10 reasons why Brand Managers get fired. Tips to fix each reason.

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]The best Brand Managers take ownership, provide the strategic direction, work the system, handle pressure and get the most of their direct report.

Most new Brand Managers mistakenly think this role is about managing others because they finally get a chance to manage a direct report. However, the bigger role is the transition from doer to owner. brand managers

Yes, you will get your first chance to manage someone, but many times that effort can be a distraction from your chance to continue to learn and grow. Many brand managers are disheartened to find out they are a disaster with their first direct report. Try to improve with each new direct report and then they will feel more comfortable around the fifth direct report.

I hope you love the magic of Marketing. It is easy to lose your passion and try to do what your boss wants or do things to make short-term numbers so you can get promoted. Don’t just go through the motion the job, but do it with all your passion. If you do not love the work you do, then how can you ever expect your consumer to love your brand? Leave your legacy. 

Many great Assistant Brand Managers end up being fired or pushed out the door at the Brand Manager level. So, why were they mistakenly promoted?

I don’t want to see anyone get fired, so use this list to find your blind spot and close it before others discover it. Be honest with yourself. Seek out opinions of peers or colleagues. I have advice for each potential reason, hopefully helping you pro-actively address any issues.

Top 10 reasons why Brand Managers get fired:  

1. They struggle to make decisions:

Some Assistant Brand Managers (ABMs) shine because they are the “super doer’s,” who made things happen, on time and under budget. All the subject matter experts (forecasting, production, promotions) love them. However, once promoted to the Brand Manager, they freeze. They can do, but they can’t decide. They can execute someone else’s project list with flare, but they can’t come up with their own project list. Instead of providing direction, they keep asking for help, over and over.

Advice: To overcome this problem, work on your decision-making process with tools that force the choice. If you are scared, map out your thinking, use pros, and cons or a decision tree. When faced with an A or B decision, never talk yourself into doing both A and B. A choice should focus your resources to make sure the plan works. If you do both, it divides your resources, and both options fail. 

2. Not analytical enough.

Many marketers struggle with math, and it eventually catches up with them. They might have great instincts, but they only scratch the surface on the analytics, and can’t explain what is happening in their brand. If you can’t understand the analytics, you risk solving the wrong problem.

Advice: Just because you are now a Brand Manager doesn’t mean you stop digging into the data. The analytical skills you learned as an ABM should be used at every level in your career right up to VP. Even when I was running a team of 30 marketers, I used to do my own monthly share report to ensure I was digging in and getting my hands mucky with the data.  I could tell which of my Brand Managers had dug in as well and who hadn’t even read their ABM’s monthly report yet. However, trust me, it scares your boss even more. Take the time to understand the details of your business. Dig into the data and make decisions based on the depth of analysis you do. 

3. Can’t get along with others

The Brand Managers that struggle with sales colleagues or the subject matter experts (SME’s) are at risk of failure. They are the type who speaks first, listens second, and go head-to-head to get their way instead of looking for compromise. Yes, they might be so smart they think faster than everyone, but they forget to bring everyone along with their thinking. They start to leave a trail of those they burned, and when the path gets too big, they get labeled as “tough to deal with.”

Advice:Listen more and make sure to hear them out. The collection of SME’s will likely teach you more about marketing than your boss will. If you don’t use these people to enhance your skill, you’ll eventually crash and burn.  Moreover, if they can’t work with you, they’ll also be the first to destroy your career. You aren’t the first superstar they’ve seen. Also, likely not the last. My recommendation to you is to remember that Leadership is not just about you being out front, but about you turning around and seeing people following you.  

4. Not good with ambiguity:

Some Brand Managers opt for the safety of the easy and well-known answers. They struggle with the unknown and get scared of ambiguity. Brand Managers that become too predictable for their team create work in the market that also becomes predictable and fails to drive the brand. These Brand Managers are OK–they don’t have much wrong, but they don’t have much right.

