinker writes strong Brand Plans
    4. As a leader of leaders, you can get the best out of others

I know it must be a tough question because everyone refuses to pick just one.  Even if you are well-rounded, explore what might rise or fall based on skills, feedback, success, passion, or interest. Be honest with yourself. 

Let’s take it a step further. Here’s a game you can play to force your thinking. Look below at the diagram. You have four chips. You have to put one on the highest strength, two at medium and force one to be at the lowest.    

If you still say, “I’m pretty good at all 4” then push yourself, I might not believe you. No one is equally great at all four. You have to know your strength. As you make your next move, each choice may lead you to 4 different career choices. 

If you like running the business, your career choices could be product management, private equity or new industries. If you are into the marketing execution, explore switching to an Agency role. It could be a brainstorming ideation leader or become a subject matter expert. And, if you are a strategic thinker, you could move into becoming a consultant, professor or go into a global role. Finally, if you feel your strength is on the people leadership side, you can keep moving up to GM, explore the entrepreneur world or become a personal coach.

When your strength is running the business

You are naturally a business leader, who enjoys the thrill of hitting the numbers–financial or share goals. In Myers Briggs, you might be an ENTJ/INTJ (introvert/extrovert, intuition, thinking, judgment) the “field general” who brings the intuitive logic and quick judgment to make decisions quickly to capitalize on the business opportunity.

You like product innovation side more than advertising and you are fundamentally sound in the core elements of running a business—forecasting, analytics, finance, distribution. You can work with each functional areas to the benefit of the products. Moreover, you may have gaps in creativity or people leadership, but you are comfortable giving freedom to your agencies or team to handle the creative execution. 

My recommendation is to stay within Product Management as long as you can. If you find roadblocks in your current industry, consider new verticals before you venture into new career choices. You should consider running businesses on behalf of Private Equity firms or venture into entrepreneurship, where you can leverage your core strength of running a business.

When your biggest strength is marketing execution

When you are the type of Brand Leader, who is highly creative and connects more to ideas and insights than strict facts and tight business decisions. You believe facts can guide you but never decide for you. And, you are high on perception, allowing ambiguous ideas to breathe before closing down on them. Moreover, you respect the creative process and creative people. You are intuitive in deciding what a good or bad idea is. You may have gaps in the areas of organizational leadership or strategy development that hurts you from becoming a senior leader. And, you likely see answers before questions and frustrated by delays.

Staying in the Marketing area, you may end up limited in moving beyond an execution role. You may be frustrated in positions that would limit your creativity. Stepping into a Director level role could set you up for failure. Look to grab a subject-matter-expert role in internal advertising, media, innovation role or merchandising.

Going forward beyond Marketing, consider switching to the Agency side or Consult on subject-matter expertise (Innovation, Marketing Communication or Public Relations) to build on your strengths.

When you are naturally a strategic thinker

You enjoy the planning more than the execution. You might fall into the INTP, where you’re still using logic and intuition, stronger at the thinking that helps frame the key issues and strategies than making the business decisions. The introvert side would also suggest that your energy comes from what’s going on in your brain, than externally. An honest assessment would indicate that managing and directing the work of others is likely not be a strength.

If you stay within the marketing industry, you would be very strong in a Global Brand role, General Management or even a Strategic Planning role. You need to either partner with someone who is strong at Marketing Execution or builds a strong team of business leaders beneath you.

Going outside, you would enjoy Consulting and thought leadership which could turn into either an academic or professional development type roles. Continue building your thought leadership to carve out a specific perspective or reputation where you can monetize.

When your biggest strength is leading people

You find a natural strength in leading others. This would be when you are skilled in getting the most from someone’s potential and you are good at conflict resolution, providing feedback, inspiring/motivation and career management of others. Moreover, you are a natural extrovert and get your energy from seeing others on your team succeed. As you move up, you should surround yourself with people who counter your gaps–whether that is on strategy or Marketing Execution.

