How to be successful at the Assistant Brand Manager level

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

In my 20 years of my CPG Marketing career, I must have interviewed 1,000 potential Assistant Brand Managers. marketing jobI was lucky to have hired some of the best, who have gone on to have significant marketing careers and I became notorious for asking for some of the toughest questions, some even bizarre. I always asked an analytical question to see if they could piece together lots of data and tell a story that made sense. I’d ask a creative question to see if they had a certain flair and pride in the output. I’d ask a problem-solving question, some very hard, no real right answer, but I wanted to see how they think. Finally, I wanted to know that they had done something at a very high level–it didn’t matter what–but I wanted to know they could make it happen.

A marketing career is very challenging. At the entry-level role, only about 50% of Assistant Brand Managers will get promoted to Brand Manager. The percentages go down at each level.

On a classic brand management team, there are four key levels:

  • Assistant Brand Manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Director or Group Marketing Director
  • VP Marketing or CMO.

In simple terms, the Assistant Brand Manager role is about doing, analyzing and sending signals you have leadership skills for the future. At the Brand Manager level, it becomes about ownership and strategic thinking within your brand plan. Most Brand Managers are honestly a disaster with their first direct report, and get better around the fifth report. When you get to the Marketing Director role, it’s becomes more about managing and leading than it does about thinking and doing. To be great, you need to motivate the greatness from your team and let your best players to do their absolute best.

Careers

My advice to new marketers

The most eager first-time marketers want to change the world. The role is a reality check where you learn before you can run. Too many new marketers want to focus on strategy right away, but the ABM is a “doing” role. You will be executing programs, analyzing results and learning how to be a project manager. Through the execution, send signals you are capable of thinking and leading in the future.

What separates the average from the great ones that get promoted? The best seem to figure out the right thing to do and then make it happen.

  • Some figure out the right thing to do but struggle to work the system to make it happen.
  • Others can work the system, but they forget to think through what is the right thing to do.

The Assistant Brand Manager role can feel frustrating. Many times, it will inhibit your creativity and even your ideas. Fight through it. It provides a foundation and discipline you will use throughout your career.

You have to nail the obvious

You must hit deadlines.

Never look out of control or sloppy. Marketers have enough to do, so if you begin to miss deadlines, things will stockpile on each other. Do not be the one trying to negotiate extensions constantly. There are no real extensions. Just missed opportunities.

You must know your business.

Avoid getting caught off-guard with questions that you cannot answer, such as P&L (sales, growth, margins, spend) market share (latest 52, 12, 4 weeks for your brand all significant competitors) and your sales forecasts. Make sure you are asking the questions and carrying forward the knowledge.

Open Communication.

There should be no surprises, especially with your boss. Keep everyone aware of what’s going on. When you communicate upwards, always have the situation, implications, options and then quickly followed by an action plan of what to do with it.

Take control of your destiny. We run the brands; they do not run us.

Be slightly ahead of the game, not chasing your work to completion. Proactively look for opportunity in the market, and work quickly to take advantage. When you don’t know something, speak in an “asking way,” but when you know, speak in a “telling way.”

Able to use regular feedback for growth.

Always seek out and accept constructive feedback, good or bad, as a lesson for you. Do not think of it as a personal attack or setback. Identify gaps you can close, never think of them as weaknesses that hold you back. You should always be striving to get better.

Listen first; then decide.

It is crucial that you seek to understand to the experts surrounding you before you make a decision. Early in your career, use your subject matter experts to teach you. As you hit director or VP, use them as an advisor or a sounding board to issues/ideas. They do want you to lead them, so it is essential that you listen and then give direction or push them towards the end path.

Five success factors for Assistant Brand Managers

  1. Turn data into analytical stories  
  2. Take action before being asked. 
  3. Make it happen through others
  4. Speak out to challenge the strategy
  5. Be accountable for your work

1. Turn data into analytical stories

  • The role has a ton of data with market share results, tracking scores or test results. Look for patterns or data breaks, ask questions and start putting together stories.
  • The analytical stories show you know what it means, helps sell recommendations, and supports the action you will take. 
  • Never give a data point without a story or a recommended action, or you risk letting someone else (your boss) take your data and decide. 

2. Take action before being asked

  • On day one, your manager will set most of the projects for Assistant Brand Managers. When you are new, it is comfortable to wait for your projects. But don’t get in the habit of waiting for someone to create your project list. 
  • As you mature, start to push your own ideas into the system and create your own project list. 
  • Start making smart decisions, on your own, and communicate those choices with your boss. 
  • Don’t ask permission, but tell them what you want to do and look for the head nod. Know what’s in your scope and align with your manager. 

3. Make it happen through others

  • Instead of just functionally managing the steps of the project, find ways to make each project better, faster, or deliver more significant results. Marketing Careers
  • You need to understand each critical milestones to hit, and manage bottlenecks. Every marketer meets resistance; the best knock can down those resistance points.
  • Figure out the task with the longest completion time and the element that is most important, as both will impact the entire project.  
  • You will need to push people to get things done. You need to find a bit of magic by inspiring people to give their best ideas, put in their best effort and deliver their best work. 

4. Speak out to challenge the strategy

  • Stay on strategy. Show you are always thinking, and feel confident in your strategic thoughts. Avoid just falling in love with an execution tactic that is not aligned with your brand’s strategy. It is so easy to get lost in your own “cool” projects. 
  • Ask the right questions. Challenge the strategy to make sure you understand. Silent marketers never last.  Show you are always thinking, and feel confident in your strategic thoughts.

5. Be accountable for your work

  • Accountability is the first stepping stone to ownership, which sends a signal you are ready to be a Brand Manager. 
  • You have to find the right balance by motivating experts to give their best and knowing when to step in to avoid letting things slip or miss. Never allow your team to get stuck. Stay on top of timelines and lead your project teams. Be action-oriented, and solution-focused. 
  • Be the hub of communication for all team members, and keep your manager aware. 

Ten reasons ABMs fail

  1. Can’t do the analytical story telling.
  2. Struggle to deal with the ambiguity of marketing.
  3. Slow at moving projects through.
  4. Selfishly think about themselves.
  5. Don’t work well through others.
  6. Miss answers by not being flexible.
  7. Fall for tactical programs that are off strategy.  
  8. Hold back from making contributions to the strategy.
  9. Settle for “OK” rather than pushing for “great”.
  10. Poor communicators with their manager.

