Nike’s “You can’t stop us” is a masterclass in advertising

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

As we crave big, bold, beautiful work, Nike’s “you can’t stop us” campaign continues to inspire consumers, and hopefully, other advertisers.
The ad includes the richness in storytelling, the emotion of reaching beyond what we ever thought possible, the editing is perfect, and the recognition of our favorite athletes mixed in with real-world people accomplishing their greatness.
While everyone else is letting AI hound and annoy consumers into buying their products, Nike and Apple are shining the brightest with videos that give us chills and goosebumps. Neither is letting Coronavirus slow them down or producing generic thank-you messages. We need more great advertising work.

Nike's "you can't stop us"

best Nike ads
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I love the split-screen technique with 36 different pairings. Nike researched over 4,000 different video options to narrow it down to the perfect fittings. The ad delivers on Nike’s stated purpose is to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities, and an equal playing field for all. Nike doesn’t want to let closed gyms or empty stadiums hold us back, and is showcasing the many ways that athletes continue to push forward.

The You can’t stop us campaign builds on Nike’s comeback story ad from a few months ago, that links famous comebacks in sports to what we are going through with the Coronavirus. 

Nike Ad
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Another Nike story you might like

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Now, you can get our ideal brand plan format

  • Get our ideal Brand Plan in a downloadable PowerPoint file that includes formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan.
  • We include slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans.
  • You will get the one-page brand plan and brand strategy roadmap. 

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

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Non-marketers should stop telling marketers how to do their jobs

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Every marketer in the world has suffered the stop-by at the desk, having to listen to the dumbest ideas ever. The finance person, plant manager, even the CEO all stop by and say, “You know what would be a great idea…” And we have to listen and smile, and then say “great idea” no matter how dumb or lame the idea is. This is the curse of being a marketer because non-marketers always tell us how to do our jobs. 

No one ever tells a pilot, “I hear the Pittsburgh airspace is good today” or tells a surgeon about a new scalpel their taxidermist uncle uses. I don’t even think accountants get non-accountants stop by their desk and tell them how to do accounts payables. 

I suppose that everyone who has a TV and can critique Super Bowl ads or those with a Twitter account can believe they can now say they are a marketing expert. And every marketer has to endure the ideas of the non-marketers.

The commentary that I see coming from non-marketers is borderline cringe-worthy or hilarious.

When I see people on LinkedIn writing, “Marketers need to think more about the consumer,” I think you’ve never met a real marketer. The best marketers started doing that around 1915. I guess somehow this is now popular among non-marketers.

When I hear, “Marketers should analyze data,” again, I’m thinking what incompetent marketers have you been hanging around with. That’s been a significant part of the job since 1950. Sure, big data. But I have been working any data from share report data to Ipsos tracking data to weekly Walmart sales tracking data.

Do you even know what marketers do?

When I read, “The CEO should be in charge of the brand,” I think, “Well then the CEO should be in charge of the IT system.” Sure, in charge, but they should be smart enough to delegate to the experts who will make their brand stronger.

The best marketing-led organizations have bottom-up recommendations, empowering the brand manager to tell their directors what they want to do, who then support them in moving that up to the VP and President.

The worst organizations are when the CEO walks down the hall and asks, “Why are we not on Instagram? My 15-year-old daughter was showing me how cool it is this weekend”. This is likely why the average tenure of a CMO is under 24 months at this point. They are like sports coaches, who are hired to be fired, by the impatience of getting results. Or is it the impatience of not implementing the dumb ideas? 

When I hear, “Marketing needs to be more than just advertising” once again, you don’t understand the job….typically, advertising is 10-15% of the job. The best marketers determine the strategy, figure out the brand promise, brand communication, product innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience…they touch all, decide all, but they let their experts run each of those touchpoints. 

Marketers don’t just “do marketing.” We run a business

I am glad so many want to be in Marketing. But you really should have to earn your way into it. Go interview for a job, get rejected a few times, push to really get in there, and then learn like a ton for a few years. 

I spent 20 years in marketing. I could not believe how much I learned in my first five years, then even more in the next five, then way more in the following five and absolute insane amount in those last five years. I’ve now been a consultant for ten years, and I swear I know twice as much as I learned in the first 20. It is a never-ending learning process. 

Marketing is harder than it looks. 

We are not experts in anything. While marketers don’t make the product, we don’t sell the product or create the ads, we do touch everything that goes into the marketplace, and we make every decision. All of our work is done through other people. Our greatness as a brand leader has to come from the experts we engage, so they will be inspired to reach for their own greatness and apply it to our brand. 

Brand management has been built on a hub-and-spoke system, with a team of experts surrounding the generalist brand leader. Marketing is not just an activity. The best marketers have to think, define, plan, execute, and analyze, using all parts of your brain, energy, and creativity.

This is everything a marketer must be able to do

brand management

The crucial skills marketers need

To achieve your full potential in your career, brand leaders must know how  to think strategically, define the brand positioning, build a brand plan that everyone can follow, inspire creative marketing execution that drives brand growth, and analyze the performance of the business.  

  1. Concerning strategic thinking, you need to use challenging and interruptive questions, take a holistic view of the brand, lead strategic debates on the issues, and make smart strategic decisions.
  2. To define your brand, you must know how to find the consumer target, understand the potential functional and emotional benefits, create an ownable and motivating brand positioning statement, then build out a brand idea that guides every consumer touchpoint on the brand. 
  3. To write a brand plan, you need are to lead all elements of the plan, turn your strategic thinking into strategic objective statements, present to senior management, and develop smart execution plans. 
  4. For marketing execution, you must be able to write a brief, lead the project management aspect of any marketing execution, inspire the experts, and make smart decisions. 
  5. When it comes to analytics, you need to know the sources of data, be able to dig into the analysis, lead a deep-dive business review, and write an analytical performance report.
 
