The marketing skills you need to be a successful Brand Leader

marketing skillsAt Beloved Brands, we use a 360-degree approach to marketing, which can highlight the skills you need to be successful in running your brand. You must be know how to analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review. Brand Leaders have to be able to think strategically to sort through issues and make decisions on direction. You must know how to define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea. Marketers need to know how to write a brand plan that everyone can follow. And, marketers should learn the skills needed to inspire smart and creative marketing execution that builds a brand that consumers will love.

Let’s use this 360-degree model to highlight the skills you need for each of the five areas. Below, I have broken down each of the five areas into 4 unique marketing skills. This will leave you with 20 overall marketing skills you need to be great.

1. Analyze performance

Too few marketers take the time to dig into the data analytics. There is no value in having access to data if you are not using it to discover meaningful insights. The best brand leaders can tell strategic stories through analytics. You need to know how to create a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumers, competitors, channels, and brand. And, you need to be able to to turn your analysis into a written report or a presentation for management. You need to know brand finance, to know every financial formula you need to run your brand.

  • Understand all the potential sources of brand data you can use to evaluate the situation. These include market share, consumption, shipment data, brand funnel, advertising tracking, market research studies, and financial statements.
  • Know how to dig deep into data, using draws comparisons and development indexes to find the data breaks. Draw out insights and conclusions that you can turn into a story to help your team debate and make decisions.
  • Able to lead a best-in-class 360-degree deep-dive business review for the brand that looks at the marketplace, consumers, channels, competitors and the brand results to give a holistic view of the brand’s performance.
  • Once you have all your findings, you need to be able to write analytical stories that include performance reports and key issues presentations. Then, you need to be able to outline the strategic implications of the brand’s current situation.

2. Think Strategically

Too many marketers are so busy that they do not even have time to think. The best brand leaders do the necessary critical strategic thinking to find ways to win in the market. Strategic thinking is an essential foundation, forcing marketers to ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions.

There are four ways to enhance your strategic thinking, using the brand’s core strength finder, consumer strategy, competitive strategy and situational strategy. As you frame your strategies, you should learn to think and then talk in a method that lays out the vision for your brand, focuses your limited resources on breakthrough points, takes advantage of opportunities you see in the market, finds early wins to leverage to give your brand a positional power to drive growth and profits for your brand.

  • Ask the right interrupting and challenging questions to help slow your brain down to a reflection speed. Make sure you understand the issues surrounding the brand before you reach for solutions
  • Take a 360-degree strategic view by looking at your brand’s core strength, how consumers engage, the stance your competitors are taking, and the current business situation you face
  • Able to lead a well-thought strategic debate across the organization. Ensure sales, operations, product development and senior leaders have their say.
  • Make smart strategic decisions that map out a vision, focuses the brands limited resources, takes advantage of an opportunity, gains an early win that can leveraged to drive added power or incremental profits.

3. Define the brand

Too many marketers are trying to be everything to anyone. This strategy is the usual recipe for becoming nothing to everyone. The best brand leaders target a specific motivated consumer audience and then define their brand around a brand idea that is interesting, simple, unique, motivating and ownable. 

You have to know the fundamental ways for how to write a winning brand positioning statement with four essential elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTB). Learn how to build a brand idea that leads every touchpoint of your brand, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and experience. And finally, you have to know the tools for how to write a winning brand concept and brand story. 

  • Defines your ideal consumer target. Build out consumer profiles framed with need states, consumer insights, enemies and the desired response.
  • Take a consumer-centric mindset to turn brand features (what you do) into functional benefits (what consumers get) and emotional benefits (how it makes them feel)
  • Find a winning brand positioning statement that is own-able for your brand and motivates consumers to build a tighter bond with the brand.
  • Develop a brand idea that is interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and ownable. You must be able to stretch that brand idea across every consumer touchpoint, including the brand promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience.

4. Create Brand Plans

Too many marketers focus on a short-term to-do list, not a long-term plan. The best brand leaders write brand plans everyone in the organization can follow with ease, including senior management, sales, R&D, agencies and operational teams. You have to know how to write each element of the brand plan, including the brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies, and tactics. You must be able to build execution plans including a brand communications plan, innovation plan, and in-store plan.

  • Lead the development of all elements of a smart brand plan; vision, purpose, goals, issues, strategies, tactics.
  • Know how to turn strategic thinking into smart strategic objective statements that can stand as the foundation of the brand plan
  • Able to use the brand plan presentation to convince senior management to follow the issues and strategies you lay out, and garner the necessary support across the organization.
  • Develops smart execution plans that deliver against the brand strategies, and steer each execution team to stay on strategy.

5. Inspire creative execution

Too many marketers are becoming task-masters and stepping over the line into execution. The best brand leaders need to inspire experts to produce smart and creative execution. You need tools and techniques for judging and making decisions on creative advertising from your agency.  For judging execution, I use the ABC’s tool, believing the best executions must drive Attention (A), Brand link (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). I also have a checklist for you to use when judging executions. One crucial skill is being able to give direction to your agency to inspire and challenge great execution.

  • Write strategic, focused and thorough creative briefs that will inspire great work from those experts who will execute on your brand’s behalf.
  • Capable of leading all marketing projects whether they are on brand communication, innovation, selling or experience.
  • Able to inspire greatness from experts at agencies or throughout the organization to offer their greatest work on your brand.
  • Makes smart marketing execution decisions that will help tighten the bond with consumers, put the brand into a more powerful position and drive long-term success that matches up tot he strategy.

I believe you need a playbook that covers each of these skills. Here’s the skills you need to be able to bring out when needed in your role.

Marketing Skills

Taking this a step further, use our assessment tool to highlight your own marketing skill gaps. Once you identify these skill gaps, use our book or our brand training programs to close those gaps.

marketing skils

Here is a presentation that can help you manage your career in Brand Management.

