Emotional Advertising must start with an Emotional Brief

emotionsAs Brand Leaders are starting to see the value in being more emotionally connected, we see them going to their agencies asking for more emotional advertising and communication.  Of course the agency would love to do emotional work.  So it’s off to the races?   Well, not quite.  Three weeks later, all the emotional ads get rejected.  The problem is the brief, which had zero emotion.  These emotional ads developed by the creative teams were just random emotional ads, not connected to any real consumer insight or any desired emotional space the brand can own.  

To do great emotional advertising that is on strategy with the brand, there must be a brief that starts with how the consumer feels now (consumer insights) and defines how we want the consumer to feel after they experience advertising (an emotional desired response).  

You Need Deep Emotional Insights

The dictionary definition of the word Insight is “seeing below the surface”.   When most Brand Leaders write insights they write about how they use their product or just facts and trends about the consumer.  But those aren’t really insights.  Facts are merely on the surface, they are knowledge, not insight.  Facts miss out on the depth and fail to really bring the target market to life.  Facts are fairly superficial and stay at the surface level.  

To demonstrate knowledge of that target, defining consumer insights help to crystallize and bring to life the consumer you are targeting.  Insights help tell the story, paint the picture or inspire the creative juices.  Insights need to be interesting or intriguing.  My challenge is to think beyond specific category insights and think about Life Insights or even Societal Trends  that could impact changing behaviour.  

Slide1Insight is something  we already know and it comes to life when it’s told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “hmm, I thought I was the only who felt like that”.  That’s why we laugh when we see insight projected with humor, why we get goose bumps when insight is projected with inspiration and why we cry when the insight comes alive through real-life drama.  We see ourselves and we feel connected to how the insight is projected.  

When trying to come up with insights, I recommend you try to put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer and project thought how they might feel by using their voice.  Brainstorm insights by starting each insight as a quote that starts with the word “I” and you will see statements get deeper and more personal.

As you brainstorm, to get deeper, keep asking yourself “so what does that mean for the consumer” until you have an “AHA moment”.  While it’s possible to see the behavior of your consumer, you can’t always see the values, beliefs and attitudes that help explain how consumers think, feel or act in relationship to your brand or category.   You must go below the surface.  

Another way to really capture is to focus on your consumers’ enemy.  Yes, it’s natural to think about your consumers problem, but you might find yourself getting a bit more creative if you push yourself to think of who your consumers enemy is.  Unknown

    • For Starbucks, the consumers enemy is the “hectic life” of your average soccer mom–driving the kids around, rushing to get to work, trying to get everything done on their to-do lists, buy everything on the shopping list and get enough sleep.  Starbucks attacks that enemy:  you can order your favorite elaborate drink, do so in Italian, eat cute little pastries and sit in leather chairs listening to soft music.  There are no screaming kids, no play land and no kids items on the menu.  Ahhhh peace and quiet, even if it’s just for 15 minutes during the day.  And to cap it off, you can order off an attractive 21-year-old who knows your name and even what you like to drink.  So Starbucks attacks “hectic life” of the consumer in everything they do.  
    • For Apple, the consumers enemy is “frustration”.   While we all use computers, very few of us are competent.  We hate having to set up the computer, run virus protection software, fix things that go wrong and have to figure out the most minute details of your system preferences.  Unknown-1Apple attacks the enemy of “frustration” making your computer so easy to set up and use, apps for every potential need you might have a genius bar with experts to help you figure anything out.  The “Mac versus PC” advertising was based on the enemy of “frustration”.  

Leading with your consumers enemy is a great way to connect with your target market, and they engage and listen to your message.  

Find the emotional Benefit

People tend to get stuck when trying to figure out the emotional benefits.  I swear every brand out there thinks it is trusted, reliable and yet likeable.  It seems that not only do consumers have a hard time expressing their emotions about a brand, but so do Brand Managers.   Companies like Hotspex have mapped out all the emotional zones for consumers.   I’m not a researcher, but if you’re interested in this methodology contact Hotspex at http://www.hotspex.biz  Leverage this type of research and build your story around the emotions that best fit your consumer needs.  Leveraging Hotspex, I’ve mapped out 8 zones in a simplistic way below:

Within each of the zones, you can find emotional words that closely align to the need state of the consumer and begin building the emotional benefits within your Customer Value Proposition.  It almost becomes a cheat sheet for Brand Managers to work with.  But you want to just own one emotional zone, not them all.  

Brands are either better, different or cheaper.  Or not around for very long.  The key is to find a unique selling proposition for your brand.  You don’t always need to find a rational point of difference as long as there is room to be emotionally unique.  

USP 2.0

Find Your Emotional Zone You want to Own

To read more on Creative Briefs, follow this presentation

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

Why Can’t Brand Leaders Focus?

Slide1Every part of what you learn about marketing starts and ends with FOCUS.   Yet, the area that marketers struggle the most with is FOCUS.  If you sit in an elementary marketing class, you’ll learn about target markets, brand positioning and making choices in strategy.  These are all the element of focus.  Yet, in the “real world”, we get scared to target because we might be leaving someone out, we try to be as many things as possible because we aren’t sure of what we are and we try to do as many activities as we can, just in case one of those activities sells a few more of our brand.  Fear of missing something.  

