How to define the ideal target market profile to build your brand around

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

target market definitionMost 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?” In this article, I will show you a few target market examples from across industries. I use seven fundamental questions to define and build an ideal consumer target market profile:

  1. What is the description of the consumer target market?
  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?

Target market definition: Who is your consumer?

In terms of a target market definition, one of the biggest mistakes I see marketers make is picking too broad of a target market. A tight target market decides who is in the target and who is not in the target.

There is a myth that a bigger target will make the brand bigger, so the scared marketer targets “everyone.” There seems to be an irrational fear of leaving someone out. Spreading your brand’s limited resources across an entire population is completely cost-prohibitive. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is riskier because you spread your resources so broadly you never see the full impact you want to see. This fear of missing out (FOMO) gives your brand a lower return on investment and eventually will drain your brand’s limited resources. Please focus.

Target market example: The shoe shine guy

Every time I go to the airport, I see the shoeshine person looking down at people’s feet, qualifying potential customers based on whether they are wearing leather shoes. It reminds me of how simple it is to target those consumers who are the most motivated by what you do. Sure, they could be missing out on the very few people who have leather shoes in their suitcase. However, using a focused approach to profile consumers is a smart way to maximize your return on effort. If shoeshiners can narrow the focus of their target to people wearing leather shoes, why is it so difficult for you to narrow down your target to those who care the most about what your brand does? While a very simple target market example, it really illustrates the importance of focus.

When it comes to your target market definition, instead of going after who you want, go after those who want you

If you have a golf ball that goes longer than any other golf ball, go after those golfers who already hit it long and want to hit it even longer. If you have a new recipe for chicken noodle soup, go after those who love chicken noodle soup. And if you are selling a mortgage, go after those consumers who want to buy a house. Damn, that sounds simple. Then why do I see golf marketers go after people who hate golf, soup marketers go after those who don’t give a damn about soup and banks trying to sell mortgages to everyone.

To illustrate this point of focus, I look at three types of potential target markets:

  • Selling target: This is pretty much everyone, as you sell to anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy, regardless if they fit your ideal target. However, “everyone” should never be a marketing target. You are spreading your resources so thin your message will miss out on really capturing those consumers most likely to respond, which provides an efficient payback.
  • target marketMarketing target: You should focus your limited resources on those consumers who have the highest likelihood of responding positively to your brand positioning, advertising, and new product innovation. A tighter target market provides the fastest and highest return on investment.
  • Program target: When working on a specific campaign, narrow the target even further. Focus on people you want to stimulate to see if you can get them to see, think, feel or do things that will benefit your brand. A specific program target is smart when launching a new product or aligning with a promotional time of year (including back-to-school or Christmas).

Target market example: The case of the crazy bank that targeted everyone

I worked with a bank that told me its target market for a first-time mortgage (home loan) was adults aged 18-65, new customers, current customers, and employees. Sarcastically, I said, “You have forgotten about tourists and prisoners.” As I pressed to help them narrow their consumer target, they pushed back saying they did not want to alienate anyone just in case. I cringed at the word “alienate” and the idea of “just in case.”

Sure, the odd 64-year-old might be tired of renting for the past 40 years, but they would not be offended having a 32-year-old in the ad. You have to realize that people know when they are the natural outlier and they aren’t offended when they are. The age target that would be most motivated by a first-time mortgage ad would be someone who is in their late twenties or early thirties.

I improved the target definition, even more, by adding, “They are looking to buy a house.” This thinking is equal to the shoeshine person looking for someone wearing leather shoes. No one buys their first house on impulse, and no one ever wanted a mortgage without buying a house. Consumers usually spend 6-12 months looking for a house. It sounds obvious but why was it lost on the bank?

Narrowing your target helps focus your marketing efforts

Think about the difference the focused target makes on the marketing programs. Instead of randomly advertising to everyone on mass media, your brand should focus your limited resources on the consumer who is most open to your message and where they are most willing to listen. Advertise on real estate websites during their lunch hour when they take a break to search the web for new housing options. Use billboards outside new housing developments and use radio ads on Saturday afternoons to capture them while they drive around looking at new homes.
Who is most likely to try your brand or love your brand in the future?