Advice: You can put them on safe, comfortable businesses, but you wouldn’t put them on the turn around or new products. Ambiguity is a type of pressure that not all of us are capable of handling, especially when they see uncertainty and time pressure work against each other. Don’t ever settle for “ok” just because of a deadline. Always push for great. You have to learn to handle ambiguity. In fact, you should revel in ambiguity. Have fun with it. Be patient with ideas. Never be afraid of an idea and never kill it quickly. As a leader, find ways to ask great questions instead of giving quick answers. Watch the signals you send that may suck the creative energy out of your team.

When you find a way to stay comfortable in the “ambiguity zone,” the ideas get better whether it’s the time pressure that forces the thinking to be simpler or whether it’s the performance pressure forces us to push for the best idea. So my recommendation to you is to hold your breath sometimes and see if the work gets better.

5. Bad people Manager

Most first-time people managers screw up a few of their first 5 direct reports. It is only natural. One of the biggest flaws for new Managers is to think “Hey, it will take me longer to explain it to you, so why don’t I just do it myself this one time and you can do it next time”.  They repeat this every month until management realizes that these Brand Managers aren’t teaching their ABM anything. They became the Manager that none of the ABMs want to work for because they never learn anything. But as management keeps watching great ABMs crashing and burning while under these Brand Managers, we start to wonder “while you might be smart, but can you actually manage people?”

Advice: To be a great Brand Manager, you have to work on being a better people leader. We expect you to develop talent.  Be more patient with your ABM. Become a teacher. Be more selfless in your approach to coaching. Take time to give them feedback that helps them, not feedback that helps you. If you don’t become a better people manager, you’ve just hit your peak in your career.

6. Poor communicators, with management or partners

You fail to warn your boss when there is a potential problem adequately. Moreover, when you leave your manager in the dark, it will upset your boss the information comes to your manager from someone else. If you don’t keep your partners aware of what’s going on, you will leave them feeling confused.

Advice: You have to become a better communicator. Make it a habit that as soon as you know something, you make sure that your boss knows as well–especially with negative news. Share the problem with your boss, discuss what you are going to do, and then make it happen.  

7. Never follow your instincts

You forget that marketing also has a “Gut Feel” to it, taking all the data, making decisions and then getting to the execution and believing it by taking a risk. Too many times people fail because “they went along with it even though they didn’t like it.”

Advice: You have to find ways to use your instincts. The problem is that sometimes your instincts are hidden away. You get confused, you feel the pressure to get things done, and you’ve got everyone telling you to go for it. You get scared because you’re worried about your career and you want to do the ‘right thing.’ However, your gut is telling you it’s just not right. My rule is simple: if you don’t love the work, how do you expect the consumer to love your brand. The worst type of marketer is someone who says “I never liked the brief” or “I never liked the ad.” At every touch point, keep reaching for your intuition and bring them out into the discussion.

8. Can’t think strategically or write strategically:

You are expected to be able to think strategically and be able to communicate strategy through your writing– whether the annual Brand Plan, creative brief to agency, monthly share report or just an email sent up to senior management.

Advice:Be organized in your thinking and map it out. I do believe that every good strategy has five essential elements: 1) set a vision of what you want 2) Invest resources in a strategic program 3) Focus on an identified opportunity 4) Leverage a breakthrough market impact and 5) Performance result that pays back. If you learn to think, speak and write using these five elements, you will show up smarter to everyone who works on your brand.

9. You don’t run the brand; you let the brand run you.

Some Brand Managers end up in the spin zone where they are disorganized, frantic and not in touch with their business. Some even take pride in how long they work or how many things they are getting done on their to-do list. They miss deadlines, look out of control and let things just stockpile on one another. The brand is killing them.

Advice:Stay in control, so you hit the deadlines and stay on budget. Dig in and know your business, so you don’t get caught off-guard. Make sure you are asking the questions and carrying forward the knowledge. Use processes that organize and enable you and your team, so that it frees you up your time to push projects through and for doing the needed strategic thinking. Stay conceptual–avoid getting stuck in pennies or decimals–so you can continue to drive the strategy of your brand.  