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

 

How to do a quick dissection of your brand’s profit statement

profitFor many of us, we became marketers because we were attracted to the strategic, creative, and psychology aspects of business. So if finance is not a natural skill, when your finance manager hands you the brand’s profit and loss (P&L) statement, it can be rather intimidating. Here’s an easier way for you to assess your profit statement. To assess the profit performance of your brand, and begin knowing where to dig deeper, I recommend you break it down by looking at four key numbers. 

  1. Understand the sales growth rate, relative to the economy or the category growth
  2. Look at the gross margin percentage
  3. Dig into the contribution margin percentage
  4. Do a quick comparison between spending growth rate and the sales growth rate.  

Start with the growth rate

  1. As a leader of the brand, I start by trying to understand the growth rate. Most brand leaders have brand growth as their number one objective. You can do a quick calculation to figure out the average growth rate but, as you dig in, you should try to find out what happened each year to give you a better feel of the brand performance. There are two calculations you can use, either average growth rate or compound annual growth rate (CAGR).profit
    • In this example, the average growth rate is 7% and CAGR % is 9.1%, but very high compared to the overall economic growth of 2-3%. My first instinct would be to look at the category growth to see if the brand is gaining or losing market share. 
    • Next, the year-by-year growth shows the growth rate has shot up to 12% over the past two years. I would make a mental note to expect to see this as an investment brand and determine whether the profit is paying off yet.

Understand what’s happening with the gross margin

  1. My eye is drawn immediately to figuring out the gross  margin percentage, as the first signal of the health of the brand or to try to understand the strategy behind the brand. Divide the absolute gross margin by the sales. You can assess the brand’s health by comparing the margin percent over time to see the trend line, with other brands in your portfolio to assess the opportunity cost, or with other competitive brands in the category.  profit
    • In this example, the gross margin percentage has fallen from 43% in 2018 down to 37% in 2020, which should prompt you to go a layer deeper to look at price and cost of goods.
    • Regarding price, dig around to see if there has been an average price decrease, then look to see if it is due to an increase in trade spend, a shift in the sales mix to lower-priced items, or even a shift to lower margin items. 

Then look at the contribution margin

  1. Next, look at your brand’s cost of goods and impact on overall profit. Some cost factors are outside the brand’s control, such as foreign exchange, raw material cost increases, duties, and transportation costs. However, you also need to look out for factors within the brand’s control. Was there a strategic decision to change to a higher cost raw material? Was there increased quality control at the manufacturing site? Did you switch to a more expensive supplier  or change the location of your production? profit
    • Look at contribution margin percentage, dividing the bottom line contribution income by the overall sales. 
    • In the example, an alarm bell goes off when I see the contribution margin percentage has fallen from 26% to 17% in three years. My first observation is the sales are up dramatically, yet both the gross margin percentages and contribution margin percentages are down.  
    • While the gross margin percentage is down, the gross margin dollars increased. However, in this case, the contribution margin dollars have gone down from $5,763 to $4,772. After two years of investment, the brand is not responding fast enough to cover that spend level.  

Try to assess profit impact of the spending 

  1. Finally, look at the comparison between the sales growth rate and the spending growth rate.  
    • While sales are growing at 12% over the past two years, spending is up 22%. The brand is not covering the spending increase. Dig in to understand if the payback was expected to be slower. If not, I would dig in to explain why it is not paying back: not the right message, competitive activity, or market dynamics. 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

How to figure out the size of your brand’s media budget

media planBalance your media choices by looking at media efficiency, quality, impact, and fit with the brand. The efficiency of the media math starts with reach and frequency. Reach is the number or percentage of different households or people exposed to the ad at least once, over a specific period. Frequency is the number of times that household or person will be exposed to the ad within a particular period. Be careful to avoid relying on efficiency alone.  You need to balance efficiency with the quality of the media choices. I always set aside about 10 percent of my media budget to create a high impact. I may want to generate early attention to a new campaign or product innovation.

Use your strategic thinking to understand how much you can invest. Focus your limited resources on a distinct opportunity point you have identified based on a change in the market.

The reasons you would strategically invest in media include:

  • Discovery of a new brand message you know will motivate consumers to buy your brand.
  • Identified change in consumer needs, motivations, or behaviors, which will benefit your brand.
  • Shift the competitive dynamic, with an opportunity to make gains or a necessity to defend.
  • Continue to fuel brand growth with a window to drive brand profits.
  • New distribution channel you can use to move consumers through before competitors do.
  • The launch of a breakthrough product innovation offering a competitive advantage to your brand.

To make the media investment pay off, you need a performance result that pays back with an increase in brand power you can use in the future or an immediate increase in brand profit.

Here are six factors to help guide you on the size of your media investment:

  1. Brand profit situation, looking at margin rates and the size of the business.
  2. Past media ROI projected forward as a forecast of the potential.
  3. Impact of your current creative advertising tracking results
  4. Future investment opportunities or future threats to battle.
  5. The degree of competitive pressures in the marketplace and their levels of media spend.
  6. The comparative opportunity cost for investing elsewhere.

Control the marketing and selling costs

Marketers are protective of marketing budgets. They usually want as much money as possible to carry out the activities on their priority list. The strategic brand leader should act like the owner/CEO by using budgets to manage the profit rather than act like a subject-matter expert trying to protect their turf.   

  • Marketing cost decrease: Many times companies look at cost-cutting to counter short-term changes happening within other parts the P&L (price, volume or COGs). However, many of the best-run brands keep the investment strong, aligning with the longer-term strategy instead of a short-term situational need.
  • Marketing cost increase: Used when there is an opportunity to gain share against a competitor or as a defensive position trying to hold share. The brand should see an opportunity where significant revenue gains can cover off the lower profit ratios.

media budgets

Always bring an ROI mindset to your brand’s marketing budget. In the example, the investment of $1.5 million generates an incremental sales of $5 million. After subtracting the cost of goods and the marketing investment, your brand generates $500,000 in incremental profit. To calculate the ROI, take the profit and divide it by the investment. In this example, the ROI is 33%; if it holds, the investment will take three years to pay back.

