A deeper look at our brand management training program

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

To achieve your full potential in your brand management career, you must know the skills it takes to think strategically, define your brand positioning, build a brand plan that everyone in your organization can follow, inspire creative marketing execution that drives brand growth, and can analyze the performance of your business to set up smarter thinking. Our brand management training methodology combines explaining the tools you need with workshops that take each tool on a test drive on your brands. You can take specific outputs from the training that you can apply directly on your business. 

Brand leaders need to be able to think, define, plan, execute and analyze

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

Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is an essential foundation for brand management training, forcing marketers to ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. I will show you four ways to enhance your strategic thinking, using the brand’s core strength finder, consumer strategy, competitive strategy, and situational strategy. You will learn how to set a vision for your brand, focus your limited resources on breakthrough points, take advantage of opportunities you see in the market, find early wins to leverage to give your brand a positional power to drive growth and profits for your brand.

Strategic thinking learning outcomes

  • How to use the five elements of smart strategic thinking
  • Leverage our 360-degree strategic ThinkBox model using the brand’s core strength finder, consumer strategy, competitive strategy, and situational strategy. 
  • Build everything around your brand’s core strength
  • Think strategically to tighten your brand’s bond with consumers
  • Use strategy to win the competitive battles you face
  • Think strategically, within the brand’s current situation
  • Write strategic objective statements for each of the four strategies

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Brand positioning

The best brand leaders target a specific motivated consumer audience and then define their brand around a brand idea that is interesting, simple, unique, motivating and ownable. I will show you how to write a winning brand positioning statement with four essential elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTB). You will learn how to build a brand idea that leads every touchpoint of your brand, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment and experience. I will give you the tools for how to write a winning brand concept and brand story.

Brand positioning learning outcomes

  • Write brand positioning statements

  • Define your target market, with insights, enemies, and need states 

  • Define consumer benefits, both functional and emotional

  • Come up with brand support points and claims

  • Understand the relationship between brand soul, brand idea and brand reputation

  • Come up with your brand idea

  • Write brand concept statements

  • Turn your brand concept into a brand story

  • Use the brand positioning and brand idea to build a brand credo

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Brand plans

The best brand leaders write brand plans everyone in the organization can follow with ease, including senior management, sales, R&D, agencies and operational teams. I will teach you how to write each element of the brand plan, including the brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies, and tactics. Real-life examples will give you a framework to use on your brand. You will learn to build execution plans including a brand communications plan, innovation plan, and in-store plan.

Marketing plans learning outcomes:

  • Use five strategic questions as an outline for your entire plan
  • Write an inspirational vision statement to frame your marketing plan
  • Come up with a brand purpose and brand values
  • Summarize your brand’s situation analysis
  • Map out the key issues your brand faces
  • Write smart brand strategy objective statements
  • Focus tactics to ensure a high return on effort
  • Write specific execution plans for marketing communications, innovation, and in-store
  • Do up a profit statement, sales forecast, goals, and marketing budget for your plan
  • Use our ideal one-page brand formats for the annual marketing plan and long-range strategic roadmap

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Marketing execution

The best brand leaders need to inspire experts to produce smart and creative execution. I will provide tools and techniques for judging and making decisions on creative advertising from your agency. For judging execution, I use the ABC’s tool, believing the best executions must drive Attention (A), Brand link (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). I will provide a checklist for you to use when judging executions, then show you how to provide direction to your agency to inspire and challenge great execution. 

Marketing execution learning outcomes:

  • Understand the crucial role of the brand leader in getting great creative execution
  • Successfully manage the 10 stages of the advertising process
  • Write a brand communications plan
  • Turn the brand communications plan into a creative brief
  • Use smart and bad examples of the creative brief
  • Use the ABC’s (Attention, Brand Link, Communication, Stickiness) advertising decision-making tool
  • Give inspiring feedback on advertising that pushes for great work
  • Use our six questions to help frame your media planning
  • Line up media choices to where consumers are most willing to engage with your brand

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Marketing analytics

The best brand leaders can tell strategic stories through analytics. With our brand management training, I will show you how to create a deep-dive business review, looking at the marketplace, consumers, competitors, channels, and brand. From there, I will teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format. And then, I will also provide a Finance 101 for Marketers, giving you every financial formula you need to run your brand.