10. Sloppy with budgets and timelines

Having someone on the team who is sloppy with budgets and timelines is like living with a messy roommate or the friend who always shows up late. Not only will you look out of control, you will put an added stress on everyone around you. And, like that messy roommate, you won’t know people are talking about you until someone finally loses it on you. When you miss budgets, you mess up the finance team.  The bigger the variance to expectation, the bigger the frustration. The worst thing you want is a reputation for someone who is sloppy. That means you can’t be trusted. When you miss a deadline, you likely mess up someone else’s deadline.

Advice: Get your business in order. You are running a live business. You have to be a good project manager, as it only gets more complex as you move up and take on bigger brands or more brands. 

marketing careers

 

Now let’s be honest: You likely won’t be fired for just one of these. You probably will see 3 or 4 of these come together and begin to showcase that you’re just not up for being a Brand Manager. However, even 1 or 2 will keep you stuck at the Brand Manager level, and you’ll notice your bosses are hesitant to put you on the most significant brands or the toughest assignments.

The big question is what do you do about it.

I hope that you can use the list as a way to course correct on something you might already be doing. We each have a few of these de-railers, some that you can quickly overcome but others that will take a few years to fix. Those who seek out feedback, welcome it and act on it will be the successful ones. I hope that your company has a process of giving feedback or that you get lucky to have a manager that cares about your career and is willing to provide you with the robust feedback. However, if not, seek it. Be honest with yourself and try to fix one of these per quarter.

I hope you can figure out the blind spots before your manager does.

Close your gaps to ensure you will be a successful Brand Manager

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

How to find advertising that sticks in the minds and hearts of your consumer

Advertising that sticks with the consumer need to be memorable enough to move consumers. Surround your consumer with your creative idea. Invest in your assets, engage emotionally, and build a deeper love with those who already love you.

Here are the four best ways your ads can stick with your consumer:

1. Continue to build your creative idea

It has been proven that a goldfish will get bigger with a bigger bowl. The same holds for creative ideas. Build your creative idea over time, across various media, over many products to different targets and through multiple stories, each time adding to the idea.

The best example of growing your creative idea is the Nike “Just do it” campaign, which turns 30-years-old in 2018. 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:

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.

“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.”    

2. Emotionally transform your brand

As you move from a functional to an emotional consumer benefit, from logic to passion, the advertising will begin to stick in the hearts of your consumers. 

Dove’s “Real Beauty” ad shows the transformation of a woman’s face as they touch up her makeup, hair and then show computer editing adjustments to create the perception of the perfect woman. They adjust her cheekbones, her eye shape and thin out her chin. The message is “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.” This campaign connected on a deep level with women, and it helped transform Dove from a functional brand (Ph balance) into an emotional brand that speaks on behalf of women.  

Before this campaign, Dove had used a highly functional “Ph balance litmus test” to battle Ivory soap. Dove never managed to beat Ivory while focusing on functional benefits. However, once Dove launched the “Real Beauty” ad, the brand unleashed its full potential, and helped Dove soar past Ivory. 

Building emotion into advertising directly impacts a brand’s persuasion scores

While brand leaders are always trying to find a winning claim, there is proof of a correlation between the feel-good emotions you create with both consumer persuasion scores and overall brand appeal scores.

Milward Brown advertising research finds a direct correlation between how involved consumers are in the ads with the degree of the positive emotional feelings your advertising evokes in consumers. The chart shows that as the feelings go from low to medium to high, the scores for both persuasion and brand appeal also go up.

3. Investing in your brand assets adds up

Build creative and brand assets, using new executions to always add a penny to your brand to the creative advertising idea. The best sticky ads are a combination of new, relevant, credible, and different. 