There are various ways to divide up the market to identify the most motivated possible audience. Here are three main ways to segment the market:

Target Market Definition

  • Consumer profiling: Using demographics is one of the easiest ways to segment. While some resist demographics, you will eventually have to put someone in the ad and likely buy media using age. Then add in socioeconomic and geographic elements, and how they shop. Choose to focus on either current customers or new customers, but never both at the same time. Trying to drive penetration and usage at the same time will drain your resources. These are two dramatically different targets needing two different messages, two types of media, and potentially two different types of product offerings.
  • Consumer behavior: Divide the market based on consumer need states, purchase occasions, life stages or life moments. You can also divide the market based on purchase behavior, perceptions or beliefs.
  • Consumer psychographics: Psychographics look at commonly shared behaviors, such as the consumer’s shared lifestyle, personality, values or attitudes.

 

Segmentation should force you to focus. Please do not spend tons of money on a segmentation study and then try to figure out how to go after each segment with a completely different brand message. I have seen marketers do this and it is borderline crazy. That is not the right way to use these studies. A brand can only ever have one reputation. While this shows 12 different ways you can segment, a good starting point is to use a combination of 3 or 4 segmentation elements to narrow down your target. The choice depends on the category.

What are your consumer’s needs?

If you can make consumers buy, you will never have to sell. The best brands do not go after consumers; they get consumers to crave their brand and come after them. The process I will take you through involves matching up what your consumers want and need with what your brand does best.

Possible functional needs of your target market

To help get you started, I have mapped out nine functional need states to help you understand the potential spaces your brand can play in and eight emotional need states your brand can play in:

Target Market Definition

These need states mean something different for each category of brands, but it should be a good starting point for you to brainstorm where you can add specific words that fit your brand situation.
Who is your consumer’s enemy?

While products solve small problems, the best brands beat down the enemies that torment their consumers every day. Put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and find their most significant frustration pain point they feel no one is even noticing or addressing.

Target Market Example: The Starbucks mom

Put yourself in the shoes of the Starbucks consumer, a 38-year-old mom with two kids. She wakes up at 6:15 a.m. to get ready for work and get everyone in the house prepared for their day. Then, she drops off one kid at daycare at 7:30 a.m., the other at the public school at 7:45 a.m. then rushes to the office by 8:30 a.m. She drives a van, not because she wants to but because it is excellent for carrying equipment for after-school activities, including soccer, dance, tutoring and ice hockey. Her only tokens of appreciation are hugs at the end of a long day. Just after getting both kids to bed, she collapses into her bed, exhausted.

Who is the enemy of the Starbucks mom? A hectic life

The Starbucks brand fights her enemy, by providing a 15-minute moment of escape between work and home. Starbucks has no children’s playground, just lovely leather seats. No loud screams, just soft acoustic music. The cool 21-year-old college student not only knows her name but her favorite drink.

Your consumer’s enemy

If you want to understand your consumer’s pain points, think of how you would project their enemy and express how your brand fights that enemy on their behalf. Shifting from solving a rational consumer problem to beating down an emotional consumer enemy is the starting point to reaching into the emotional need state of your consumer. Disney fights off the consumer enemy of “growing up.” Nike fights the consumer enemy of “losing.” Apple fights off the consumer enemy of “frustration with computers.”

Target Market examples of consumer enemies brands beat down on their behalf

Consumer Target Market definition

Consumer insights

Consumer insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, which explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points, and emotions of your consumers. Your consumers may not even be able to explain the insight until you play it back to them. And when they say, “Yeah, that is exactly how I feel.” Brands should think of consumer insights as a potential competitive advantage, equal in importance to intellectual property.

