How to Guide for Marketers

How to build a tight bond with your most cherished consumers

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Why does brand love matter? The most beloved brands have better performance results, see a stronger return on marketing investment, gain a better response to marketing programs, drive higher growth rates, and command higher margins.brand love The overall profitability fuel  further investment into the beloved brands. 

Building a relationship with your customers is like the dating process 

Brand building starts with cultivating close relationships with consumers. The best brands of today follow a very similar path to the rituals of a personal courtship. 

Through the eyes of consumers, brands start as complete strangers, randomly purchased a few times without much thought. They become acquaintances and, when the brand successfully delivers on expectations, they move into something similar to a trusted friendship. brand love

As the consumer sees a consistent experience and trust, they begin to open up, and the romance begins. The consumer allows their emotions to take over and, without knowing, they start to love the brand. As the brand  weaves itself into the best moments of the consumer’s life, the consumer becomes an outspoken fan, an advocate and one of the many brand lovers who cherish their relationship with the brand. As long as the brand delivers on the excitement of the original promise that attracted the consumer on their first encounter, the brand moves into a position where the consumer sees it as a forever love.

To replicate how brand building matches up with the building of a relationship, I created the brand love curve, which outlines how consumers move through five stages: unknown, indifferent, like it, love it, and onto the beloved brand status. 

How consumer strategies match up to the brand love curve

It takes a strategic mind to figure out brand love.

The unknown stage

For new brands, they were completely “unknown” to consumers. Unless there were genuinely compelling messages, consumers would walk past without even looking. To achieve some success, the priority for these  brands is to get noticed within the clutter of the market.  For unknown brands, the strategic focus should be to stand out so consumers will notice the brand within a crowded brand world, where they see an estimated 5,000 brand messages per day.

The indifferent stage

At the “indifferent” stage, consumers feel O.K. about the brand, similar to how they usually feel about commodities, like fruit and vegetables. These brands satisfy the consumer’s basic needs. They will buy the brand when it is on sale, but switch back to their other brand choice when it is not. Your brand has to be seen as more than just a commodity. Brands need to be seen as better, different or cheaper. Otherwise, they will not be around for long, and you waste your investment. For indifferent brands, the strategy must establish the brand in the consumer’s mind so they can see a clear point of difference over their current brand choice.

The like it stage

Brands that reach the “like it” stage experience the first sign of business success. Their consumers see the brand as a logical, functional and smart choice. However, the lack of any emotional connection leaves the purchase up to chance. Consumers will still switch brands randomly. Brands at the like it stage stress the product performance so much they forget to trigger any emotions. At the like it stage, the strategy is to separate the brand from the pack, creating happy experiences that build a trusted following over time. Only after they trust the brand, they begin to open up.

The love it brands

Brands at the “love it” stage start to see more emotionally engaged consumers. The rule of love you must follow: Consumers must love the brand before you can tell them they should love you. Consumers see the brand as a favorite choice, usually connected to a favorite part of their day. They are loyal and build the brand into a routine. These brands must also find a way to demonstrate their love toward these consumers to continue to tighten the bond with their most loyal brand lovers. At the love it stage, the focus shifts tightening the bond with the most loyal brand fans.

The beloved brand stage

The “beloved brand” stage is where the brand becomes iconic, with a core base of brand lovers who cherish and defend the brand. These consumers see the brand as a personal choice, a badge they proudly hold in their hand or wear on their feet. At the beloved stage, the brands must create magical experiences that inspire brand lovers to share with their friends. At the beloved stage, the strategic challenge is to create outspoken, loyal fans who are willing to whisper to their friends on the brand’s behalf.

brand love

20 consumer strategies

The brand love curve should guide strategic and tactical decisions that go into the writing of your annual brand plan. Here are 20 potential brand strategies that match up to where your brand sits on the curve and how to move your brand to the next stage. 

brand love

The game plan for unknown brands

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

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

Three-point game plan for unknown brands: 

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

Strategic options for unknown brands:

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

The game plan for indifferent brands 

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

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

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

Three-point game plan for indifferent brands: 

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

Strategic options for indifferent brands:

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

The game plan for “like it” brands

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

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

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

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

Strategic options for brands at the like it stage:

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

The game plan for “love it” brands

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

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

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

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

Strategic options for brands at the love it stage:

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

The game plan for beloved brands

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

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

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

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

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

Strategic options for brands at the beloved stage:

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

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

  1. Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
  2. Find a winningbrand positioning statementthat motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
  3. Create a brand ideato capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
  4. Build a brand planto help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your tea

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

Bell Let’s Talk is a great campaign for mental health

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The reality is we are all impacted by mental health, whether ourselves or those around us, and Bell Canada is doing something about it. 

Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual social media campaign where the corporation donates money to mental health funds based on the number of texts, tweets, and usages of their hashtag #bellletstalk on the day. Since its founding in 2010, the campaign has raised over $93 million for various mental health programs around Canada, with hundreds of millions of interactions registered across various forms of communications-based media.

On this day, you can see it all over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. For every interaction, Bell Canada will donate 5 cents. It all adds up:

  • On Twitter, every use of the hashtag or view of the video posted on Bell’s account counts as one interaction.
  • For Facebook, every use of the photo frame and view of the video.
  • With Instagram, every view of the video
  • On Snapchat, every use of the LetsTalk geofilter and view of the video.