Beloved Brands marketing model

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Now, you can get our ideal brand plan format

  • Get our ideal Brand Plan in a downloadable PowerPoint file that includes formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan.
  • We include slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans.
  • You will get the one-page brand plan and brand strategy roadmap. 

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

You will learn how to think strategically, figure out brand positioning, write brand plans, make decisions on marketing execution and analytical skills.

This is your opportunity to gain access to world-class brand management training

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Apple’s ‘work from home’ video absolutely nails the consumer insights

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

One of my favorite types of ads is the “consumer insights on film” as these connect with exactly how we feel about a situation. Apple’s latest ‘work from home’ video absolutely nails those consumer insights.

What is a Consumer Insight? Our definition for consumer insights is the little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. 

Consumer insights come to life through your advertising when told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “Hmmm, that’s exactly how I feel. I thought I was the only one who felt like that.” That’s why we laugh when seeing the way that consumer insight is projected with humor. That is why we get goose bumps when a consumer insight is projected with inspiration. And, that’s why we cry when the consumer insight comes alive through real-life drama.

Have a look at Apple's new work from home video

The Apple video is a raw demonstration of what we are going through as we work from home. Lots of little insights we can all relate to as we each experience the realities of work from home.  After a couple of days, it already has 13 million views. 

Explore our 360-degree mining tool for consumer insights

Building a complete picture of your consumer by looking at multiple sources is an excellent methodology to find consumer insights. Start with market data, and then add your observations, the voice of the consumer, emotional need states, and life moments. Here’s an example using consumers who are trying to quit smoking. 

Consumer Observations

What we can read: Use available data such as market share results, tracking studies, or category trends. Look for underlying explanations of the data breaks, drivers, inhibitors, as well as new trends among consumers, channels, and competitors. Tell the story beneath the data.

What we see: Use observations of consumer reactions, coming from focus groups, product tests, advertising testing, and direct consumer engagements to add to the insights. Watch how consumers respond.

What we sense: Listen to the voice of the consumer (VOC), assessing consumer comments on social media, brand reviews, and market research. Listen for specific word choices, tone, and phrases the consumer’s use.

What we feel: Use observations and listening to match the emotional need states with how the use of your brand makes them feel.

Day-in-the-life moments: Map out the consumer’s life with explanations of underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points, and emotions at any moment of the day or week. Conclude how parts of their life could impact their path to purchase.

The power of observation

Adding observations from focus groups, I could see how smokers become very agitated. We held two-hour focus groups and talked non-stop about what could get them to quit smoking. In the first hour, they were polite, but after one hour without a cigarette, I could see their agitation grow to a boiling point.   

When I listened further, I heard them say, “I feel guilty I can’t quit” or “I know I should quit” or “Whenever I quit, I feel I’m not myself. I get so irritable that I give up” or “I wish smoking wasn’t so bad for you because quitting smoking sucks.” These are some of the underlying feelings coming out, expressed in their words. 

Understanding the emotions

Using the emotional need states, I gravitated to the consumer’s lack of optimism or confidence to quit, how smokers feel out of control whenever they try to quit, and how they feel not themselves.
Observing how quitting smoking fits into their lives, I could see how they take their misery from trying to quit out on those around them. They linked the moment of quitting smoking with their “worst version of themselves coming out” and talked about “the monster.” Some said their spouse or friends had told them they would prefer they keep smoking rather than having to deal with this terrible version of themselves.

Consumer insight (connection point):

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

Consumer enemy (pain point):

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

Watch our quit smoking ad which demonstrates these consumer insights

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Build your insights right into the brief

Every brand concept should start with the consumer insights that connects the consumer. You should also make sure you have those consumers insights build into the creative brief. You will notice that our brief is half consumer, half brand, which is an indication that your creative delivery connects the consumer with the brand. 

If you want insightful work, like Apple’s work from home video, you need to do all the thinking and work to capture how consumers feel. Gather all the nuggets and display them on film, on a poster, your content stories or your new products. 

Consumer Insights

Now, you can get our ideal creative brief format

  • Get our Creative Brief template, Media Brief template, and our Mini Brief template in a downloadable PowerPoint file.
  • This includes a ready-to-use formatted blank slide with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own creative brief, media brief and mini brief for specific projects.

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

You will learn how to think strategically, figure out brand positioning, write brand plans, make decisions on marketing execution and analytical skills.

This is your opportunity to gain access to world-class brand management training

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Ten questions to help you define the culture behind your brand

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

The best brands of today spend as much effort marketing to themselves as they do to their consumers. While a culture will form naturally, you can use a brand purpose and values to steer everyone who works behind the scenes of your brand. 

Finding your brand purpose answers the big question of “Why does your brand exist?” It should force you to explore the underlying personal and honest motivation for why you do what you do. 

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” It is an intersection of what you are good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

brand culture

Finding your brand purpose

Brand purpose can be a powerful way to connect with both employees and consumers, helping define your brand soul. 

While this Venn diagram looks somewhat crazy at first, trust me, it works as an excellent tool for building your brand’s purpose. This Venn diagram has four significant factors, which match up: 

  1. Does it fit with what consumers need or want?
  2. Does it fit the core values of your team?
  3. Does it deliver your passion in loving what you do? 
  4. Can you build a beloved and successful branded business. 

Your brand purpose will come to life at the intersection that meets the consumer needs, fulfills your passion, stands behind your values, and yet still builds a successful branded business.

Five questions to help find your brand purpose

  1. When it comes to your business, what aspect creates the most passion for you, and how does that passion build a bond with your most cherished consumers?
  2. What is the most unique, ownable, and motivating offering from your business, that puts you in a position where you believe others cannot replicate what you do?
  3. What is your core belief or behavior about your business that leads to creating the best consumer experience possible?
  4. What do you do to make your brand one of your consumers’ favorite brands, and how is it making a difference in their day, year, or life?
  5. We all have choices in life. What was the final reason you chose to build your life through this business, instead of the other options?
Using the stimulus from the answers to these questions, you can begin piecing your purpose statement together. Here’s an example using Gray’s Cookies. 