Avoid relying too heavily on facts and data alone without any context or story. Too many marketers think that data, trends, and facts are insights. Here’s a data point: “People in Brazil brush their teeth four times per day, compared to 1.7 times per day for North Americans.” Do you think that is an insight? Some people do. But when you think of how little you know about this data point, you realize you need to go deeper into the context to gain an understanding. You must start to ask more questions, by asking who, what, when, where, or asking how and even why, that’s when we begin to turn the fact into an insight.

Consumer Insights

Stereotypes and clichés are dangerous.

I once heard someone say, “Women over 50 are stuck in their ways, and not willing to change their routines.” That is not a valid statement for many categories. Here are two examples of women over 50 making dramatic changes: a) Women take 8x more vitamins at 55, compared to 50 and b) The fastest growth for the Apple brand has been women over 50. Be careful you don’t stereotype; especially when you are not in the target market, you are going after.

Common knowledge offers no competitive advantage. I hear insights all the time that are not unique secrets. For instance, “Golfers wish there was a way they could hit the ball longer and straighter” offers no competitive advantage. Everyone in the golf industry knows this. Dig deeper.

Watch out that you don’t use insights just related to your product rather than about the consumer’s LIFE! Too many marketers use insights like, “Whenever I get hungry, I love eating my Gray’s chicken nuggets.” This type of statement is too blatant to be an insight, yet people put stuff like this all the time.

How to write meaningful consumer insights

Force yourself to get in the shoes of your consumer and use their voice. Every consumer insight should start with the word “I” to get into the shoes of your consumer, and you should put the insight in quotes to use their voice. Here are some examples of good and bad consumer insights:

Do you know your consumer target market better than your competition knows your consumer?

Brands should think of consumer insights like you do intellectual property. Your knowledge of your consumer is a competitive advantage. The deeper the love a brand can build with your most cherished consumers, the more powerful and profitable that brand will be, going far beyond what the product alone could ever deliver. There is only one source of revenue. Not the products you sell, but the consumers who buy them.

Completing the target market profile

Taking all this work, here is the consumer target profile for Gray’s Cookies brand. The remaining questions will come from your strategic brand plan.

The target market profile works for B2B

Consumer Target Market example

The target market profile works for healthcare

Consumer Target Market example

To read more on consumer insights, click on this story.

Take the mystery out of finding consumer insights to connect with your target market on a deeper level

To see how insights are used, click on this story

 

Five ads that bring consumer insights to life

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

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How to write a marketing plan everyone can follow

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

marketing planWe believe a good marketing plan helps make decisions to deploy the resources and provide a roadmap for everyone who works on the brand. You will learn how to write each component of the marketing plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies, and tactics. We provide marketing plan definitions and marketing plan examples to inspire you for how to write each component. Our marketing plan workshop allows marketers to try each concept on their brand. We provide hands-on coaching and feedback to challenge their plans. Below, I will show you part of our marketing plan process that we lay out in our Beloved Brands book.

We offer unique formats for a marketing-plan-on-a-page and long-range strategic roadmaps. And then, we show how to build marketing execution plans. We look at a marketing communications plan, innovation plan, sales plan, and experiential plan. Your marketing plan will help give a strategic direction to everyone in your organization.

The annual marketing plan

  • The analysis section lays out the summary from the deep-dive business review. Provide an overview of the top three points, which envelop what is driving your brand’s growth, what is inhibiting your brand’s growth, which threats could hurt your brand and what opportunities your brand faces.
  • The key issues and strategies section focuses on the top three issues getting in the way of achieving your vision, which you should put in question format. And the strategic solutions are the answers that match up to each of those questions. Set goals to measure your brand’s performance against each strategy.
  • The marketing execution section maps out the specific plans for each of the chosen execution areas that line up to most essential consumer touchpoints.

Marketing Plan template

 

Marketing Plan template

I first came up with this “plan-on a page” marketing plan template when I led a team with 15 brands. It helped me see the big picture quickly, rather than having to hunt through a big thick binder. Also, the sales team appreciated the ability to see the entire plan on one page quickly. Most salespeople also had 15 brands to manage with each of their customers. Everyone who works on the brand should receive the one-page marketing plan. And they should keep it close by to steer their day-to-day decisions.