Aside from the raising of money, it is getting people talking openly about mental health, letting everyone know they are not alone. Teens are hearing that it is acceptable.

 

Bell owns the #1 TV station (CTV) and #1 sports station and various radio stations and newspapers across the country. All day, they are interviewing various celebrities and sports figures about what they have gone through in terms of mental health. Discussions are getting more honest every year.

Bell Let's Talk

What I love the most is seeing teens listening and engaging with the program. The more we can say “it’s ok, it’s normal, seek help” the better off we’ll be.

Here’s a great interview with Toronto Maple Leafs coach, Mike Babcock:

https://www.tsn.ca/nhl/video/bell-let-s-talk-babcock-s-message-find-something-in-your-life-that-brings-you-joy~1580664

Each year, the LetsTalk program supports dozens of local charities and outreach programs. To date, over 500 different community fund grants have been given out. The program also distributes ‘major gifts’ consisting of larger amounts of money donated to high profile institutions, often in partnership with governments and other charity organizations.

Fantastic job Bell.

 

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

How to handle yourself at the creative meeting

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Creative MeetingsThe best brand leader plays a most crucial role in the creative advertising process. While they are not designed to be experts, they need to know enough to make advertising decisions, but never enough to do the work.

When you are in your next creative advertising meeting, you should think fast with your instincts, while trying to represent your consumer. View the advertising through the eyes of your consumer. Try to see the work how they would see it. I would not even let my agency do a set-up to the ads. I said, “Just show me the work as though I see it on TV.” I felt any setup or explanation clouded my judgment and impacted my ability to use my instincts. As you are sitting in that decision-making hot seat at a creative meeting, here are some challenging questions to ask yourself: 

1. What does your gut instinct say?

The reality of a marketing job is you might be coming into the creative meeting from a 3-hour forecasting meeting or deep-dive financial review, or you just got back from working in the lab with scientists on a new ingredient. It is not easy to change speeds as you head into a creative meeting. 

Relax, find your creative energy, let it soak in and find those instincts. I created a “gut instincts checklist”  to help prompt you for when you need your instincts.

2. Do you love it? 

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 okay” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. Ask if you would you be proud of this as your legacy.

3. Is the advertising on strategy? 

Slow down, and find some thinking time after the meeting. In a quiet place alone, make sure it delivers on what you wrote in your strategy documents. Go back through the brief to make sure the advertising will deliver the desired response, and the strategic objective statement you wrote in the brand communications plan. One caution is not to use the extra time to over-think the advertising and talk yourself out of a good ad that works.

4. How big is the creative idea? 

Is the creative idea big enough to last 5-10 years? Will the idea work across various mediums (paid, earned, social) across all distribution and the entire product line? Think of being so proud of leaving a legacy for your successor to help think about the longer term.

Creative meeting

Making advertising decisions

At the decision point, you have three choices:

        • Approve
        • Reject
        • Change 

From my experience, brand leaders rarely approve creative ideas outright. There also seems a reluctance or fear to reject outright. So marketers mistakenly assume their role is to change the ads. I see too many come to the creative meeting with a pen and paper and start to write feverishly all the recommended changes they have for each ad. The problem is if we marketers are not talented enough to come up with the ad in the first place, why do we think we are talented enough to change the ad? You are a generalist, surrounded by experts. Use your experts. 

Next time you go into a creative meeting, stop giving the creative team your solutions, and give them a new problem you are seeing and then let the creative team figure out the solutions. If the creative brief is the original “box” for the creative team to figure out the ideal solution, then use your feedback at the creative meeting to create a “new box” for the creative team figure out a new solution. 

Use your feedback to challenge and create a new problem for your agency to figure out the solution.

Challenge yourself to get better at advertising  

  1. If you realized that how you show up as a client was the most significant factor in getting better advertising, do you think you would show up differently? If so, then show up right.  
  2. Are you one of your agency’s favorite clients? Bring a positive spirit that inspires everyone to want to work on your brand and never treat them like they have to work on your business.
  3. Do you stay focused on one target, one strategy, one benefit behind one brand idea? Avoid the “just in case list” where you add “one more thing.” The best advertising is like a bullhorn in a crowd. The worst advertising is like a cluttered bulletin board where you can’t read anything.
  4. When building a creative brief or providing feedback, do you resist the temptation to provide your own creative ideas or recommend changes? When you are dealing with an expert, give them your problems, not your solutions.
  5. Are you the type of brand leader who is willing to fight anyone in the way of great work? Even your boss? When you do, you will start to see everyone on the team fight for you.  
  6. Do you resist temptation in approving advertising that is “just OK” and “feels safe”? What signal do you think it sends everyone involved? You have to LOVE your advertising, and you should never settle for OK.

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

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Beloved Brands in the Market

The 10 best Super Bowl ads ever

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super bowl adsWe have looked at all the Super Bowl Ads over the years, and used our ABC’s model to judge, which focuses on: Attention, Brand Link Communication, and Stickiness.

Brand leaders who are good at advertising can get great ads on the air and keep bad ads off the air.