Discovering your brand values

Brand values form the backbone of your organization. They may come from your background, how you grew up, rules you identify with or how you see your priorities in life. 

Your beliefs come from your experience, helping explain why and how you choose to do business, how you treat your people, and how you conduct yourself as a leader and as a person in the community. These beliefs should be personal, ethical, or rooted in frustration for how you see things happening in the world. 

Your inspirations should excite the team members who work behind the scenes of the brand. Inspirations should stimulate your people to go beyond the norms of effort or passion. 

For organizations, I believe it works best when your people have input into creating and building your values because they will feel included, heard, and invested in your brand’s success. Maybe that is one of my own core values in a bottom-up approach to building brands. However, the closer your values reflect the realities of what your people believe in, the more successful you will be in using those values to inspire greatness.

Five questions to help find your brand purpose

  1. What is in your background–whether that is how you grew up, experiences that shaped the priorities in your life–that you bring to your business?
  2. What are your beliefs that come from your life experience that can explain how you choose to do business? 
  3. How does your life experience impact how you treat people, conduct yourself as a leader, and how it affects your perception as a business?
  4. What are the inspirations from your life, whether a life lesson you keep thinking about or saying you repeat to yourself during a tough time, that shine through the way you do business?
  5. Where do you see a behavior exhibited by one of your people when you think it is offside for the way you wish to do business, even if that behavior is generally-accepted in other companies?
Using the stimulus from the answers to these questions, you can begin piecing your brand values together. Here’s an example using Gray’s Cookies. 





At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help clients build brands that consumers will love and make brand leaders smarter.

Here are the core beliefs that drive and separate Beloved Brands from everyone else.

Now, you can get our ideal brand plan format

  • Get our ideal Brand Plan in a downloadable PowerPoint file that includes formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan.
  • We include slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans.
  • You will get the one-page brand plan and brand strategy roadmap. 

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

You will learn how to think strategically, figure out brand positioning, write brand plans, make decisions on marketing execution and analytical skills.

This is your opportunity to gain access to world-class brand management training

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What a marketer really wants from their ad agency

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

The relationship between marketers and ad agencies is a bit odd. Even the best of marriage counsellors might say it’s too dysfunctional to survive. I’ve been brought in a few times when a client said, “we want to fire our agency.” It is too easy to fire an agency. The first thing I see is flaws on both sides. And then I usually tell the client “you have to fire yourself first” and then see if you still think your agency is bad. Do everything to improve yourself to see if you can isolate the issue, because even if you go through with it, the work you do to improve will help you show up better to the next agency.

The best clients respect the process, the agency, and their own judgment. On the flip side, the best ad agency works for us, not our boss. They understand our strategies, give options, adjust to feedback, and teach us how to be better at our job. The obvious need is for great work, but it takes both working together to achieve greatness. 

Ad Agencies

What makes a great ad agency

1. My ad agency understands my goals, issues, and strategies.

I want an agency who write briefs and creative work that expresses my brand strategy. In today’s world, people on both sides–client and agency–are more focused on making cool stuff than creating work that delivers the strategy. Not enough are trained in strategic thinking, brand planning, and creative briefs.

As margins are squeezed on both sides, we are losing the “strategic planner” who is the interruptive voice in the room to make sure the strategy lines up to the consumer. I’d prefer investing in a great strategic planner instead of five client service people show up at every meeting. Even the best brand leaders struggle to translate their brand plan, into a creative brief. We need those strategic planners to help set up better insights and creative strategy.

2. We are here to make great advertising that builds my brand, not work that just win awards

I get that awards are part of the agency world, to reward exceptional work. I wish more award choices would focus more on moving brands forward. The best in marketing, see it as a puzzle, where they start by understanding the consumer, then figure out what connects and moves the consumer, and finally, what will trigger our consumer to move in a way that fits our strategy.

Stop getting so excited about stuff. Get about excited about what stuff does.

Instead of coming into the room with the “we are so excited” line, I want an agency to come into a room and say “we have an ad for you that will creatively accomplish the goal you laid out in your brand plan.” Then show me how you did it.

3. My ad agency gives me creative options, not strategic options

Come on agencies, clients want options. Get over it.

The difference for me is that I want creative options, not strategic ones. Each option has to deliver the strategy, not just various parts of the creative brief. There is nothing worse than agencies who tear apart the brief and deliver options for each part of the brief. As a client, I want a brief with a tightly defined target, one objective, one main message. There can be no tearing apart a big wide creative brief. As clients, options give us comfort. But even more importantly, options treat us with respect that we can still make the right decision.

As an aside, it’s somewhat crazy that ten agency people in a room all agree on which option is the recommended. If the same ten ordered pizza, we’d likely end up with 7 pizzas. I want an agency who is comfortable enough to show their disagreement candidly.

4. My ad agency should not be territorial

As a client, I want free and open access to planners and creative people. The best account people allow the client to communicate directly with the creative team. Most great creative teams I have worked with want direct access to the client, rather than have it be filtered through a series of carefully written contact reports.

5. Be fast and cheap when we need fast and cheap

Sometimes, I want the world’s most celebrated Michelin star chef to create a masterpiece. Other times, we need microwave pizza.

There is a reason why big agencies lost most of their client’s digital or social media: eight people in every meeting, 12-week timelines and need to hire the best photographer, director or writer for everything. We need it by 4pm today! If you were faster, cheaper and responsive, there would be no specialty agencies and no internal creative shops.

6. My ad agency must be willing to teach

When I was a new brand manager, I was lucky enough that my client services person (Leslie Boscheratto) taught me more about advertising than any client should have to learn. In fact, I’m still embarrassed how little I knew, yet thrilled at how much I learned from that team at Bates back in the mid-90s.

The media world is ten times as complex today as it was in the mid-90s. Brand leaders are more confused than ever. Every day, marketers have to hear: “you should be doing…xyz” coming directly from those with a vested interest, who are trying to sell xyz (their specialty) as the only way to go.