Marketing Plan Definitions

Vision:

The vision should answer the question, “Where could we be?” Put a stake in the ground that describes an ideal state for your future. It should be able to last for five to 10 years. The vision gives everyone clear direction. Write in a way that scares you a little and excites you a lot.

Brand purpose:

The purpose has to answer the question, “Why does your brand exist?” It’s the underlying personal motivation for why you do what you do. The purpose is a powerful way to connect with employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul. 

Values:

The values you choose should answer, “What do you stand for?” Your values should guide you and shape the organization’s standards, beliefs, behaviors, expectations, and motivations. A brand must consistently deliver each value.

Goals:

Your goals should answer, “What will you achieve?” The specific measures can include consumer behavioral changes, metrics of crucial programs, in-market performance targets, financial results, or milestones on the pathway to the vision. You can use these goals to set up a brand dashboard or scoreboard.

Situation analysis:

Use your deep-dive business review to answer, “Where are we?” Your analysis must summarize the drivers and inhibitors currently facing the brand, and the future threats and untapped opportunities.

Key issues:

The key issues answer the question, “Why are we here?” Look at what is getting in your way of achieving your brand vision. Ask the issues as questions, to set up the challenges to the strategies as the answer to each issue.

Strategies:

Your strategy decisions must answer, “How can we get there?” Your choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Strategies must provide clear marching orders that define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business.  

Tactics:

The tactics answer, “What do we need to do?” Framed entirely by strategy, tactics turn into action plans with clear marching orders to your teams. Decide on which activities to invest in to stay on track with your vision while delivering the highest ROI and the highest ROE for your branded business.

Brand vision

A well-written brand vision should be the ultimate end-in-mind achievement, which answers, “Where could we be?” Think about significant accomplishments that would make you feel completely fulfilled. Put a stake in the ground to describe an ideal state for your future. Every smart brand plan must start with a brand vision statement. When I see brand teams who struggle, they usually lack a brand vision.

Some organizations get so fixated on achieving short-term goals; they chase every tactic in front of them just to make their numbers. Your vision should steer your entire marketing plan. Choose the language and phrases within your vision that will inspire, lead, and steer your team.

brand plan examples

Checklist for what makes a vision great:

  • Your vision should last 5-10 years. 
  • It should help you imagine the ideal picture of “where could we be.”
  • Describe your dream, describing what you see, feel, hear, think, say and wish for your brand.
  • It should be emotional to motivate all employees and partners to rally behind it.
  • It must be easy to understand, in plain words, which may already be a familiar phrase within the company. 
  • A great vision is a balance between aspiration (stretch) and reality (achievement).
  • Consider adding a financial (sales or profit) or share leadership position (#1) number.

Situation Analysis

Before you plan where to go next, you need to understand “Where are we?” A deep-dive business review should look take a 360-degree view to dig into the issues related to the marketplace, consumers, competitors, channels, and the brand. In my Beloved Brands book, I go deeper into how to conduct a deep-dive business review. 

For the marketing plan, provide a summary of the factors driving the brand’s growth, the factors inhibiting the brand’s growth, the untapped opportunities, and the potential threats you see. I have provided a marketing plan example using Gray’s cookies.

Summarizing your analysis

  • The drivers are the factors of strength or inertia, which are currently accelerating your brand’s growth. These are brand assets, successful programs, favorable consumer, technology, or channel trends. Drivers also include new products, successful advertising, or performance in retail channels. marketing plan example
  • The inhibitors are the factors of weaknesses or friction that slow down your brand’s growth. These are the “Achilles heel” of the brand, which could include unfavorable consumer trends, changes in the way people shop, competitive pressures, or even gaps compared to your competitors. 
  • The opportunities are specific untapped areas in the market that could fuel future brand growth. They include unfulfilled consumer needs, new technologies on the horizon, regulation changes, competitive openings, new distribution channels, or the removal of trade barriers. 
  • The threats are identifiable activities that could impact your brand’s growth in the future. These include significant competitive activity, competitive technology gains, changing consumer dynamics, unfavorable distribution changes, or future potential trade barriers, which would impact your brand’s growth. 

