A new way for Brand Leaders to think about how their consumers engage with on-line media

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

Too many Marketers are thinking about where the media is. They should be thinking about where their consumers are.

Even when your consumers are on-line, you should be aligned to what are they doing and the mood they are in when they are doing it. Last year, I saw a Rolex pre-roll ad on YouTube. My god people, that is not where Rolex should ever be. If you just go for pure efficiency and reach, you are completely missing the real opportunity of targeting your consumers on line. Not only do you have to find your consumers, you have to find them in the right mood so they are willing to engage with your brand.

The reality is today’s consumers live on their phones, tablets and laptops. While there are many ways to reach consumers, your agency likely recommends the most efficient balance of reach and frequency. However, I would challenge you to look at potential sites that fit your brand, both from a functional and emotional stance.

Here are the 8 reasons consumers use the internet:

  1. Be smarter
  2. Stay aware of what’s going on
  3. Escape the stress at some point in the day
  4. Express themselves
  5. Connect with others
  6. Go places, either local or around the world
  7. Buy things they desire
  8. Do things and control the variables.

Align your brand with the consumer mood states that matches up with one of the 8 ways that consumers use the internet.

As consumers move around the internet, their emotional mood state changes. I have matched up the 8 functional ways of how consumers use the internet, with their emotional mood states. You will notice I have used the 8 emotional zones I use for determining Brand Positioning.

Match up your brand emotional positioning with the consumer’s emotional mood when they are on-line.

If your brand is trying to own the ‘staying in control’ zone, do not use sites where consumers are in the mood to escape or express themselves such as Tumbler or Instagram. Conversely, a brand trying to own the ‘get noticed’ space should not be on the Economist or The Weather Network. There are enough sites that allow you to line your brand up perfectly.

When consumers want to be smarter, they ‘google it’ or look at subject matter expert sites. When consumers want to stay aware, they reach for their favorite on-line news site or scan social media news feeds. When consumers are in the mood to feel free, they try to escape, whether a 5 minute break at work or the subway going home after a long day, they look to escape with Youtube or Bleacher Report.

The line is getting blurry when consumers want to express themselves. While they might start with 140 characters on Twitter, they duplicate the post on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest as they are in the mood to get noticed. One of the most obvious reasons for the internet is to connect with others, feeding their mood to be liked. They use email, texting or Facebook.

Consumers reach for their phone when they want to do things, checking the weather, looking up restaurant reviews or buying tickets to an event. While these consumers are looking to have fun, they use tools to stay in control, so nothing gets in the way of having fun. When consumers want to buy things to fulfill a craving or desire to reward themselves, they want it now and use transactional sites such as Amazon or eBay. Moreover, they go straight to a favorite retailer’s e-commerce site. When consumers want to go somewhere, they use Waze for driving directions or Uber to hail a ride. If they want to go on a vacation, they use Expedia to book a flight, explore things to do using TripAdvisor, or look up cool places to stay using Airbnb. These consumers are in the mood to explore but also find comfort.

Where are consumers when they are in the mood that matches up with your brand’s desired emotional space?

 

Here are five media questions for the future

Here are some challenging thoughts for us going forward.

1. Will people watch even more TV in the future?

Sounds crazy, but with more tablets and instant internet access, the future will see us watching even more TV programming. Consumers love anything on video. But, it will not be traditional network TV. We are already seeing a huge consumer shift to streaming TV, whether Netflix, special channels, on-demand viewing and Youtube videos. Advertising has yet to figure out how it will fit into these new TV options.

2. How can brands capture young adults?

With two college-aged kids, I can tell you they never watch network television, never read newspapers and never listen to the radio. Yet, they are constantly connected, using Netflix, texting, SnapChat and Instagram. One of the most interesting insights about this group is, ‘They never go on-line, mainly because they never go off-line’. They put their lives on-line and expect instant access to everything. They are constantly multi-tasking, prefer apps over software, newsfeed over news stories. While high profile beloved brands can easily reach them, low involvement or indifferent brands will have a hard time reaching them.

3. Can newspapers or magazines even survive?

Newspapers and magazines appear lost. For too long, they linked their brand to the actual format and moved on-line too slowly. For many, news now is now instant, ubiquitous and more casual/social. Instead of seeking out news, consumers now filter news. Journalists are struggling to capture readers and print companies are struggling to capture consumers to their on-line versions, as fake news, Twitter feeds and social media are dominating traditional print. Can these print companies figure out new revenue and profit models with on-line versions?

4. Are there too many social media options?

Early innovation in social media led to divergence of options. Yet, they are become more similar than different. Potential power plays could see mergers where the strongest brands squeeze out other players—the first being Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn. Other than high profile brands, many Brand Leaders struggle to come up with relevant content that can engage their targets. Imagine who might be next.

5. Can Brand Leaders figure out how to win in the new world?

Brand Leaders are more confused than they ever have been. The exploding of media options has led to an explosion of agencies, each battling each other for a share of the spend, rather than directing the Marketer with clear advice. Big traditional agencies have struggled as they move into digital and social, forcing the Brand Leaders to look to smaller agencies or even internal options. The biggest issue I see is that Marketers have become too involved, they are now doers taking on parts of subject matter experts rather than staying in the generalist decision maker role. For Brand Leaders, the changes are speeding up. Just as they are used to digital, there is a dramatic shift to social, and then another dramatic you shift to mobile. The problem is that unless you are a consumer of the media options, you will struggle with it. Every Brand Leader must have the curiosity to personally engage in new media options as a consumer, before they can judge it as a Marketer. You will learn more about these media choices by trying them out, than you will reading a presentation in a boardroom.

Here is a workshop we run on Marketing Execution that looks at both the creative and media sides of  reaching consumers.

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.

 

Today’s consumers are drawn to Big Ideas. You need a Big Idea to win.

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Beloved Brands Explained

The first connection point for consumers with a brand is that moment when they see a Big Idea they consider worth engaging in. The brand almost jumps off the shelf, draws attention to itself on a TV ad or makes consumers click on a digital ad. The brand has to generate interest very quickly.

A brand’s Big Idea must be interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and own-able. It must attract and move consumers.