  • “You should be doing more mobile.”
  • “You should do more paid search.”
  • “Hey, you should do more social media.”
  • “You should do more digital.”
  • “You should be doing content, not advertising.”
  • “But, you should keep TV.”
  • “You should use more influencers, not advertising.”

I was lucky to have one media agency back in the day, who would provide a holistic media recommendation. Where is that objective voice of reason, who has no dog in the race? Your client needs and wants your help. No one else is helping them.

7. I want my ad agency to work with me, not for my boss

While the boss pays the agency and has the final say, the best ad agencies still know you are the client. Nothing worse than a client service person continually trying to go above your head.

I am a big believer in bottom-up marketing. The person who knows the brand situation the best should be the brand manager. If the VP believes they don’t, then get a new brand manager, instead of stepping in to do their job. The brand manager should tell the VP what to do not the other way around.

Same with the agency. Stop thinking the brand manager is just a speed bump to get to the VP. The best way for an agency to earn the trust of the client is to demonstrate that they work for the brand manager. Once you have that trust, it will earn you a seat at the table of their boss.

Oh, by the way, if the brand manager is viewed as really, really good…who do you think is the first person we ask if the agency is any good: that’s right, the person you’ve viewed as a speed bump. Not smart on your part.

Before you fire your agency, you should show up as a better client

Brand leaders need to take a step back and let the creativity of execution unfold. I always say that it is okay to know exactly what you want, but you should never know until the moment you see it. As the client, I like to think of marketing execution as the perfect gift that you never thought to buy yourself. How we engage our experts can either inspire greatness or crush the spirit of creativity. From my experience, experts would prefer to be pushed than held back. The last thing experts want is to be asked for their expertise and then told exactly what to do. There is a fine line between rolling up your sleeves to work alongside the experts and pushing the experts out of the way.

It is time to step back and assume your true role as a brand leader. Trust me, it is a unique skill to be able to inspire, challenge, question, direct and decide, without any expertise at all.

I come at this topic from the vantage of a client, having spent 20 years working as a brand leader. I am not an ad agency guy, but I have seen some great ad agencies and some not so good.

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Our playbooks will show you new ways for how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  1. You will find new strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  2. To define the brand, I provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning. We show a step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept. 
  3. For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the marketing communications plan, innovation process, and sales plan. 
  4. To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution with chapters on how to write a creative brief, how to make decisions on creative advertising and how to lead the media choices. 
  5. When it comes time for analyzing the performance of your brand, I provide all the analytical tools you need to lead a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.  

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand and be successful in your marketing career.

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

Click on any of the icons above to go directly to the page where you can buy our books. 

How to adjust your brand positioning to win in the reboot

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

As brands come out of the shutdown and get ready for the reboot, be careful of the naive calls to change everything about your brand altogether. 

I’m here to tell you to adjust, not drastically change. If you are a well-known brand, consumers should already know your brand positioning. That should not change. 

What you should do is to layer in the added functional and emotional benefits that can create a safer version of your brand. The coronavirus is creating fear for consumers who are now looking for control, safety, and comfort. 

Coronavirus

Consumers don't want a different version of your brand; they want a better version

As consumers move out of the quarantine,  they are looking for alternatives where they can escape crowds into isolation. Consumers want ideas to help them eliminate any personal touch with others. Yet, contradicting all that fear, Lonely isolated consumers crave ideas that will allow them to have fun again. As we move out of quarantine, this sets up the sweet spot for consumers.

Coronavirus Consumer Needs

The reboot starts by adjusting your functional consumer benefits

To help brand leaders, I have taken nine functional need state zones and expanded the list to over 50 potential functional benefits your brand can build around. Our process gets to you to look through the list. Then, gravitate to the functional benefits you think will fit your consumers’ needs in a space where your brand can do it better than competitors. Start with the words on the cheat sheet below, then layer in your creative language based on specific category words or specific consumer words and phrases they use. Revisit the functional benefits your brand can own with our functional benefit cheat sheet.

As you get your brand ready for the reboot, here are the adjustments you should make on your functional benefits. Looking at our Covid-19 specific functional benefit cheat sheet below, you should explore the functional benefits that relate to simplicity, helping family, healthier, and staying connected.

Then adjust your emotional consumer benefits

Below you will find a list of 40 potential emotional benefits. From my experience, marketers are better at finding the ideal rational benefits compared with how they work at finding the ideal emotional benefits for their brands. As a brand, you want to own one emotional space in the consumer’s heart as much as you own a rational space in the consumer’s mind. When I push brand managers to get emotional, they struggle and opt for what they view as obvious emotions, even if they do not fit with their brand. I swear every brand manager thinks their brand should be the trusted, reliable, and likable. Use our cheat sheet to dig deeper on emotions. 

As you get ready for the reboot, here are the adjustments you should make on your emotional benefits. Looking at our Covid-19 specific emotional benefit cheat sheet below, explore how your brand can layer in the emotions such as control, feeling myself, and feeling comfortable.

How this all comes together in your positioning for the reboot

Let me use an inspiration from a European vegan restaurant called Eten Restaurant from Amsterdam. Before the shutdown, the functional benefits that Eten stood for were healthier choices and sensory appeal, while the emotional benefits they delivered were optimism and feeling free. 

 

Their brand positioning would have been: 

“With Eten’s, our exhilarating plant-based cuisine is inspired by the greatest chefs of Europe. You will feel free with a special experience along the most beautiful canals of Amsterdam.”

 

Eten is one of the brands that have come up with a very creative way to isolate people so they can dine in public while staying safe during Covid-19. They created a dining concept they call “Serres Sépparées” (separate greenhouses in English) that allows their guests to enjoy a plant-based meal with a beautiful waterside view of the city. 

The restaurant now reports that are fully booked up through the end of June. I love this idea because the greenhouse idea is a perfect fit for a vegan restaurant. Other restaurants should try their version of these booths. 