The Idiot Curve

One thing to keep in mind is the Idiot Curve. The basic rule of the idiot curve is you get dumber before you get smarter. When you first land the Assistant Brand Manager job, there’s just so much to learn, it’s like drinking from a fire hose. I find it takes three months to get back to being just as smart as you were on the first day. It’s overwhelming at first, and yet you see all these other Assistant Brand Managers doing it, so that’s even more intimidating.

However, the idiot curve is inevitable. It just shows up differently for each person. No matter how hard you fight it, you have to ride the curve. (But, please fight through the curve, you have to for your survival)

The idiot curve lasts typically up to 3 months, and then things start to click. You’ll experience your own version of the idiot curve in a new and exciting way you can’t even predict.

Marketing Careers

Here’s our story on how to land your first marketing job. You have to want that marketing job, more than anyone else.

How to land your first marketing job

 

My book, Beloved Brands, has everything you need to be successful with your brand. 

 

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

Beloved Brands has everything you need to run your brand. 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.

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

 

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a brand plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

 

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

About Graham Robertson

As the founder of Beloved Brands, Graham has been an advisor to the NFL Players Association, Shell, Reebok, Acura, Jack Links, Miller beer, Earls restaurants and Pfizer. He’s helped train some of the best marketing teams on strategy, brand positioning, brand plans, and advertising.Graham Robertson

In his marketing career, Graham led some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Coke, General Mills, and Pfizer, rising up to VP Marketing. He has won numerous awards including Marketing Magazine’s “Marketer of the Year”, Businessweek’s best new product award and four Effie advertising awards. His book, Beloved Brands, is the playbook for how to build a brand consumers will love.

We live by the beliefs that guide us

We believe the best answers are inside you already. My role is to get those answers out, and make your answers even smarter. I never give you the answer. I will ask more questions that challenge your answers to be better.

We believe investing in your people pays off. With my training program, I know I will make your people smarter, so they make the right choices, and produce exceptional work that will lead to higher brand growth.

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketers need to let go of certainty and embrace creativity in your advertising

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Too many marketers believe algorithms, digital footprints, A/B testing and chatbots can reach a consumer at the exact moment they will buy, and then have an AI-driven message to trigger a transaction. It has become too painful to watch. They see a future of marketing that approaches perfection and are so fixated on certainty and ROI; they seem to fear the unpredictability of the magic that touches the hearts of consumers. When it comes to advertising, I want less certainty and more gut feel and creativity. 

If you are really after profit, the tighter the bond you generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth and profit your brand will realize. 

Make advertising your consumer will love. 

I spent my whole career resisting certainty. I had this weird quirk, that if an entire room agreed on something, that must mean we are playing it way too safe. There should be a slight fear and unknown. 

My job is to explain branding, but I am willing to leave room for that little bit of unknown that makes brands magical. 

  • Steve Jobs insisted on using the rarest of Italian glass to cover the Manhattan Apple store.  He needed the store at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th. ROI?  Well, I was on a double-decker bus tour of Manhattan, when everyone stood up in unison to photograph the Apple store.
  • Nearly every car company has an electric car sitting in their showroom. But, Elon Musk of Tesla managed to get 300,000 people to put $1,000 down for a vehicle that did not yet exist.
  • I see that the Trader Joe’s parking lot is packed, and they outsell Whole Foods on a square foot basis, even though they have less than 10% of the items that an average grocery store carries, most use their Trader Joes brand name, and nothing is ever on sale. 
  • How does Starbucks sell an average cup of coffee for five bucks? The personality of those serving make you feel good for a tiny moment of the day, and that alone feels like it is worth way more than five bucks. 
  • Have you ever tried to get a 4-year-old to sit still? Impossible, until you give them a few pieces of Lego and let that trigger the wildness of their imaginations for hours.

Were these great ideas driven by algorithms? No way. 

We built our history of marketing through magic. Advertising legend, Bill Bernbach, made us think small or try harder. Walt Disney who made us love a mouse and seven dwarfs. Steve Jobs who put 10,000 songs in our pockets without a recording contract. Coke got a 100 college kids on a hill in Italy to teach the world to sing. Oprah told audience members to look under their seats. 

Pure magic.

Marketing research experts suggest that the right balance between brand building and transactional advertising should be a 60/40 split that favors building your brand first. Let me use the analogy of the jar we keep at our front door, where we put our loose coins. Brand building is like adding a few coins for when you need it, whereas transactional ads are like taking a few coins from the jar. If all you do is trigger sales transactions, eventually you will have no coins left in the jar. Same for your brand. If all you do is keep telling consumers to buy your brand now, eventually they will forget why they should ever buy your brand.

The best of marketers I’ve worked look into the eyes of the consumers and listen to their words. They can piece together consumer insight that reflects how the consumer feels, equal to what the highest paid psychologists could do. We touch the consumer and hope they say back to us “that’s exactly how I feel, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”

Be careful that more does not mean better.

I crave more high-pitched debate, and desire to see lots more gut instinct.

I’d want to see someone in the meeting room fighting to do great work, and those who question with logic eventually give in because they can now feel the passion for the advertising work. I once told my wife I would quit, if one of my ads didn’t get made. But, I never had to quit because I made sure they got made.

I thirst for us to do something unexpected, whether we know it will work or not. 

A boss who says “Let’s give it a shot.”

I want us to make consumers swoon, cry, tingle, laugh, fall in love or get goosebumps.

I dream of the day in the future, when marketing will be big. 

Push for greatness. Never settle. 

You will find this type of thinking in my book, Beloved Brands.

 

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

Beloved Brands has everything you need to run your brand. 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.

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

 

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a brand plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

 

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

About Graham Robertson

As the founder of Beloved Brands, Graham has been an advisor to the NFL Players Association, Shell, Reebok, Acura, Jack Links, Miller beer, Earls restaurants and Pfizer. He’s helped train some of the best marketing teams on strategy, brand positioning, brand plans, and advertising.Graham Robertson

In his marketing career, Graham led some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Coke, General Mills, and Pfizer, rising up to VP Marketing. He has won numerous awards including Marketing Magazine’s “Marketer of the Year”, Businessweek’s best new product award and four Effie advertising awards. His book, Beloved Brands, is the playbook for how to build a brand consumers will love.