Media budget levels

media budgetsThere is a term called zero-based marketing budgeting, which starts off each new year assuming all brand budgets are zero and the brand must prove their case to earn its budget level. While it makes perfect sense in theory, with 20 years of experience with marketing budgets, this is not an easy concept to implement. One risk I see is that a zero-based budget could lead to short-term and highly transactional advertising. 

A brand needs to balance brand-building activities, which add to the long-term connection with consumers with transactional call-to-action messaging intended to trigger purchases. For instance, if you tell me “Buy two, get one free” for five straight years, your consumers will eventually forget why they should buy your product at all, let alone two. There is a degree of uncertainty in making investment decisions. Get comfortable with your instincts to balance the degree of ambiguity to make the smart decision.

Blowfish media plan

When you feel the risk/reward of the media investment is unknown, it might be wise to start with a smaller investment level. Use what I call a “blowfish” media plan. Among those consumers you target, you appear to be a large brand. Pick a tight target market with a limited media choice or geographic focus to replicate how a more substantial media investment would appear. When the unknown is very high, get smarter by using test markets with various media spend levels to gain the necessary consumer response data before you make a full investment.

Medium level media plan

You should use a medium investment level when your brand faces only a couple of the media investment factors listed above, yet your brand has the size and margin to invest. With this level of spend, you should use a selective media plan by making smart choices of the target market who you know will respond to those media choices proven to pay back.

High level media plan

You should use a high investment level when your brand faces many of the investment factors, including profitable brand, reliable messaging, product innovation, and an intensely competitive situation. You can afford to take a mass approach. However, just because you have a lot of money does not mean you should waste it. I still recommend using one lead media choice and then use support media to supplement. Figure out your lead paid media and your lead earned media to provide focus and alignment with your strategy.

Watch out for escalating production costs

One important consideration with any investment plan is to balance media spending and the creative production costs. Your brand’s working dollars are those investments that directly reach and influence the consumer. You can directly see the impact and measure the payback. Media is considered working dollars. This costing method is one of the reasons you do not want to spread your brand across too many media choices. If most of your brand’s advertising budget is spent making TV ads, billboards, and radio ads or paying for talent in the ads, then you will not have enough spending left to reach the consumer.

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

Nike’s “Just Do It” turns 30 and the brand shows that it stands by what they believe.

Colin Kaepernick is the new face of the ad campaign. With a nation divided on the issue, Nike takes a stance. The words on this ad attributed to Colin Kaepernick, can likely be attributed to Nike.

The Nike print ad is released on social media

Nike Colin KaepernickAll this firestorm started with a Tweet on Monday night by Colin Kaepernick, with this print ad. Everything took off from there.

Everyone took their own side, and the back and forth on Tuesday was a social media firestorm.

The stock price fell 2-3% in one day.  We are now day 3 and the stock has steadied itself. Truth be told, the results of this stance should be judged 3-5 years from now, not 3-5 days later.

Nike definitely supporting their athletes. These ads will get more high profile athletes to want to sign up with Nike….and over time the 15 year old athletes will buy MORE Nike (at a rate of 3 to 5 pair/year) offsetting the 55 year old non-athlete not buying (at a rate of 1 pair/year).

I believe Nike wins this math equation.

Explaining the “Just Do It” campaign

Over the last 30 years of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, you can see how they balance high profile athletes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods with your average athletes going above and beyond their athletic expectations.

Nike’s creative idea of “Just do it” reflects the strategic brand idea of, “Nike pushes you beyond your athletic boundaries.” Nike has made the most of TV advertising, layering in new stories supporting the “Just do it” creative idea. Here are some of the best Nike TV ads:

  • Michael Jordan’s “Failure” ad has him speaking about the many times he has been entrusted with the last  shot, only to fail to deliver.
  • With “Jogger” from the 2012 London Olympics, Nike used a heavy-set kid jogging at 6 a.m., to show how not all of us are superstars and challenges the average athlete inside all of us.
  • “No Excuses” has an unknown athlete speak to camera and list all possible excuses for not working out, only to pull the camera back and reveal he is a wheelchair basketball player who has no excuses.
  • With “Freestyle,” Nike created a hip-hop track and then matched visuals of NBA stars bouncing basketballs to that track. Very visually and musically engaging, this ad makes you look up at the TV. 
  • “If you let me play sports” from the early 1990s, an emotional ad that speaks to all the life benefits for girls who play sports. Adolescent girls deliver the copy lines of “If you let me play sports, I will have more confidence, be more likely to leave a man who beats me or suffer less depression

The Nike TV ad was released a couple of days later

It combines a lot of the greatness we’ve seen from Nike over the past 30 years of “Just Do It”, with a combination of superstars such as Lebron and Serena with those overcoming the most serious of life challenges. With Colin Kaepernick as the voice over, it takes a political stance and adds a bit of controversy.

This might be one of the best Nike ads I’ve ever seen.

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

Taking the mystery out of finding consumer insights that will connect on a deeper level

Consumer insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, which explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points, and emotions of your consumers. Your consumers may not even be able to explain the insight until you play it back to them. And when they say, “Yeah, that is exactly how I feel.” Brands should think of consumer insights as a potential competitive advantage, equal in importance to intellectual property.

Consumer Insights

How to find smart ownable insights that will engage and move consumers

Go deep to understand and explain trends lying beneath the data.

Think like a therapist: Listen, observe, collect, challenge, and carefully draw conclusions you can play back to the consumer for assurance. Use the voice of the consumer, social media, to listen and use our emotional cheat sheet to conclude.