Now let's look at how we layer in the reboot

As this restaurant gets ready for their brand reboot, they can layer in the functional benefit of simplifying life, while the emotional benefit is helping consumers feel safe and stay in control. 

 

The reboot brand positioning statement would be: 

With Eten’s, our exhilarating plant-based cuisine is inspired by the greatest chefs of Europe. You can feel safe and in control while in your own private greenhouse pod along Amsterdam’s most beautiful canals.

Do not change your brand positioning. Adjust it.

Our playbooks will show you new ways for how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  1. You will find new strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  2. To define the brand, I provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning. We show a step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept. 
  3. For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the marketing communications plan, innovation process, and sales plan. 
  4. To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution with chapters on how to write a creative brief, how to make decisions on creative advertising and how to lead the media choices. 
  5. When it comes time for analyzing the performance of your brand, I provide all the analytical tools you need to lead a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.  

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand and be successful in your marketing career.

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

Click on any of the icons above to go directly to the page where you can buy our books. 

Everything that a brand leader must know how to do

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

It amazes me how few people understand what a marketer really does. Even those who work beside us, who might work in sales or at our agency. Plenty of times, I have stopped them and asked, “do you know what we do?” and their answer kinda shocked me. Wait, it scared me. The ideal brand leader has to be a well-rounded generalist, knowing enough about everything they come in contact with, but never an expert. 

Marketers need to know how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze with the best of them. Best of all, while the brand leaders don’t really know how to do anything, they are looked upon to make every decision. No one else at the table wants to or can decide. 

Brand Manager requirements

Everything you must know how to do

How to win with smart strategic thinking

Challenge yourself to think strategically, to prompt you to ask the right questions before you reach for solutions. Our holistic look at strategy pushes you to assess your brand’s core strength, the relationship with consumers, competitive stance you take, and business situation. You need to be capable of leading a well-thought strategic discussion across your organization or winning any strategic argument with your management team. Learn to apply your vision, to focus your resources on identified opportunities that create a market impact you can transform into a performance result for your brand. 

How to define a winning brand positioning

Start off by understanding how to define and focus on an ideal consumer target profile, framed with need states, consumer insights and the consumer enemies. Take a consumer centric approach to turn brand features into functional and emotional benefits. Use our innovation benefit cheat sheets to make decisions. Learn how to find a winning brand positioning space that is own-able and motivating to consumers. Develop a brand idea that can focus every everyone who works on your brand. You will learn to write brand concepts, brand stories, and a credo. 

How to build a brand plan everyone can follow

We teach the best-in-class methods for coming up with all elements of a smart brand plan including the vision, purpose, goals, issues, strategies, and tactics. You need to know how to turn strategic thinking into smart strategic objective statements for the brand plan. With our training program, you will walk away with brand plan templates that will help you build a brand plan presentation you can use for your senior management and across organization. We show how to develop smart execution plans that delivers against the brand strategies, including a brand communications plan, innovation plan and sales plans

brand plan template

How to inspire creative marketing execution

You need to know how to write strategic, focused and thorough creative briefs that will create great work from experts. You need to be able to run the project management of the process so you will be able to lead all marketing execution projects on brand communication, innovation, selling or experience. You need to learn to inspire greatness from teams of experts at execution agencies or throughout your organization. Engage your instincts to judge marketing execution and make smart marketing execution decisions that will tighten the bond with consumers.

How to use analytics to uncover brand issues

You have to understand all sources of brand data, including market share, brand funnel, consumption, tracking results, and financials. Challenge yourself on the principles of analytics so you dig deep into data, draws comparisons and builds a story toward the business conclusion. You need to be able to lead a best-in-class deep-dive business review that looks at the marketplace, consumers, channel, competitors and the brand. We provide templates for the deep-dive business review, and monthly performance reports that will help trigger new key issues and strategic thinking.

Brand training

Beyond the MBA is the virtual brand management training designed for the real world

marketing training
Play Video

You can click on the arrow above to view a quick video outlining our Beyond the MBA training programs

Our playbooks will show you new ways for how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  1. You will find new strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  2. To define the brand, I provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning. We show a step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept. 
  3. For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the marketing communications plan, innovation process, and sales plan. 
  4. To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution with chapters on how to write a creative brief, how to make decisions on creative advertising and how to lead the media choices. 
  5. When it comes time for analyzing the performance of your brand, I provide all the analytical tools you need to lead a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.  

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand and be successful in your marketing career.

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

Click on any of the icons above to go directly to the page where you can buy our books. 

Nike takes a stance on racism with their “don’t do it” campaign

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

For once, don’t do it. 

Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. 

Don’t turn your back on racism. 

Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. 

Don’t make any more excuses. 

Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. 

Don’t sit back and be silent.

Don’t think you can’t be part of the change.

Let’s all be part of the change.

Nike Don't do it

Nike's "Don't do it" ad

Play Video

Their don't do it ad builds on NIke's Colin Kaepernick ad

This don’t do it ad isn’t the first time the Nike has taken a stance on the race relations conversation. On the weekend before the 2018 NFL season, Nike released a powerful ad in support of Colin Kaepernick that prompted both praise and criticism from each side of the political aisles. Nike’s stance has paid off as they appeal to a much younger audience. 

While Nike’s stock price went down a few points over the few days after the ad launched, Nike saw significant sales growth and a resulting stock price up 25% over the next 18 months. 

Play Video

Adidas has shown their support for don't do it

In case you are part of the cancel culture, you should check out this Adidas tweet in unprecedented support of their competitor. Mind you, Under Armour has remained completely silent. 

One problem I am seeing is that people found a way to change the narrative of Colin Kaepernick’s protest. And, the same people are now finding a way to change the narrative of George Floyd’s death. People are outraged and need to speak out. 

click to enlarge

Now, you can get our ideal brand plan format

  • Get our ideal Brand Plan in a downloadable PowerPoint file that includes formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan.
  • We include slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans.
  • You will get the one-page brand plan and brand strategy roadmap. 