When the Big Idea is interesting and simple, it helps the brand gain quick entry into the consumer’s mind, so they will want to engage and learn more about the brand. With the consumer being bombarded by 7,000 brand messages every day, the brand only has 7-seconds to connect or else consumers will move on. When the idea is unique and own-able, it stands out from the clutter, and the brand can see enough potential to build their entire business around the idea. When the idea is motivating to consumers, the brand gains an ability to move consumers to see, think, feel or act in positive ways that benefit the brand.

The idea should be big enough to last 5 to 10 years, flexible enough to show up the same no matter what media options the brand uses. The idea must provide a common link across the entire product line-up. The idea should inspire the team working behind the scenes to deliver amazing consumer experiences. Brand Leaders must work to create and build a reputation that matches up to the idea.

The brand has to show up the same way to everyone, no matter where it shows up. Even as the Brand Leader expands on the idea, whether telling the brand story over 60-seconds, 30-minutes or over the lifetime of the brand, the brand must tell the same story. When the idea works best, the most far-reaching sales rep, the scientist in the lab, the plant manager or the customer service people must all articulate the brand’s Big Idea in the same way, using the same chosen words. Every time a consumer engages with the brand, they must see, hear and feel the same Big Idea. Each positive interaction further tightens their bond with the brand.

There are 5 consumer touch-points that need to be aligned and managed, including the brand promise, brand story, product innovation, the path to the purchase moment and the overall consumer experience. I have created the Big Idea Map to help align all 5 consumer touch-points. As today’s consumers naturally doubt and test the brands to see if they deliver, every time the consumer interacts with the brand, they should experience the same Big Idea that attracted them to the brand on day 1. When all five consumer touch-points line up to deliver the same Big Idea, the bond with the consumer will continue to tighten.

  • The brand promise connects with consumers and separates the brand from competitors. The promise must position the brand as interesting and unique, utilizing brand positioning work that defines the target market, the balance of functional and emotional benefits, along with key support points.
  • The role of the brand story is to help the brand stand out from the pack and gain the consumer’s consideration for purchase. The Big Idea must push consumers to see, think, feel or act differently than before they saw the brand message.
  • Innovation must help the brand stay on top of the latest trends in technology, consumer need states, distribution and competitive activity. A brand cannot stand still. The Big Idea should act as an internal beacon to help inspire the product development to come up with new ways to captivate consumers.
  • The purchase moment transforms the awareness and consideration into purchase. The Big Idea ensures everyone along the path to purchase is delivering the same brand message, using retail and selling strategies to influence consumers through direct selling, retail channels or e-commerce.
  • Create consumer experiences that over-delivers the promise, driving repeat purchase and future consumer loyalty. Partnering with Human Resources, the Big Idea acts an internal beacon to the brand’s culture and organization, influencing the hiring, service values and motivation of the operations teams who deliver the experience.

To read more about conducting a Brand Positioning, here is our training workshop we use to help Brand Leaders get better in this area

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.

 

 

 

64 of the best analytical questions to understand your brand’s performance

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

Leading a deep-dive Business Review

To start the deep-dive Business Review, dig in on these 5 sections: Category, Consumers, Channels, Competitors and Brand.

  • Category: Start by looking at the overall category performance to gain a macro view of all major issues. Dig in on the factors impacting category growth, including economic indicators, consumer behavior, technology changes, shopper trends or political regulations. Also look at what is happening in related categories that could impact your own category or replicate what you may see next.
  • Consumer: Define your consumer target, knowing the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends and key insights. Use the brand funnel analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop the category and how they make purchase decisions. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data or market research.
  • Channels: Look at the performance of all potential distribution channels and every major retail customer. Understand their strategies, as well as their available tools and programs. To be successful, your brand must align with the customer strategies.
  • Competitors: Dissect your closest competitors by looking at their performance indicators, brand positioning, innovation pipeline, pricing strategies, distribution and the perceptions of consumers. Map out a strategic Brand Plan for major competitors to predict what they might do next. Use that knowledge within your brand’s own plan.
  • Brand: Understand the view of the brand through the lens of consumers, customers and employees. Use brand funnel data, market research, marketing program tracking results, pricing analysis, distribution gaps and financial analysis. You need to manage your brand’s health and wealth.

While other parts of the planning process are about focus, the deep-dive business review must look at all parts of the business to see beneath the surface level. You might find some treasures and you may find something really ugly that needs fixing. But, if you don’t look, you won’t know.

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your Category review

  1. How is the category doing relative to the economy?
  2. Look at the last 5 years and explain each of the ups and downs in the category.
  3. What is driving category growth? What is holding the category back? What are the big open opportunities to take advantage of? What are the risks to the categories in the next few years?
  4. What category segments are growing, declining or emerging?
  5. What macro trends are influencing/changing this category?
  6. What is the role of innovation? How fast does it change? What innovations are transforming the category?
  7. What are you seeing in terms of regional or geographic trends?
  8. Who holds the balance of power in the category: brands, suppliers, channels or consumers?
  9. Look at other issues: Operations, inventory, mergers, technology, innovation, investments, global trade.
  10. What is the overall value of the category? How is the category performing financially? Any price changes? Major cost change?

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your consumer review

  1. Who are your possible target market consumer segments? Are they growing? How are you measuring them?
  2. Who are the most motivated consumers 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 the target segment? Share, sales, panel data, funnel data, tracking scores? By channel or geography?
  5. What drives consumer choice? What are the main need states? How so these needs line up to your brand assets?
  6. Map out the brand funnel and 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? Where would your competitors win?
  8. What is the ideal brand experience and unmet needs you can attach your brand to?
  9. What are the emotional and functional needs? How is the brand performing against them? How are you doing in tracking studies to meet these needs?
  10. What are consumers’ perceptions of your brand and your competitors?