Hunt through the data to draw hypothetical insights.

The dictionary definition of the word insight is “seeing below the surface.” Sort through every data point, including market share information, panel data, testing and tracking results, brand funnel, customer sales, etc. With each data point, keep digging until you see a data break that needs explaining. Ask yourself, “So what does that mean for the consumer?” over and over until you see the “Why it matters” come to life and explain the cause of the consumer’s behavior.

Make sure it fits with your consumer’s life.

Try to map out a day-in-the-life, weekly life or even the life stages your consumers goes through to understand their insights and pain points. Take a holistic view of the consumer, to ensure you figure out where your brand fits in with their life. Ask questions that force you to go deeper, avoiding clichés that keep you stuck at the surface level and stop you from getting to the sincere, rich, and meaningful consumer insights.

Find something that is an inspiring connection to engage and move consumers.

We need to find that magic secret, going deep below to show the consumer we get them. Insights enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper emotional level, showing ‘we get you.’

Consumer Insights

When you do it right, smart consumer insights get consumers to stop and listen to your brand’s promise or brand story, engage in the latest innovation and believe the consumer experiences fits perfect with their life.

The 360-degree mining for consumer insights

Building a complete picture of your consumer by looking at multiple sources is an excellent methodology to find consumer insights. Start with market data, and then add your observations, the voice of the consumer, emotional need states, and life moments:   

  1. What we can read: Use available data such as market share results, tracking studies or category trends. Look for underlying explanations of the data breaks, drivers, inhibitors, as well as new trends among consumers, channels, and competitors. Tell the story beneath the data.
  2. What we see: Use observations of consumer reactions, coming from focus groups, product tests, advertising testing, and direct consumer engagements to add to the insights. Watch the way consumers respond.
  3. What we sense: Listen to the voice of consumer (VOC), assessing consumer comments on social media, brand reviews, or through market research. Listen for specific word choices or phrases the consumer’s use.
  4. What we feel: Use observations and listening to match the emotional need states with how the use of your brand makes them feel.
  5. Day-in-the-life moments: Map out the consumer’s life with explanations of underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points, and emotions at any moment of the day or week. Conclude how parts of their life could impact their path to purchase.

Consumer Insights

Be your consumer

Once you have completed all five areas of the 360-degree mining process, get into the consumer’s shoes, observe, listen, and understand how they think, act, feel, and behave. Be empathetic to their fears, motivations, frustrations, and desires. Learn their language and use their voice. Learn the secrets that only they know, even if they cannot explain. Insights are a great way to demonstrate “We know you” because the number one reason consumers buy a brand simply that “It is a brand for me.”

Case study: Consumer insights for quitting smoking 

Bringing the insights for quitting smoking to life

When I worked in the quit-smoking categories, I used the 360-degree mining for consumer insights. I have never smoked in my life, so all of this was new and forced me to listen, observe, and go deeper.

  • The starting data point was, “Studies show smokers will try to quit cold-turkey over seven times before reaching for a smoking aid to help them quit.” It speaks to how hard it is to quit, and how many times it takes to achieve success. Regarding smoking aids, it shows how the product is the last resort.
  • Adding observations from focus groups, I could see how smokers become very agitated. We held two-hour focus groups and talked non-stop about what could get them to quit smoking. In the first hour, they were polite, but after one hour without a cigarette, I could see their agitation grow to a boiling point.   
  • When I listened further, I heard them say, “I feel guilty I can’t quit” or “I know I should quit” or “Whenever I quit, I feel I’m not myself. I get so irritable that I give up” or “I wish smoking wasn’t so bad for you because quitting smoking sucks.” These are some of the underlying feelings coming out, expressed in their words.
  • Using the emotional need states, I gravitated to the consumer’s lack of optimism or confidence to quit, how smokers feel out of control whenever they try to quit, and how they feel not themselves.
  • Observing how quitting smoking fits into their lives, I could see how they take their misery from trying to quit out on those around them. They linked the moment of quitting smoking with their “worst version of themselves coming out” and talked about “the monster.” Some said their spouse or friends had told them they would prefer they keep smoking rather than having to deal with this terrible version of themselves. 

Consumer Insights

Consumer insight (connection point):

  • “I know I should quit. I’ve tried to quit smoking so many times, it’s ridiculous. I’m not myself. I’m grouchy, irritable and feel out of control. Quitting smoking sucks!” When I shared this secret back with smokers who want to quit, they say, “Yup, that’s exactly how I feel.”

Consumer enemy (pain point):

  • “I fear quitting smoking will bring out the monster in me, turning me into the worst version of myself.” 

 

Consumer Insights

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

How to drive up the message communication within your advertising

message communicationCommunication is not what is said but what is heard. The best brand communication happens when you focus on the one benefit that moves consumers, by creatively amplifying, telling the story behind your brand purpose, using extreme demonstrations or powerful visuals. 

Stop thinking of your ads like a bulletin board where you can pin up one more message. Start thinking as though you are shouting through a bullhorn in a crowded square. Tell me the ONE message you need to make sure the consumer hears.

The data behind brand communications

The Milward Brown data show the more messages you put in an ad, the less likely the consumer will recall your main message. Looking at the chart, it shows when an ad has one message, the average main message recall by consumers is 37%. For ads with two messages, the main message recall goes down to 31%, and for three messages, the main message recall goes down to 26%. On top of that, the recall of the third message recall is only 11%, almost worthless to the advertising. 

message communication

Focus on one message, starting with the brief, and you will increase your message communication scores. Here are four techniques to look at increasing your brand communication:  

1. Creatively amplify your brand’s consumer benefit  

Bring the idea to life by exaggerating the worst version of the consumer’s enemy, to help set up your brand as the solution that will move consumers to buy. This technique results in some of my favorite Ads.  