You need to make decisions to find the sweet spot where your brand’s advertising is both different and smart. To be different, you need to achieve a branded breakthrough, using creativity to capture consumers. Gain their attention amid the market clutter and link your brand closer to the story. To be smart, you need a motivating message to communicate the main message memorable to connect with consumers, and make the ad stick enough to move them to see, think, feel, or act differently than before they saw the ad.

At Beloved Brands, we believe that advertising combines Branded Breakthrough (how you say it) and Moveable Messaging (what you say). Taking this one step further, the execution has to breaks through the clutter (Attention) and link closely to the brand name (Branding). The execution must communicate the main message (Communication) and makes the brand seem different (Stickiness)

Here are the top 10 Super Bowl ads of all time

Coke “Mean Joe Greene” (1979)

Bit of that 1970s “cheese” for you, but I remember this one from my teens. Strong on communication through story-telling and enough cheesiness to make it stick. The spot became as iconic as the drink itself.

 

Apple 1984 (1984)

Great story of this ad in the Steve Jobs book–how the board never wanted to run it and they lied about the media commitment. This was one of the first big Super Bowl ads, that changed the way advertisers saw the Super Bowl slots. Movie Quality of the filming does a great job in gaining Attention and Stickiness as it has stood the test of time for 30 years. A bit weak on communication, but that might have more to do with the lack of things to say about the product, so they led more with brand image and attitude as the core distinctiveness. Wonder why Apple doesn’t do Super Bowl ads now, as it seems like the perfect media choice for them.

 

 

McDonald’s Jordan vs Bird (1992)

This one had a lot of breakthrough and left us with the phrase “nothing but net”. With these two celebrities at their peak, it was high on attention, strong storytelling, pretty good branding and had some phrasing that had some stickiness for years in the basketball community.

 

Cindy Crawford “New Pepsi Can” (1992)

Not much needs to be said about this one, other than that they repeated this 10 years later and she still looked the same. Definitely, attention-getting with a very simple message communication that helped drive brand link. Not a lot of stickiness for consumers, but honestly, it really is a promotional spot for a new can.

 

Budweiser: WASSUP! (1999)

The simplicity of this one, but it really does capture a male-bonding insight of how guys do interact with their buddies. A hilarious ad was exceptional at Attention and certainly Stickiness as everyone was saying this phrase for a year. Didn’t really communicate much.

 

Budweiser 9/11 Tribute (2002)

Even after all these years, this one might bring a tear to your eye. Months after the tragedy of 9/11, this one takes the American icons of Budweiser and the Clydesdales marching through the streets of America and gives a nice salute to NYC. High on Attention, with deep emotions, strong Brand cues, and certainly the storytelling aided the Communication. Even though only shown once, high on Stickiness as it still really brings back those emotions.

 

Google “Parisian” (2009)

The beautiful ad that shows the power of Google as an enabling brand to your life. A great example of using quietness to drive Attention. The Branding is obviously incredible, but as it links nicely to the storytelling that Communicates how Google is part of everyone’s life. The emotional feelings certainly aid the Stickiness. This is one of the best ads I’ve ever seen.

 

Snicker’s Betty White (2010)

Whatever Betty was paid, she’s made millions since because of this spot. Quickly after this one, the power of a Facebook page demanded that Betty host Saturday Night Live. A great little spot that was incredible on Attention and Stickiness. Communication is a Big Idea for the brand and kick-started a campaign that has lasted for years, even if Snickers has yet to fully capture in their pool outs on this campaign.

 

Tide “Another Tide ad” (2018)

I never thought I’d list a Tide ad, but the media creativity Tide used really broke through and made us laugh. I started to think everything was a Tide ad.

 

 

Ram “farmer” (2013)

One of my fav ads of all time, and takes such a huge artistic risk by launching such a quiet ad that really tugs at the heart, when most other brands are doing slapstick ads. The shrill voice of Paul Harvey captures the Attention, especially against all the slapstick ads. The Communication of “Americana” comes through, and whether you’re a farmer or not, if you are a hard-working American, this should be your truck!!!

 

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits, and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

New Gillette ad: Right message. Wrong brand.

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Gillette

The new Gillette ad has sparked quite a stir to start the year. As a marketer, I’ve been in the position where you make what you think is an excellent piece of work, and wait for the consumer to say it works. The reality of any risk you take is that some work, some don’t. Twelve million views are great, but 673,000 giving it a thumbs down on Youtube, and many of the negative comments floating around Youtube and Twitter.

To my fellow men: make no mistake, this is the right message. Maybe you shouldn’t have been the target. If it was intended to inspire change in men, it might not be working.

Would this same message work better if women were the target? Would men have maybe listened a bit better if the message said “hey women, you deserve better”

Purpose is never a strategy

I see people putting “this is a great example of a brand purpose strategy.” What is a brand purpose strategy? That sounds a little shallow. You can’t have a brand purpose strategy if you don’t have a brand purpose. Moreover, you can’t just make up a brand purpose that wasn’t your brand purpose last year, or fifty years ago, or it will feel fake.

Last year, Pepsi put out the infamous Kendell Jenner “save the world” ad, that flopped. It likely would have been fine if it was another brand. However, with Pepsi, it felt fake. For the past 50 years, Pepsi has used Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyonce to “get people to dance and smile” and all of a sudden, they want to save the world?