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

You will learn how to think strategically, figure out brand positioning, write brand plans, make decisions on marketing execution and analytical skills.

This is your opportunity to gain access to world-class brand management training

marketing training
Play Video

Click on the arrow above to view a quick video outlining our brand management training program

Go beyond Porter’s Model to understand the 8 sources of brand power

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands Explained

When I was in business school, I learned about Michael Porter’s model as a way to understand the five forces that outline an industry attractiveness and competitive intensity. Porter’s Model a great starting point to get you to think more strategically and how you can win through power. However, I want to show you how brand leaders can go beyond Porter’s Model and start to see other sources of power, which reinforces our idea that the more loved a brand is by consumers, the more powerful and profitable that brand will be. I see brand love as a stored energy that can be used to drive further power and profitability. 

 

Brand power

How tightly connected is your consumer to your brand?

 

I first came up with the idea of a brand love curve when I ran a marketing department with 15 different consumer brands, which exhibited various degrees of success. Honestly, it was hard for me to keep track of where each brand stood. I did not want to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy to brands with dramatically different needs. I could have used some traditional matrix with market share versus category growth rates or stuck with revenue size versus margin rates. Every day on the job, I noticed brands that had created a stronger bond with their consumer outperformed brands that lacked such a close connection. I started to refer to the high-performance brands as “beloved” because I could see how emotionally engaged consumers were with the brand. 

At the other end of the scale, I referred to the inferior performance brands as “indifferent” because consumers did not care about them. They failed to stand for anything in the consumer’s mind; they were not better, different, or cheaper. I could see how these brands were unable to create any connection with their consumers – and they faced massive declines. 

Beloved brands have it easier

Everything seemed to work better and easier for beloved brands. New product launches were more impactful because the brand’s loyal consumers were automatically curious about what was new. Retailers gave these the beloved brands preferential treatment because they knew their consumers wanted them. With a beloved brand, retailers knew their consumers would switch stores before they switch brands. Everyone in my organization, from the President to the technician in the lab, cared more about these beloved brands. No one seemed to care about the indifferent brands. Internal brainstorm sessions produced inspiring ideas on beloved brands, yet people would not even show up for brainstorms on indifferent brands. 

I found that everyone wants to be part of a beloved brand

Our agencies bragged about the work they did on beloved brands. Even my people were more excited to work on these beloved brands, believing a move to the beloved brand was a big career move while being moved to an indifferent brand was a career death sentence. 

These beloved brands had better performance results and better consumer tracking scores on advertising. They saw a stronger return on marketing investment, with a better response to marketing programs, higher growth rates, and higher margins. The overall profitability fuelled further investment into beloved brands. 

It takes a strategic mind to figure out brand love

What would you rather have; a monopoly or a brand that is loved by consumers? Who has greater margins and profits; the monopoly utility company or Apple, Amazon, Netflix or Nike? 

To show the differences in how consumers feel about a brand as they move through five stages, I created the brand love curve. It defines consumers’ feelings as unknown, indifferent, like it, love it and onto the beloved brand status.

For unknown brands, the strategic focus should be to stand out so consumers will notice the brand within a crowded brand world. For indifferent brands, the strategy must establish the brand in the consumer’s mind so they can see a clear point of difference. At the like it stage, the strategy is to separate the brand from the pack, creating happy experiences that build a trusted following. At the love it stage, the focus shifts to tugging at heartstrings to tighten the bond with the most loyal brand fans. At the beloved brand stage, the strategic challenge is to create outspoken, loyal brand fans who are willing to whisper to their friends on the brand’s behalf.

The tighter the bond a brand creates with its consumers, the more powerful the brand will become with all stakeholders. Think of brand love as stored energy a brand can unleash in the form of power into the marketplace. You can use that power with consumers, competitors, new entries, employees, influencers, media, suppliers, and channel partners.

 

Porter's Model talks about how competitive rivalry can lead to power

Let’s take a spin with Porter’s Model and see how a beloved brand plays out

These beloved brands command power over the very consumers who love them, as consumers feel more and think less. These consumers pay price premiums, line up in the rain, follow the brand as soon as it enters new categories, and relentlessly defend the brand to any attackers. They cannot live without the brand.

As your brand moves to the loved and beloved stages, the power shifts from the buyers to the brand. We see that consumers start to feel more and think less. They become outspoken brand fans who can’t live without the brand. Your brand is becoming a favorite part of their life, built into their normal routines. These brand fans defend you, sell you and crave you at times.

Beloved brands have power over channel customers, who know their consumers would switch stores before they switch brands. Stores cannot stand up to the beloved brand; instead, they give the brand everything in negotiations. The beloved brand ends up with stronger store placement, better trade terms, and better promotions from retail partners. 

The competitors, whether current competitors or new entries, cannot match the emotional bond the beloved brand has created with their brand fans. The beloved brand has a monopoly on emotions, making the consumer decisions less about the actual product and more about how the experience makes consumers feel. Unless a new brand has an overwhelming technological advantage, it will be impossible to break the emotional bond the consumer has established with the beloved brand.
Suppliers serve at the mercy of the beloved brand. The high volumes drive efficiencies of scale that drive down production costs, backing the supplier into a corner before they offer up most of those savings. Plus, the supplier becomes willing to give in, so that they can use the beloved brand as a selling tool for their supplier services to other potential brands.

Going beyond Porter's Model to assess the power of a brand

The beloved brand also has power over the media whether it is paid, earned, social, or search media. With paid media, the beloved brand gets better placement, cheaper rates and they are one of the first calls for possible brand integrations. The beloved brand is considered newsworthy, so they earn more free media via mainstream media, expert reviews, and bloggers. 