Here are 10 probing questions to kick-start your channels review

  1. How are the channels performing? Are there regional differences by channel? Are there any channel shifts happening?
  2. Are there new/emerging channels? Are there existing channels not being developed?
  3. What are the strengths/weaknesses of each channel?
  4. Do you understand the strategies of your channel customers?
  5. Do you have the competencies to service your customers?
  6. Who are your primarily and secondary customers? Have you segmented and prioritized on growth vs opportunity? How large are they? What are their growth rates?
  7. How is each channel performing?
  8. How are brands doing within each channel? What are the main reasons for each brand’s channel strength/weakness?
  9. Who is the category captain within your key accounts and why?
  10. Who are the top 5 customers? Main strategies? How do we fit into that strategy?

Here are 10 questions to kick-start your competitor review

  1. Who are the main competitors? How are they positioning themselves?
  2. What is your competitor’s use of communication, new products and go-to-market strategy? How are they effectively executing against it?
  3. What is your competitor’s operating models, culture and organization? What brands are they focused on as a company?
  4. What are your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats?
  5. How is your competitor doing in terms of customer share, market share, P&L, margins, innovation, culture, regulatory advantage
  6. Map out the competitors Brand Plan: vision, goals, strategies and tactics.
  7. What is the culture at your competitor and what is the role of the culture in their brand?
  8. What is the investment stance and expected growth trajectory of competitor’s brand? How/where do they invest? What is the marketing and commercial focus? What is their ROI?
  9. What is the competitors brand strength/equity? What drivers/attributes do they own?
  10. Any public materials about the competitor, including strategy and financial results?

10 probing questions to assess your brand’s power

  1. Where do you play? How do you win? What is your current point of difference? Is it own-able, unique and motivating for consumers?
  2. What is your biggest gain versus prior periods? What is your biggest gap?
  3. What is your market share? Regionally? Channel? Where is your strength? Where is your gap?
  4. How are you doing on key brand tracking panel data? Penetration? Frequency? Sales per Buyer? Dollars per trip?
  5. What are your scores against the brand funnel?
  6. How is your program tracking data doing? Where could you improve?
  7. How far can you “stretch” your brand into other opportunities?
  8. What is your current operating model?
  9. What is your culture? To what extent does your culture enable and support your brand and business strategy? Is there an alignment to the brand promise and strategy by employees?
  10. What is the innovation process and capability of the organization?

10 probing questions to assess Brand Wealth

  1. Your CAGR? (Compound Annual Growth Rate)
  2. What are your contribution margins over last 5 years? Margins broken out by product line?
  3. What is your budget breakout? Working dollars versus non-working dollars? Media versus production? Consumer versus trade?
  4. Pricing Elasticity studies?
  5. How are you performing overall and by line of business?
  6. What are your current brand/business performance measures?
  7. What programs are driving the highest ROI?
  8. What is driving your profit? What are you focusing on right now?
  9. What are your forecasting error rates? Fill rates?
  10. What are the financial pressures you face? Quarterly results?

4 more questions that Summarize the analysis to tackle in your Brand Plan

  1. What is driving growth? Focus on the top factors of strength, positional power or market inertia that has a proven link to driving your brand’s growth. Your plan must continue to fuel these drivers.
  2. What is inhibiting growth? Focus on the top factors of weakness, unaddressed gaps or market friction that can be proven to be holding back your brand’s growth. Your plan should focus on reducing or reversing these inhibitors to growth.
  3. What are the opportunities for growth? Specific untapped areas in the market that could fuel your brand’s future growth, based on unfulfilled consumer needs, new technologies on the horizon, potential regulation changes, new distribution channels or the removal of trade barriers. Your plan should take advantage of these opportunities in the future.
  4. What are the potential threats to future growth? Changing circumstances including consumer needs, new technologies, competitive activity, distribution changes or potential barriers that create potential risks to your brand’s growth. Within your plan, look for ways to minimize the impact of these risks.

To read more about conducting a deep-dive Business Review, here is our training workshop we use to help Brand Leaders get better in this area

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.

 

Consumers of today have changed dramatically, impacting what it now takes for brands to win.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

The consumers in today’s world now see 7,000 brand messages per day, far too many for their brains to handle. They filter out the irrelevant advertising and gravitate only to those brands that capture their minds and their hearts. Consumers are constantly distracted—working, walking, talking, texting, driving, searching and clicking—rarely doing one thing at a time. Consumers are tired of being burned by faulty brand promises. Their instinct is to doubt first, test second, and at any point they are willing to cast aside those brands that do not live up to their original promise. They stay loyal to brands that speak directly with them and those that offer the most amazing experiences that exceed their expectations. Consumers take control of the buying process, literally at their finger tips. They feel empowered knowing that they matter more than they ever have before. Right in the moment, they openly voice their pleasure and displeasure to their friends, empowered knowing the influence they bring. Consumers may explore rationally, but engage emotionally with brands they believe in.

In today’s Marketing world, Brand Love is the new currency. The best brands have a base of loyal brand fans.

The best brands of this century build everything they do around a Big Idea that creates a bond with a group of motivated “brand lovers” who then become a coveted asset for the brand to leverage. Think of brand love as stored energy that can be unleashed at any moment to help accelerate a brand’s positive momentum. These brand lovers can be leveraged to successfully enter new categories, to defend the brand against any attack and to drive awareness and influence with their network.

Brands must generate insight-driven stories that capture the hearts of their consumers. They need to build innovative new products that surprise their most loyal users. The best brands must manage ubiquitous purchase moments, catering to whenever, wherever and however their consumer wants to buy, not just how the brand chooses to sell. The best brands build amazing experiences that over-deliver every consumer expectation, adding energy to the bond consumers have with their brand. Instead of shouting their message at every possible consumer, the best brands confidently whisper to their group of motivated brand lovers, who then whisper with influence to their friends on behalf of the brand.

The role of a brand is to create a tight bond with consumers, leading to a power and profit beyond what the product alone could achieve.

Brands are no longer just logos on top of a product. While a product is something we can touch, a brand is an idea that can be understood, experienced and cherished. While a product may have a rational connection, a brand forms an emotional bond with a loyal base of brand lovers. While a product solves small little problems the consumer did not even know they had, a brand beats down the consumer’s enemy that torments them every day. While a product is consumed and used when needed, a brand is experienced and becomes a ritual built into the favorite parts of the consumer’s day or life. While a product is a legally protected design, a brand is a carefully managed and protected reputation. While a product is tucked away in the cupboard to use later on, a brand is worthy of display, whether it is on our counter, our feet, our desk or held with pride in our hand.