If you find yourself better at Management than Marketing, and you should pursue a General Management role where you become a leader of leaders. You would benefit from a cross-functional shift in sales or operations to gain various perspectives of the business enable you to take on a general management role in the future. 

After you hit your peak within the corporate world, consider careers such as Executive Coaching where the focus remains on guiding people.

Focus on what you are best at doing, and what you love.

Good luck.

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

And, to order the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

How to find the key issues that set up the right strategic choices

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Lay out the key issues that answer, “Why are we here?” Take the summary findings of the deep-dive analysis and drawing out the significant issues in the way of achieving your stated brand vision.

A great way to find the issues is to brainstorm up to 30 things in the way of your vision. Then, narrow down your list to the top 3-5 significant themes you see. Take the themes and begin to write the top issues in a rhetorical, strategic question format. These questions should be able to prompt a few different strategic options for how to solve each issue. Spend serious thinking time on these questions because the better the strategic question you ask, the better the strategic answer you will get.

Example of using the four strategic questions to focus the brand’s key issues


Another excellent methodology for finding key issues is to go back to the four strategic questions model I outlined in the strategic thinking chapters. This thinking ensures you take a 360-degree view of your brand. Looking at the example below, I have used the four strategic questions and come up with four specific questions that fit the Gray’s Cookies brand.

With various ways to brainstorm and find the issues I recommend for the annual brand plan, focus on the top three key issues, which set up the top three strategies. From there, a long-range strategic roadmap can typically handle up to five key issues, then five strategies.

Make sure you find the right level of the key issue

Too low: How do we get consumers to use more coupons?

  • In this example, the key issue is too specific and too tactical to set up a strategic solution.

Too high: How do we become the #1 brand?

  • This key issue is too general and too broad of a question to lead to a pinpointed, strategic solution. It is more suited to a question on brand vision.

Just right: How do we drive usage among loyal consumers?

  • With this example, the key issue does an excellent job of addressing an obstacle in the way of the vision, yet it is big enough to leave you sufficient room to explore various strategic solutions.

The power of three’s:  

I believe in “the power of threes.” As I said earlier, your brand plan should help you make decisions on where to focus and allocate your limited resources. As a guideline, for an annual plan, I recommend you focus on the top three strategies, then focus on the top three tactics for each strategy.

That means nine significant projects for your brand to focus your limited resources on during the year. Compare the subtle difference with what happens when you try to do five strategies with five tactics: the plan quickly explodes into 25 projects. That would cripple your brand’s limited resources. What if you never get to the twenty-fifth project but it was the most important project? With fewer projects, you will be able to execute everything with full passion and brilliance.

I see too many marketers with a long list of things they need to do. They are so busy; they have no time to think about what matters to their brand. And, they have very little passion for any one particular project; they’re just trying to get everything done. This thinking is not the ideal behavior a brand needs to become a beloved brand.

Asking the smart questions leads to smart strategies

 

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

And, to order the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

Graham Robertson bio

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

My new book:  Beloved Brands

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order your version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: Beloved Brands Paperback

 

Marketing pros and entrepreneurs, this book is for you.

Whether you are a VP, CMO, director, brand manager or just starting your marketing career, I promise you will learn how to realize your full potential. You could be in brand management working for an organization or an owner-operator managing a branded business. Beloved Brands provides a toolbox intended to help you every day in your job.

Keep it on your desk and refer to it whenever you need to write a brand plan, create a brand idea, develop a creative brief, make advertising decisions or lead a deep-dive business review. You can even pass on the tools to your team, so they can learn how to deliver the fundamentals needed for your brands.

This book is also an excellent resource for marketing professors, who can use it as an in-class textbook to develop future marketers. It will challenge communications agency professionals, who are looking to get better at managing brands, including those who work in advertising, public relations, in-store marketing, digital advertising or event marketing.

If you are an entrepreneur who has a great product and wants to turn it into a brand, you can use this book as a playbook. These tips will help you take full advantage of branding and marketing, and make your brand more powerful and more profitable.