I once worked with a bank who told me that their target for a First Time Mortgage was 18-65, new customers, current customers and employees.  I said “you’ve forgotten tourists and prisoners”. aboutus_roi_70812766-300x228 By the very nature of advertising, we’d expect current customers and employees to see the ads, so let’s take them off the target.  And yes, the odd 18-year-old might be wanting to buy a house, and there might be a few 64 year olds that have been renting for 40 years and tired of their land lord.  But in reality, they won’t be offended if there is a 32-year-old in the ad.  Now you can take this focus even further.  You have to matter to those who care the most.  The only people who care about your message are those that are close to buying a house. No one needs a mortgage until they are buying a house. And no buys their first house on an impulse. It likely takes up to a year to buy.  So what if we said your target is “28-33 year olds who are already considering buying a house within the next year”.   Imagine the difference in the message and in the media choices you might make now.

Focus starts with making decisions.  Slide1And that’s where the difficulty lies.  If you present an either-or situation to most brand leaders, they struggle with the decision, so they say “let’s do a little of both”.  They call themselves a “good decision maker”.  But in reality, what separates out a great brand leader from the pack, is great brand leaders know that decision-making starts with the choices where you have to pick one, not both.  Great marketers use the word “or” and avoid the word “and”.  If you aren’t making choices, then you aren’t making decisions.

The reasons why you need to Focus
  1. Every brand is constrained by resources—dollars, people and time.  If I went up to the biggest brands in the world and said what’s your biggest problem, they would say “we don’t have enough money to do everything we want to do”.  That’s normal. But that doesn’t mean you then go do everything you want to do.  Focus makes you have to matter the most to those who care the most.   Focusing your limited resources on those consumers with the highest propensity to buy what you are selling will deliver the greatest movement towards sales and the highest return on investment for those resources.
  2. In a competitive category, no one brand can do it all.  Focus makes you decide whether to be better, different or cheaper.  Giving the consumer too many messages about your brand will confuse them as to what makes your brand unique.  Trying to be everything is the recipe for being nothing.
  3. Trying to do everything spreads your resources and your message so that everything you do is “ok” and nothing is “great”.  With a long to-do list, you’ll never do a great job at anything.   And in a crowded and fast economy, “ok” never breaks through so you’ll never get the early win to gain that tipping point that opens up the gateway to even bigger success.
Good Strategy starts with Focus

There are Four elements to a good strategy:  1) Focus 2) Early Win 3) Leverage point and 4) Gateway to something bigger.

  • FOCUS all your energy to a particular strategic point or purpose.  Match up your brand assets to pressure points you can break through, maximizing your limited resources—either financial resources or effort.  Focus on one target.   Focus on one message.  And focus on very few strategies and tactics.  Less is more.
  • You want that EARLY WIN, to kick-start of some momentum. Early Wins are about slicing off parts of the business or population where you can build further.  This proves to everyone the brand can win—momentum, energy, following.
  • LEVERAGE everything to gain positional advantage or power that helps exert even greater pressure and gains the tipping point of the business that helps lead to something bigger.  Crowds follow crowds.
  • See beyond the early win, there has to be a GATEWAY point, the entrance or a means of access to something even bigger.   It could be getting to the masses, changing opinions or behaviours.  Return on Investment or Effort.

Sometimes in marketing strategy, we borrow from war.  d-dayAnd if we look at World War II and D-Day, we see a great example of how focus came into play.  While Germany was fighting a war on two fronts (Russia and Britain), the Allied Forces planned D-Day for 2 years and joined in full force to FOCUS all their attention on one beach, on one day. The surprise attack gave the Allies an EARLY WIN, and momentum which they could then LEVERAGE  into a bigger victory by using the victory on that one beach to gain a positional power on continental Europe.  Getting on mainland Europe gave the allied forces the GATEWAY they needed to steamroll through on a town by town basis and defeat the Germans.  The allied forces had been on the defensive for years, but landing on that beach on D-Day gave them one victory and the tipping point to an offensive attack and a pathway to now winning the war.  Imagine if D-Day had used an UNFOCUSED approach.  Instead of focusing on the beaches of Normandy, they could have taken all their troops and spread them every 15 feet from Denmark all the way around Europe to Holland, France, Spain and around to Italy.  The unfocused approach, without a source of power such as that beach in Normandy, would have resulted in the allied soldiers being picked off one-by-one. No focus means no power. If it’s so easy to understand that with a war analogy, how come we can’t do that on our own brands.