We live by the beliefs that guide us

We believe the best answers are inside you already. My role is to get those answers out, and make your answers even smarter. I never give you the answer. I will ask more questions that challenge your answers to be better.

We believe investing in your people pays off. With my training program, I know I will make your people smarter, so they make the right choices, and produce exceptional work that will lead to higher brand growth.

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beloved Brands, the playbook for how to build a brand consumers will love

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Beloved Brands has everything you need to run your brand. With this marketing book, 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.

 

Marketing Book

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

This book for brand manager is available in booth a paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

Marketing professionals and entrepreneurs, this book is for you.

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

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

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

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

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

beloved brands

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

What others are saying about the new marketing book, Beloved Brands

“Graham Robertson hits all the right notes in his new branding book, Beloved Brands, a book every CMO or would-be CMO should read.” 

Al Ries – bestselling author of “Positioning” and “Marketing Warfare”

 

Beloved Brands is the definitive, must-read, toolkit for brand building! Graham Robertson has produced a straightforward resource for anyone who wants meaningful distance from the competition, greater customer engagement, increased brand loyalty, or more customer referrals!  Because “top of mind” awareness isn’t enough for brands today, Beloved Brands will help you become “top of heart” with your customers. What are you waiting for? Drop this book into your shopping cart!”  

Joseph Michelli – New York Times #1 bestselling author of books like Driven to Delight, The Starbucks Experience, and The New Gold Standard.

 

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

Kenneth B. (Ken) Wong, The Distinguished Professor of Marketing & Business Strategy, S.J. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University

 

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

Keith A. Gordon, President & CEO of Fight For Children, Inc., and former President of NFL Players Incorporated

A look inside at the Chapter Summaries

Introduction: How this Beloved Brands playbook can work for you                    

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

1. Why being a beloved brand matters                                 

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

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

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

3. How to build your brand around your core strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. How to build a brand plan everyone can follow  

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

12. How to build your brand’s execution plans

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

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

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

14. How to run your brand’s advertising process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

               

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

You can find the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

Case Study: How T-Mobile is gaining love in a category filled with hate

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

If you think you play in a challenging category, this is the perfect case study to challenge your thinking. Telecommunications consumers are the angriest, most frustrated and disappointed consumers. It’s likely as bad as the airline industry. As a result, many of the telecom brands are the most hated in the marketplace. Do they care? Not enough. Especially as AT&T and Verizon see themselves with a duopoly that almost dares you to go with the “just as bad” competitor. About five years ago, t-mobileT-Mobile entered the market and took advantage of all the hatred, using the “un-carrier” brand positioning. What looked like an insurmountable strategy against the giants has become easy pickings each year for their aggressive growth plan.

It’s all about customers

When T-Mobile’s so-called crazy CEO says, “I’m all about customers and employees” that doesn’t sound so crazy at all. That crazy CEO takes the opposite approach to everything AT&T and Verizon do, backed up by an exceptional customer service idea that lays beneath the surface. If you think marketing is just about logos and advertising, think again. Customer service is the secret sauce for T-Mobile, and the culture they have created allows them to deliver exceptional service.

This is a great case study to show how a brand needs to inspire their culture to deliver.  Moreover, this case study shows that happy customers will lead to higher growth and higher profits.

Disruptor strategy using “un-carrier” moves

It all started with the consumer enemy of “frustration” when T-Mobile said they are going to fix a stupid, broken, arrogant industry. Their first move back in 2013 was the “un-carrier” move to no contracts. This is a classic disruptor strategy which makes the main competitors (AT&T and Versizon) look disconnected from what consumers want.

Competitive Strategy

While everyone wants a game-changer, it is a high-risk, high-reward competitive situation. The trick is you have to be “so different” to catch the consumer’s attention and mindshare. Being profoundly different increases the risk you may fail. Also, your success may invite other entrants to follow. At that point, you become the new power player of the new segment. You have to continue attacking the major players while defending against new entrants who attack your brand.

New T-Mobile “un-carrier” move every six months:

  • 1.0: Launch of no contracts
  • 2.0: “Jump” allowed customers to upgrade their phone up to two times per year, by trading in their phone to purchase a new one at the same price as a new customer.
  • 3.0: enabled free international roaming.
  • 4.0: launched the get out of jail where they agreed to pay your early termination fees from the competitors.
  • 5.0: gave consumers a chance to try out a new phone for a week.
  • 6.0: “Music Freedom” with data used on certain streaming music services would no longer count to users’ data limits.
  • 7.0:  partnered with Gogo inflight internet for free texting on all flights using Gogo.
  • 8.0:  “Data Stash” lets users carry over unused high-speed data usage for up to one year.
  • 9.0: Business program, allows every line unlimited talk and text, 1GB of data
  • 10.0: “Binge-on” allows users to watch streaming services without counting towards their data
  • 11.0: Tuesday free stuff, including Dominos pizza, Lyft credits, Wendy’s Frostys
  • 12.0: Unlimited everything with unlimited talk, text, and data.
  • 13.0: Eliminate wireless service and access fees in an effort to make the pricing more transparent.

Competitors can’t keep up

Imagine how hard it is for AT&T and Verizon to make counter moves as T-Mobile picks apart one weakness at a time. It reminds me of the “I’m a Mac” TV ads, which made 66 spots to pick on every weakness by the PCs. To make things worse for AT&T and Verizon is the T-Mobile keeps flaunting his strategy right in the face of his fellow CEOs, who he constantly refers to as dumb-and-dumber.

It’s all about the culture behind the brand

While T-Mobile has great Ads to get consumers in the funnel, they are trying to reinvent how they handle Customer Service. They recognize that easy questions are now done online, so the current calls are questions that are tough to handle.

They are now using a team approach focused on 4 questions in assessing the transformation over time:

  1. Are our customers happier?
  2. Are they staying with us longer?
  3. And, are we deepening our relationship with them?
  4. Then are we making their service experience low-effort?

These are great questions to ask, showing they are serious about being a loved brand.