Marketing analysis learning outcomes:

  • Analyze the marketplace your brand plays in

  • Assess your consumers

  • Assess the retail channels you sell through

  • Analyze the competitors

  • Analyze the health of your brand

  • Use 60 of the best analytical questions to ask

  • Bring the analysis together into the drivers, inhibitors, threats,  and opportunities

  • Use financial formulas for compound CAGR, price increases, COGs. ROI

  • Prepare a deep-dive business review presentation

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Our brand management training bootcamp options

Brand Strategy

3-day bootcamp 

      1. Why being a beloved brand matters
      2. How to think more strategically  
      3. Consumer & competitive strategy
      4. Deciding on your consumer target
      5. Defining your brand positioning
      6. Build everything around brand idea
      7. Build a marketing plan 

Brand Execution

3-day bootcamp

      1. Defining your brand positioning
      2. How to write a smart creative brief
      3. How to run the advertising process
      4. How to make advertising decisions
      5. How to make media decisions
      6. Deep-dive analysis of your brand 
      7. Why being a beloved brand matters

Branding for Agencies

3-day bootcamp 

      1. Why being a beloved brand matters
      2. How to think more strategically  
      3. Consumer journey with insights
      4. Defining your brand positioning
      5. Build everything around brand idea
      6. How to write a smart creative brief
      7. How to run the advertising process

Video Training

Five 2-hour sessions

      1. How to think more strategically  
      2. Defining your brand positioning
      3. Build a marketing plan 
      4. Leading the marketing execution
      5. Deep-dive analysis of your brand 

Read more about our view on marketing skills

We use our Beloved Brands or B2B Brands playbooks to guide our participants through the training

You can find our playbooks on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

It takes a strategic mind to figure out how to manage brand love

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

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

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

Brand Love

I first came up with the idea of a brand love curve when I ran a marketing department with 15 different consumer brands, which exhibited various degrees of success. Honestly, it was hard for me to keep track of where each brand stood. I did not want to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy to brands with dramatically different needs. I could have used some traditional matrix with market share versus category growth rates or stuck with revenue size versus margin rates. 

Every day on the job, I noticed brands that had created a stronger bond with their consumer outperformed brands that lacked such a close connection. I started to refer to the high-performance brands as “beloved” because I could see how emotionally engaged consumers were with the brand.

 

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

Everyone treats beloved brands differently

Everything seemed to work better and easier for beloved brands. New product launches were more impactful because the brand’s loyal consumers were automatically curious about what was new. Retailers gave these the beloved brands preferential treatment because they knew their consumers wanted them. With a beloved brand, retailers knew their consumers would switch stores before they switch brands. Everyone in my organization, from the President to the technician in the lab, cared more about these beloved brands. No one seemed to care about the indifferent brands. Internal brainstorm sessions produced inspiring ideas on beloved brands, yet people would not even show up for brainstorms on indifferent brands.
Our agencies bragged about the work they did on beloved brands. Even my people were more excited to work on these beloved brands, believing a move to the beloved brand was a big career move while being moved to an indifferent brand was a career death sentence.
These beloved brands had better performance results and better consumer tracking scores on advertising. They saw a stronger return on marketing investment, with a better response to marketing programs, higher growth rates, and higher margins. The overall profitability fuelled further investment into beloved brands.

Why does brand love matter?

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

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

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

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

The brand love curve

For new brands, they were completely “unknown” to consumers. Unless there were genuinely compelling messages, consumers would walk past without even looking. To achieve some success, the priority for these brands is to get noticed within the clutter of the market.  

At the “indifferent” stage, consumers feel O.K. about the brand, similar to how they usually feel about commodities, like fruit and vegetables. These brands satisfy the consumer’s basic needs. Consumers will only buy the brand when it is on sale, but switch back to their other brand choice when it is not. Make your brand more than just a commodity. Brands need to be better, different, or cheaper. Otherwise, they will not be around for long, and you waste your investment. 

Brands that reach the “like it” stage experience the first sign of business success. Their consumers see the brand as a logical, functional, and smart choice. However, the lack of any emotional connection leaves the purchase up to chance. Consumers will still switch brands randomly. Brands at the like it stage stress the product performance so much they forget to trigger any emotions. 

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

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

 

The brand love curve steers 20 potential consumer activities

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

Unknown brands

All brands start at the unknown stage. Many new brands struggle to break through to reach consumers or build the distribution due to doubting retailers. They face leadership team conflicts, confusion around the value proposition, inconsistent messages to consumers, and everyone in the organization seems to move in different directions. The risk is that you will be seen as a product—not yet a brand idea. 
Too often, companies at this early stage fixate more on selling with desperation to anyone who wants to buy. Sure, the cash flow helps. However, when the consumer sees the brand as a commodity, the product has no real differentiation from competitors. This strategy will make it hard to command a price premium or gain any efficiency. Substantial investment is needed to establish both brand awareness and broad distribution. The unknown brands need to stand out in the crowd.