Where You Should Focus
  • Pick a focused Target Market:  While it’s tempting to sell to everyone.  Focus your resources on those most likely to buy. Realizing not everyone can like you is the first step to focus on those that can love you.
  • Pick a focused Brand Positioning:  Start with the target market you just picked–and assess their need states to see where you can best match up. Beloved Brands are either better, different or cheaper. Or they are not around for much longer.
  • Pick a Focused Strategy:  how_to_focusBrands need to understand where they sit before picking strategies.  Evaluate the health of your brand using the Brand Funnel to understand where you are strong and should keep pushing or where you have a weakness (a Leak) that you need to close.
  • Need a Focused Objective:  As you take your strategy to those who are going to execute the plan, you need to make sure that everyone is delivering against a very focused objective on their program, so that each program adds up to moving the brand.
  • Focused Activities.  While everyone talks Return on Investment (ROI), I also talk Return on Effort (ROE) as well.  Return on Effort forces you to prioritize all your activities.  Things like social media are not free, if they occupy the time of our limited people resources.
When you focus, five things happen for your brand
  1. Better Return on Investment (ROI):   With all the resources against one strategy, one target, one message, you’ll be find out if the strategy you’ve chose is able to actually move consumers drive sales or other key performance indicators.
  2. Better Return on Effort (ROE):  Whether it’s your own marketing team or all the people resources you utilize through your sales team or agencies.  Having focus allows you to get the most out of your people resources.marketingroi
  3. Strong Reputation:  When you only do one thing, you naturally start to become associated with that one thing—externally and even internally.  And, eventually you become very good at that one thing.  When I’m giving speeches, I love to ask the room to think about the one word connected to brands.  And when I say Volvo, almost in unison, the room shouts out “safety”.
  4. More Competitive:  As your reputation grows, you begin to own that on thing and your are able to better defend the positioning territory
  5. Bigger and Better P&L:  As the focused effort drives results, it opens up the P&L with higher sales and profits.  And that means more resources will be put to the effort to drive even higher growth.  When you show movement on your brand, go back to your finance person and say “look how well that program worked, now we need even more money”.
fork-in-the-roadSo next time you are faced with a decision, make the choice. Don’t pick both just in case you are wrong.  All you are doing is depleting your resources by spreading them across both choices.  And you’ll never see any movement on your brand so you’ll never find out if you were right or wrong.
Focus Starts with Making Choices

 

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At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

strategy ad

Best tourism ads on the planet

Ad_Newfoundland_240x240As we hit the fall, it’s a great time to be thinking about vacations. Here are some of the Best Tourism ads from around the world. Too many Tourism spots use a montage of clips against a cute wholesome song and put on a cheery tag line that says very little and offends very few. Most tourism ads all look the same. The challenge for tourism groups is the number of constituents they must please really inhibits the risk taking that would push for greatness. 

 

Here’s a few of my favourites. Feel free to add others.    

 

Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada

This ad captures the pure beauty of Newfoundland, a province on the east coast of Canada.  Pure desolate and rugged beauty.  This campaign  enticed me to go to Newfoundland and it did not disappoint.  Best photos you’ll ever come back with.  I’d go in the summer though, as it can be rather chilly (even then).

 

India

This campaign does a great job in capturing the diversity that India has to offer.  “Incredible India” 

 

New Zealand

New Zealand borrows the richness of the Lord of the Rings to showcase the diversity of New Zealand.  I was lucky enough to film a TV ad in New Zealand.  

 

Air France

I love when ‘quiet’ is used to capture attention.  Without showing classic montage of clips, this spot offers the beauty of ballet and a style that just screams France.

 

South Africa

Showing a bit of the personality of South Africa mixed in with soccer to showcase the World Cup of Soccer.  

 

Las Vegas

And of course, after Vegas tried for decades to promote the “good” Vegas for family fun, they finally nailed it when they went the other way and said “it’s a bit naughty” with “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.

 

Tell me an Ad that influenced you to take a vacation.  

 

To see How to to get better Marketing Execution, click below:

 

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

How to run a Marketing Team

Slide1I’ve seen so many marketing leaders over my twenty years in CPG, whether it was my days as a junior marketer observing those I was under or observing my own issues as I was finally taking the reigns of a marketing team.  The biggest problem I still see and hear about is “lack of consistency”.  And yet, I do believe consistency is one of the most important attributes for a good leader of a marketing team.  People always use the word “Leadership” which sometimes implies that the leader should be “leading” the team.  But, you should be encouraging those under you to be the ones leading the way.  You should stop leading, so you can let them lead.  

Whether you are at the Director or VP level, whether your team is 3 or 30 or even more, here are some thought starters to help you better manage your marketing team.  

Be a Consistent Leader with People

This is my #1 rule as the leader. And yet, it’s the easiest to fail on. When you have multiple brands under you, it’s so easy to forget what you said 5 days ago on one of the brands.  I learned quickly to ask the very simple question:  “what did I say last time?  While it might sound weak, it’s a much stronger position for you than when your brand manager says “yeah, but last time you said….”   

People have to know how to act around you. You have to make it comfortable enough for people to approach you, and be able to communicate the good and bad. A scary leader discourages people from sharing the bad results, which ends up leaving you in the dark.  Open dialogue helps you know what’s really going on, so you can run the business.  Let them challenge you and push forward new thinking into the system.   This helps your brands to stay modern, push new ideas and connect with consumers.  

Be consistent with the Work

Be consistent in how you think, how you act in meetings and how you approve.  Inconsistent behaviour by a leader does not “keep them on their toes” which some hope for.  Nor does it create an atmosphere of “creativity”. Inconsistent leadership inhibits creativity, with tension that adds no value to the brands. A good atmosphere on the team will make people want to go the extra mile for you. Be a good listener and you’ll be surprised on what people tell you—how honest they’ll be, how much they’ll tell you.  Knowledge starts with listening. 