The best brands find their sweet spot when the Big Idea, Brand DNA and Consumer Reputation are all the same.

The first moment a consumer will connect with a brand is when they see an idea worth engaging in. They will buy those brands that turn engagement into consideration and interest. Every time the consumer uses that brand, they will compare it to the original idea they bought into, to see if it lives up to that promise. They will feel let down when the brand fails to deliver and cast the brand aside when it fails too often. To win in today’s cluttered world, Brand Leaders must create a Big Idea for their brand that captivates the consumer’s attention. The Big Idea must be interesting, simple, unique, motivating and own-able. Brand Leaders must ensure that everything they do—the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience—lines up to deliver that idea.

The smartest Brand Leaders in today’s world are able to consistently manage everyone who works on the brand to create a consistent brand reputation in the consumer’s mind. This reputation has to perfectly reflect to the brand’s soul, what I call the brand DNA. The DNA must explain the purpose, values, passions, motivations and beliefs of those who lead and work on the brand. Simply put, the DNA answers the question of, “Why you get up in the morning to do what you do”. Brand Leaders are now responsible for building the internal team culture and organization behind the brand, using this brand DNA as a rallying cry to guide everyone in delivering the brand promise.

As much as Marketing has changed, the fundamentals of Brand Management matter more now than ever.

I believe that the fundamentals of Brand Management are essential for brands to create a tight bond with their consumers so they can win in today’s cluttered brand world. Too many Marketers have become distracted by the tactics of a growing number of media choices and distribution options. They have become task masters, focused more on doing, than managing and leading. They have lost sight of the fundamentals of strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand planning, creative execution and analytics.

  • How to think strategically: Too many Marketers are so busy, they do not even have time to think. The best Brand Leaders do the necessary critical strategic thinking to find ways to win in the market. Strategic thinking is an essential foundation, to force Marketers to ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. I will show you five ways to enhance your strategic thinking, using the brand strength finder, engagement strategy, consumer strategy competitive strategy and situational strategy. You will learn how to set a vision for your brand, focus your limited resources on breakthrough points, take advantage of opportunities you see in the market, find early wins that can be leveraged to give your brand a positional power to drive growth and profits for your brand.
  • How to define your brand: Too many Marketers are trying to be everything to anyone. This is the usual recipe for becoming nothing to everyone. The best Brand Leaders target a specific motivated consumer audience and then define their brand around a Big Idea that is interesting, simple, unique, motivating and own-able. I will show you how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). You will learn how to build a Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and experience. I will give you the tool for how write a winning brand concept.
  • How to write Brand Plans every one can follow: Too many Marketers are focused on a short-term to-do list, not a long-term plan. The best Brand Leaders write Brand Plans that everyone in the organization can follow, including senior management, sales, R&D, agencies and the operational teams. I will teach you how to write each element of the Brand Plan, including the brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. I provide examples that will give you a framework to use on your own brand. You will learn to build execution plans including a brand communications plan, innovation plan and in-store plan.
  • How to inspire creative execution: Too many Marketers are becoming task-masters and stepping over the line into execution. The best Brand Leaders inspire experts to produce smart and creative execution. I will provide tools and techniques for judging and making decisions on creative ideas from your agency. For judging execution, I use the ABC’S tool, believing the best executions must drive Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). I will provide a check list for you to use when judging executions and then show you how to provide direction to your Agency to help inspire and challenge great execution.
  • How to analyze the performance of your brand: Too many Marketers are not taking the time to dig in on the analytics. There is no value in having access to data if you are not using it. The best Brand Leaders are able to tell strategic stories through analytics. I lay out the smart analytical principles to help you tell analytical stories through data to challenge strategic thinking, build Brand Plans and gain alignment for strategies. We will show you how to build a deep-dive business review, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. I will teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.

To get smarter about Brand Management, read more on how to define your brand. Here is a Powerpoint workshop on Brand Positioning.

 

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.

 

Best Christmas ads of 2016 from around the globe

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

xmas-001

 

As we hit mid December, many of us are busy trying to close off projects before year end. Take a few minutes to see some of the best Christmas ads from around the world.

 

From Poland

Great story telling from Allegro, a Polish website. The ending is very heart-warming. Millions of views so far, lots of tears for sure.

 

From England

Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world tells a story through the dolls of two grandparents visiting their grandchildren. Hard for an airport to generate 5 Million views, but this ad certainly puts a nice face on a crowded airport.

 

From Canada

WestJet is the alternative airline to Air Canada, providing a better customer experience. For 6 straight years now, WestJet has done some of the better Christmas ads. This past year in the Western Canadian town of Fort McMurray, there was a fire that destroyed the entire town. This ad does a nice job in building around the recovery with a wink to Who’ville.

 

From Portugal

Every year, there is a lottery just before Christmas, Anuncio Lotería de Navidad 2016. The last few years, they have done some great ads with deep story telling. This year, the ad tells a sweet story of a grandmother who catches the winning number on TV from a few years ago, believing she has won this year’s lottery. Very cute that the family goes along with it as she moves through the village. Nice ending.

 

From England

Marks and Spencer likely won the UK retailer contest of 2016. This ad does a nice job in telling the story of Mrs. Claus. While very modern, it still brings a lot of traditional touches of Christmas.

 

From Germany

A nice ad from EDEKA, Germany’s biggest supermarket encourages parents to spend more time with their kids.

 

From Ireland

Lidl uses a very traditional Christmas ad. How it should really feel.