Being a famous, beloved brand helps bypass the need for search engine optimization (SEO). The beloved brands become part of the conversation whether it is through social media or at the lunch table at work. Beloved brands can use their homepage website to engage their most loyal users, inform the market of upcoming changes, allow consumers to design their version of the brand, and then sell the product directly to brand lovers.

The beloved brands have power over key influencers, whether they are doctors recommending a drug, restaurant critics giving a positive review, or salespeople at electronics shops pushing the beloved brands. These influencers become fans of the beloved brand and build their own emotions into their recommendations.

Beloved brands even have power over employees, who want to be part of the brand. They are brand fans, who are proud to work on the brand. They embody the culture on day 1 and want to help the brand achieve success.

Brand love means brand profits

In the simplest of economics, a beloved brand will use their consumer desire to create more demand which drives up the volume and the price. 

When we look at accounting, a beloved brand can drive higher margins because they can command a premium price and can use their volume to drive lower costs. The beloved brand wins on volume because of the share of the market and the ability to expand that market size. That drives down the costs–both product related and marketing costs. 

The 8 ways a beloved brand drives higher profits

With all the love and power the beloved brand generates, it becomes easy to translate that stored power into sales growth, profit, and market valuation. Here are the eight ways a brand can drive profits: 

  1. Premium pricing
  2. Trading up on price
  3. Lower cost of goods
  4. Lower sales and marketing costs
  5. Stealing competitive users
  6. Getting loyal users to use more
  7. Entering new markets
  8. Finding new uses for the brand.

Beloved brands can use higher prices and lower costs to drive higher margins

Most beloved brands can use their loyal brand lovers to command a premium price, creating a relatively inelastic price. The weakened channel customers cave in during negotiations to give the brand richer margins. Satisfied and loyal consumers are willing to trade up to the next best model. A well-run beloved brand can use their high volume to drive efficiency, helping to achieve a lower cost of goods structure. 

Not only can beloved brands use their growth to drive economies of scale, but suppliers will cut their cost to be on the roster of the beloved brand. The beloved brand will operate with much more efficient marketing spend, using their power with the media to generate lower rates with plenty of free media. Plus, the higher sales volumes make the beloved brand’s spend ratios much more efficient. The consumer response to the marketing execution is much more efficient, giving the brand a higher return on investment.

Beloved brands use higher shares of a bigger market to drive higher volume

The beloved brands use their momentum to reach a tipping point of support to drive higher market shares. They can get loyal users to use more, as consumers build the beloved brand into life’s routines and daily rituals. 

It is easier for the beloved brands to enter new categories, knowing their loyal consumers will follow. Finally, there are more opportunities for the beloved brand to find more uses to increase the number of ways the beloved brand can fit into the consumer’s life.

A century ago the best stock performers were commodities and monopolies. Today the best stock performers are the beloved brands whether it’s Apple Amazon Netflix or Tesla. I would rather run to beloved brand than a monopoly. 

click to enlarge

Now, you can get our ideal brand plan format

  • Get our ideal Brand Plan in a downloadable PowerPoint file that includes formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan.
  • We include slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans.
  • You will get the one-page brand plan and brand strategy roadmap. 

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

To purchase Beloved Brands or B2B Brands, click on the icon where you buy your books 

Beyond the MBA is our virtual brand management training program designed for the real world

You will learn how to think strategically, figure out brand positioning, write brand plans, make decisions on marketing execution and analytical skills.

This is your opportunity to gain access to world-class brand management training

marketing training
Play Video

Click on the arrow above to view a quick video outlining our brand management training program

How to speed up your brain to engage your instincts in decision-making on execution

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

While you should go slowly on strategy, you should think quickly to engage your instincts in your decision-making with execution. When you first see an idea, use your fast-twitch brain muscles to pick the winner and reject the bad ideas. Think and feel your way to a decision, then follow through by trusting your gut feeling. Do not overthink and second-guess yourself, or you risk destroying the creativity.

I believe the best brands win because of the passionate and lasting love they establish with their most cherished consumers. It is the smart, creative marketing execution that consumers see and touch, whether it is innovative products, engaging advertising, exceptional service, or the overall consumer experience with the brand. 

How you think and how you make decisions

Use your natural style can inform how we show up as a brand leader, using that natural style to your advantage. Equally, I want you to use this model to learn how to use all four styles. You have to know when to speed up or when to slow down. You have to know when to go with your rational or emotional decision-making side. Use this tool to trigger your thinking on where is your natural style, and where is your gap.  

We each likely have a gap or blindspot with one of these styles. At some point, you will fail in marketing if you get stuck in one style, and if you do not address your gap. 

When I entered marketing, my natural style was the instinctual thinker, who went with quick, emotional gut instincts. I had enough taskmaster abilities to get things done. It took added experience for me to learn to slow down and add the strategic thinking style I needed to be successful at more senior levels. I will admit to a blind spot on the consensus socializer. I was a driver-type leader, with a lower EQ, who was unable to observe or hear the personal objections of others, especially coming from the other functional areas. I thought work that I considered to be great would be viewed the same way by everyone. You should learn to sell your ideas. 

Apply the right style at the right time

To be successful as a brand leader, you must be able to maneuver through all four leadership styles as you move from strategy to execution.

I want to introduce you to my Strategic ThinkBox and Execution PlayBox concept, which I have borrowed from sports. For instance, in golf, using a ThinkBox forces you to consider everything you are facing before taking the shot. Look at any lakes or bunkers in the way, the wind condition, or how well you are playing that day. Then, decide on your shot strategy. As you move to a PlayBox, visualize the ideal shot, think and feel your way through the mechanics of your swing, and trust you are making the right shot. Do not overthink the strategy during the execution.

With your brand, you should use a Strategic ThinkBox to get a 360-degree view of the situation before taking action. Move slowly with questions that challenge your brand’s core strength, gauge the bond you have with your consumers, assess your brand’s competitive position, and understand your brand’s business situation. 