Use the brand idea to drive every part of what you do

Brand leaders must manage the consistent delivery of the brand idea over every consumer touchpoint. Whether people are in management, customer service, sales, HR, operations, or an outside agency, everyone should be looking to the brand idea to guide and focus their decisions.

There are five main touchpoints that reach consumers, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. Regardless of the order, they reach the consumer; if the brand does not deliver a consistent message, the consumer will be confused and likely shut out that brand. While brands cannot control what order each touchpoint reaches the consumer, they can undoubtedly align each of those touchpoints under the brand idea.

How the brand idea stretches across the five consumer touchpoints

brand idea

Brand promise:

Use the brand idea to inspire a simple brand promise that separates your brand from competitors, and projects your brand as better, different, or cheaper, based on your brand positioning. While the brand idea challenges the category to be better for customers, T-Mobile promises to deliver better coverage, capacity, and performance. This “un-carrier” idea allows them to deliver what they know their competitors cannot deliver. 

Brand story:

The brand story must come to life to motivate consumers to think, feel, or act while establishes the ideal brand’s reputation to be held in the minds and hearts of the consumer. The brand story should align all brand communications across all media options. T-Mobile takes a super aggressive stance with competitors, going head to head. The CEO refers to AT&T and Verizon as “dumb and dumber” every chance they get. Their TV ads are highly engaging among boring competitor ads and are equally challenging as their CEO’s voice.

Innovation:

Build a fundamentally sound product, staying at the forefront of trends and technology to deliver innovation. Steer the product development teams to ensure they remain true to the brand idea. When you look up to the un-carrier 1.0 to 13.0, it’s a constant form of innovation that is customer-centric, 10 steps ahead of the competition. 

Purchase moment:

The brand idea must move consumers along the purchase journey to the final purchase decision. The brand idea helps steer the sales team and sets up retail channels to close the sale. T-Mobile has made it easier to switch, whether it’s the free trial week, paying the competitor cancellation fees or offering no contract. 

Consumer experience:

Turn usage into a consumer experience that becomes a ritual and favorite part of the consumer’s day. The brand idea guides everyone who works on the brand to deliver great experiences. It seems T-Mobile is the only brand that understands customer experience means loyalty, more influencing of friends to switch over, and the temptation of new customers to join up. 

Once you have your idea, you can begin matching up brand values to deliver that idea.

  • Frontline first, customers are first.
  • Play to win and have fun.
  • Results matter. Count on me to deliver.
  • Be bold. Think big. Make a difference.
  • Do it the right way.

T-Mobile

Customer Service that closes the leaks in your leaky bucket

While many think marketing is about putting consumers into the funnel, you should also be analyzing why your consumers can fall out of the funnel at any moment. This tool forces you to look at the various stages a consumer goes through as they move along the brand love curve, and then analyze why they exit your brand.

leaky bucket

New structure leads to a new type of teamwork

What T-Mobile figured out was customers were opting to use the self-serve options for the easy customer service issues, which meant those that reached the customer service reps were all difficult to solve. T-Mobile restructured its teams, moving from a one-on-one customer service approach to a team approach. Each rep was now part of a team, and they could access peers or tech specialists to solve these difficult challenges. They also had access to coaches, who were super reps and could join in and provide solutions.

T-Mobile

You can see the impact of the shift. As they solved issues as a team, there were 71% fewer transferred calls and 31% escalated calls to a superior. As a result, the apology credits went down 31% and the lost customers went down 25%. All the effort to get consumers into the funnel is wasted if you can’t keep them in. The big result is happier employees and happier customers. The net promoter scores went up 56%.

The results

From all the sales growth T-Mobile has generated, they have doubled their share price in the past five years, while AT&T has not seen any growth, even with the tremendous stock market growth the past 2 years.

You will find this type of thinking in my book, Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands Book

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

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

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

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a marketing plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

How to succeed as a Marketing Director

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

People are promoted up to Brand Manager because they are really smart and get things done. However, they risk getting stuck at the Brand Manager level when they struggle with people relationships, whether they are bad at managing people, or can’t get along with the sales force. This inability makes it hard to get promoted up to the Marketing Director level, because it becomes too risky to the organization–they can’t afford to lose key talent, and they can’t afford to lose touch with the sales team.Marketing Director

Many Marketing Directors fail if they can’t stop acting like a Brand Manager. They are too hands on, and makes all the decisions. They smother the team and never lets them have their day in the sun. One rule is at every level you have to adjust to the new role. Brand Managers fail when they keep acting like ABMs and Directors fail when they keep acting like Brand Managers.

On a classic brand management team, there are four key levels:

  • Assistant Brand Manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Marketing Director or Group Marketing Director
  • VP Marketing or CMO.

In simple terms, the Assistant Brand Manager role is about doing, analyzing and sending signals you have leadership skills for the future. At the Brand Manager level, it becomes about ownership and strategic thinking within your brand plan. Most Brand Managers are honestly a disaster with their first direct report, and get better around the fifth report. When you get to the Marketing Director role, it’s becomes more about managing and leading than it does about thinking and doing. To be great, you need to motivate the greatness from your team and let your best players to do their absolute best.

The Marketing Director role

The marketing director role becomes less marketing and more oversight and leading your team. Your purpose is to set the consistent standard for your team and then hold everyone to that standard. To be great, you need to motivate the greatness of your team and let your best players do their absolute best. Sometimes you will need to teach, guide and challenge. Sometimes, you will have to put your foot down to stay fundamentally sound. At other times, you can follow creative ideas and take a chance. Let your best people shine, grow and push you. It is their time to be a star, not yours.  

Five success factors for Marketing Directors

1. Set a consistently high standard

  • Hold your team to a consistently high standard of work: Rather than being the leader by example, I’d rather see you establish a high standard and hold everyone and yourself to that standard.
  • Shift your style to a more process orientation so you can organize the team to stay focused, hit deadlines, keep things moving and produce consistent output. Consistent quality of brand plans, execution and interactions with everyone.
  • It’s about how to balance the freedom you give with the standard you demand. Delegate so you motivate your stars, but never abdicate ownership of how your overall team shows up.