A great example of amplifying your consumer benefit is the Snickers Super Bowl ad with Betty White playing football with a bunch of college-aged guys. After a bad play by Betty, one of the buddies yells at her that she is “not playing like her normal self.” He then hands Betty a Snickers bar and Betty turns back into the college-aged football player. The ad uses the consumer insight of, “You’re not you when you’re hungry” to set up the consumer benefit of how Snickers satisfies your hunger. This technique is a great combination that would fit with many brands.

Berlitz used a scenario of a German Coast Guard operator who takes on an SOS distress call of a boat that was “sinking.” His response of, “What are you thinking about?” is an incredibly fun way to highlight the importance of language training.

There is also a great Ikea ad about a woman who throws out her old lamp, suggesting she should go to Ikea and get a new lamp instead. While the ad tries to get you to feel sorry for the tired, old lamp, as it sits by the corner of the driveway in the rain, along comes a strange Swedish man in the pouring rain, who suggests “Why do you feel sorry for this lamp? It’s just a lamp. New is always better.” This ad is an excellent demonstration of how disposable furniture is, and how good it feels to replace the old, tired options. 

2. Tell the story behind your brand purpose to move consumers and employees

Use your brand’s values, beliefs, and purpose to express your brand’s background story in an engaging way that will move the consumer. 

Apple’s “Think different” campaign relaunched the Apple brand in 1997, with a script that said, “The crazy ones are crazy enough to change the world.” This ad showed some of the most famous people in history, including Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Gandhi, John Lennon, Amelia Earhart, and Muhammad Ali. To me, the ad was just as much of an internal brand message designed to inspire the internal Apple culture to push for greatness to believe they are crazy enough. 

In the 1960s, Avis used the “We try harder” brand idea to show various ways how as the #2 brand, they have to work harder than Hertz, the leader. They have to be nice, clean the ashtrays, make sure the tires are filled up, leaving you to wonder if Hertz cared about those details. This message is the perfect internal rallying cry to inspire the internal staff to try harder and be better. America always loves an underdog story. Embrace the copy of these great ads. It is fantastic.    

message communication

While nearly every Super Bowl ad is loud and funny, Dodge Ram used a quietly dramatic ad, using Paul Harvey’s famous radio show recording called, “God created a farmer.” The ad is set against gorgeous photos of hard-working farmers, telling a classic working-class America story. It is a highly inspiring, optimistic story that will give you patriotic goose bumps.    

3. Extreme demonstration of the consumer benefit 

Find a creative extreme torture test to showcase your brand’s most motivating consumer benefit. 

A great example an extreme demonstration is the Impulse perfume ad from the UK. One of the most difficult creative challenges is to demonstrate the impact of a perfume scent visually. The ad tells the story of a nude male model in an art class. While he is at the front of the room, in walks a female student who walks past him, and he obviously smells her perfume, and becomes “aroused.” While we don’t see anything, it has become visibly evident to everyone in the art class. 

Rolls-Royce used a highly creative demonstration to show how quiet their cars are, with a print ad with the headline, “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” This type of copy line makes the consumer think.

Back in the 1960s, Timex watches used highly engaging torture tests, including smashing the watches or holding them underwater, to demonstrate how a Timex watch “takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

4. Move consumers through a powerful visual

Take what should be the obvious benefit and bring it to life through a glorious visual demonstration.

One of my favorite ads is the Honda spot that utilizes a chain of colliding parts taken from a disassembled Honda Accord in a falling domino effect. As an engineering dominant company, the main consumer benefit of precision is a perfect fit with the Honda brand. The spot took 600+ takes to get it just right. It only aired 10 times, during high-profile sporting events. The ad helped the Honda UK business turn around from a declining brand to 28% sales growth the next year.

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

 

Consumers have changed. Have you changed enough to keep up?

Do you know your consumer better than your competitors? You should think of consumer insights like IP. 

It takes a smart strategy to balance the rational and emotional management of the brand-to-consumer relationship.

All the marketing news is about the changes in technology. New forms of advertising, new forms of distribution and artificial intelligence. And, not enough marketers are talking about the biggest change–that being the change to the consumer.

What we are seeing in this modern day marketing, is that the most beloved brands make their most loyal consumers feel loved.

The consumers of today must be won over

They are surrounded by the clutter of 5,000 brand messages a day that fight for a glimpse of their attention. That is 1.8 million per year or one message every 11 waking seconds.

Consumers are continuously distracted—walking, talking, texting, searching, watching, replying—and all at the same time. They glance past most brand messages all day long. Their brain quickly rejects boring, irrelevant or unnecessary messages. Brands must capture the consumer’s imagination right away, with a brand idea that is simple, unique. It must create as much excitement as a first-time encounter.

Today’s consumers see 5,000 brand messages per day. Every day for consumers feels like they are walking through Time’s Square

 

Consumers are tired of being burned by broken brand promises. Once lied to, their well-guarded instincts begin to doubt first, test second, and at any point, they will cast aside any brand that does not live up to the original promise that captured them on the first encounter. A brand must be worthy of love. The best brands of today have a soul that exists deep within the culture of the brand organization.

Brands must listen first, talk second

Brands must be consumer focused. The brand’s purpose must be able to explain why the people who work behind the scenes of the brand come to work every day so energized and ready to over-deliver on the brand’s behalf. This purpose becomes a firm conviction, with inner motivations, beliefs, and values that influences and inspires every employee to want to be part of the brand. This brand conviction must be so firm the brand would never make a choice that directly contradicts their inner belief system. Consumers start to see, understand and appreciate the level of conviction with the brand.

Brands must listen, observe and start to know the thoughts of their consumer before they even think it. Not only does the brand meet their functional needs, but the brand must also heroically beat down the consumer’s ‘enemy’ that torments their life, every day.