Gillette has spent the past 50 years adding one more blade every couple of years, putting rubber in certain places on the blade and calling it a system. While they have “The best, a man can be” I’ve always thought that tagline was a bit of a cheesy 1970s, left over from the disco era. For all those purpose-loving folks; be careful, because if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Gillette is a product-driven brand. Everything they do is about technology. You can’t just tack on a brand purpose to a product-driven brand and hope it works.

A brand is not what you say it is. A brand is what your consumer says it is.

Even if you want it to be, that doesn’t make it so.

To paraphrase the CEO of Patagonia, one of the most purpose-driven brands around: “Purpose is never a strategy.”

If it’s just a strategy, you make brand purpose seem very shallow.

Have a look at the new Gillette ad: 

If the goal of the ad was to inspire men to be better versions of themselves, it’s not working. The majority of the backlash seems to be coming from men. I’ve worked on many brands focused on inspiring change, whether to quit smoking or adopt a new health routine. You cannot lecture, guilt or tell people to change. It would be best if you used a very gentle helping hand to move people through the stages of change. Even then, you have to expect resistance.

Maybe the brand is wrong. Perhaps the target is wrong.

Maybe this message should be towards women, not men. Use the same theme, same storyline, but instead of “you can be better” it could be “you deserve better.” If this was for Olay or Always, would men resist the idea as much? Could the message get out there for men to see, almost without the ability to challenge.

I love the #LikeAGirl campaign for Always.

The right message for our times. The right message for both women and men to hear. However, would this same ad have worked better on a different brand?

The bad news is about a month from now, and the financial-driven P&G will force the team to change up the brand message.

As a man, let’s not let Piers Morgan or the Twitter Cowboys speak for us. We actually should be better.

Don’t give up. This type of message is needed. Maybe another brand can take the torch and carry it.

This is what I wrote 3-4 years ago when Always launched #LikeAGirl

Always “Like a Girl” ad will re-define stereotypes

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

How brand archetypes can shape the brand role and personality

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Brand archetypes have done a fantastic job in borrowing from the archetypes of psychology. brand archetypesThe 12 different choices can help brands think about what role they want their brand to play, with various word choices to help drive your overall brand idea.

The brand idea blueprint

Let me back you up, before we get into the role of archetypes in the brand discussion. I created a brand idea blueprint, which has five areas that surround the brand idea. 

On the internal brand soul side, describe the products and services, as well as the cultural inspiration, which is the internal rallying cry to everyone who works on the brand. On the external brand reputation side, define the ideal consumer reputation and the reputation among necessary influencers or partners. The brand role acts as a bridge between the internal and external sides. 

  • Products and services: What is the focused point of difference your products or services can win on because they meet the consumer’s needs and separate your brand from competitors?
  • Consumer reputation: What is the desired reputation of your brand, which attracts, excites, engages, and motivates consumers to think, feel, and purchase your brand? 
  • Cultural inspiration: What is the internal rallying cry that reflects your brand’s purpose, values, motivations, and will inspire, challenge, and guide your culture?  
  • Influencer reputation: Who are the key influencers and potential partners who impact the brand? What is their view of the brand, which would make them recommend or partner with your brand? 
  • Brand role (archetype): What is the link between the internal soul and the external reputation?

Brand Idea

Using archetypes to determine the brand role

Borrowing from the world of psychology, where they use personality archetypes to describe people, we can use brand archetypes to help you figure our the role of your brand, which adds to your brand idea. When a brand offers spiritual, freedom or knowledge they fit with the explorer, sage or innocent archetypes. Brands delivering stability, structure and control fit with the ruler, creator or caregiver. Brands that take risks, create an impact or reach for achievement, they fit with the hero, rebel or magician. Then, brands that focus on belonging or connections, they may look to everyman, lover or jester.

Types of Archetypes

  • Creator: The artist and dreamers, who are imaginative, expressive and innovative. They believe they can see a better future.
  • Ruler: Industry leader, who are confident, responsible and authoritative. They promise power, control and stability to their consumers.
  • Caregiver: The helping hand, who is selfless, empathetic and nurturing. They offer protection, safety and support.
  • Everyman: The approachable brand who is down-to-earth, dependable and honest. They offer a sense of belonging and comfort.
  • Jester: The carefree brand who is joyful, carefree and unusual. They give consumers permission to have fun and be happy.
  • Lover: The idealistic dreamer who is passionate, magnetic and committed. They exude passion and create desire with their consumers.
  • Innocent: The romantic dreamer brands, who is optimistic, wholesome and pure. They want a safer and more beautiful world.
  • Sage: Trusted advisor and teacher, who is wise, articulate and open-minded. They promise wisdom, wanting to help their followers.
  • Explorer: The self-discovery brand, who is worldly, independent, and purpose-driven. They promise freedom, innovation and experiences.
  • Magician: The visionary brand who is unrelenting, driven and charismatic. They offer a transformative knowledge and new experiences.
  • Rebel: The anti-establishment brand who is unconventional, defiant and free-spirited. The promise of a disruptive revolution.
  • Hero: The winner brand, who is determined, skillful, and selfless. They fight off the enemy with the promise of triumph and success.