You will learn how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze

  • You will find models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer and situational strategies.
  • To define the brand, I will provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning.
  • We explore the step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept.
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element.
  • From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the creative brief, innovation process, and sales plan. I provide tools for how to create a brand calendar and specific project plans.
  • To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on execution around creative advertising and media choices.
  • When it comes time for the analytics, I provide all the tools you need to write a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand. Write everything so that it is easy to follow and implement for your brand.

My promise to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

To order your version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: Beloved Brands Paperback

 

What others are saying about the new book, Beloved Brands

 

“Graham Robertson hits all the right notes in his new branding book, Beloved Brands, a book every CMO or would-be CMO should read.” 

Al Ries – bestselling author of Positioning and Marketing Warfare

 

Beloved Brands is the definitive, must-read, toolkit for brand building! Graham Robertson has produced a straightforward resource for anyone who wants meaningful distance from the competition, greater customer engagement, increased brand loyalty, or more customer referrals!  Because “top of mind” awareness isn’t enough for brands today, Beloved Brands will help you become “top of heart” with your customers. What are you waiting for? Drop this book into your shopping cart!”  

Joseph Michelli – New York Times #1 bestselling author of books like Driven to Delight, The Starbucks Experience, and The New Gold Standard.

 

“Most books on branding are really for the MARCOM crowd. They sound good but you find it’s all fluff when you try to take it from words to actions. THIS BOOK IS DIFFERENT! Graham does a wonderful job laying out the steps in clear language and goes beyond advertising and social media to show how branding relates to all aspects of GENERAL as well as marketing management. Make no mistake: there is a strong theoretical foundation for all he says…but he spares you the buzzwords. Next year my students will all be using this book.”

Kenneth B. (Ken) Wong, The Distinguished Professor of Marketing & Business Strategy, S.J. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University

 

“Whether you’re an aspiring marketer trying to elevate your brand, or an established leader looking to separate your organization from the competition – Beloved Brands is an absolute “must-have” resource. Graham Robertson masterfully articulates the essence of effective brand marketing through a series of practical concepts and relevant examples that transcend products, services, and industries.  While many books focus on the task of marketing, Robertson’s work is rooted in something much more holistic – creating better brands by creating better brand leaders.” 

Keith A. Gordon, President & CEO of Fight For Children, Inc., and former President of NFL Players Incorporated

A look inside at the Chapter Summaries

Introduction: How this Beloved Brands playbook can work for you                    

The purpose of this book is to make you a smarter brand leader so your brand can win in the market. You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution, and be able to analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

1. Why being a beloved brand matters                                 

The more loved your brand, the more powerful and profitable your brand will be. While old-school marketers were yelling their message to every consumer, today’s brand leaders must build relationships and create a bond with their most cherished consumers. We will explore the concept of a brand idea, showing how it helps connect with consumers and organize everything you do on your brand. An overview of the brand love curve will steer your strategic thinking and your execution decisions.

2. How to use strategic thinking to help your brand win      

Strategic Thinking is the foundation of Brand Management. I will take you through the five elements of smart strategic thinking, including setting a vision, investing in a strategic program that focuses on an identified opportunity, and how to leverage a breakthrough market impact into a performance result. I will show how to turn smart thinking into strategic objective statements you can use in your Brand Plans. And, I will set up the four types of strategy, looking at your brand’s core strength, consumers, competitors and looking the situation.

3. How to build your brand around your core strength

Our core strength model forces you to select one of four possible options as your brand’s lead strength: the product, brand story, experience, or price. Each choice has a distinct strategic focus, brand communications, and desired reputation. I will show how the model comes to life with numerous brand examples and a case study on Starbucks as they build a reputation around their commitment to exceptional consumer experience.

4. How to build a tight bond with your most cherished consumers

Consumer strategy is about building a bond with your target consumer. I use the brand love curve to demonstrate specific game plans for each stage of the curve, whether your brand is at the unknown, indifferent, like it, love it or the beloved stage. This model sets up 20 potential strategies. A case study on Special K shows how they evolved from an indifferent brand to a beloved brand.