 

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

strategic-thinking-2017-148

 

 

Narrow your target to those who are already motivated by what your brand does

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

Who wants you?
Too many Marketers think the way to make your brand bigger is to be able to appeal to a bigger, broader audience. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is actually less safe because you spread your resources so broadly, you never see the full impact of the resources. Instead of going after who you want the most, go after those consumers who want you.

book-photos-032To illustrate this point, we look at types of target markets:

  • Selling Target: You can sell to anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy. You can reactively sell to anyone who shows interest in your brand, regardless if they fit your ideal target. However, as your brand is constrained by limited resources, you should not spend your limited Marketing dollars against this large of a target, especially when you have seen no signs they will respond enough to provide an efficient pay back.
  • Marketing Target: The smartest Brand Leaders know their ideal consumer. With increased access to data, we know more and more about these people. Just like the shoe-shine person, you should focus your limited resources on those consumers motivated by what your brand offers. These people will respond to your brand story or your product offering, providing the fastest and highest return on investment and effort.
  • Program Target: When working on a specific campaign, the target narrows even further. These are the people you want to stimulate to see if you can get them to see, think, feel or do. A specific program target is smart when launching a new product, or lining up to a specific time of year (Back to School).

I was working with a bank who told me that their target market for a first time mortgage (home loan) was 18-65, new customers, current customers and employees. book-photos-033Sarcastically, I said, “You have forgotten tourists and prisoners”. As I pressed to help them narrow their consumer target, they pushed back saying that they didn’t want to alienate anyone “just in case” someone outside the usual target wanted a home loan. Sure, the odd 64-year-old might be tired of renting for the past 40 years and wants to finally buy their first home. But they would not be offended if there was a 32-year-old in the advertising. The reality is that first time home owners are usually in their late 20’s or early 30’s. The age target should be 28-33. I told the bank I could narrow their target from 100% of the population to 1% with one simple line. I said, “We should only target those who are looking to buy a house”. No one buys a house on impulse. And no one ever wanted a mortgage, without buying a house. Consumers usually spend 6-12 months looking for a house. This is complete common sense, but why was it lost on the bank? Think about the difference the focused target market makes. Instead of just randomly advertising to everyone on mass media, you can focus your resources where the consumer would be most open to your message. Advertise on real estate websites, use billboards beside new housing developments and buy radio ads on Saturday afternoon when people are looking at new homes. We narrowed the target market to: “28-33, already considering buying a house within the next year and nervous about their debt load.”

Narrowing the target is a choice. It is a myth to suggest that a bigger target will make your brand bigger. You will be much more successful convincing a small segment of the population to choose your brand because the promise matches up perfectly to what they want. They are already motivated by what you do.

Realizing not everyone can like you is the first step to focusing all your attention on those that can love you.

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

strategic-thinking-2017-148

“Purpose” driven Marketing is a flavor-of-the-month strategy on the verge of over-kill

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

The Marketing community gets fixated on an idea and then ultimately over-does it to the point where we make it completely irrelevant. I just read that one retailer is starting their “Post Black Friday Sale” before Black Friday. Some days, we Marketers are complete idiots. We have used some tactics so much that we killed them, including bonus packs, BOGOs, 25% more, parity claims and side-by-side demonstrations. And now, we are on the verge of killing this whole brand purpose mythology.

I think we are on the verge of over-kill with Brand Purpose 

I believe brand purpose is an effective tool, when it fits. However, we should also realize that it should rarely fit. Don’t get fixated on a type of strategy before you know where you really are today. got-purpose

I just read that Unilever has shifted 50% of their brands into a purpose-driven brand positioning. I love the Dove brand and everything it stands for. It’s a great case study for purpose driven Marketing. However, if we make every brand into a purpose driven brand, then we are at risk of destroying a potentially strong tool. I predict three years from now, the next Unilever CMO will be shifting many of their brands away from purpose, realizing that while it worked for Dove, it might not work for margarine, ice cream, deodorant or razor blades.

Imagine how annoying life would be if every TV ad was 90 seconds long and telling the life story of the founder and owner of the company. Sadly, if we move every brand to a purpose-driven brand, that’s what life would look like. The consumer will eventually tire of this tactic and begin rejecting every story, including those rare cases when the brand purpose actually matters.

You should be careful of those Brand Consultants or Brand Strategists from Ad Agencies, who come in with a fixation on a type of strategy before they even engage your brand. If the strategist mentions brand purpose before they even understand your brand, be careful because they might be on the verge of applying their one-size-fits-all-flavor-of-the-month type strategy. I am assuming it seems sexier for Strategists to want to tell your extremely personal story of why you do what you do. Equally, many leaders would love to gush over their own ego-filled story and pump those thoughts out into the market. However, the consumer just might not care about your purpose. Case in point is Starbucks who has tried with blank coffee cups at Christmas and the #RaceTogether campaign. Both were completely rejected by consumers who basically have told the brand “we don’t care about your purpose”.

You should think your strategy through on a deeper level as the strategy you choose for where to go next, should really depend on where you are today. Build around your core strength.

If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail

If you think every brand should communicate their brand purpose to consumers, you likely don’t understand how consumers operate. You likely have bought into this “Start with why” by Simon Sinek, who said that consumers don’t buy what you do, they buy into why you do it. That is complete B.S. To an industry person, this sounds like fun but it is just not true. Simon Sinek says that consumers buy Apple, not because it is simple to use and user friendly but because Apple likes to challenge the status quo and Apple believes in thinking differently. That is pure bunk. Go ask 1,000 of your average consumers who are not employed in marketing, advertising, computers or consulting, and I will bet you won’t find 10 consumers who buy Apple because of their brand purpose. Sure, “Start with Why” is a fun speech at a Ted Talk and a fun book to read, but the worst thing a Marketer can ever do is start to talk to ourselves. The second worst thing we can do is to take ourselves too seriously.

Consumers buy benefits still!!!! I love to say that consumers are the most selfish animals on the planet, and rightfully so because they hold the cash. It is not an insult to consumers, but more of a challenge for the marketer to actually figure out how to get the consumers to hand over their hard-earned cash. Consumers have to get something (functional) or feel something (emotional) for them to hand over that cash. But very rarely, will they opt to buy something, just because of the purpose. That’s a lie!

Apple is a story-led brand that tells the story of simplicity, not purpose-led.