Brands must show up consistently

The brand must show up consistently at every consumer touchpoint, whether it is the promise the brand makes, the stories they tell, the innovation designed to impress consumers, the happy purchase moments or the delightful experiences that make consumers want to tell their friends the brand story. The consumer keeps track to make sure the brand delivers before the consumer is willing to commit. Only then will the consumer become willing to open up and trust the brand.

The integrity of the soul of the brand helps tighten the consumer’s unshakable bond with that brand. Brands have to do the little things that matter, to show they love their consumer. Every time the brand over-delivers on their promise, it adds a little fuel to the romance.

Over time, the brand must weave itself into the most critical moments of the consumer’s lives, and become part of the most cherished stories and memories within the consumer’s heart. In today’s cluttered brand world, the pathway to brand success is all about how to build relationships with your most cherished consumers.

Old-school marketing no longer works, but the fundamentals of brand management matter more now than ever

The old logical ways of marketing no longer work in today’s world. These brands feel stuck in the past talking about gadgets, features, and promotions. They will be ‘friend-zoned’ by consumers and purchased only when the brand is on sale. The best brands of the previous century were little product inventions that solved small problems consumers did not even realize they had until the product came along. Old-school marketing was about bold logos, catchy jingles, memorable slogans, side-by-side demonstrations, repetitive TV ads, product superiority claims and expensive battles for shelf space at retail stores. Every marketer focused on how to enter the consumer’s mind. 

Old-school marketers learned the 4Ps of product, place, price, and promotion. It is a useful start, but too product-focused and it misses out on consumer insights, emotional benefits, and consumer experiences. 

The Crest brand knew their “Look, mom, no cavities!” TV ads annoyed everyone, yet they also knew it stuck in the consumer’s brain. No one cared how nice the Tide logo looked, as long as it stood out on a crowded grocery shelf. The jingle “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” was often repeated to embed itself in the consumer’s memory bank. The side-by-side dish detergent advertising that showed spots on the wine glass of a competitor, just to shame consumers into using Cascade. Brands that continue to follow only a logical play will fail miserably in today’s emotion-driven marketplace.

Brands need to build a passionate and lasting love for their consumers   

How can brand leaders replicate Apple’s brand lovers who line up in the rain to buy the latest iPhone before they even know the phone’s features?  I see Ferrari fans who paint their faces red every weekend, knowing they will likely never drive a Ferrari in their lifetime. There are the ‘Little Monsters’ who believe they are nearly best friends with Lady Gaga. 

It was amazing to witness 400,000 outspoken Tesla brand advocates who put $1,000 down for a car that did not even exist yet. I love the devoted fans of In-N-Out Burger who order animal-style burgers off the secret menu. Every brand should want this type of passion and power with their consumers.

Three questions you need to answer:

  1. Do you know your consumer better than your competitor knows your consumer?
  2. Would you say you treat your best consumer better than you treat your average consumer?
  3. Where do you put your focus: building a relationship or closing the sale?

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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 from Amazon, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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

It takes a strategic mind to figure out how to manage brand love

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]I created the brand love curve, to show the differences in how consumers feel about a brand as they move through five stages. It defines their feelings as unknown, indifferent, like it, love it and onto the beloved brand status.

How consumer strategies match up to the brand love curve

  • 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.

The 20 strategies that line up to the Brand Love Curve

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.

The game plan for unknown brands

All brands start at the unknown stage. Many new brands struggle to break through to reach consumers or build the distribution with doubting retailers. They face leadership team conflicts, confusion around the value proposition, inconsistent messages to consumers, and everyone in the organization seems to move in different directions. The risk is you will be seen as a product—not yet a brand idea.

Too often, companies at this early stage fixate more on selling with desperation to anyone who wants to buy. Sure, the cash flow helps. However, when the consumer sees the brand as a commodity, the product has no real differentiation from competitors. This strategy will make it hard to command a price premium or gain any efficiency. Substantial investment is needed to establish both brand awareness and broad distribution. The unknown brands need to stand out in the crowd.

Three-point game plan for unknown brands: 

  1. Create a brand idea that expresses your consumer benefit and build everything around that idea, both internally and externally
  2. Focus your limited resources against a focused target, positioning, strategies, and activities.
  3. Passionately express your brand purpose as a rallying point, both internally and externally.

Strategic options for unknown brands:

  • Brand set-up: Establish production, brand promise, advertising, public relations, consumer experience, distribution, and manage the purchase moments.
  • Launch event: Build hype and desire to gain attention and awareness with consumers to help hit minimum desired sales levels with channels.
  • Build a core message: Amplify brand idea and niche consumer benefit to a core audience to establish a consumer reputation.
  • Find early lovers: Find a small base of early adopters to drive trial among those who are already motivated by what you do. Use their energy to turn them into brand fans who can influence others.

The game plan for indifferent brands 

Indifferent brands act like commodities. They are usually too product-focused and not yet able to find a way to separate the brand from competitors. These brands suffer from very skinny brand funnels with low awareness at the top of the brand funnel, with low purchase rates, low repeat scores, and low brand loyalty scores.

These brands struggle to gain new users or drive frequency. Without a brand idea or unique positioning, the advertising suffers from poor tracking scores, and the innovation shows little payback. Lower payback makes it hard to justify marketing investment in advertising, innovation, or in-store.

Indifferent brands rely on price promotions to drive volume, resulting in a margin squeeze. They struggle to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down the variable cost of goods. They have no power with retailers, so they are unable to get their fair share of shelf space, display, or price promotions. Private label brands threaten their sales levels. The indifferent brands need to establish the brand positioning and, in turn, the reputation in a consumer’s mind.