You also want to hold your team to a Consistently high standard of work.  Rather than being the leader by example, you should establish a standard and hold everyone and yourself to that standard.  For a new director, this is one of the harder areas–balancing the freedom you give with the standard you demand.  The key is to shift your focus to more of a process orientation.  Organize the team and build in processes in a way that produces consistent output, making sure your team hits all deadlines, stays focused and keeps things moving.  The standard should also show up in the quality of brand plans, the execution and the interactions with everyone specifically sales or your agencies. Be the control point of the team, and not let slips, errors or delays show beyond the team. Delegate so you motivate your stars, but never abdicate ownership that allows your weaker players to slow you down. 

Be a Leader who Makes Decisions

When your team comes to see you, they expect your challenges and should be ready for them.  But they want your approval.  Early in my career, I once worked under a VP Marketing who said in every speech “what you can expect from me is….” and we never saw it.  We kept waiting. And we started to parrot the phrase “what you can expect from me…”  in a joking way.  

There’s nothing worse than the constant deflector.  The leader who challenges and sends you back to the drawing board, not because the Brand Manager hasn’t thought of everything but because the director can’t make a decision.  Find your way, whether it is through sorting through a decision tree with criteria, give yourself a certain amount of time or ask for advice from those you trust.  But you have to eventually make a decision. Those leaders who let research make the decision are just as weak.  I’ve always said that market research is only to get you to the point of “so what do you think?” but it should never make a decision for you.  Otherwise, if research decides, then what do we need you for?  

 Let them Run the Brands.  You run the process.

While your people run the brands and the execution, you should run the P&L and essentially run all the marketing processes.  You have to run the P&L and make investment choices.  Bring an ROI and ROE (Return on Investment and Effort) mind-set to those decisions. Run the process—brand planning, advertising, creative briefs—in a way that’s not restrictive but rather provides the right freedom to your people. Allow your people drive all their creative energy into great work that gets in the marketplace, not trying to figure out what slide looks really cool in the brand plan presentation.  I’ve worked as a Brand Manager in a marketing team without process and it was total chaos, not fun at all.  

Now it’s time, for you to step back and let them do amazing work.  It has to be about them, not you.  At the VP level, I used to walk into every meeting knowing that “I knew less about the issue on the table, than anyone in the room”. As the leader, that’s a great position to be in, because it forces you to ask and listen.  Look for ways to support and encourage great thinking, while challenging them to reach for even better.  Balance giving them to enough freedom to do great stuff and yet knowing when to step in and make a decision.    

It’s about the People, stupid

So as the leader, Focus on the People and the Results will come:  The formula is simple:  the better the people, the better the work and in turn the better the results.  You should have a regular review of the talent with your directors.  Clearing out under-performing team members is crucial to ensuring you have room for your best to move up. I’d encourage you to ensure there’s a systemic way to get feedback to everyone on the team, preferably on a quarterly basis.  Waiting for the annual review is way too late and almost negligent as a leader. Your people have the potential to grow with feedback.   But without feedback, they’ll be confused and even frustrated. 

Make your people Better

Marketing Training is not just on the job, but also in the classroom in a way that challenges their thinking.  You need to focus on the skills to be better in their jobs.  Marketing fundamentals matter.  And in the modern world, we are letting the classic fundamentals go, whether it is strategic thinking, writing a brand plan, writing a creative brief or judging great communication.  People are NOT getting the same training and development they did in prior generations.  Invest in training, because it is motivating for them get better.  It helps drive retention and commitment into producing great work and driving results.

Better people, means better work and better results.

 

To read an article on managing your marketing career that you can easily download and print for either you or your team:

 

email-Logo copyABOUT BELOVED BRANDS INC.:  At Beloved Brands, we are only focused on making brands better and making brand leaders better.Our motivation is that we love knowing we were part of helping someone to unleash their full potential.  We promise to challenge you to Think Different.  We believe the thinking that got you here, will not get you where you want to go.  grOur President and Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Robertson is a brand leader at heart, who loves everything about brands.  He comes with 20 years of experience at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke, where he was always able to find and drive growth.  Graham has won numerous new product and advertising awards. Graham brings his experience to your table, strong on leadership and facilitation at very high levels and training of Brand Leaders around the world.  To reach out directly, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com 

 

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

Ask Beloved Brands to run a workshop to find your brand positioning or ask how we can help train you to be a better brand leader.

How to write a “MINI” creative brief

Arguably things today are moving faster than ever. With the advent of new media options such as social, digital and search media, the list of tactics is longer than ever. Opportunities come to brand leaders needed quick decisions and even faster execution. Brand Managers are running like crazy to get everything done. Quick phone calls with the agencies and emails to keep everything moving along. So many times I’m seeing teams spinning around in circles of execution and I ask to see the brief and the answer is quickly becoming “Oh we didn’t have time to do a creative brief”. You always need to take the time to write it down.

Elements of communication strategy

First off, I would hope that every brand has the discipline to do an advertising strategy that should answer the following six key questions.

  1. Who Do We want to sell to?  (target)
  2. What are we selling?  (benefit)
  3. Why should they believe us?  (Reason to Believe)
  4. What Do We want the Advertising to do?  (Strategy)
  5. What do Want people to do?  (Response)
  6. What do we want people to feel?   (Big Idea/Brand Soul)
  7. Where will you deliver the message? (Media Plan)

Once you have these seven questions answered you should be able to populate and come to a main creative brief.  To read more about writing a full creative brief follow this link:  How to Write an Effective Creative Brief

Creative Brief 2016.101
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Back when we only did TV and a secondary medium it was easier. We’d spend months on a brief and months ago making the TV ads. The brief was approved everywhere, right up to the VP or President level. But now the problem is when you’re running around like  a chicken with its head chopped off, you decide to wing it over the phone with no brief. It’s only a Facebook page, a digital display ad going down the side of the weather network or some twitter campaign Who needs a brief.