While you brainstorm a long list, narrow your focus to the top three points for each of the four areas. As you move from the analysis to the issues, ensure you find a way to continue or enhance the drivers, while you minimize or reverse the inhibitors. You also want to build specific plans to take advantage of the opportunities and reduce or eliminate the most severe threats.

Key issues

Lay out the key issues that answer, “Why are we here?” by taking the summary findings of the deep-dive analysis and drawing out the significant issues in the way of achieving your stated brand vision. How to write a smart Brand Plan Marketing Coach Consultant Workshops

A great way to find the issues is to brainstorm up to 30 things in the way of your vision. Then, narrow down your list to the top 3-5 significant themes you see. Take the themes and begin to write the top issues in a rhetorical, strategic question format to prompt a few different strategic options for how to solve each issue. Spend serious thinking time on these questions because the better the strategic question you ask, the better the strategic answer you will get.

Marketing Plan example of using the four strategic questions to focus the brand’s key issues

Another excellent methodology for finding key issues is to go back to the four strategic questions model I outlined in the strategic thinking chapters. This thinking ensures you take a 360-degree view of your brand. Looking at the example below, I have used the four strategic questions and come up with four specific questions that fit the Gray’s Cookies brand.

With various ways to brainstorm and find the issues I recommend for the annual marketing plan, focus on the top three key issues, which set up the top three strategies. A long-range brand strategic roadmap can typically handle up to five key issues, then five strategies.m

marketing plan example

Writing Strategic Objective Statements

You should start off by writing your strategic objective statement using the four components of the a + b + c + d model outlined in our Beloved Brands book, which is in Chapter 3 on strategic thinking. We go through four types of strategy, including your core strength, consumer strategy, competitive strategy and your brand situation.

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.

Here are marketing plan examples of strategic objective statements. You’ll see how we use the a + b + c +d approach for the various types of strategies.

marketing plan examples

 

Writing your strategy statements

The method I use creates very long strategic objective statement first, before writing a pithier version of the strategic statement. You will notice the wording feels quite chunky and far too long. Once you have three steadfast strategic objective statements, you can narrow them down to a headline. 

marketing plan examples

How to lay out each strategy

Your effort in writing these clunky statements will not go to waste. Once you have decided on your top three strategies, you can lay out a specific slide to explain each strategy within your presentation. 

  • Include the clunky strategic objective statement (told you it would not go to waste). 
  • The goals measure the ideal result of this strategy.
  • Then, list three tactical programs, where you will invest your resources. 
  • I also insert a “watch out statement” to show I am proactively addressing any issue I feel could derail my presentation.

marketing plan examples

 

Tactics and Execution

“What do we need to do to get there” matches up marketing execution activity to the brand strategy, looking at communicating the brand story, managing the consumer towards the purchase moment, launching new product innovation and delivering the brand experience. We use our Big Idea to drive each of these key areas of the brand. To read more, click on this link:

How to use a brand Idea to capture the consumer’s mind and heart

How to use a brand Idea to capture the consumer’s mind and heart.

Marketing Execution has to make your brand stronger. It has to create a bond with consumers who connect with the soul of the brand, it establishes your brand’s reputation based on a distinct positioning and it influences consumers to alter their behavior to think, feel or act, making the brand more powerfully connected, eventually leading to higher sales, share, and profit.

Start with the path to purchase that matches your brand’s marketing execution to where your consumer stands with your brand.

How to write a smart Brand Plan Marketing Execution

Focus your marketing activities by prioritizing on return on investment and effort (ROI and ROE).

For each strategy, you want to find the “Big Easy”. Start by putting all your ideas on to post it notes. Then map each idea onto the grid.  Are they BIG versus SMALL impact on the business? And are they EASY versus DIFFICULT? The top ideas will be in the BIG EASY top right corner. The goal of this activity is to narrow your focus to the best 3 activities.