A three-point game plan for unknown brands: 

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

Action plan for unknown brands:

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

Indifferent brands

Indifferent brands act like commodities. They are usually too product-focused and not yet able to find a way to separate the brand from competitors. These brands suffer from very skinny brand funnels with low awareness at the top of the brand funnel, with low purchase rates, low repeat scores, and low brand loyalty scores. 
These brands struggle to gain new users or drive frequency. Without a brand idea or unique positioning, the advertising suffers from poor tracking scores, and the innovation shows little payback. Lower payback makes it hard to justify marketing investment in advertising, innovation, or in-store. 
Indifferent brands rely on price promotions to drive volume, resulting in a margin squeeze. They struggle to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down the variable cost of goods. They have no power with retailers, so they are unable to get their fair share of shelf space, display, or price promotions. Private label brands threaten their sales levels. The indifferent brands need to establish the brand positioning and, in turn, the reputation in a consumer’s mind.  

 

A three-point game plan for indifferent brands:

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

Action plan for indifferent brands:

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

Like it brands

Brands at the like it stage have established a degree of success in the market, and they have created a rational brand positioning with consumers. 
However, they lack the emotional connection to build a bond with consumers. They make gains during heavy marketing support periods but fall back down during the non-support periods. These brands appear content to hold onto their share and grow at the rate of the category. 
These brands have awareness but they lose out to competitors as the consumer moves to the purchase stage. As a result, they usually require a higher promotional trade spend to close the sale, which cuts into profit margins. 
A vital consumer tracking score to watch is “made the brand seem different,” which will help separate your brand from the pack. The brand needs to begin to layer in the emotional benefits and focus on creating a stronger following with each happy purchase. 

 

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

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

Action plan for brands at the like it stage:

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

Love it brands

Brands at the love it stage start to see a higher emotional connection with a base of brand fans. These brands also start to gain a stronger usage frequency, as the brand becomes a more significant part of the consumer’s life routines. With strong consumer tracking results, the brand can leverage more efficient marketing spend. You will notice loyal consumers are highly responsive to advertising and innovation. This thinking makes the marketing spend much more efficient, opening up a pathway to higher profits. 
These brands should be able to leverage their power with retailers and influencers. Even in a competitive market, these brands should be able to gain share and widen their leadership stance. With high net promoter scores, they should be able to leverage word-of-mouth or social media recommendations, and positive online brand reviews (Yelp or Trip Advisor) to influence new users. Brands at the love it stage must look for unique ways to reward consumers and further tighten their bond with their most loyal brand lovers.

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

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


Action plan for brands at the love it stage:

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

Beloved brands

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

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

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

A three-point game plan for brands at the beloved stage:

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

Action plan for brands at the beloved stage:

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

How tightly connected is your brand with your consumers?

This type of thinking can be found in our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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

Forget the 4 P’s. Embrace the 5 consumer touchpoints

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands Explained

Most of us started learning about marketing by looking at the 4 P’s: product, price, place, and promotion. In my first marketing class, the professor used a famous brand as an example and showed how they started with a product, decided on the price, set up the distribution channel, and then promoted the product. It is a great starting point for your first marketing class, but it just does not go far enough. It is a rather static model. However, most importantly, it doesn’t start with the consumer. That always bothered me. Whether I can convince you or not to let go of something so engrained, I want to show you how you can run your brand with the five consumer touchpoints-including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and the consumer experience.

Yes, a brand still needs a product, a price, distribution, and promotion. I have seen people adding P’s. Some marketers are laying claim to be the fifth P, and I have even seen up to eight P’s. The 4 P’s are obsessed with what you do, and mistakenly starts you on the path of always thinking about YOU YOU YOU! My biggest concern with the 4 P’s is that it almost ignores the consumer.

 

brand idea map

Make everything you do about your consumer

Over my 20 years, I believe the only source of revenue is the consumer, not the product. Yes, we sell the product, but someone buys our brand. Maybe we should change the first line on the P&L to purchases instead of sales. It’s just about the mindset of how you wish to run your brand. I believe that everything has to start and end with the consumer in mind. Here is a choice, do you represent your brand to the consumer, or do you represent your consumer back to the brand? I have met both and believe that those who represent their consumer are the best marketers.  

The consumer's world has changed dramatically

With old-school marketing, the brand would advertise on TV to drive awareness and interest, use bright, bold packaging in-store with reinforced messages to close the sale. If the product satisfied consumers’ needs, they would repeat and build the brand into their day-to-day routines.