5. How to win the competitive battle for your consumer’s heart 

Competitive strategy leverages your brand positioning to win in the market. Brands must evolve their strategy as they move from a craft brand to a disruptor brand to a challenger brand all the way up to the dominant power player. Each of the four choices offers a different target focus, unique strategies, and tactics.

6. How to address your brand situation before you make your next move 

Before initiating your plan, you must understand what is happening internally, within your own company. You can learn four distinct situations, including fueling the momentum, fix it, re-alignment or a start-up. Each has different indicators and recommended strategies, as well as advice on the leadership style to engage.

7. How to define the ideal target market to build your brand around 

Everything must start with the consumer target you will serve. I will show how to develop a consumer profile that includes a segmented definition, consumer insights, consumer enemies, need states and the desired response that matches your overall strategy.

8. How to define your brand positioning to help your brand win

You will learn the four elements of a brand positioning statement including the target you serve, the category you play in, the space you serve that will help you win, and deal-closing support points. The best positioning balances functional and emotional benefits. You will access a tool to choose from more than 100 benefits.

9. How to create a brand idea you can build everything around 

To become a successful and beloved brand, you need a Brand Idea that is interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and own-able. I will introduce a tool to help build your Brand Idea, and how to build a winning Brand Concept.

10. How to use your brand idea to organize everything you do 

Use the brand idea to organize everything you do around five consumer touch-points, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and the consumer experience. The brand idea should organize your brand positioning, advertising, media, product innovation, selling, retailing and the consumer experience. Learn how to build a brand credo and brand story, and learn from  Ritz-Carlton and Apple case studies.

11. How to build a brand plan everyone can follow  

Use a one-page format to simplify and organize your brand plan, so everyone in your organization can follow it with ease. You will learn how to find your brand vision, purpose, key issues, strategies, execution tactics, and measurements.

12. How to build your brand’s execution plans

Once you draft your brand plan, it’s time to build separate execution plans with crystal clear strategies for those who will execute on your brand’s behalf. I will show how to complete a brand communication plan, execution plan, and sales plan.

13. How to write a creative brief to set up brilliant execution

The bridge between your brand plan and marketing execution is the creative brief. I will show how to write a world-class brief using a recommended format. We will review smart and bad examples of a brief, broken out on a line-by-line basis. I also introduce a mini-brief for when you are time-pressed.

14. How to run your brand’s advertising process

I will take you through the 10 steps to inspiring greatness from those experts you engage. I will introduce a predictive model that measures branded breakthrough and a motivating message to consumers.

15. How to make advertising decisions using our ABC’s model   

This section outlines principles for achieving Attention, Brand link, Communication, and Stickiness—the model I call the ABC’s. I will show examples of some of the best ads in the history of branding, to support those principles. I hope it will challenge your thinking about your brand’s advertising.

16. How to make media decisions to break through the cluttered media world     

Six questions help you frame your media plan. Factors to consider include your brand’s budget size, your brand’s core strength and how tightly connected your brand is with consumers. Then identify which point on the consumer journey you wish to impact, where your consumers are most willing to engage your message and what media choices best fit with your creative execution.

17. How to conduct a deep-dive business review to uncover brand issues   

The deep-dive forces you to take a 360-degree view of your brand by looking into the marketplace, consumers, channels, competitors, and the brands. You will learn some of the best analytical tools, including consumer tracking, customer scorecards, brand funnels, and the leaky bucket. I provide the 50 best analytical questions to get you started, and a format for how to bring it all together into a business review presentation.

18. Brand Finance 101 to help manage your brand’s profitability 

Learn what you need to know about brand finance, including the eight ways you can drive profit. Learn how to dissect an income statement and use the key formulas you need to know including return on investment (ROI), growth, forecasting, cost of goods sold (COGS), and compound annual growth rate (CAGR).    

To order your version of Beloved Brands, click on this link: Beloved Brands Paperback

 

               

 

Share this story with other MarketersShare on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on Google+
Google+
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print