2. Be the consistent voice on the team

  • A great Marketing Director becomes the consistent voice of reason to any potential influencers, acting on behalf of the brand team.  
  • The director becomes the usual point person that the VP, sales team, agency, each turn to offering their thoughts on the brands. Yet the Director has to allow their BM to own the brand.  
  • As the team’s voice of reason, a great marketing director must continue to ground all potential influencers in the brand plan with the strategy choices, consistently communicate the brand’s direction and back up any tactical choices being made by the team.  

3. Be a consistent people leader

  • Newly appointed directors have to stop acting like a “Senior Senior Brand Manager” and let your team breathe and grow. We know you can write a brand plan, roll out a promotion super fast and make decisions on creative. But can you inspire your team to do the same?  
  • It becomes the director’s role to manage and cultivate the talent. Most Brand Managers have high ambitions–constantly wanting praise, but equally seeking out advice for how to get better. Be passionate about people’s careers–anything less they’ll see it as merely a duty you are fulfilling.
  • A great Marketing Director should be meeting quarterly with each team member one on one to take them through a quarterly performance review. Waiting for year-end is just not enough.

4. Consistently shows up to the sales team

  • Marketing Directors become the go to marketing person for the sales team to approach. Great sales people challenge marketers to make sure their account wins. I’ve seen many sales teams destroy the Marketing Director because the director refused to listen and stubbornly put forward their plan without sales input.   
  • Be the director that consistently reaches out and listens. They’ll be in shock, and stand behind your business. If sales people feel they’ve been heard, they are more apt to follow the directors vision and direction.
  • A great Marketing Director should informally meet with all key senior sales leaders on a quarterly basis, to get to know them and listen to their problems. This informal forum allows problems to bubble up of problems and be heard, before they become a problem.

5. Consistently makes the numbers

  • You are running a business. A great marketing director is expected to make the numbers. They have a knack for finding growth where others can’t. And yet when they don’t, they are the first to own the miss and put forward a recovery plan before being asked.
  • Great Directors have an entrepreneurial spirit of ownership, create goals that “scare you a little but excite you a lot”. They reach out for help across the organization, making those goals public and keep the results perfectly transparent. And everyone will follow you.

Consistency matters    

Hopefully, you noticed the word “consistent” show up in all five success factors. Show up consistently in the standards for your team, your brand strategy, people management, dealings with sales and owning the numbers. With a bigger group of people that you influence, a broader array of interactions across the organization and with a bigger impact on the bottom line, anything less than consistent will confuse everyone around you. No one wants an inconsistent or unpredictable leader. 

Here are the success factors for each stage of your marketing career

Marketing Careers

 

 

You will find this type of thinking in my book, Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands Book

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

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

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

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a marketing plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five success factors for VP Marketing and CMO roles

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

At the VP Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) level, success comes from your leadership, vision, and ability to get the most from your people. VP Marketing and CMOIf you are good at your role, you might not even need to do any Marketing, other than challenge and guide your people to do their best work. Your greatness comes from the greatness of your people. Invest in training your people as a way to motivate your team and keep them engaged. At the VP Marketing level, it is more about people. The equation is simple: smarter people make amazing work, that delivers outstanding results.

1. Your people come first

At the VP Marketing level, focus on your people, and the results will come. Smart people produce great work and in turn outstanding results. It would help if you had a regular review of the talent with your directors. Build a system to provide feedback to everyone on the team, preferably quarterly.

Train your people

Invest in training and development. Marketing Training is not just on the job, but in the classroom to challenge the thinking of your people and give them added skills to be better in their careers. Marketing fundamentals matter. Your people need to know how to strategic thinking, define their brand’s positioning statement, write a Brand Plan, write a Creative Brief and judge advertising. People are NOT getting the same development they did in prior generations. Investing in training, not only makes them better, but it also motivates them to know that you are investing in them.

2. Run the process and the system

The best VP Marketing should run the P&L and all the Marketing processes. You have to run the P&L and make investment choices. Bring an ROI and ROE (Return on Investment and Effort) mindset to those decisions. These choices will be one of the essentials to making the numbers and gaining more freedom in how you do the job. Regarding process, it has always been my belief that smart processes in place—brand planning, advertising, creative briefs—should not restrict your people, but instead provide the right freedom to your people. Get your people to drive all their creative energy into great work that gets in the marketplace, not trying to figure out what slide looks cool in the brand plan presentation.

3. Be the visionary

The best VP Marketing bring a vision, not just for the direction of the brand but the inspiration for the team. Come up with a theme that taps into the purpose, beliefs, expectations and the behaviors you will reward. You are now the Mayor of Marketing. What’s your campaign slogan? Get up, walk around and engage with everyone on your team. You can make someone’s day, motivate and encourage them to deliver excellent work. Set a high standard, and when your team put an outstanding idea up for approval, and it is fundamentally sound, then approve it. Do not do the constant spin of fear. It makes you look indecisive and bureaucratic.

4. Put the spotlight on your people

The best VP Marketing let their people own it and let them shine. It has to be about them, not you. Do not be the super-duper Brand Manager. By making all the decisions, you bring yourself down a level or two, and you take over their job. Instead of telling; start asking questions. Challenge your team and recognize the great work. It might be my own thing, but I never said: “thank you” because I never thought they were doing it for me. Instead, I said: “you should be proud” because I knew they were doing it for themselves.

5. Be a consistent, authentic, approachable leader

The best VP Marketing have an open door and make it easy for people to engage them. You have to set up an avenue where they can approach you and feel comfortable enough to communicate the good and bad. A hidden leader scares people. No one wants to share concerns or bad results, for fear of how you will react. Don’t get left in the dark. Open communication keeps you more knowledgeable. Get your people to challenge you. Inconsistent and unpredictable behavior by a leader does not “keep them on their toes.” It creates tension and inhibits creativity.

Be consistent in how you think, how you act in meetings and how you approve. Leadership assumes “follower-ship.” Create an atmosphere that will make people want to go the extra mile for you. Once you show up ready to listen, you will be surprised how honest they will be and how much they will tell you.VP Marketing

Quintessentially, rule #1 is you have to make the numbers 

Your primary role is to create demand for your brands. You are paid to gain share and drive sales growth to help drive profit for the company. The results come from making the right strategic choices, executing at a level beyond competitors and motivating your team to do great work. Making the numbers gives you more freedom on how you wish to run things. Without the numbers, the rest might not matter.