If I could recommend anything to do with communication: ALWAYS HAVE A BRIEF.

The Mini Creative Brief

Focusing on the most important elements of the brief, you must have:

  • Objective: What do we hope to accomplish, what part of the brand strategy will this program.   Focus on only one objective.
  • Target:  Who is the intended target audience we want to move to take action against the objective?  Keep it a very tight definition.
  • Insight:  What is the one thing we know about the consumer that will impact this program.   For this mini brief, only put the most relevant insight to help frame the consumer.
  • Desired Response: What do we want consumers to think, feel or do?   Only pick one of these.
  • Stimulus:  What’s the most powerful thing you can say to get the response you want.
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Going too fast sometimes takes too Long

If you choose to do it over the phone, you’re relying on the Account Manager to explain it to the creative team. Days later when they come back with the options, how would you remember what you wanted.  If you have a well-written communications plan, this Mini Brief should take you anywhere from 30-60 minutes to write this. The Mini Brief will keep your own management team aligned to your intentions, as well as give a very focused ASK to the creative team.   When you need to gain approval for the creative, you’ll be able to better sell it in with Mini Brief providing the context.

Pressed for time? Next time, try using the mini brief

 

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Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. 

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands. 

The new burger war: 5 Guys vs In-N-Out vs Shake Shack

 

Five Guys Shake Shack In-N-Out

When I was a kid, after my hockey practices, my mom and I used to go to Burger King. It became our tradition. What did i like the best? It was nice and quiet, compared to the crowded noisy McDonald’s right across the street. There were no lines, no one taking up the great seat locations. It was so quiet, it was almost zen. Even today, Burger King remains the place you go if you don’t like crowds.

Today, there’s a new burger war heating up:

  • 5 Guys Burgers
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Shake Shack

Who will win? 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.

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

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. 

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands

 

Beloved Brands Graham Robertson 

 

 

 

 

How to use a brand strategy roadmap to guide your brand’s future success

Every brand should have a brand strategy roadmap that includes the vision, purpose, values, key issues, strategies, and tactics. As well, it should layer in the brand idea to deliver a consistent brand across the five consumer touchpoints. To ensure you have a long-range plan everyone can follow, you should get your brand strategy roadmap down to one page.  

Get your long-range plan on one page

Have you ever noticed people who say, “We need to get everyone on the same page” rarely have anything written down on one page? The same people who use the term “fewer bigger bets” are fans of little projects that deplete resources.

People say they are good decision-makers, yet struggle when faced with two distinct choices, so they creatively find a way to justify doing both options.

Always look at a long-range plan as an opportunity to make decisions on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to the smartest ideas that will drive the highest return. Think of the brand strategy roadmap as a decision-making tool to align your team with the best financial investment choices and the best decisions on how to deploy your people. The brand strategy roadmap should then align and focus everyone who works on the brand, including the leader who writes the plan.

The brand strategy roadmap combines our brand idea map where we show how the big idea lines up across the 5 consumer touch-points and the long-term plan elements.

Long-range strategic plan

Align the brand idea across five consumer touchpoints

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

Five main touchpoints reach consumers, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. Regardless of the order, they reach the consumer; if the brand does not deliver a consistent message, the consumer will be confused and likely shut out that brand.

While brands cannot control what order each touchpoint reaches the consumer, they can undoubtedly align each of those touchpoints under the brand idea.

Here’s how the brand idea stretches across the five consumer touchpoints

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

Long-range strategic plan

Build a rough plan with the brand strategy roadmap elements

Start off your long-range plan with a rough copy of all the planning elements.

Long-range strategic plan

Lay out the long-range plan

  • Vision: The vision in the brand strategy roadmap should answer the question, “Where could we be?” Put a stake in the ground that describes an ideal state for your future. It should be able to last for five to 10 years. The vision gives everyone clear direction. It should motivate the team, written in a way that scares you a little and excites you a lot.
  • Brand purpose: The purpose has to answer the question, “Why does your brand exist?” It’s the underlying personal motivation for why you do what you do. The purpose is a powerful way to connect with employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul.
  • Values: The values you choose should answer, “What do you stand for?” Your values should guide you and shape the organization’s standards, beliefs, behaviors, expectations, and motivations. A brand must consistently deliver each value.
  • Goals: Your goals in the brand strategy roadmap should answer, “What will you achieve?” The specific measures can include consumer behavioral changes, metrics of crucial programs, in-market performance targets, financial results, or milestones on the pathway to the vision. You can use these goals to set up a brand dashboard or scoreboard.
  • Situation analysis: Use your deep-dive business review to answer, “Where are we?” Your analysis must summarize the drivers and inhibitors currently facing the brand, and the future threats and untapped opportunities.