There are two types of assets you should build behind: 

  • Brand assets: Look at the image scores or main messaging scores in your brand tracking, then continue to build those brand associations and messaging into the campaign over time. They become the heart of the brand’s truth and reputation.
  • Creative assets: Those images, icons or devices of the ads, which consumers remember and internalize. You want to understand what’s breaking through and continue to use those creative assets in future executions. Using these assets starts to give your brand a sense of consistency in execution.   

A great example is Apple’s “I’m a Mac … and I’m a PC” ads. They made over 70 different versions of the comparative story, with each ad showing another reason why PCs are complicated while the Mac offers simplicity. The visual of the two people made a perfect representation of the two brands.

Here are 15 of the best “I’m a Mac” ads:

4. Build a deeper love with those who already love you

Tell elaborate stories that showcase why your consumers who already love you should love you even more. 

Six months after 9/11, Budweiser used their famous Clydesdale horses branding device with a Super Bowl ad that showed the horses walking through town after town across America. Then it shows the horses slowly approaching the New York skyline, and they kneel in front of Manhattan to honor those lost in the Twin Towers. 

Filled with American patriotism, for the brand  lovers who know the story of the brand, it links nicely with the history of the Clydesdales, when they marched from St. Louis across America in 1934 to deliver a keg to the U.S. President at the White House after he lifted the prohibition on alcohol.

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

 

How to use consumer data to uncover the issues facing your brand

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]Before you write a brand plan, you should be using consumer data to uncover the issues facing your brand. We will look at consumer tracking data and brand funnel data to help you dig deeper on issues.consumer data

You should analyze your consumer target to better understand the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends, and critical insights. Use the brand funnel analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop and how they make purchase decisions. You should understand what they think when they buy or reject your brand at every stage of the consumer’s purchase journey. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data, the voice of the consumer, and market research.

Too many marketers are not taking the time to dig in on the analytics. There is no value in having access to consumer data if you are not using it. The best brand leaders can tell strategic stories through analytics.  

The consumer review 

I will show you how to use consumer tracking data, the brand funnel analysis and how it matches up to the brand love curve.  

How to use consumer tracking data  

Tracking or household panel consumer data helps you understand what’s going on in the marketplace and will match up to what’s happening at the store level. As discussed in the strategy section, you are either trying to get more people to use your brand (drive penetration) or try to change the way they use your brand (drive purchase frequency).consumer data

This tool uncovers the consumer data; then you need to put a story to that data.

A: Penetration is the percentage of households who purchased your brand product at least once during a measured period. 

B: Buying rate or sales per buyer is the total amount of product purchased by the average buying household over an entire analysis period, expressed in dollars, units, or equivalent volume. 

C: Purchase frequency or trips per buyer is the number of times the average buying household purchases your product over a time period (usually one year).

D: Purchase size or sales per trip is the average amount of  product purchased on a single shopping trip by your average buyer. It can be calculated in dollars, units, or equivalent volume.

How to analyze your brand using brand funnels

Every brand should understand the details of their brand funnel, the best tool for measuring your brand’s underlying health. It is the equivalent to knowing your personal blood pressure or cholesterol scores. A classic brand funnel should measure awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, repeat, and loyalty. At the very least, you should measure awareness, purchase, and repeat. It is not just about understanding the absolute scores on the funnel but rather the ratios that explain how good of a job you are doing in moving consumers from one stage of the funnel to the next. 

I will show you how the robustness of your brand’s funnel explains where your brand sits on the brand love curve. The broader the funnel, the better connected your brand is with consumers.

Absolute brand funnel scores

A: Starting with the chart above on the left, the first thing to do is look at the absolute brand funnel scores. There are many types of comparisons you can do, whether you compare to last year, competitors, or category norms. 