Three-point game plan for indifferent brands: 

  1. Focus your brand’s limited resources on proving your brand has a point of difference in the consumer’s mind.
  2. Create a brand idea to establish your brand’s uniqueness to stand out in the cluttered market.
  3. Put more passion, emotion, and risk into your work.

Strategic options for indifferent brands:

  • Mind shift: Drive a new brand positioning or reinforce current positioning to change your reputation.
  • Mindshare: Draw more attention than competitors by being better or different.
  • New news: Launch breakthrough innovation to enter the consumer’s mind.
  • Turnaround: Focus energy on gaps or leaks in your brand’s execution. Use the fix to shift minds.

The game plan for “like it” brands 

Brands at the like it stage have established a degree of success in the market, and they have created a rational brand positioning with consumers. However, they lack the emotional connection to build a bond with consumers. They make gains during heavy marketing support periods but fall back down during the non-support periods. These brands appear content to hold onto their share and grow at the rate of the category.

These brands have awareness but lose to competitors as the consumer moves to the purchase stage. As a result, they usually require a higher promotional trade spend to close the sale, which cuts into profit margins. A vital consumer tracking score to watch is “made the brand seem different,” which will help separate your brand from the pack. The brand needs to begin to layer in the emotional benefits and focus on creating a stronger following with each happy purchase.

Three-point game plan for brands at the like it stage:

  1. Focus resources to build a more significant following with happy purchases.
  2. Leverage the brand idea to start making an emotional connection to build a following.
  3. Increase consumer engagement by adding more passion to your brand execution.

Strategic options for brands at the like it stage:

  • Drive penetration: Persuade new consumers to try the brand.
  • Drive usage: Get happy consumers to use more or use it differently.
  • Build routine: Get happy consumers to build a routine around the brand.
  • Cross-sell: Get happy consumers to use your brand’s other products or services.

The game plan for “love it” brands

Brands at the love it stage start to see a higher emotional connection with a base of brand fans. These brands also start to gain a stronger usage frequency, as the brand becomes a more significant part of the consumer’s life routines. With strong consumer tracking results, the brand can leverage more efficient marketing spend. You will notice loyal consumers are highly responsive to advertising and innovation. This thinking makes the  marketing spend much more efficient, opening up a pathway to higher profits.

These brands should be able to leverage their power with retailers and influencers. Even in a competitive market, these brands should be able to gain share and widen their leadership stance. With high net promoter scores, they should be able to leverage word-of-mouth or social media recommendations, and positive online brand reviews (Yelp or Trip Advisor) to influence new users. Brands at the love it stage must look for unique ways to reward consumers and further tighten their bond with their most loyal brand lovers.

Three-point game plan for brands at the love it stage: 

  1. Tug at the heartstrings to help build a community of brand fans.
  2. Shift to the creation of consumer experiences that turn purchases into routines and rituals.
  3. Turn the love for your work into a bit of magic for the consumer.

Strategic options for brands at the love it stage:

  • Build memories: Create consumer experiences that link the brand with life moments.
  • Maintain love: Reinforce the brand strengths with your core base of brand fans.
  • Deeper love: Match the passion of your consumers to drive consolidation and get these consumers to use your brand across a broader degree of uses.
  • Reasons to love: Reinforce brand messages to your most loyal users.

The game plan for beloved brands

Brands at the beloved stage are the iconic leaders in their category. These brands have an extremely healthy and robust brand funnel with likely near-perfect brand awareness (over 95%), high conversion to purchase, strong repeat and very high loyalty scores. These brands have achieved good penetration and purchase frequency scores.

Tracking results show an immediate reaction to new marketing programs with high brand link scores on advertising and high trial on innovation. They have a dominant share position at least within a specific segment.

They have the power to take a dominant stance in the marketplace, to squeeze out smaller brands, and to reduce the influence of other competitors. These brands have strong net promoter scores and have cultivated a community of outspoken brand fans. They can use their power with retailers to gain preferential shelf space and drive traffic. The company should manage the brand as an asset. These brands should work to create magical experiences that will inspire brand fans to talk about them and influence others.

Three-point game plan for brands at the beloved stage:

  1. Focus on maintaining the love the brand has created with core brand fans.
  2. Consistently challenge and perfect the consumer experience.
  3. Broaden the offering and selectively broaden your audience. Be careful.

Strategic options for brands at the beloved stage:

  • Create magic: Continue to surprise and delight your brand lovers.
  • Leverage power: Drive growth and profit from your brand’s source of power.
  • Attack yourself: Continue to assess and close leaks to improve before competitors attack.
  • Use loyalists: Leverage brand lovers to whisper with influence with their network.

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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 from Amazon, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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

Will the magic of Chick-Fil-A’s hospitality work in Canada?

chick-fil-aChick-Fil-A announced they were launching their first restaurant outside the US, and they have chosen Toronto. Will it work? If Chick-Fil-A can make their story 100% about chicken and great service, they will thrive in Toronto. However, if the story shifts toward’s Chick-Fil-A’s “family values” then it will fall flat.

Toronto the good

I know Toronto very well.  Out of all the cities in the world where Chick-Fil-A could launch, Toronto might be one of the worst possible choices they could make. I predict the loud voices of Toronto will run Chick-Fil-A out of Canada.

Toronto is a very values-driven city. “Toronto the good” is a long-standing nickname for the city. But the values and the good, are different from what Chick-Fil-A might think.

We all know Canada is a very liberal country, with Justin Trudeau as the Prime Minister. Take it a step further, Toronto is the most liberal part of Canada. The people of Toronto didn’t vote for Trudeau; they voted left of Trudeau. He’s considered a liberal-moderate in Toronto.

Toronto is a very proud city. They are proud of their leading-edge stance on pushing for LGBT rights and marriage equality, with Canada being one of the first countries to recognize gay marriage. The Toronto LGBT community will be ready and waiting for the arrival of Chick-Fil-A. They’ve already staged protests.