Here are the examples for some of the world’s most famous brands.

brand archetypes

And, for B2B brands, here are some examples to show how this model works equally well for B2B.

brand archetypes

How to find your brand idea 

Step 1: Keywords brainstorm for each of the five areas

With a cross-functional team working on the brand, start off with a brainstorm of keywords for each of the five areas around the brand idea. Expose the team to the work you have done on the brand positioning statement, including details on the target profile, consumer benefits ladder work, and the consumer benefits sort. Ask participants to bring their knowledge, wisdom, and opinions from where they sit within the organization. 

The first step is generating 15-20 words that describe each of the five areas.      

brand idea

Step 2: Turn keywords into key phrases for each of the five areas

Next, get the team to vote to narrow down the list to the best 3-5 words for each section. You will begin to see certain themes and keywords. Take those selected words and build phrases to summarize each section.

Step 3: Summarize it all to create a brand idea

Once you have phrases for all five areas, the team should feel inspired to use their creative energy to come up with the brand idea. Find a summary statement that captures everything around the circle. Try to get a few different options for the brand idea you can test with both consumers and employees. 

Here’s how the brand map comes together:

Brand Idea

And here is an example for a B2B brand:

Brand Idea

To back up and learn about brand positioning, click on this link below:

How to build a brand positioning statement

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

Tapping into your consumer’s need for a life change

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Everyday we hear change, change, and more change. Talk at the lunch table will be about the changes we are going to make in our lives next year. We start thinking about resolutions. change modelWhile we constantly think of ways to improve ourselves, most people hate change.

We think about change more than we take action for change. Psychologists estimate that 95% of the thoughts we will have today, are the same thoughts we had yesterday. How’s that for change? Brands can help consumers move through a model of change.

When it comes to change, I have always mapped out four types of consumers, based on whether they are proactive or reactive mindset and whether they are trying to prevent or repair a problem.

Proactive consumers are driven by knowledge; reactive consumers are driven by an event. Preventers are willing to change the lifestyle; repair type consumers want to directly address the issue at hand, without changing their overall lifestyle.

Mapping this out, we see four potential types of consumers:

  • Proactive Preventers do what it takes to maintain their overall health. They watch what they eat, workout, do things in moderation and maintain overall good health. Their change is usually triggered by information about new learnings in the healthcare field. Consumer BehaviorThey’d be early adopters to new trends. What lies in their motivation could be a combination of overall health values or something in their family history that might motivate them to maintain such a healthy lifestyle.
  • Reactive Preventers change their ways and shift their life completely based on a trigger in their life. It could be an event that happened directly to them or someone close to them. The change is an awakening that makes them re-look everything in their life and then they realize they are no longer invincible. They might start connecting the lifestyle to the event and they want to make the change overall.
  • Proactive Repair consumers have the need for change triggered by knowledge. It could be a news story or key influencers provide them with new information that makes them undertake the change before things happen. Many times people get so busy they didn’t realize what happened and then the trigger makes them re-look and fix it before things happen. The trigger could be having a baby or turning 40 or just a realization that things got out of control.
  • Reactive Repair consumers are usually those who experience something bad and then they feel forced to make a change. It could be the first major health scare. The change is isolated to the cause of the event.

Change model

Ever notice when someone is going to quit smoking they might say “on February 1st, I’m going to quit” or “I’m going on my diet on Monday”. It might sound silly but what they are doing is following the Preparation Stage of a Change Model. They put a stake in the ground so they can spend some time mentally getting ready for the change. As we come up on January 1st, we will see people go on diets, quit smoking, join a gym, start following a new routine.

It is also why marketers want to own New Year’s Eve.

change model

The most common change model has 5 stages:

  • Pre-Contemplation: Consumers might know they have a problem, but have no intention of taking action in the foreseeable future. May have failed before.
  • Contemplation: Consumers recognize their behavior is a problem. They begin searching for solutions that fit with their needs and abilities to succeed.
  • Preparation: Consumers intend to take action in immediate future. They lock in a date, arrange plan/tools and take other small steps that may help success.
  • Action: As the big day has arrived, all the motivation built up in preparation stage will help the first day, and hopefully past the fifth day.
  • Maintenance: The biggest challenge at this stage is to make it through potential failure points, linked to your old lifestyle/routines. For longterm success, it’s important to build new routines in your life.

How Marketing can match up to the change model

At the early stages, you need to find some way to trigger consumers into the consideration of the need for change. For the proactive consumers, take advantage of their mindset by trying to trigger a need for change. Drive the awareness of the problem and outline risks, dangers and issues of non action.  For the reactive consumers, use influencers such as peers or healthcare professionals to help dialup the seriousness of the need for change.

As consumers move to the contemplation stage, they try to get themselves ready. Show positive easy solutions and make change feel doable. Use your brand to help them visualize what change will look like, and set up the idea that they are capable. Change their minds about their confidence level with something new.

As consumers move to the preparation stage, they look for information to help their journey and reenforce their capability for achieving success. Own search, as consumers turn to the internet before they turn to healthcare professionals. By helping consumers early on, you may hold onto them throughout the change journey. Use the entry point to introduce the idea of a coach or self-help group. As consumers feel reluctant to take action, they worry they may fail. The coach or group can help add confidence they are not in this alone. Professional, peer, counsellor or online support can be highly effective with daily motivational tips to keep going.