B: Then look at the brand funnel ratios, which is the percentage score for how well your brand can convert consumers from one stage of the funnel to the next. To create ratios, divide the absolute score by the score above it on the funnel. In the example above, take the familiar score of 87% and divide it by the awareness score of 93% to determine a conversion ratio of 91%. This means 91% of aware consumers are familiar.

brand funnel

Brand funnel ratios

C: For the chart on the right, lay out the absolute scores and the ratios in a horizontal way to allow a comparison. You will notice these are the same scores as “A” and “B” in the previous chart. The crucial numbers for Gray’s Cookies are the ratios of 91%, 94%, 77%, 25%, and 12% at the top of the chart. Then bring in a close competitor (Devon’s) with their absolute and ratios scores to allow a direct comparison.

D: Then find the ratio gaps by subtracting the competitor’s ratio scores from your brand’s ratio scores. In the example, the first ratio gap is -7% ratio gap (91% – 98%) which means Devon’s does a 7% better job in converting consumers from awareness to familiar than Gray’s Cookies. 

E: As you create ratio gaps along the bottom, you can see where your ratio is either stronger or weaker than the comparison brand. Finally, start analyzing the significant gaps between the two brands and tell a strategic story to explain each gap. Looking at the example, you can see Gray’s and Devon’s have similar scores at the top part of the funnel, but Gray’s starts to show real weakness (-23% and -51% gap) as it moves to repeat and loyalty. You need to address and fix these gaps with your brand plan. 

brand funnel

 

Matching consumer data to the brand love curve

You can begin using your consumer tracking, brand funnel, market share, and the voice of the consumer to help explain where your brand sits on the brand love curve.   

Brand Love Curve

  • Indifferent brands have skinny funnels, starting with very poor awareness scores. Consumers have little to no opinion. Concerning performance, you will see low sales and poor margins. Your brand plan for indifferent brands should increase awareness and consideration to kickstart the funnel. 
  • The like it brands have funnels that are solid at the top but quickly narrow at the purchase stage. Consumers see these brands as ordinary and purchase only on a deal. When they are not advertised or on sale, sales fall off dramatically. These brands need to close potential leaks to build a loyal following behind happy experiences.
  • The love it brands have a reasonably robust funnel but may have a smaller leak at loyal. They have stronger growth and margins. Look for ways to feed the love and turn repeat purchases into a ritual or routine. 
  • The beloved brands have the most robust brand funnels and positive consumer views. These brands should continuously track their funnel and attack any weaknesses before competitors exploit them. Also, it is time to leverage that brand love to influence others.

brand funnel

To kick-start your review of the consumers, here are 10 probing questions:

  1. Who are your possible target consumer segments? Are they growing? How do you measure them?
  2. Who are the consumers most motivated by what you have to offer? 
  3. Who is your current target? How have you determined demographics, behavioral or psychographic, geographic, and usage occasion? Generational trends?
  4. How is your brand performing against KEY segments? Share, sales, panel or funnel data, tracking scores? What about by channel or geography? 
  5. What drives consumer choice? And, what are the primary need states? How do these consumer needs line up to your brand assets? Where can you win with consumers?
  6. Map out the path to purchase and use brand funnels to assess your brand’s performance in moving through each stage. Are consumers changing at stages?  Are you failing at stages? 
  7. What are the emerging consumer trends? How does your brand match up to potentially exploit them? Where would your competitors win?  
  8. What are the consumer’s ideal brand experiences and unmet needs we can address?
  9. What are the consumer’s emotional and functional need states? How does the brand perform against them? How are you doing in tracking studies to meet these benefits?
  10. What is the consumer’s perceptions of your brand and your competitors? Voice of the consumer.  

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

 

Judge approves AT&T takeover of TimeWarner: Let the era of media oligopoly begin

Now that a judge has approved AT&T’s takeover of TimeWarner, we are on a path from an unstructured crazy media world to a well-structured media oligopoly. In the next few weeks, we will see a deal between Comcast and Fox, which already has an agreement to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney. And then many more deals as everyone will find a new dance partner.

The merger of content with the provider

In the 1950s, the move to network television saw a merger of content producer and the service provider with the major networks (NBC, CBS and ABC) producing content in NYC and Hollywood, and then pushing it through their networks of local stations, who then provided access into the homes of consumers.