In reality, the brand purpose barely shows up in the Apple brand. Consumers are buying Apple because they generally hate computers, they are frustrated with all technology and they see Apple as the simple solution that enables them to be smarter. It has nothing to do with all that challenging stuff that Simon Sinek says. Yes, consultants and agency types loved Steve Jobs and the 1997 “Think Different” Apple advertising. If Apple’s stated purpose was so powerful, then why did Apple struggle until 2001 whey found the iPod and iTunes. Sure the purpose drove the internal pursuit of new products. I’m completely fine with purpose driving every internal cultural. But, Apple’s purpose was not an immediate success, until the selfish consumers saw they could get something from iTunes before they were willing to hand over their hard-earned cash.

The big idea for Apple is “We make technology so simple that everyone can be part of the future”. This big idea shows up in everything they do, whether it is the advertising, their innovation, how they manage the purchase moment or the brand experience.

  • Almost all their advertising portrays “Technology should not be frustrating. We make it easy to do more or get more.” By the way, stop thinking Apple is a challenger brand. They are a mass-power player, like IBM of the 1980’s or Microsoft of the 1990’s.
  • They portray their innovation as “Surprising leap-frog technology around simplicity.” In reality, nearly every Apple product is a me-too copy of some technology that was packaged in such a confusing way, the consumer didn’t get it. (mp3 players, tablets or PC software).
  • As they manage the purchase moment they allow consumers to try, touch, feel in a soft sell retail store, so they can see how easy the products are and how they will work in their lives.
  • In terms of the consumer experience, they enable consumers to get the most from their Apple products. Straight out of the box, integration across platforms or the fully integrated Apple Care support programs.

There are 4 types of brands, all great, just it really depends on your brand’s core strength

 

brand-plans-2017-045

 

We believe there are 4 types of brands: product-led, story-led, experience-led and price-led. The purpose-led would be one of the types of story-led brands. All are great strategies that are really dependent on what is the core strength of your brand. Many brand leaders have their marketing strategy wrong, when it comes to aligning everything behind the right strength. Those that struggle with this usually struggle being honest with themselves as to what they really are, or they have this hidden desire to be something they are not. Trust me, there are lots of those brands around. The best brands know exactly who they are and stick with it.

  • Product led Brands: With product as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being better, building around continuous innovation and a rational selling approach. Ensure promise and experience built around product. Establish your reputation as the superior brand in the category, defending against any challengers to your position. Continue to invest in Innovation to stay ahead of competitors, being the leader in technology, claims, and new formats. You should be leveraging product-focused mass communication, directly calling attention to the superiority and differences in your product versus the competitors. Use product reviews and key influencers to support your brand. Build the “how you do it” into your brand story, to re-enforce point of difference. Use rational selling to move consumers along the buying system. As the brand matures and moves towards being more loved, challenge the brand to drive an emotional connection to help evolve and grow. Tide is a dominant product led brand. No one wants to know their brand purpose. They just want to know that Tide will get their clothes whiter. Five Guys is an amazing burger, Ruth’s Chris is a great steak and Rolex is the world’s greatest watch. Each of these product brands should be projecting how they are better than other products
  • Brand Story led Brands: With the brand story as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being different, building around being different, supported by emotional brand communication, that connects motivated consumers with the concept on a deeper emotional level. Focus on building a big idea that connects quickly with a core group of motivated consumers, and then everything (story, product, experience) can be lined up under it. Invest in emotional brand communication that connects with a motivated audience. Build a community of core “brand lovers” to influence others in their network. A soft-sell approach, based on tapping into emotions that helps to influence the potential consumer. Know the impact of price, as to when it matters and when it does not. Do not bring price to the forefront, as it can take away from the idea. The brands that tell their story include Apple, Nike, Tesla and Dove.
  • Consumer Experience led Brands: With the consumer experience as your core strength, the strategy and organization should focus on linking culture very closely to your brand. After all, your people are your product. As you go to market, invest in influencers and social media to support and spread the word of your experience. Use the brand purpose (“Why you do what you do”) and values to inspire and guide the team leadership and service behaviors. Focus on building a culture and organization with the right people, who can deliver incredible experiences. Invest in training the face of the brand. In terms of Marketing Communications, you will need to be patient as the consumer needs to experience what it feels like before they are willing to speak on its behalf. Effective tools include word of mouth, earned media, social media, on-line reviews, use of key influencers and testimonials. Too much marketing emphasis on price can diminish the perceived consumer experience. Some of the most amazing experience brands such as Ritz-Carlton and Starbucks have created a customer focused culture on the lookout for over-delivering the brand promise.
  • Price led Brands: With price as your core strength, the strategy focus on efficiency and drive lowest possible cost into the products you sell. Fast moving items means high turns and high volume. You have to be better at the fundamentals around production and sourcing. Price brands own the low price positioning, attacking any challengers. Need good solid products. Consumers are willing to accept lower experience.The focus should be on business efficiency built around low-cost, fast-moving, high-volume items. Invest in production and sourcing, using power to win negotiations. Use call-to-action style marketing communication, to drive purchase. Hard to maintain “low price” while fighting off perception that you are “cheap”. Many price brands struggle to drive an emotional connection to the brand. Brands like Walmart, McDonald’s or Kia have to find smarter ways be cheaper for the consumer.

brand-plans-2017-046

Brand Purpose is an amazing weapon to drive your organizational support internally, as the beacon to the culture and organization that support the brand. Regardless of whether you are a product, story, price or experience brand, the purpose can help motivate, guide and influence daily decisions internally. But it should rarely be used with consumers, only when it actually matters to consumers. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money and adding to clutter of brand purpose stories that don’t connect with consumers.

Let’s figure where to use Purpose with consumers, and where not to use it. Before we destroy it completely. 

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

strategic-thinking-2017-148

Turning Consumer Insights into an asset for your brand

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in How to Guide for Marketers

positioning-2017-032

 

Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Brands should think of consumer insights as a competitive advantage, equal in importance to a patent or intellectual property. The insights are what enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper emotional level, showing your consumer that “WE GET YOU” so that consumers will stop and listen to your brand’s promise, brand story, innovation and consumer experiences that you create along the pathway to becoming a beloved brand.

The dictionary definition of the word Insight is “seeing below the surface”. Too many Marketers think that data, trends and facts are insights. You have to keep looking, listening and digging to get beneath the facts. Ask yourself “so what does that mean for the consumer” until you start to see an “AHA moment”.