Moving to action

Just before the action stage, help them set realistic goals. Baby steps might be necessary early on, so the consumer can experience a degree of success and feel motivated to keep going. Early failure could send them into the relapse before the change kicks in. They say it’s twenty-one days to change a habit, but it’s usually a lot longer with all the temptations around.

The change doesn’t end until you get through the maintenance stage. The consumer needs to build change into their life. Even a year later, consumers could find an event that triggers them into a relapse. A lot of vices are connected with stress. For many, comfort food or a coffee and a cigarette just feel great when things get highly stressful. So a new level of life stress can see the consumer reaching for old habits.  Compliance is never an easy thing–even the most serious of heart medications can struggle with compliance.

change model

Keep awareness strong at all stages.

Depending on the potential size of the business, you may wish to cover all parts of the change model with a constant level of brand awareness. Stay visible so when the consumer looks for solutions, you brand is the first point of consideration.

Consumer insights for quitting smoking 

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

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

Consumer insight (connection point):

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

Consumer enemy (pain point):

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

consumer insights

 

Having worked in the quit smoking business for years, here’s a TV ad that shows just how hard change really is. People quit 6-8 times on their own before reaching for the help of a quit smoking product. We capitalized on that fact to show a side-by-side demonstration of the difference when using Nicoderm.

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

What makes a great ad agency

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It seems that clients are firing their ad agency very quickly these days. After 70 years of clients and agencies trying to work together, neither can really figure each other out. It seems pitches are always happening, and yet no one is really wanting to look themselves the mirror and say “Am I part of the problem?”

Let’s put this out here: the percent of great people on the client side is around equal to that of the agency side; neither is better. The percent of poor performers on both sides is also the same; neither is worse. As for any relationship not working, you both own 50% of the problem.ad agency

Before we even get started, I want to make sure every brand leader realizes they may have hired the agency, but until they can inspire the people who work on their brand, they have not yet officially hired the people at the agency. If you knew that being a better client would get you better work, would you show up differently? Would you show up as a better client?

Be 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 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 agencies and some not so good.

Here is my list what makes a great ad agency:

1. 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. Make 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. 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. Don’t 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. 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. Work for me, not my boss

While your boss pays them and has the final say, the best 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.

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

Seven Resolutions for Brand Leaders

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As we approach the new year, it’s a great time to come back fresh from the break and challenge yourself to get better. In the words of T.S. Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” resolutionsHere are seven resolutions you should try:

#1: Take a walk in your consumer’s shoes.

See and experience your brand as consumers do. It’s not just about doing research and finding consumer insights. I know it sounds pedestrian, but google your brand, try to buy it, open it and use it. Bring the consumer into everything you do tightening the connection. Consumers do not care what you do until you care about what they want. In 2019, be the type of marketer who represents the consumer to your brand and then watch your work get better.

Most marketers think of the type of consumers they want to attract. Why not change your thinking and go after those consumers who are already motivated by what your brand offers? So instead of asking, “Who do we want?” you should be saying, “Who wants us?”

I use seven fundamental questions to define and build a profile of your ideal consumer target:

  1. What is the description of the consumer target?
  2. What are the consumer’s main needs?
  3. Who is the consumer’s enemy who torments them every day?
  4. What are the insights we know about the consumer?
  5. What does the consumer think now?
  6. How does the consumer buy?
  7. What do we want consumers to see, think, do, feel or whisper to their friends?

Consumer Target

#2: Ask bigger questions and you will get bigger answers.

The best strategic minds see questions before they see solutions.

I want to introduce you to my ThinkBox strategic thinking model. I have borrowed this idea from sports. For instance, before a shot in golf, the ThinkBox forces you to look at your golf score versus your opponent, the type of shot that works best with your swing, the wind condition, or how well you are playing that day. Then, use your PlayBox to visualize the golf shot, think and feel your way through your swing, then trust your shot.

strategic thinking

With a brand, the ThinkBox, before taking action, you should look at your brand’s core strength, the bond you have with your consumers, the brand’s competitive position, and the brand’s business situation. Once you have done the thinking, use the PlayBox to see the impact, think and feel your way, then trust your instincts.

I have set the Brand ThinkBox up so that each of the four questions uses a forced choice to make decisions, where you must focus on one answer for each question.

  1. What is the core strength that will help your brand win?
  2. How tightly connected is your consumer to your brand?
  3. What is your current competitive position?
  4. What is the current business situation your brand faces?

strategic thinking

Core strength

Start with your brand’s core strength. Decide which of four choices you will lead with: product, brand story, consumer experience or price. Your core strength will change your entire strategy, including the brand messages and the focus of your investment. In the next chapter, I will outline an excellent process for how to choose your brand’s core strength and then show you how to write smart, strategic objective statements around your core strength.

Strategic Thinking

Consumer Strategy

Next, you have to look at your consumer strategy. Start by determining where your brand currently sits on the brand love curve, whether your brand is unknown, indifferent, like it, love it, or at the beloved stage. The goal is to tighten the bond with your consumer and move them from one stage to the next. In a later chapter, I will show you how to use brand funnel data, the voice of the consumer and market dynamics to determine where your brand sits on the brand love curve. I will outline distinct game plans for each stage.