Today’s market is a cluttered mess. The consumer is bombarded with brand messages all day, and inundated with more information from influencers, friends, experts, critics, and competitors. While the internet makes shopping easier, consumers must now filter out tons of information daily. Moreover, the consumer’s shopping patterns have gone from a simple, linear purchase pattern into complex, cluttered chaos. 

Five main touchpoints 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. With a 4 P’s mentality, this is how messy things get for the consumer. It becomes impossible to organize everything, so the consumer begins to see consistency. 

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.

Use your brand idea to organize everything the consumer touches

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

Building a brand idea your consumer can love

To me, the brand idea simplifies everything, not just for the consumer but for everyone working on the brand. The dictionary definition of the word “idea” means a thought, opinion, belief, or mental impression. A brand idea must be all those things. A brand must get consumers to agree on the brand reputation and get employees who work behind the scenes of the brand to agree and deliver. Let’s assume they are the same thing. What we are creating is the most significant, most prominent, and yet most succinct definition of the brand. To become a successful and beloved brand, you need a brand idea that is interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating, and ownable. I don’t even know how you can run a brand if you can’t clearly define it in 7-10 seconds. 

 

Use your brand idea to organize everything you do that maches up to the five consumer touchpoints

  • 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. 
  • Brand story: The brand story must come to life to motivate consumers to think, feel, or act while establishing 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.  
  • 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.         
 

Let's look at how Apple builds everything their brand idea

The brand idea for Apple is “making technology so simple that everyone can be part of the future.” Steve Jobs insisted they take a consumer-first mentality, as they transform leading technology advancements into “consumer-accessible” technology, helping fuel the perception among the mass audience that Apple is an innovative leader.

Apple has done a great job in taking that simplicity brand idea and stretching it across their brand story through advertising, and their innovation plan (as they have entered many new technology categories). They have also used their brand idea to guide how they manage the purchase moment (to make sure their retail outlets are easy for consumers), and how they create happy experiences for consumers. And when they don’t nail the ideal consumer experience, they go out of their way to help out. They also have the genius bar and on-site lessons, which help increase the knowledge of consumers.

 

Build out your brand story by bringing the brand idea to life

You should use your brand idea to help you make creative and media decisions together. You will see the ads in context to figure out the best combinations for your brand. Also, you will be able to see the possible breadth of each creative idea, which can provide a clue to the campaign’s longevity. In today’s cluttered media world, the brand idea should help organize all four types of media, including paid, earned, shared, and owned.  

Build your innovation around the consumer needs

Use your brand idea to guide the product development team to manage innovation ideas at the exploratory stage, (beyond five years), pipeline ideas (two to five years) and go-to-market launch plans (within the next two years). As the brand leader, you need to influence, manage, and even direct your product development team to ensure they focus on the brand strategy. 

Use a stage-gate innovation system with regular brainstorming, and consistent stages of approval, that have diligence and oversight on decisions. Identify new opportunities through continually observing and finding unmet consumer needs, market trends, and pain points, which new product ideas can solve. 

  • Use regular brainstorming to build a robust pipeline of ideas. From the best innovation ideas, develop concepts to test with consumers, measuring new ideas on uniqueness, motivation to purchase, ownability, potential size, and strategic fit with the brand. Listen to consumer feedback to optimize, adjust, or pivot the learning into new ideas.  
  • Build an innovation pipeline, pushing the best ideas through concept refinement, using market testing and a decision process with management. Approvals include execution plan and milestones from production to launch. Drive a robust pipeline, with a balance of lower risk launches and higher risk exploratory ideas. 

  • Create a go-to-market launch plan with project management, including name, logos, packaging, production, and channels. Build marketing support for advertising, launch presentations, and retail plans.

Managing your purchase moment by lining up with how consumers wish to buy your brand

Choose your business model based on how your customer wants to buy, not how you want to sell. Yes, one of the P’s is distribution, but if you think like a consumer, you might choose more than one. A great case study is the Apple brand, which now uses all seven of these business models, as they sell to both consumers and businesses, sell both products and services, sell directly, through retailers, and their own retail stores. Apple allows customers to engage the brand in whichever way the customers choose to purchase.

Hema stores in China are laid out to accommodate how the consumer wishes to purchase

I had a chance to visit a Hema store in China, which is Alibaba’s “new retail” intended to be the perfect blend of offline and online. It puts the consumer in the driver’s seat to shop how they want. Hema by Alibaba is the most innovative grocery store is in China

You can online, go pick it up or get it delivered within 30 mins. Or Shop in person, and get it delivered. Third, pick out the food yourself, hand it over, get it cooked by a chef, and enjoy it with your family. This concept felt similar to Marche in Switzerland or a few degrees beyond what Whole Foods do with cooked options. They are using technology to take it a few steps further.