Turn your plan into projects

As part of the marketing plan process, your marketing plan should have:

  • Brand budget
  • Goals
  • Calendar of activity
  • Project work plans

A plan is not complete without project plans that include the project owner, project budget, goals, milestones, and hurdles

To find out more about our marketing training programs, click on this link:

Beloved Brands Marketing training program

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

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How to be a better client at the creative advertising meeting

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

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

With the increasing speed of advertising, brand leaders have taken one step in and often find themselves embedded in the creative development. If you are now doing the work, then who is critiquing and who is deciding if the work is good enough and if it fits your strategy? Even using “internal agencies” creates a blind spot. Brand leaders need to step back and let the creativity unfold.

There is a leadership advantage in being the least knowledgeable person in the room. While it may sound strange at first, when you are a layer removed from the specialist who does the work, it allows you to think, question, challenge and make decisions on choosing the right advertising. Focus on the strategy, but stay clear-minded enough to judge if the advertising is good enough or reject if it is not.

It takes a unique leadership skill to be able to inspire, challenge, question, direct and decide, without any expertise at all. As we engage experts, the respect we show can either inspire greatness or crush their creative spirit. From my experience, the best advertising people I have worked with would prefer to be pushed rather than held back. The last thing they want is to be asked for their expertise and then told exactly what to do.

If you knew that being a better advertising client would result in better work, would you do it?

Being good at advertising is something you can learn. I will show you how to judge and how to make decisions to choose the best advertising for your brand. You need advertising with enough branded breakthrough to stand out from the market clutter, so your brand connects with consumers. It must have a motivating message to move consumers along their purchase journey, whether you want them to see, think, feel, do, or influence.

Creative Advertising Decisions

How to handle yourself at the creative meeting

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

What does your gut instinct say?

The reality of a marketing job is you might be coming into the creative meeting from a 3-hour forecasting meeting or deep-dive financial review, or you just got back from working in the lab with scientists on a new ingredient.

It is not easy to change speeds as you head into a creative meeting. Creative Advertising DecisionsRelax, find your creative energy, let it soak in and find those instincts. I created a “gut instincts checklist” to help prompt you for when you need your instincts.

  • Is it the creative idea that earns the consumer’s attention for the ad?
  • Is the creative idea helping to drive maximum brand involvement?
  • Does the creative idea set up the communication of the main consumer benefit?
  • Is the creative idea memorable enough to stick in the consumer’s mind and move them to purchase?

Do you love it?

If you don’t love it, how do you expect your consumer to love it? If you “sorta like” it, then it will be “sorta okay” in the end. But if you love it, you’ll go the extra mile and make it amazing. Ask if you would you be proud of this as your legacy.

Is the advertising on strategy?

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

How big is the creative idea?

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

At the decision point, you have three choices:

  • Approve
  • Reject
  • Change

From my experience, brand leaders rarely approve creative ideas outright. There also seems a reluctance or fear to reject outright. Creative Advertising Decisions

So marketers mistakenly assume their role is to change the ads. I see too many come to the creative meeting with a pen and paper and start to write feverishly all the recommended changes they have for each ad. The problem is if we marketers are not talented enough to come up with the ad in the first place, why do we think we are talented enough to change the ad? You are a generalist, surrounded by experts. Use your experts.

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

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

Challenge yourself to get better at advertising

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 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

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

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 provides a toolbox intended to help you every day in your job.

Keep it 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 book is also an excellent resource for marketing professors, who can use it as an in-class 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 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 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. 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. 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   

The 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 and 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

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

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 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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

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 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

 

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. Then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market. Moreover, it must be 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. In addition, 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. Above all, I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

Graham Robertson signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five success factors for VP Marketing and CMO roles

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

At the Vice President 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 end of each of your meetings, use moments to teach, mentor and share your wisdom.

1. Your people come first

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.

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 VPs 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 VPs 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 VPs 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 VPs 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.marketing VP CMO

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 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 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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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