The VP Marketing role can be very lonely

I remember when I first took the job as VP, I found it surprisingly a bit lonely. Everyone in marketing tries to be “on” whenever you are around.  Moreover, you don’t always experience the “real” side of the people on your team. Just be ready for it. It takes a while to get used to the distance from your new peers (the head of sales, HR, operations or finance). It is far greater than you might expect and it may feel daunting at first.

Your peers hope you to run Marketing and let them run their functional area. Also, the specific problems you face, they might not appreciate or even understand the subtleties of the role. Your boss also gives you too much rope, which can be either good or bad. There will be less coaching than you had in prior positions. It is crucial for you to have a good mentor or even an executive coach to give you someone to talk with that understands your role.

At Beloved Brands, we run brand management training programs that will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance in driving brand growth.

Our Beloved Brands training follows our brand playbook methodology to help you realize your full potential. Your team will learn the strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive landscape, consumer relationship, engagement and the situation you face. Brand positioning starts by building a consumer profile and using our consumer benefits ladder, with functional and emotional benefits. From there, we explore the step-by-step process to come up with your brand idea and bring it all together with a tool for writing the ideal brand concept.

With brand plans, we go through each element needed for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan. Learn how to build a marketing execution plan that includes the creative brief, innovation process, and sales plan. I show how to make smart decisions on execution around creative advertising and media choices. With brand analytics, learn to write a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumer, channels, competitors and the brand.

marketing training

Our Brand Management courses we offer:

  1. Why being a beloved brand matters
  2. How to think strategically  
  3. Mapping the consumer journey with insights
  4. Defining your brand positioning
  5. Aligning everything around your brand idea
  6. Building a brand plan everyone can follow
  7. Leading deep-dive analysis of your brand 
  8. Brand Finance 101
  9. How to write a smart creative brief
  10. Leading the advertising process
  11. How to make creative advertising decisions
  12. How to make media decisions

You will find this type of thinking in my book, Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands Book

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

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

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

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a marketing plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

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

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

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

Graham Robertson signature

 

Six career limiting behaviors that will destroy a Marketer’s career

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

To succeed in your Marketing career, you must hit deadlines, know your business, be open with communication, take control of your brand, be able to use feedback, and then listen to the experts around you, before you decide. marketing careerTrust me when I say this: If you do not nail these behaviors, you will eventually annoy someone enough to get rid of you. You’ve likely heard of CLM’s, also known as “career-limiting-moves.” These six behaviors are non-negotiable CLM’s, and if you miss them continuously, you will be gone. Fix these.

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

1. You must hit deadlines.

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

2. You must know your business.

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

3. You must be open with your communication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. You must listen to your experts first; then decide.

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

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

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 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. In addition, 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

 

 

How to write an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

The role of an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan (IMC) is to find ways to trigger a behaviour change in your consumers. Integrated Marketing Communications PlanOur format for the brand communications plan answers seven questions. These questions steer and inspire the creation of the brand story work. It should establish your brand positioning. Finally, it should motivate consumers to see, think, feel, do, or influence.

The plan must answer the following:

  1. What do we need our advertising to do? (Brand strategic objective statement)
  2. Who is in our desired consumer target? (Most motivated people to buy what we do)
  3. What are we are selling? (Our main consumer benefit we stand behind)
  4. Why should they believe us? (Support points to back up the main benefit)
  5. What is our organizing brand idea? (Brand soul, essence or DNA for the brand)
  6. What do want people to see, think, feel, do, or influence? (Desired consumer impact)
  7. Where will our consumer be most receptive to see and act upon our message? (Media plan)

Here’s an example of what your plan should look like:

Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

Q1. What do we need our advertising to do? (Brand strategic objective statement)

Five major brand strategies help move your brand from one stage of the brand love curve to the next.

brand strategy

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. 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. 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. At the love it stage, the focus shifts tightening the bond with the most loyal brand fans. 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.

Writing your strategy statements

You should start off by writing your strategic objective statement using the four components of the a + b + c + d model we use for strategic thinking:Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

A: The statement calls out the investment into a strategic program, with crystal clear marching orders to the team, leaving no room for doubt, confusion, or hesitation.

B: You should provide a focused opportunity, which is the breakthrough point where the brand will exert pressure to create a market impact.

C: You must have a specific desired market impact to outline the market stakeholder you will attempt to move, whether it is consumers, sales channels, competitors, or influencers.

D: Finally, you need a specific performance result, linking the market impact to a specific result on the brand, either making the brand more powerful or more profitable.

 

Q2: Who is in our desired consumer target? (Most motivated people to buy what we do)

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 profile

Q3: What are you selling? (Our main consumer benefit we stand behind) 

The consumer benefits ladder helps turn your brand’s features into consumer benefits. You should stop talking about what your brand does and start talking about what your consumer gets. The four steps to building a consumer benefits ladder:

  1. Leverage all available research to define your ideal consumer target profile with need states, consumer insights, and the consumer enemy.
  2. Brainstorm all possible brand features. Focus on those features you believe give your brand a competitive advantage.
  3. Move up to the functional benefits by putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer. For each feature on your list, ask, “So, what do I get from that?” Challenge yourself to come up with better benefits by asking the question up until you move into a richer zone.
  4. Then move up to the emotional benefits. Look at each functional benefit and ask, “So, how does that make me feel?” As you did in step 3, keep asking the question until you see a more in-depth emotional space you can win with and own.

Consumer Benefit ladder

Q4: Why should they believe us? (Support points to back up the main benefit)

I took one logic class at university, and the only thing I learned was “premise-premise conclusion.” It was an easy class, but a life-long lesson that has stuck with me. Here is a classic logical argument statement:

  • All fish live in water (premise)
  • Tuna are fish (premise)
  • Therefore, tuna live in the water (conclusion).

This example fits with my brand positioning statement model, as the main consumer benefit is the conclusion with a need for two support points as the premises. If pure logic teaches us that two premise points are good enough to draw out any conclusion, then you only need two “reasons to believe” (RTB).

Brands that build concepts with a laundry list of RTBs are not doing their job in making focused decisions on what support points are required. With consumers seeing 5,000 brand messages per day, having a long list of support points risks making their brand communications a cluttered mess. Claims can be a useful tool in helping to support your RTB, yet the RTB should never be the conclusion.