Once you have completed your thinking, move to the Execution PlayBox. Use your instinctual thinker style to see your way to an ideal execution, fast-thinking, gut feel, and emotions to find a smart, creative solution. Once you make a decision, shift to a consensus socializer style, to sell your ideas throughout the organization. Listen to the input of others, and use your influence across the organization to gain alignment. After you have consensus, you now have to move to a taskmaster style to get it done, stay organized to hit critical milestones and push the functional experts to deliver their greatness on your behalf.

Following the analogy from sports, you should avoid revisiting your strategy while you are executing, as it will only cause doubt and confusion among the team that can cause unnecessary spin and will slow you down.

Instinctual thinkers move fast and push for greatness

While you should go slowly on strategy, you should think quickly with execution. When you first see an idea, use your fast-twitch brain muscles to pick the winner and reject the bad ideas. Think and feel your way to a decision, then follow through by trusting your gut feeling. Do not overthink and second-guess yourself, or you risk destroying the creativity.

I believe the best brands win because of the passionate and lasting love they establish with their most cherished consumers. It is the smart, creative marketing execution that consumers see and touch, whether it is innovative products, engaging advertising, exceptional service, or the overall consumer experience with the brand. 

As the brand leader, when you see new ideas coming from your team, asking, “Do you love it?” Should be the first filter for what makes great work. Great brand leaders can never settle for O.K. Each time you reject O.K., the work naturally gets better. When you love your work, you will fight for it, with your agency, your boss, or anyone in the way. Your experts will see your passion shining through.  

The pressure and speed of brand management jobs can suck the creativity out of any marketer. They run from meeting to meeting, one minute it is a forecasting meeting, then talking with a scientist about a new ingredient, or working on a presentation for management. All of a sudden, you jump into a creative meeting and can’t find your instincts. I see many brand leaders show up in a confused state, unable to lead the process and incapable of making a creative decision.

I created a gut instincts checklist to help get you back to where you should be. The checklist forces you to explore your passion for the idea, the strategy you have been working on for months, and connect with consumers. Use your common sense to make sure the idea breaks through the clutter of the market, fits with the brand, communicates the main message, and sticks in the minds and hearts of consumers. Finally, pride goes beyond passion because the best marketers I have seen want to leave a legacy of outstanding work. 

How to speed up your brain to engage your gut instincts with execution decision-making

  1. Focus on your first impressions. Do you love what the marketing execution work has the potential to do? Will you be proud of this work as your legacy? Do not take notes at a creative meeting. When you focus on details too early that you miss out on visualizing how big the idea could be.
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Your job is not to represent the brand to the consumer, but to represent your consumer to the brand. Learn who they are, and observe how they talk, respond, and act. Try to react as they might. Choose marketing execution work that speaks directly with the consumer. Leverage consumer insights to connect, deepen the bond with consumers, and build memories and rituals. 
  3. Make sure the marketing execution fits with the brand and distinguishes it in the marketplace. Make sure it delivers the brand idea, leverages your creative assets, and fits with the tone of the brand. Know the functional or emotional benefits that motivate consumers and will be ownable for the brand.
  4. Find the magic within the smart, creative marketing execution. Make sure the work will be different enough to capture attention within the clutter of the market to engage consumers with the brand. Focus on communicating the brand idea in a way that is easy for consumers to understand and motivating enough to move consumers to think, feel, and act. 
  5. Stay in the moment. Relax, smile, have fun, stay positive. If you get too tense, stiff, serious, you will negatively impact the team. Do not come up with concerns that are not there or cast every possible doubt that can destroy the creativity of an amazing idea. These doubts will get in the way of your instincts.

Use our gut instincts checklist to handle your decision-making at the creative meeting

In your next creative meeting, you should think fast with your instincts while trying to represent your consumers. View the work through the eyes of your customers. I would not even let my agency do a setup of the work. I said, “Just show me the work as my customer sees it.” I felt any setup or explanation clouded my judgment and impacted my instincts. As you are sitting in that decision-making hot seat at a creative meeting, here are challenging questions to ask yourself. 

  • What does your gut instinct say? You might be coming from a 3-hour meeting and it is not easy to change speeds as you head into a creative meeting. Relax, find your creative energy, let it soak in, and use your quick-twitch instincts. Do you love what the marketing communications work has the potential to do? Will you be proud of it as your legacy?
  • Does the work deliver the strategy? Slow down with some thinking time after the meeting. In a quiet place alone, make sure it delivers your strategy. Does it match up to the objective in the creative brief? Does it achieve the desired customer response? Will it have an expected market impact and brand performance? Don’t over-think and talk yourself out of something that works.
  • Will the work build a bond with customers? Will it speak directly to the customer target, leverage insights to connect, deepen our bond with our customers, or build memories and rituals?
  • Does the marketing communications fit with the brand and distinguish it in the market? Will it deliver the brand idea, leverage your creative assets, and fit with the tone of the brand? Does it use the functional or emotional benefits to own a competitive space that is motivating to customers and ownable for the brand? Is it different enough to capture attention within the clutter? Does the creative naturally set up the main message and move customers to think, feel, or act? 
Brand training

Our marketing training programs to help brand leaders reach their full potential

Marketing training Video
Play Video

You can click on the arrow above to view a quick video outlining our marketing training programs

Our playbooks will show you new ways for how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  1. You will find new strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  2. To define the brand, I provide a tool for writing a brand positioning statement as well as a consumer profile and a consumer benefits ladder. I have created lists of potential functional and emotional benefits to kickstart your thinking on brand positioning. We show a step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept. 
  3. For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the marketing communications plan, innovation process, and sales plan. 
  4. To grow your brand, I show how to make smart decisions on marketing execution with chapters on how to write a creative brief, how to make decisions on creative advertising and how to lead the media choices. 
  5. When it comes time for analyzing the performance of your brand, I provide all the analytical tools you need to lead a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.  

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand and be successful in your marketing career.

You can find Beloved Brands and B2B Brands on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

Click on any of the icons above to go directly to the page where you can buy our books.