I always do this little test asking if this is an insight: “Consumers in Brazil brush their teeth 4x a day compared with only 1.8 times per day for Americans”. I can usually find someone in the room who says that’s an insight. But, look at how very little we know about the oral care habits of Brazilians. If we rely on this as insight and don’t dig in to ask “why” then it could lead us to making a huge mistake in judgement. It might be that Brazilians stand closer to each other so we launch a breath freshener. Or they eat spicier foods, so we go with a heavy duty germ killing mouthwash. Or, we believe they might lack fluoride in their water system, so we launch a Fluoride Toothpaste. Or we think it’s a vanity play and that Brazilians believe they are the most beautiful people on the planet, so we launch a whitener. All these answers remain at the surface level. It is a sign of laziness on the Marketers view. It could take you down a path where you end up missing out on connecting with the real feelings of consumers.

Data is only valuable when turned into stories that can share the wisdom gained from the data. Think slowly through your analysis to avoid making a snap instinctual decisions on one data point without gaining the understanding of the richness in underlying insight and cause.

Ask questions that force you deeper. Avoid the cliches (e.g. Baby Boomers want to live longer) that keep you at the surface level and stop you from doing the deep thinking to get to the rich, meaningful insights. When you have a data point, ask yourself 5 times “so what does this mean” to go deeper and deeper.

 

positioning-2017-028

 

You will see your opinion turn into a fact based consumer insight that can align a team and drive action.

360 degrees mining for Consumer Insights

You can start with market data, observations, voice of the consumer, emotional needs and life moments. Here are the 5 areas to dig into:

  • What we can read: Using all the data available through market share results, tracking studies or category trends, you should be looking for explanations of the data breaks, drivers, inhibitors, trends with consumers, channels, competitors
  • What we see: Observations of the consumer reactions in focus groups, product tests, ad testing, direct consumer engagements to add to insights.
  • What we hear: Listen to Voice of Consumer (VOC) with comments on social media, brand reviews, market research. Look for word choices.
  • What we sense: Use our emotional need state cheat sheet to understand potential emotional insights.
  • Day in the Life Moments: Map out your consumer’s life and their underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions. Draw conclusions on how their life impacts their path to purchase.

Once you have completed all 5 zones on your 360 degree mining, can you begin drawing conclusions for the insights. You have to get in the consumer’s shoes, then observe, listen and understand how they think, act, feel and behave. You have to know their fears, motivations, frustrations and desires. Learn their secrets, that only they know, even if they can’t explain. Learn to use their language and their voice.

Writing meaningful insights

From the work you do on the 360 degree mining, force yourself to get in the shoes of your consumer and to use their voice. To do so, you have to write every insight starting with the word “I” to get the Marketer into the shoes of the consumer and put the insight in quotes to use their voice.

Working in the quit smoking business, our starting point was: Studies show that people try to quit cold turkey 7x before reaching for a smoking aid to help them quit. This is very fact based, but not very insightful. As we watched focus groups, we could see that Smokers become very agitated, when talking about quitting smoking. You can see how frustrated they are with their failed attempts. When we listened to what they said, we heard them say, “I feel guilty that I can’t quit. I know it’s expensive. But when I do, I’m really not myself. I get so irritable that I give up”. Looking at the emotional need states, we could sense they lacked the confidence to quit, and they feel out of control when they make an attempt to quit. And when we tried to see where this fit into their lives, could we understand that each time they tried quit, they felt miserable. They told us how they take it out on those around them, whether that’s their friends or their wife. They think their friends would almost rather they keep smoking than have to deal with the terrible version of themselves.

The consumer insight (Connection point) that we drew out was: “I know I should quit. I’ve tried to quit so many times, it’s ridiculous. I’m not myself, I’m grouchy, irritable and feel out of control. Quitting smoking sucks!!!” When we share this secret with a smoker who wants to quit, they say, “Yup, that’s exactly how I feel”. The consumer enemy (Pain Point) we came up with was: “I fear quitting smoking will bring out the monster in me, tuning me into the worst version of my personality.”

positioning-2017-030
You will know you have a powerful CONSUMER INSIGHT, when consumers stop and say, “I thought I was the only one who felt like that.”

Where the Consumer Insights show up on the Brand

You need to bring the Consumer Insights to life in each of your brand’s five consumer touch-points: promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and consumer experience.

  • Brand Promise: Consumer insights demonstrate to our consumers that we understand them, and the consumer enemy elevates the consumer problem that the brand solves.
  • Brand Story: Consumer insights educate, inspire and challenge the creative teams to produce amazing brand communication that immediately connects with consumers. The best brand communications reflect the consumer insights helping move consumer to see, think, feel, act or whisper to their friends.
  • Innovation: Consumer insights should be at the forefront of every product concept to immediately connect, letting consumers know this product has been designed for them. With consumer enemies and insights brands can develop an Innovation Plan to drive new ideas, concepts, testing, launches through the system.
  • Purchase Moment: Consumer insights inspire shopper insights, as you begin to understand how your brand impacts their life moving through a buying system on the path to purchase. Turning consumer insights into shopper insights allows the brand to Influence the Purchase Moment with channels, merchandising and e-commerce
  • Consumer Experience: As you will see how the consumer interacts with your brand, begin to listen, adjust and win over the consumer as they build your brand into the rituals of their lives. Use consumer insights to build brand experience by Influencing the Culture with a Brand Credo, explaining purpose, values and expected behaviors.

There is one source of revenue, not the product you sell, but the consumers who buy.

Brands need to stand out to win! Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. Your brand positioning statement must be simple, unique, own-able and motivating enough to get consumers to think, feel or act differently about your brand. To read more about how to drive your Brand Positioning, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

Starbucks goes from brilliant to stupid and back to brilliant with their red cups

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

red-cups-2-zoom-3e712383-738a-4084-afb4-ef61b1ddf022

 

For years, the Starbucks red cup has been a symbol that Christmas is coming. It is completely irrational, but then again isn’t everything about Starbucks irrational.