As the 1980s shifted to cable and then direct TV, there was a separation of content production and the media service providers.

In the last 5-10 years, we are in an era where the content producers and the service providers are together, with streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon. The move by AT&T to buy Time Warner is to put themselves on what they hope is an even playing field. I’m not sure how modern or great the Time Warner content will be in the future. They own HBO, which has some great content, but not sure about the content of CNN, TBS or TNT. They also own Warner Brothers, which has the Batman and Harry Potter franchises, plus a ton of old movies.

“Disneyflix” will be launching their own streaming service in 2019. They will be able to bring the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, plus every Disney cartoon since the 1930s. They also can bring content from ESPN and ABC.

Media companies trying to thread the needle between the death of cable and transfer to streaming

As viewers move to streaming services, media companies will spend the next 3-7 years trying to figure out how to make money in an online, streaming world, that will combine the use of TV, computers and digital screens.

Every six months, I google “When will Netflix have TV ads?” and while there continues to be a lot of chatter, there is yet to be any sort of move or sign they will. Right now, they are a unique alternative to the drudge of network television, with 8-12 minutes of ads per hour. If they are spending that much money on content production, and if they hit a ceiling with subscriptions, they will have to look for new ways to monetize it other than through subscription.

I subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon and have 100 channels of cable, which I only use to watch live sports. That means I’m threading the needle until I can get line up six streaming versions that likely includes Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and maybe 3 others–that could include a combination of any of the top 20 brands listed above.

Could Apple buy Netflix for $150 billion? Or maybe Google will buy Sony entertainment? What if Samsung enters into the media marketplace?  You could take all 20 names on the list of biggest media companies and pair them up with dance partners. This new ruling will likely see a few take a shot.

The return to the media oligopoly

By 2025, the media landscape will look completely different. While I have focused on the top 20 media companies, most of this decade has been consumed by the wild wild west of social media and digital media.

The average Brand Manager has spent most of the decade confused. They now have 6-12 agencies, each lined up to their specialty. There is no one big agency partner telling them honest advice of what they should be doing, with each micro agency saying “you should be doing more of what we are selling.”

While many brand people have enjoyed it, the reality is this is quite possibly our dumbest decade as an industry. Everyone is so busy doing, no one has time to think. And, you can be as excited as you want to be about how you can find the exact target with the exact message, let me give you one good dose of reality. The overall cost of advertising (creative and media) has gone up dramatically this decade, while the revenue of brands has not kept pace at all. Higher cost and lower profits is a recipe for disaster.

The question for brand managers to think about: Would you rather have an easier media or a cheaper media?

 

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

 

Who will win the new burger war: 5 Guys vs In-N-Out vs Shake Shack

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]Who will win the new burger war? It might depend where you live. If you are in California, you may be partial to In-N-Out, if you are a New Yorker, it is Shack Shake for sure. Everywhere else, it looks like 5 Guys is the dominant brand. This is a brand site, so we look at this through the eyes of marketers and consumers, not food critiques. I am also a burger fan, so it’s exciting to see us move past McDonald’s and Burger King.

Who has the best burger?

I know there is a lot of debate out there. Lets dispel the myth here: they are almost the same piece of meat. They take a high quality ground chuck, and squish it firmly onto a grill, use a cooking technique to lock in the flavor and create a juicy burger. It is a much higher quality meat than McDonald’s and much juicier in the end due to the cooking technique.

The only difference is at 5 Guys, the burger feels like the burger actually breaks apart more which could make it feel less fast-food while In-N-Out feels very neatly stacked. I do like the bacon at Five Guys, but In-N-Out does a nicely toasted bun. Small details.