Then set an action plan to include in the brand strategy roadmap

  • Key issues: The key issues answer the question, “Why are we here?” Look at what is getting in your way of achieving your brand vision. Ask the issues as questions, to set up the challenges to the strategies as the answer to each issue.
  • Strategies: Your strategy decisions must answer, “How can we get there?” Your choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Strategies must provide clear marching orders that define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business.
  • Tactics: The tactics answer, “What do we need to do?” Framed entirely by strategy, tactics turn into action plans with clear marching orders to your teams. Decide on which activities to invest in to stay on track with your vision while delivering the highest ROI and the highest ROE for your branded business.

Bring the long-range plan and brand idea together

When you combine the planning elements with the brand idea map, you can complete the brand strategy roadmap.

 

To learn more, here is our workshop we run on how to write brand plans.

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

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

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We help brands find growth

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

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

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

We make Brand Leaders smarter

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

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

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

Graham Robertson bio

How to use brand funnel data to assess your brand’s health

A classic brand funnel would measure awareness, familiar, consider, purchase, repeat and loyal. They tell you where you are now, and where you can go next. Brand Funnels determine where a brand sits on the Brand Love Curve. Indifferent brands have very skinny brand funnels with low awareness, low purchase and negligible repeat and loyalty. Brands that are liked have high awareness and sales, but without an emotional connection, they almost have no loyalty. The beloved brands had the most robust brand funnels, with strong awareness, purchase, repeat and loyalty scores. 

How to use brand funnels to determine brand health

At the very least, you should be measuring Awareness, Purchase and Loyalty rates.  While sales, share and profits are the obvious measurements of a brand, they are easy to see but are the end result.

How to analyze your brand using Brand Funnels

Every brand should understand the details of their Brand Funnel, knowing what is causing any strength, weakness, changes versus last year or gaps versus competitors. A classic brand funnel should measure awareness, familiar, consider, purchase, repeat and loyal. At the very least, you should be measuring awareness, purchase and repeat. It is not just about driving particular numbers on the funnel, but moving consumers from one stage of the funnel to the next. How to determine your brand’s health using brand funnels

The first thing to do is look at the absolute brand funnel scores (A), comparing them to last year, to competitors or versus category norms. Then look at the brand funnel ratios (B), finding the percent your brand is able to convert from one stage of the funnel to the next. To create the ratios, divide the absolute number by the number above it on the funnel. In the example, take the familiar score of 87% and divide it by the awareness score of 93% to determine the conversion ratio of 91%. That means 91% of those who are aware become familiar.

Breaking down the Brand Funnel ratios

The brand funnel becomes more powerful when you start looking at the ratios.

How to determine your brand’s health using brand funnels

The first thing to do is lay out the ratios scores (C) of your brand versus your nearest competitor. Then, find ratio gaps (D) by subtracting the competitor’s ratio scores from your brand’s ratio scores. In the example, the first ratio moving from aware to familiar would create a -7% ratio gap (91% – 97%) which means your brand trails your competitor by 7%. You will start to see where your ratio will either be stronger or weaker than the comparison brand. Finally, you should start analyzing the difference (E) between the two brands and tell a strategic story to explain each gap. Looking at the example, you can see Gray’s and Dad’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. This creates a gap you need to fix through your Brand Plan.

How to determine your brand’s health using brand funnels

Putting meaning to the Brand Funnel results

The brand funnel data explains where your brand sits on the Brand Love Curve. Indifferent brands have skinny funnels throughout. Your plan for indifferent brands should fuel awareness and consideration to kick-start the funnel. For Like It brands, the brand funnels are solid at the top but quickly narrow at the purchase stage. These brands need tools to close potential leaks and trigger consumers at the purchase moment. Love It stage brands have a fairly robust funnel, but may have a smaller leak at loyal. The plan should continue to feed the love and turn repeat into a routine. The most beloved brands have robust brand funnels. These brands should continuously track their funnel and attack weakness before exploited by competitors.

How to determine your brand’s health using brand funnels

How tightly connected is your consumer to your brand?

Consumer strategy has to work to tighten the bond with consumers and establish a core group of brand lovers. Where the brand sits on the Brand Love Curve can really impact the strategic focus for the brand. All brands start at the Unknown stage, before they are launched. Brands at the Indifferent stage act like commodity products without any connection to consumers, They have little awareness. Consumers see them as basic products and have no real opinion about these brands. Brands at the Like It stage have carved out a rational point of difference in the consumers mind to help generate solid aided awareness but they are yet to translate that product success into a consumer routine. Brands that reach the Love It stage are very successful brands with strong awareness, market share and repeat purchase. They have generated an emotional bond with a select target that has led to a growing base of brand fans. Finally, at the Beloved stage, the brand becomes iconic and highly regarded by consumers. Consumers become brand lovers, similar in feelings to what we see with fans of sports teams or celebrities. They are outspoken, possessive and will defend the brand at any point.

how to create a beloved brand

 

Use brand funnels to track and manage the health of your brand

To read more about how the love for a brand creates more power and profits:

 

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

 

 

Beloved Brands Graham Robertson

 

Be a Better Brand Leader by saying “Let’s cut to the Chase” more often

Cut to the chase and avoid the spin

Stop being that brand that keeps spinning and gets nothing done.  Within most brand portfolios, there are those problem brands that just seem to spiral downward out of control.  They spin, and spin and spin.  Nothing gets done. Decisions don’t get made. They try something. It doesn’t work immediately. So they change course. And spin some more. Everyone thinks they have the answer, but no-one shares the same answer. And more spin.