When you reach the Beloved stage like Starbucks, it becomes all about the experience and the magical moments you can create. While you can continue to attack yourself before others can attack you, it’s also about maintaining the love by creating a bit of magic to surprise and delight your most loyal consumers. For a brand that taps into routine, having a regular set of drinks and desserts around Christmas gives the consumers some festive favorites to liven up the routine a little bit. Being a life ritual each and every day gets even bigger when you become a tradition each Christmas. For 10 years, Starbucks has used red cups to  create excitement with consumers. Here’s a quote from the head of brand in 2013.

Terry Davenport, Senior Vice President, Global Brand, said in 2013 that “When the cups turn red at Starbucks, that’s one of the first cues that the holidays are upon us. The emotional connection that our store partners (employees) have when they open that first box of the red cups and start using them that first day, and the emotional connection they see from their customers, that’s what we strive for. They see that surprise and excitement: ‘Oh, the red cups are at Starbucks!”red_holiday_cups_2016_graphic_swirls_

If you have been into a Starbucks during the Christmas period, you will certainly feel the magic of the holiday season. Every Starbucks feels well-decorated but never over stated. You can smell peppermint and ginger as soon as you walk in. If you want to add some flavor to your regular Latte, you can go for a Caramel Brûlé, Eggnog or Peppermint. And if you want to try one of the Christmas deserts, there’s Gingerbread loafs, Frosted Snowman cookies or the Cranberry Bliss Bar. Better yet, have you had one of those incredible Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops?

More impressively, according to Starbucks, “within the first 48 hours of red Starbucks cups launching in 2014, a photo of a Starbucks holiday cup was shared on Instagram every 14 seconds.” The event is so popular and anticipated, it has even given rise to countdown clocks. Sure it’s crazy, but it’s crazy fun. Kinda like Santa Claus, just crazy fun.

And then Starbucks got really dumb for a moment in 2015

Starbucks dStarbucks Holiday Cup Causes Online Controversyecided to launch a plain red cup, to ensure everyone felt included in the festivities. Plain red without any a pattern or design. There are no snowflakes, stars, or snowmen. And people were pissed. And social media screamed at the brand. This was seen by the public as one more “politically correct” thing in their lives. People understand not everyone is Christian, but can’t you just put a snowflake on the damn coffee cup.

In a world of social media, things can unravel very quickly. Within days of the launch last year, the issue began to dominate the headlines. One Youtube video blasting Starbucks generated 15 million views within days, with 500,000 people shared it. The red cup issue became one of the top stories in the country. Starbucks had lost control of their brand story. The controversy certainly caught Starbucks by surprise. Only after the issue developed did it release a statement noting that with the new design, “Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.”
This was the second time in a year that Starbucks had used their coffee cups to make a political statement. Earlier in the year, in order to promote unity among people, they encouraged their baristas to write #RaceTogether on cups. But the campaign didn’t sit well with some Starbuckrace-together-starbucks-cupss customers. Many voiced on social media and elsewhere that they didn’t want a debate with their brew. So Starbucks backed down.

Howard Schultz’s note to employees acknowledged the sceptics as an anticipated part of the outreach. “While there has been criticism of the initiative — and I know this hasn’t been easy for any of you — let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise.” Shultz said the campaign at its core aims to make sure that “the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few.” Clearly, the average Starbucks consumer didn’t want a conversation–just a latte.

Brands need to be careful about over-playing their purpose. Consultants and Marketers are currently in love with brand purpose. Books, videos and boardroom meetings on brand purpose. I love brand purpose as well, but many times it is better used for the internal marketing. You have to understand what type of brand you are. And while internally, brand purpose drives the culture of Starbucks, externally to consumers Starbucks is an experience brand. Trying to mix the two, appears to leave consumers with a bad experience. To many consumers, Starbucks is an escape. With the current political climate, Starbucks needs to just keep things simple to ensure people can have that comfort of the escape. The consumer is now begging Starbucks for no more political messages. Can they resist in the future?

And now in 2016, Starbucks has done the right brand move going to 13 distinct Holiday designs.Taking last year’s controversy where consumers were drawing on their own cups, Starbucks has taken the best designs from their customers around the world and made them part of this year’s campaign. Here’s the video on the new red cups.

 

Smart recovery move by Starbucks. Now everyone can enjoy their little red cups in peace and harmony. Let’s see which brand can stay on brand message longer:  Trump or Starbucks.

Stay true to your brand and stay true to your consumers! 

Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

 

A modern day Mrs. Claus steals the show for Marks and Spencer

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Beloved Brands in the Market

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-6-41-32-pmBig production, intricate story line, little boy doing something for someone else at Christmas with a slight tear. Sure sounds like John Lewis, right? This year, John Lewis left the door wide open with their slightly boring bouncing dog ad. Marks and Spencer appears ready to steal the best in show prize away.

Here’s the latest Christmas ad for 2016, for Marks and Spencer of the UK. This is a very appealing modern-day take on Santa and of course Mrs Claus, who comes across as modern, empowering with a make-it-happen attitude. Helicopters, GPS and stylish red suit. And if you look very closely, Mrs Claus is reading “Fifty Shades of Red” at the end.  All the modern appeal and yet, we have a very simple old-fashioned story of a boy trying to do something nice for his sister. Well done Marks and Spencer. I would give this spot a solid 7.5/10 on the Christmas ad scale. Light on branding, but good solid story-telling in a modern sense. A slight tear at the end. And, most importantly, you just beat John Lewis.

 

So far, the best ad of the holiday season goes to Burberry, with a fabulous spot. I give this spot a 9.5/10. This Burberry spot will be hard to beat. Click to read below.

Consumers want Burberry to make a full-length movie out of their epic 3-minute mini-movie

 

Normally, I would rate the John Lewis spots in the 9/10 range, however 2016 falls flat a 5.5 out of 10. Sad to even think that. I am already looking forward to a better 2017 ad from them. To read our story on this year’s John Lewis ad, click on the link below:

New John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad finally released and it falls a little flat

Passion in Marketing Execution Matters. If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta ok” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. To read more about how to drive your Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that shows everything you need to know, to have the smarts of strategy, the discipline of leadership and the passion of creativity to generate brand love in today’s modern world.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. 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 use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

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.

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007