VERDICT:  Tie

Fries versus shakes

5 Guys FriesIf the burger is a relative tie, then what else can you look at. 5 Guys wins on fries, Shake Shack or In-N-Out wins on Shakes.  I’m a big fries fan, and 5 Guys does have pretty darn good addicting fries. They give you enough that you likely won’t finish them.  The In-N-Out fries (except for Animal Fries) are a little bit nondescript and boring. I do like the crinkle cut style Shake Shack fries, but they are frozen, not fresh. In terms of shakes, the In-N-Out shakes are legendary, whereas 5 Guys is completely missing out by not even having a shake. Verdict:  Tie, pick your poison and likely only have it once in a while.  

Who has better atmosphere?

I have to say, neither In-N-Out or Five Guys have a nice atmosphere.  The In-N-Out restaurants have the plastic feel of a McDonald’s, with booths too small to fit those who can eat a double-double. The hats on the employees are cute, giving it a 50’s diner feel. The 5 Guys atmosphere feels like a Costco, with dusty floors, crappy little tables and chairs. Plus, do we really need 50 signs per restaurant telling us how great you are. There is no effort on their store atmosphere. What you are doing is opening up the door to local establishments finding a niche against both of these with a cooler pub-like atmosphere. The Shake Shack locations are much nicer. If you ever get the chance to go to the original Shake Shack in NYC, it is worth it. I was doing some work with an ad agency, and arrived a couple of hours before the meeting. I didn’t feel like going up early and I noticed about 50 people lined up for lunch at this “shack” in the park.  Every time I have Shake Shack whether in Dubai or throughout the US, I still think of the park. A litlte like my first Movenpick experience, 20 years ago, in the middle of the swiss alps. Verdict: Shake Shack

Five Guys Shake Shack In-N-Out

Where does In-N-Out Burger win?

Clearly as I’ve heard from the fans, In-N-Out does a great job engaging with their consumers. The secret menu and the secret sauce, the traditions of the double-double and the “animal fries” all help create a “club” filled with brand fans who will take on anyone that knocks their brand.  There’s a slight difference in who each attracts.  In-N-Out’s menu items are generally less expensive — the chain is most popular with young men ages 18 to 24 with an income of less than $70,000 a year, according to NPD. By contrast, Five Guys patrons are generally 25 to 50 years old, with an income of more than $100,000. In-N-Out seems to have a more engaged consumer base that it can leverage as 5 Guys is now into the Southern California market ready to do battle right in the backyard of In-N-Out.t this point, In-N-Out is stuck as a West Coast brand, in California, Arizona, Nevada and now Texas, giving them only 320 locations.  They have not expanded very quickly, believing it is better to be loved by a few than tolerated by many. This gives them a regional strength and more emotional engagement goes to In-N-Out.

Where does 5 Guys win?

5 Guys has been much more aggressive on their expansion plan. They have pursued winning on review sites and lists that can help drive awareness for the brand. In 2010, they won the Zagat best burger. They have aggressively gone after celebrities such as Shaq and Obama. And most of all, they are winning on location, location and even more location.  5 Guys is everywhere, with 1000+ locations, fairly national and even in Canada. They are clearly following the McDonald’s real estate strategy by trying to be everywhere. The other area where 5 Guys wins is pricing. I am a marketer, so the more price you can command the better. For relatively the same burger, 5 Guys charges twice what In-N-Out charges. In this current stagnant economy, people are proving they’d rather pay $10 for an amazing quality burger than $15 for a lousy steak. It feels like In-N-Out is leaving money on the table with the prices that are just slightly above the McDonald’s price points. More aggressive growth goes to 5 Guys. 

Where does Shake Shack win?

They were definitely late the expansion party, with only 120 stores at this point. The NYC location in the park is such a part of their brand, yet it also drives a lot of revenue. At one point, Shake Shack thought they would stay a “New York only brand” which is part of their delay. Right now, the US market is fairly saturated with burger shops, so they now have 30% of their locations overseas including Seoul, Tokyo, London, Cardiff, Istanbul, Moscow, Muscat, Beirut, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait City, Riyadh. Pretty smart strategy to see an opportunity in those markets and close on them before the others could. I would say, the more interesting locations goes to Shake Shack. 