Consumer Strategy

Competitive Strategy

Regarding the competitive strategy, you must choose from one of four different types of competitive situations you find your brand operating within. The power players are the dominant leader in the category and take a competitive defensive stance. The challenger brands have gained enough power to battle head-to-head with the market leader. The disruptor brands have found a space so different they can pull consumers away from the significant category players. Craft brands aggressively go against the category with a niche target market and a niche consumer benefit. They are small and stay far away from the market leaders. Each competitive situation leads to different strategy choices.

Competitive Strategy

Situational Strategy

A brand must look at the situational strategy, which starts with understanding your brand health, looking at both internal and external factors. Choose one of four potential situations: whether you keep the momentum going, face a business turnaround situation, realign everyone behind a strategy, or your brand is a start-up. With each situation, it leads to distinct strategies, and even leadership styles to deploy.

#3: Create more love for your brand, and you’ll drive more power and profits for your Brand.  

The tighter the bond a brand creates with their 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.

Power over the consumers

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.

Power over the channels

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.

Power over the competition

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 the 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.

Power over the media

The beloved brand also has a 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.

Power over the company’s culture

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

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.

#4: Focus makes your brand bigger, not smaller

Focus your limited resources on a distinct opportunity you have identified based on a potential change in the market, including changes to consumers, competitive situation, technology or sales channels.

In today’s data-driven world, everyone has access to the equivalent information and in turn, can see the same opportunities. You must use speed to seize the opportunity before others can take action, and then that opportunity is gone. The best brand leaders never divide and conquer. They force themselves to focus and win. The smartest brand leaders use the word “or” more often than they use the word “and.” If you come to a decision point, and you try to rationalize doing a little of both, you are not strategic. Force yourself to make choices.

Every brand has limited resources, whether they’re financial, time, people, or partnerships. Marketers always face the temptation of an unlimited array of choices, whether in the possible target market, brand messages, strategies, or tactics. The smartest brand leaders limit their choices to match up to their limited resources, to focus on those that will deliver the highest return. 

Many marketers struggle to focus. 

  • Myth 1: The most prominent myth of marketing is to believe that your brand will get bigger if you have a broader target market.
  • Reality: Too many marketers target anyone. I will always argue it is better to be loved by a few than tolerated by many. You have to create a tight bond with a core base of brand fans, and then use that fan support to expand your following. 
  • Myth 2: The second myth to becoming a more prominent brand is to believe a brand stands for everything. Some brands try to say everything possible with the hope the consumer hears anything. 
  • Reality: Hope is never a strategy. To be loved by consumers, a brand must stand for something with a backbone and conviction. Trying to be everything to anyone just ends up becoming nothing to everyone.
  • Myth 3: Your brand will be bigger if you try to be everywhere, whether in every sales channel or on every possible media option.
  • Reality: If you went to Las Vegas and put a chip on every square, you would be bankrupt before midnight. The worst marketers lack focus because they fear missing out on someone or something. By trying to be everywhere, the brand will drain itself and eventually end up being nowhere.

Every brand has limited resources, whether they’re financial, time, people, or partnerships. Marketers always face the temptation of an unlimited array of choices, whether in the possible target market, brand messages, strategies, or tactics. The smartest brand leaders limit their choices to match up to their limited resources, to focus on those that will deliver the highest return. 

When you focus, five amazing things happen to your brand:

  1. Stronger return on investment (ROI): When you focus your dollars on the distinct breakthrough point or against a program that you know will work, you will see the most positive and efficient response in the marketplace. 
  2. Better return on effort (ROE): You must make the most efficient use of your limited people resources. Find the Big Easy! Focus on the ideas with the most significant impact that is the easiest to execute. Avoid those ideas that are small and difficult to implement. While you may not always have the data to calculate your ROI, you should have the instincts to figure out your return on effort (ROE). 
  3. Stronger reputation: When you limit your audience and brand message, you will have a better chance to own that reputation among that core target audience. 
  4. More competitive: When you focus your message to a specific target audience, your brand will start to create a space in the market you can defend against others from entering that space.
  5. More investment behind the brand: When you focus and deliver business results, your management team will ask you to do that again. They will give you more money and more people resources. Even with increased resources, you must take the same focused approach. 

#5: At every turn, ask yourself “DO I LOVE IT?”

We can never settle for O.K. Each time we reject O.K., the work gets better. It makes our expectations higher. When you have to love your work, you will fight for it, with your agency, your boss or anyone in the way.

No longer can we think about consumers in a strictly functional or logical way. The best brands of today, like Tesla, Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Dove or Airbnb have found a way to capture the imagination of their consumers and take them on a journey of delightful experiences that fosters a deeper emotional and lasting relationship.

Brands must treat their most cherished consumers with the respect that establishes trust, enabling consumers to open up to a point where they replace thinking with feeling. The logic of demand evolves into an emotional state of desire, needs become cravings and repeat purchases progress into rituals and turn into a favorite moment in the day. Consumers transform into the most outspoken and loyal brand fans and ambassadors.

#6: Find your space in the market to win

To find the competitive space in which your brand can win, I introduce a Venn diagram of competitive situations that we will use throughout this chapter.

Competitive Strategy

You will see three circles. The first circle comprises everything your consumer wants or needs. The second circle includes everything your brand does best, including consumer benefits, product features or proven claims. And, finally, the third circle lists what your competitor does best.