There are four types of claims you can use on your brand:

Process support

  • How your product works differently
  • Showcase what you do differently within the production process
  • What added service you provide in the value chain

Product claims

  • Usage of an ingredient that makes your brand better
  • Process or ingredient that makes your brand safer
  • Process that makes your brand cheaper

Third-person endorsement

  • Experts in the field who can speak on your brand’s behalf.
  • Past users/clients with proof support of stories or reviews
  • Recognized awards, such J.D. Power

Behavioral results

  • Clinical tests
  • In market usage study
  • Before and after studies

Q5: What is our organizing brand idea? (Brand soul, essence or DNA for the brand)

 Organize everything you do around a brand idea

With today’s consumers being bombarded with 5,000 brand messages a day, the first seven seconds a consumer engages with a brand is a make-or-break moment. The brand must captivate the consumer’s mind quickly, or the consumer will move on. The brand must be able to entice consumers to want to find out more, then motivate consumers to see, think, feel, or act in positive ways that benefit the brand. I will show you how to develop a brand idea that serves as your brand’s seven-second sales pitch. It is essential for every brand.

What is a brand idea?

To me, the brand idea simplifies everything, not just for the consumer but for everyone working on the brand. The dictionary definition of the word “idea” means a thought, opinion, belief, or mental impression. A brand idea must be all those things. A brand must get consumers to agree on the brand reputation and get employees who work behind the scenes of the brand to agree and deliver. Let’s assume they are the same thing. What we are creating is the most significant, most prominent and yet most succinct definition of the brand. To become a successful and beloved brand, you need a brand idea that is interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating and ownable.

Brand idea checklist

The brand idea must be interesting enough to engage and entice consumers on a first encounter to want to know more. Keep it simple enough to gain entry into the consumer’s mind. Your idea must be easily layered to organize everything you do to match up with the five consumer touchpoints, including the brand promise,  brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. To be successful, your idea must be unique enough to build a reputation so consumers will perceive the brand as better, different, or cheaper. The idea must be able to motivate consumers to think, feel, and act in ways that benefit your brand. The idea must represent the inner brand soul of everyone who works on the brand, inspiring employees to deliver the brand promise and amazing experiences. Finally, the brand idea must be ownable, so no other competitor can infringe on your space, and you can confidently build your brand reputation over time. 

Brand Idea

Q6: What do want people to see, think, feel, do, or influence? (Desired consumer impact)

The best advertising can only get the consumer to do one thing at a time, so you should focus your desired response to get consumers to see, think, do, feel or influence others. Decide on what you want the desired response to be before you decide on the stimulus, which is the next question of the brief.

Too many marketers already know what they want to say before they even know the response they want from their consumers. You should start with the desired response, which comes from your brand plan, and only then can you decide what to say to achieve that response.

advertising

Q7: Where will our consumer be most receptive to see and act upon our message? (Media plan)

Media is a business investment that showcases your brand story through creative execution to help connect your brand with consumers where consumers are most willing to engage, listen, think, feel, and act in ways that pay back your brand.

Here are six questions to help build your media plan:

  1. What is the size of your brand’s media budget?
  2. What is your brand’s core strength?
  3. How tightly connected is your brand with your consumer?
  4. Where can you best impact the consumer journey?
  5. Where will your consumers be most open to engage, listen, think, feel, and act?
  6. What media choices will best deliver your brand’s creative execution?

media planning

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 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. In addition, 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

How to lead a brand turnaround strategy

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

When a brand faces poor external results with a decline in sales, shrinking market share, and lower profit margins due to lower prices or rising costs, the brand leader needs to create a turnaround plan that will fix it. From my experience, you will need both a short-term and long-term fix. The quick fix helps address the hemorrhaging results that are impacting the bottom line of the company.

Assessing your brand situation

Before moving towards a plan, you must fully understand the situation you face. Each year, conduct a deep-dive business review to assess the health of your branded business. A smart brand strategy is a smart business strategy. You are running a live business, with a need to drive sales, manage costs and produce profits. Without addressing the competitive and consumer factors you face, all your great strategic thinking will come collapsing down around you.  

There are four distinct situations your brand could face:

      • Fuel the momentum
      • Fix it
      • Realignment
      • Start-up

Fix it plan

However, most fix it situations have a more in-depth cause, hidden beneath the surface level. You will need a change management leadership style that challenges everyone and everything. fix it planYou will need a new plan, which includes a new vision filled with new ideas. Explore the need for different people to join the team. Losing can be contagious to the culture of a team. You will need to create a new attitude.

The quick fix can buy you time with management to implement what you see as the longer-term fix it plan. Any immediate wins also give the team a much-needed boost of motivation.

Dig deep into a full business review to understand the underlying causes happening in the market. Evaluate changing consumers needs, new competitors, changes in the retail landscape, and changes in technology. Close leaks using a brand funnel analysis. Go through every investment decision. Cut all spending that fails to drive results and reinvest in the new plan. Invest only in programs that give you an early breakthrough win and payback. Once you have the plan in place, make sure you have the right talent in place to make it happen.

The quick fix plan

  • Find early, and obvious potential wins to stop the hemorrhaging.
  • Emphasize results to fuel a performance-driven culture.
  • Use all early wins to boost the team motivation.
  • Celebrate every victory, big or small.

The long-term fix

  • Conduct a deep-dive business review of the market, consumers, competitors, channels and the brand. Focus on the top three issues emerging from the review.
  • Invest in a new brand plan with a brand idea supported by a unique brand positioning.
  • Make focused investment decisions, and take smart risks to fix the brand communication, product innovation, purchase moment and the consumer experience.

Your brand should start off with a brand strategy roadmap

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

Click this link to read more: https://lnkd.in/evxcthG

Brand Plans

 

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

My hot take on what happens to a brand with zero-based budgeting

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Zero-based budgeting starts off each new year assuming all brand budgets are zero and the brand must prove their case for why it should earn its new budget level. It’s a tool used recently by Kraft Heinz. While zero-based budgeting might make sense in theory, the risk is you become so fixated on ROI and certainty that you choose the short-term sure-thing that delivers a transaction. You begin to fear the unexpected or the unpredictable work that has the chance to touch the hearts of consumers. This logic works for all marketing budgets, but I’ll focus mainly on media budgets here.