So who will win?  

At this point the clear winner will be 5 Guys. Just like McDonald’s versus Burger King in the original burger war, it’s not as much about the burger itself but about the aggressive pursuit of real estate. Unless In-N-Out wakes up, take all that brand love they have generated among their fans and they go on an 5-year big expansion, they will be relegated to a regional brand we only visit on our road trips to California.

5 Guys is quickly becoming the upscale version of McDonald’s

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

When do you think we can we have these cool things from China?

[sg_popup id=”9″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]Going to China is fascinating, as it feels like going into the future and the past at the same time. One moment this gentleman rides past me, appearing from a world many years ago, and next you see a spotless subway, high end retailers or a technology we don’t yet have in the west.  

Universal payment apps

I was doing some workshops in China and my client says “let’s order lunch.” She opens her wechat (equal to Facebook) and it lists all the takeout options in the vicinity, she orders lunch from one and tea from another and pays. Done. All without leaving wechat.

Ten minutes later, the delivery guy (photo evidence below) walks through the office and delivers it to the boardroom we are in, at the back of the office, tracking the gps location of the phone that ordered. China is a great way to see our future in 5 or 10 years. Yes, we have preloaded visa on our fav pizza sites. Sure we have payment apps for specific places like Starbucks.

But not a universal payment app through our favourite social media. The same app pays for taxis, clothing or groceries. Anything.

Given our fears over Facebook’s privacy issues, when can we expect to order a hamburger and ice tea through a social media app? We might need senate hearings on whether FB can deliver pizzas.

How comfortable are you with the delivery guy delivering it right to your phone, wherever you are.

Feels like Neo from the matrix, knowing exactly where you are sitting.

Does the future excite you or scare you?

 

The most innovative grocery store

I had a chance to visit a Hema store in China, which is Alibaba “new retail” intended to be the perfect blend of offline and online. It puts the consumer in the drivers seat to shop how they want.

For every item, hold your phone to the QR code, and learn about the product. So much potential to bring your brand to life with technology.

What’s holding you back? You can online, go pick it up or get it delivered within 30 mins. Or Shop on person, and get it delivered. Third, as shown here: pick out the seafood yourself, hand it over, get it cooked by a chef and enjoy it with your family. This concept felt similar to Marche in Switzerland or a few degrees beyond what Whole Foods does with cooked options.

This could be a good move for a store in the west to take on.

Below is a video by Alibaba about their view on “New Retail.” This will give you a feel for the smart and creative areas where retail can go.

Anyone seeing other interest blends of technology and in person shopping?

High speed trains

I took a high speed bullet train, going 300km/hour, as fast as prop planes but no “plane travel crap” we all put up with. You just get on the train and sit in your seat. Business class seats, recline the whole way, for only $100 US.

Imagine going from New York City to Boston in 90 minutes or LA to San Francisco in 2 hours. No taxi cabs, hour long pre-boarding.

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

Five challenging questions to kickstart your Brand Plan

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

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

Annual Plan on a Page

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

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

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

Five Questions worksheet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

Free Chapter of my new branding book, Beloved Brands

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

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

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

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

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

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

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

Marketing pros and entrepreneurs, this book is for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

What others are saying about the new book, Beloved Brands

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

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

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

A look inside at the Chapter Summaries

Introduction: How this Beloved Brands playbook can work for you                    

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

1. Why being a beloved brand matters                                 

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

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

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

3. How to build your brand around your core strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. How to build a brand plan everyone can follow  

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

12. How to build your brand’s execution plans

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

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

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

14. How to run your brand’s advertising process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://lnkd.in/eUAgDgS

 

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

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

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

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

1. You must hit deadlines.

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

2. You must know your business.

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

3. You must be open with your communication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. You must listen first; then decide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

How to capture more ATTENTION to your advertising

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

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

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

How to draw attention through brand communications

1. Be incongruent with what consumers expect

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

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

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

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

2. Entertain consumers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Create shareable content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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