Toronto is one of the most diverse cities around, with large populations of South Asian, Chinese, Black,  Italian, Korean and South American.

Here’s how the numbers break down for Toronto:

  • South Asian: 12.59 per cent
  • Chinese: 11.13 per cent
  • Black: 8.91 per cent
  • Filipino: 5.67 per cent
  • Latin American: 2.87 per cent
  • Arab: 1.34 per cent
  • Southeast Asian: 1.55 per cent
  • West Asian: 2.24 per cent
  • Korean: 1.55 per cent
  • Japanese: 0.5 per cent

Not only is there a strong acceptance of diversity, but there is a growing pride in how diverse Toronto is. Imagine how this diversity impacts the flavour choices of the people of Toronto. You can get any type of food, with any type of flavours. A plain piece of chicken might get lost in the sea of choices in Toronto.

In a world where everyone is turning their backs on refugees, Toronto is proud of their acceptance of refugees. Many I see are crowdfunding their support for refugee families.

Toronto lives by a form of “family values” but not likely what conservatives call “family values”

Toronto is all about gun control. A recent poll shows that 70% of Torontonians support a 100% city-wide=ban on all guns. In a city slightly bigger than Chicago, Toronto’s crime rate is one of the lowest in all of North America. When gun violence happens, the city is on high alert.

In Toronto, religion is not an open topic. I can’t say I remember a politician ever evoking the word “god” on a stage, let alone ever saying “god bless Canada.” I’ve never seen a politician going to church, and I am not sure I’ve ever heard one openly speak about their own religious views. My only point here is that if politics and religion don’t mix in Canada, imagine the odd mix of business and religion.

Chick-Fil-A

Based on comments by the CEO on the marriage debate, many in Canada see them as using their chicken to promote their ideas. In 2012, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy confirmed that the company does not support same-sex marriage because it goes against the organization’s religious values.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. And, we are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. At Chick-Fil-A, we operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”

Chick-fil-A’s corporate purpose begins with the words “to glorify God,”

Will Chick-Fil-A work in Toronto?

Chick-fil-AChick-Fil-A launched in New York City last year to a similar sort of protest. Yet New Yorkers, like everyone else, have taken to the brand. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.

If you can make it in New York….

Chick-Fil-A says they have studied the Toronto market for years. They mention how Toronto’s foodie community will love the Chick-Fil-A chicken. It will be interesting to see if they can thread the needle in being successful in a community whose values are polar opposite to the ones they project.

Values and brands have a strange relationship. When they are fake, the employees know, and they never catch on. When they are real, they manage to permeate the culture and impact the overall brand.

There is no doubt Chick-Fil-A’s values are real. But what does that mean for the consumer.Chick-Fil-A is the gold standard on service when it comes to drive thru. They believe that employees are the company’s “secret recipe,” and the drive-thru strategy is designed around people as much as it is technology and systems. “It’s all about speed and accuracy, but we know our customers appreciate that we can be nice while being fast and correct. Eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience.”

In a fast food restaurant study last year, Chick-Fil-A’s service levels blew away competitors.

  • The % of Chick-Fil-A employees who smiled was 91%, almost 30 pointes higher than McDonald’s at 62%. Out of 15 other brands, only Panera Bread reached the high 70s.
  • The % of Chick-Fil-A employees who said “thank you” was at an astonishing 95%, compared to McDonald’s at 78%.
  • How does Chick-Fil-A get employees to deliver great service. Easy: happy employees. On the Glassdoor website, where employees can anonymously rate their employer, Chick-Fil-A employees ratings were 25% higher than the average fast food restaurant.

How do you feel about Chick-Fil-A coming to Toronto? What will you do? Is it just chicken or more than that?

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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.

Beloved Brands book

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

If you use Kobo, you can find Beloved Brands in over 30 markets using this link: https://lnkd.in/g7SzEh4

And if you are in India, you can use this link to order: https://lnkd.in/gDA5Aiw

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.

We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

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 brand 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.

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.

Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
  5. Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
  6. Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.

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

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

You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Signature

Graham Robertson

Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.

 

Nike advertising inspires and challenges next generation in China

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]NikeNike China China advertising is using consumer insights to understand the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of Chinese consumers. Over the last few months, we are seeing Nike using advertising to connect, challenge and inspire consumers in China.

There are two types of Nike ads we see.

  • The classic celebrity style ads, showing the greatness of Michael Jordan, Lebron or Cristiano Ronaldo. They are entertaining and give validation that the best in the world are using Nike.
  • There are those with a message designed to challenge, inspire and push your athletic boundaries beyond what you thought was possible. These ads give us enough goosebumps to get us off the couch.

Don’t call me precious

This Nike China ad campaign speaks directly with the kids, while it flies directly in the face of over-protective parents in China and everywhere around the world.

The quote from the Nike China VP of Marketing outlines the insight. “When it comes to sports, children have the grit, determination and fearlessness of adults. They aren’t constrained by their age, but they’re sometimes constrained by parents’ fears of them falling or failing. We wanted to help overcome this overprotectiveness by reframing ‘young athletes’ as athletes who happen to be young.”

Just like Nike “Just Do It” ads pushed the western youth in the 1980s and 1990s, with inspirational ads, Nike China is taking that approach to grow their brand in China. What do you think?

Dare to become

This ad challenges the youth of China to imagine into the future when they can become the dominant soccer/football nation. It aired during the recent World Cup, generating over 170 million views in the first four days after it was released. It shows the iconic #7, currently worn by Cristiano Ronaldo, and he turns around to reveal it is a Chinese soccer player in the future.

Keep in mind, only 6 countries have won the World Cup since 1970, and only 8 have been in the finals. China is currently ranked 75th in the world. However, with 1.4 billion people, and a little inspiration, maybe this ad can come true in the future. Just imagine.

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore 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