What’s missing is a leader who will stand up to everyone on the team say “LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE”

Cut to the Chase with the The 40/70 Rule

I love the Colin Powell rule that when you are facing a tough decision, you need at least 40% of the information, but oddly enough, you should make the decision with no more than 70%. Once you’re in that 40-70% zone, go with your gut and make the decision.  

If you make a decision with less than 40% of the information, you are shooting from the hip and you will make too many mistakes. The 70% part of the decision-making rule is what surprises many Brand Leaders. They often think that they need more than seventy percent of the information before they can make a decision. A lot of Brand Leaders want as much data as they can. Many times they hope the data will make the decision for them. But if you want the data to make the decision, then why do we need you in the Brand Leader role? Why don’t we just put the Market Research person in your job?  We could pay them less and just go with the data output from the research 100% of the time.

But, in a highly competitive market, if you wait to get more than seventy percent, then the opportunity has usually passed and someone else has beaten you to the punch. A key element that supports Powell’s rule is the notion that intuition is what separates the great leaders from the average ones. Intuition is what allows us to make tough decisions, but many of us ignore our gut.  Relying on too much information can stiffen a leader, paralyzing the team to seek out more data. They become afraid to make decisions. Always keep in mind that marketing is half science and half art. Don’t forget about the art. People who want certainty in their decisions end up working for other people, not leading.

So, next time you feel your team has 40-70% of the information say “LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE” and see if you can push them to making the best decision they can make.  

Cut to the chase with tough questions

One of the big spin factors is lack of alignment. Everyone at the table has their own view of what needs to be done. The team ends up paralyzed with indecision. A team moving together towards a common strategy, even if it is only a pretty good strategy, is much smarter than a team moving in three directions, with each thinking they have an amazing strategy.

Align first on the Key Issues of the Brand. In terms of analysis, there are so many ways to do it but my preference is to use a force-field analysis of Drivers and Inhibitors. Basically, drivers are what is pushing the brand and inhibitors is what’s holding it back. These are happening NOW. Then add in the a future looking analysis of Risks and Opportunities. These could happen in the future. The simplicity of this analysis helps the next stage of your brand plan, and set up the Key Issues which are focused on finding ways to continue/enhance the growth drivers, minimize or reverse the inhibitors, avoid the risks and take advantage of the opportunities.

Here’s an example of How to do a Key Issues Deck. This is something I do with clients all the time and after a 1 or 2 day session, they can feel they are aligned.

 

Ask the Tough Questions of the team. Tough questions make a team pause and start thinking instead of just doing. I always frame the Key Issues in question form, believing the answers to those questions become the strategy. But I believe that 90% of your effort should go into asking the big challenging questions that startle and yet motivate the team. The better the question you ask, the better the strategy. For instance, if I wanted to lose a few pounds, I could ask the question: “how can I lose weight?” which is not really a good enough question to generate rich insightful strategies. But if I were to ask a better question: “what exercise program would help me successfully lose 10 pounds and work with my busy life?” all of a sudden better strategies start coming to the surface.  

Use these tough questions that force tough solutions by saying to your team: “LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE”

Cut to the chase and find your difference

Part of the spin zone brands go through is they never find their own point of difference. They over-react to what competitors are doing, copying them hoping to neutralize what advantage they have. But by trying to be everything that the competitor is doing, they end being nothing really.   

The most Beloved Brands are either better, different or cheaper. Or else not around for very long. In a crowded market, it’s really hard to be genuinely be significantly better. And unless your entire company is set up to be more efficient than everyone else, it really leaves different. But as you push for being different, you want to be smart and different. Use this venn diagram to brainstorm points of difference.   

Then challenge the team to find their Good and Different. Use the very simple map below to see where your ideas fall. 

  • Good But Not Different: These do very well in tests mainly because consumers have seen it before and check the right boxes in research. In market, it gets off to a pretty good start—since it still seems so familiar. However, once challenged in the market by a competitor, it falters because people start to realize it is no different at all. So they go back to their usual brand and your launch starts to go flat.  This option offers limited potential.
  • Good But Different: These don’t always test well. Consumers don’t really know what to make of it.   Even after launched, it takes time to gain momentum, having to explain the story with potential investment and effort to really make the difference come to life. But once consumers start to see the differences and how it meets their needs, they equate different with “good”. It begins to gain share and generates profits for the brand. This option offers long-term sustainability.
  • Not Good and Not Different:  These are the safest of safe. Go back into the R&D lab and pick the best one you have–even if it’s not very good. The tallest of midgets. They do pretty well in test because of the familiarity. In market, it gets off to a pretty good start, because it looks the same as what’s already in the market. But pretty soon, consumers realize that it’s the same but even worse, so it fails dramatically. What appears safe is actually highly risky. You should have followed your instincts and not launched. This option is a boring failure.
  • Different but Not that Good: Sometimes we get focused on the product first: it offers superior technology, but not really meeting an unmet need. So we launch what is different for the sake of being different. It does poorly in testing. Everyone along the way wonders why we are launching. But in the end, consumers don’t really care about your point of difference. And it fails. The better mousetrap that no one cares about.

Look to the grid above and say “LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE” and push your team to find something that is Good and Different.