Marketing research suggests the right balance between brand-building and transactional advertising should be a 60/40 split that favors building your brand first. Let me use the analogy of the jar we keep at our front door, where we put our loose coins. Brand building is like adding a few coins for when you need it, whereas transactional ads are like taking a few coins from the jar. If all you do is trigger sales transactions, eventually you will have no coins left in the jar. Same for your brand. If all you do is keep telling consumers to buy your brand now, eventually they will forget why they should ever buy your brand.

The best brand-building takes a chance on what greatness that creates a pent-up desire.

Greatness should tempt the consumer’s soul and hope we make them feel “that’s exactly how I feel, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.” If I had a choice between the certainty of Ok and the chance at greatness, I’d always push for greatness. We should never settle. 

The process of zero-based budgeting forces us to our comfort zone where we’ll choose certainty. I’d rather us uncomfortable in the hope we find the unexpected and unexplainable work consumers will love.

zero based budgeting

 

What is the size of your brand’s media budget?

Balance your media choices by looking at media efficiency, quality, impact, and fit with the brand. The efficiency of the media math starts with reach and frequency.

Reach is the number or percentage of different households or people exposed to the ad at least once, over a specific period.
Frequency is the number of times that household or person will be exposed to the ad within a particular period. Be careful to avoid relying on efficiency alone, as you need to balance it with the quality of the media choices.

I always set aside about 10 percent of my media budget to create a high impact to generate early attention to a new campaign or product innovation.

Use your strategic thinking to understand how much you can invest. You need to focus your limited resources on a distinct opportunity point you have identified based on a potential change in the market.

The reasons you would strategically invest in media include:

  • Discovery of a new brand message you know will motivate consumers to buy your brand.
  • Identified change in consumer needs, motivations, or behaviors, which will benefit your brand.
  • Shift the competitive dynamic, with an opportunity to make gains or a necessity to defend.
  • Continue to fuel brand growth with a window to drive brand profits.
  • New distribution channel you can use to move consumers through before competitors do.
  • The launch of a breakthrough product innovation offering a competitive advantage to your brand.

To make the media investment pay off, you need to be able to drive a performance result that pays back with an increase in brand power you can use in the future or an immediate increase in brand profit.

Six factors to help guide you on the size of your media investment:

  1. Brand profit situation, looking at margin rates and the size of the business.
  2. Past media ROI projected forward as a forecast of the potential.
  3. Impact of your current creative advertising tracking results
  4. Future investment opportunities or future threats to battle.
  5. The degree of competitive pressures in the marketplace and their levels of media spend.
  6. The comparative opportunity cost for investing elsewhere.

Blowfish Plan

When you feel the risk/reward of the media investment is unknown, it might be wise to start with a smaller investment level. Use what I call a “blowfish” media plan. Among those you target, you appear to be a large brand. Pick a tight target market with a limited media choice or geographic focus to replicate how a more substantial media investment would appear. When the unknown is very high, get smarter by using test markets. Try various media spend levels to gain the necessary consumer response data before you make a full investment.

Selective Plan

You should use a medium investment level when your brand faces only a couple of the media investment factors listed above, yet your brand has the size and margin to invest. With this level of spend, you should use a selective media plan by making smart choices of the target market who you know will respond to those media choices proven to pay back.

Mass Plan

You should use a high investment level when your brand faces many of the investment factors, including profitable brand, reliable messaging, product innovation, and an intensely competitive situation. You can afford to take a mass approach. However, just because you have a lot of money does not mean you should waste it. I still recommend using one lead media choice and then use support media to supplement. Figure out your lead paid media and your lead earned media to provide focus and alignment with your strategy.

Production Costs versus Media

One important consideration with any investment plan is to balance media spending and the creative production costs. Your brand’s working dollars are those investments that directly reach and influence the consumer. You can directly see the impact and measure the payback. Media is considered working dollars. This costing method is one of the reasons you do not want to spread your brand across too many media choices. If most of your brand’s advertising budget is spent making TV ads, billboards, and radio ads or paying for talent in the ads, then you will not have enough spending left to reach the consumer.

 

To read about where zero based budgeting has been used the most, read this story about Kraft-Heinz.

Brand Managers are rejoicing at the demise of Kraft-Heinz

You will find this type of thinking in my book, Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands Book

I wrote my book, Beloved Brands, as the playbook for how to build a brand your consumers will love.

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

Available on Amazon, Apple Books or Kobo

We have the paperback and e-book version on Amazon. Click here to order: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe  

We are also on Apple Books, which you can click here to order: https://lnkd.in/e6UFisF

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

 

At Beloved Brands, we help build brands that consumers love and we make brand leaders smarter.

🎈Help create a brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives your brand an ownable competitive advantage.

🎈 Build a marketing plan that forces smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth

🎈Align your marketing execution behind a brand idea that tightens our bond with consumers and moves them through their buying journey

🎈Use a deep-dive 360-degree assessment of your brand’s performance to trigger richer thinking before you write your brand plan

🎈Our brand training program will help realize the full potential of your brand leaders, so they are ready to grow your brand.

 

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

About Graham Robertson

As the founder of Beloved Brands, Graham has been an advisor to the NFL Players Association, Shell, Reebok, Acura, Jack Links, Miller beer, Earls restaurants and Pfizer. He’s helped train some of the best marketing teams on strategy, brand positioning, brand plans, and advertising.Graham Robertson

In his marketing career, Graham led some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Coke, General Mills, and Pfizer, rising up to VP Marketing. He has won numerous awards including Marketing Magazine’s “Marketer of the Year”, Businessweek’s best new product award and four Effie advertising awards. His book, Beloved Brands, is the playbook for how to build a brand consumers will love.

We live by the beliefs that guide us

We believe the best answers are inside you already. My role is to get those answers out, and make your answers even smarter. I never give you the answer. I will ask more questions that challenge your answers to be better.

We believe investing in your people pays off. With my training program, I know I will make your people smarter, so they make the right choices, and produce exceptional work that will lead to higher brand growth.

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

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

Graham Robertson signature