Your brand’s winning zone (in green), is the space that matches up “What consumers want” with “What your brand does best.” This space provides you a distinct positioning you can own and defend from attack. Your brand must be able to satisfy the consumer needs better than any other competitor can.

Your brand will not survive by trying to compete in the losing zone (in red), which is the space that matches the consumer needs with “What your competitor does best.” When you play in this space, your competitor will beat you every time.

As markets mature, competitors copy each other. It has become harder to be better with a definitive product win. Many brands have to play in the risky zone (in grey), which is the space where you and your competitor both meet the consumer’s needs in a relative tie. 

There are four ways you can win the risky zone:

    • Use your brand’s power in the market to squeeze out smaller, weaker brands.
    • Be the first to capture that space to earn a reputation you can defend
    • Win with innovation and creativity to make your brand seem unique
    • Build a deeper emotional connection to make your brand seem different

Sadly, I always have to mention the dumb zone (in blue) where two competitors “battle it out” in the space consumers do not care.  One competitor says, “We are faster,” and the other brand says, “We are just as fast.” No one bothered to ask the consumer if they care about speed. Both brands are dumb.

#7: Care more about the careers of your people

The best way to connect with your team is to care about their careers. If you are authentic with how you approach their development, they’ll listen to your advice, follow your lead and give more effort than ever. And when they feel they are getting the training and development needed to be successful, they’ll likely stay longer with your company. If you help them add skills and motivation, their on-the-job performance will be even better. When the work gets better, the brand’s results will be better.

For you the equation is simple: Smarter people leads to better work, which leads to stronger growth for your brand.

I hope you try one of these resolutions for 2019 and see the difference.  

 

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

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How to Guide for Marketers

5 career questions marketers should ask themselves once a year

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brand management

Right after your year-end performance review is a great time to reflect on where you are in your career, where to go next and what is your longer-term plan? Here are five career questions to ask, at least once a year:

  1. Within your current company, how high up do you think you can realistically go?
  2. Should you stay in the same industry or look at new verticals?
  3. Should you stay in pure brand management or venture into a subject-matter expert type roles?
  4. How long do you want to keep working?
  5. Do you stay an employee or do you take this moment to leap out on your own?

Answer honestly before going out into the job market. Use these answers to frame your career strategy. Think of these questions as a starting point to your personal branding or how you might position yourself on your LinkedIn profile.

Within your current organization, how high up do you think you can realistically go?

Be very honest. I’ve always believed that by your 40th birthday, you might have peaked within a large organization, or at best have one more level left to climb. Yes, there are exceptions, but you can’t plan to be one of the exceptions. Once you have peaked, how long do you think you can remain successful within your current company before you get squeezed out? Moreover, you might want to proactively take action at 45, rather than reactively be forced to take effect at 52.

Should you stay in the same industry or look at new verticals?

If you’re in consumer packaged goods, those in brand management still have the power to drive the brands. However, once you leave CPG, marketing’s role can get diminished to more of a supporting role. It can become a marketing communications function–either communicating the product or service, which the marketer has little control over. With less control over the pure direction of the business or brand, marketing becomes a bit more of a do-er support function rather than a strategic role which leads the business.

Should you stay in pure brand management or venture into a subject-matter expert type roles?

This quest sets up one of the harder decisions you will make because once you make it, you might not be able to turn back. It is human nature to want to label people–and this is one of the struggles you will face in managing your career, especially if you become a subject matter expert instead of the general manager role. If you move out of brand management, and it doesn’t work out, it might be harder to convince future employers that you are still a generalist who can drive brands.

How long do you want to keep working?

You will eventually have to start asking this question. Part of this decision will depend on your finances and your family situation. When I was 25, I would have hoped I’d retire at 55 on an island. However, at 45, I found myself asking “so what do I want to do for the next 15 years?” I had no clue about the answer. It was scary. Now that I’ve found my second career as a consultant, I want to work till I’m 70!

Do you stay an employee or do you take this moment to leap out on your own?

Many marketing careers peak in your 40s. Staying an employee at 50 puts you at risk of eventually being laid off by a 38-year-old one day. As I hit my 40s, it became harder for me to sit through a performance review with a straight face.
Being on your own gives you an absolute power to be your own boss. I love it.  However, when anyone asks me if they should, my immediate reaction is to say “it’s not for everyone.” I want to make sure you are serious about it, and not getting me to try to talk you into it. It will be you who has to jump off the cliff.  I still remember the phone call with my wife, when I told her about ten times “I’m going to do it.” I was more preparing myself for it, than telling her. It can feel very risky, but once you realize that you are betting on yourself, you will know you can do it.

The lifestyle is great, but you’re on the clock 24/7. Also, it can be a very lonely experience–which surprised an introvert like me.  It took me 18 months to get used to the working alone feeling — no one to talk about the latest celebrity scandals or football game.

Before you ever go on your own, here are two new questions for you:

  1. How do you like looking for a job? As a consultant, we are always looking for our next assignment.
  2. How do you like sales? I remember a wise sales leader once told me, “If you hate sales, start in sales and move up to management. Every other profession will end up in sales.” As a consultant, we are always selling. Consulting is my first real sales job and my first service role. Both took time for me to adjust.

 

 

To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.

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

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

Beloved Brands book

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

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

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

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

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

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

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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