What is Your “Let’s Cut to the Chase” Moment?

To read more about how to create a Beloved Brand:

 

 

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management.

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

Positioning 2016.112

The Volvo brand in one word: Safety

 

“If you want to build a brand, you must focus your efforts on owning a word in the prospects’ mind. A word nobody else owns” – Al Ries

 

I went to see Al Ries speak a few years ago and he challenged all marketers to get your brand down to one word. It sounded great, until I went back to my desk and started trying it out on my brands. At best I was able to get it down to a few words or a quick catch phrase. As I sat there frustrated, I realized that the effort to try to get it down to one word is a great catalyst that gets you down to a few words.  That’s a hell of a lot better than the excessively long-winded 5-page briefs or the long list of RTB’s (Reason to Believe) people want to jam in a TV ad.

For a long time, we’ve thought that brands just exist to convey a degree of consistency in the consumers mind. Yes, that helps to own a position in the marketplace. But more and more, we are also starting to realize that consistency of message acts as an internal beacon for everyone in the organization to follow.

I am always pushing everyone to focus:  focus on a tight target,  own one main benefit area that no one else can own and then shout it from the mountain top. The challenge here of getting what your brand stands down to one word would be the ultimate. I’d encourage you to take this on a test run and see where you get.  But the bigger point is to, learn from how obsessed Volvo is around safety.

When you ask consumers one word to describe Volvo, without hesitation they say “Safety”.  

I am yet to see any other brand that is so focused against one word like Volvo is with safety. For Volvo safety is not just a claim or demo in their TV ads, but is everything they do. But the real beauty for Volvo is their obsession with safety.

  • Volvo was long ahead of the marketplace. Volvo first started the safety angle in the 1940s and became completely obsessed in through the 1960s long before consumers cared about safety when no one was even wearing seat belts. But the market place has since caught up. This year, Car and Driver reports safety as the #1 benefit that consumers are looking for in a new car.
  • Volvo’s purpose in making safety a priority. In 1958, Volvo came up with the 3-point seat belt. Even with a patent they could have enforced and made millions, Volvo decided to share the technology with all the other car manufacturers because they believed so strongly in it. That really speaks to Volvo’s conviction and authenticity.
  • Volvo has always been way ahead of car safety regulations.  In fact, as safety became a priority with consumers, regulators looked at what Volvo was doing as the standard and then made Volvo’s advancements mandatory across other companies. In the 1990s, Volvo was ahead of the curve on the introduction of air bags and side-air bags. In TV ads, we got so used to seeing the crash test dummy ads re-enforcing Volvo’s ownership over safety.
  • Volvo continues to set the standard for safety today. The 2012 IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) had 3 Volvo models in the 10 Top Safety Picks, the most of any car brand. The Euro NCAP collision test has recognize 2012 Volvo V40 as the best car they’ve ever tested, giving it the top rating of five stars in the Euro NCAP collision test.

Most impressive to me that highlights Volvo’s obsession with safety is to look internally at the long list of R&D advancements over the past 70 years.

  • 1944 Safety cage
  • 1944 Laminated windscreen
  • 1957 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts front
  • 1958 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts rear
  • 1959 3–point front safety belts standard
  • 1964 First rearward–facing child safety seat prototype tested
  • 1966 Crumple zones front and rear
  • 1966 Safety door–locks
  • 1969 Inertia reel safety belts
  • 1971 Reminder safety belt
  • 1972 3–point safety belts – rear
  • 1972 Rearward–facing child safety seat
  • 1974 Multi-stage impact absorbing steering column
  • 1974 Bulb integrity sensor
  • 1975 Braking system with stepped bore master cylinder
  • 1978 Child safety booster cushion
  • 1982 “Anti–submarining” protection
  • 1986 Three–point safety belt centre rear seat
  • 1990 Integrated child safety cushion in centre rear seat
  • 1991 Side Impact Protection System
  • 1991 Automatic height adjusting safety belt
  • 1992 Reinforced rear seats in estate models
  • 1995 Integrated child safety cushion outer rear seats
  • 1997 Roll Over Protection System
  • 1998 Whiplash Protection System
  • 1998 Inflatable Curtain
  • 2001 Volvo Safety Concept Car
  • 2002 Roll Stability Control
  • 2003 New Front Structure called Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture
  • 2003 Rear seat belt reminders
  • 2003 Intelligent Driver Information System
  • 2003 Inauguration of Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team in Bangkok
  • 2004 Blind Spot Information System
  • 2005 Door Mounted Inflatable Curtain
  • 2006 Personal Car Communicator
  • 2006 Collision Warning with Brake Support
  • 2007 Power Park Brake
  • 2007 Driver Alert Control
  • 2009 City Safety – Automatically stop car at speeds below 19 mph (31 km/h) if obstruction is detected in front of car
  • 2010 Pedestrian Detection with auto brake
  • 2012 Pedestrian airbag

True leader push themselves by attacking the brand even before competitors have a chance. Volvo is continuing to push themselves with a very visionary challenge for the year 2020 that’s squarely directed internally within Volvo. 

Nobody should die or be seriously injured in a Volvo.  

That speaks volumes to the obsession they’ve had for the past 70 years and to the obsessive focus for the future of Volvo!

What can you learn from this for your brand?