What Hema has done is gone through the purchase journey and mapped out how the consumer wants to engage at every stage–including discover, learn, shop, buy, made, and deliver before consuming. 

 

Hema store in action

Have a look at the video of Alibaba's Hema store

Manage the consumer experience through your people and culture

Your brand idea should steer the internal culture to inspire and steer everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand. Brand leaders must manage the consistent delivery of the brand idea over every consumer touchpoint. Everyone should be looking at the brand idea to guide and focus their decisions. More companies need to focus on their internal brand to make sure management, customer service, sales, HR, operations, or an outside agency are all moving in the same direction.

The best brands consistently deliver because the best brands spend as much effort in marketing to themselves because they know it it is their people who will deliver the brand. When you build your brand idea, I recommend you use a cross-functional team, including salespeople, R&D, human resources, finance, and operations. Their participation is one way to gain their buy-in. But that’s not where it stops.

Use your internal brand communications tools to drive a shared definition of the brand idea. Get everyone to articulate how their role delivers that brand idea. Give the external and internal brand story equal importance to the consumer experience you create for your brand.

Everyone who works on the brand should use the brand idea as inspiration, and to guide decisions and activities across every function of your organization. It is the people within the brand organization who will deliver the brand idea to the consumer. Everyone needs a shared understanding of and talking points for the brand.

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization.

Ritz-Carlton has created a culture of "wow stories" at the purchase moment

A great story that makes its way around the Ritz-Carlton world. A guest who had just left the hotel called to say that their son had left his stuffed giraffe in the room. The boy could not stop crying. The only thing these distraught parents could think of to tell their son is that the giraffe was staying on the vacation a little longer. So the staff found the giraffe and overnighted it to the boy. Most luxury hotels would have done that. But that was not enough for Ritz-Carlton.

Knowing what the Mom had told their son about staying on a bit longer, the staff also included a photo album of the giraffe enjoying his extra stay. They took photos sitting by the pool, getting a massage in the spa with cucumbers on his eyes, and laying out on the beach. Imagine how the parents felt. And the signal it sends to them about the Ritz-Carlton staff. Imagine how many friends they may share that story with.

To inspire each other, everyone at Ritz-Carlton goes through a daily line up where they share wow stories, both local stories, and stories from other hotels around the world. This line up keeps everyone in line, but it also keeps people fully engaged. 

Harvard did a study on Employee Engagement, stating that the average company had 29% of their employees who were fully engaged and they labeled this group as the ‘Super Stars’. Using the same criteria, Ritz Carlton has 92% of their staff are considered fully engaged. No wonder they are able to win so many service awards and no wonder they can create such an experience for their consumers. They have fully created a culture that now defines the brand.

Use a brand credo document to steer everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand

  • Start with your brand idea and turn it into an inspiring promise statement, which explains to your people how they can positively impact your customers.
  • Use your brand’s core point of difference to outline the expectations of how everyone can support and deliver the point of difference. For instance, a great exercise is to get every department to articulate its role in delivering the brand idea.
  • Connect with your people by tapping into personal motivation for what they can do to support your brand purpose, brand values, and core beliefs. Make it very personal.

Your brand idea can highlight the flaws of the consumer experience

The other beauty of having a crystal clear brand idea is that everything that goes against that brand idea almost acts as an obvious virus. Looking below, here are four examples of where Apple is missing out on “simplicity,” which puts the brand idea at risk. These should trigger action plans to build into your brand plan.

Using the leaky bucket tool to assess how your consumer shops

Every marketer should regularly shop their own category. It is shocking when you see such bad service, open inadequate packaging, or meander around a website; you can tell the marketer has never purchased their own brand. 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.

T-Mobile built a new structure to create consumer-focused teamwork to deliver a better consumer experience

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.

 

If you are fixated using your 4 P's approach, you will miss out on the consumer centric focus that modern brands like Apple, T-Mobile, Alibaba, and Ritz-Carlton are using to achieve success

Brand training

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

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

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

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

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

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

BMW launches a new logo design, but why did they bother?

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

BMW has destroyed one of the most iconic brand logos in the world. 

I will leave the ‘art’ debate to those experts in design. From an art view, I am not even sure which logo design I like better. As a brand leader, this move is far too much of a dramatic change for a brand that does not need a dramatic change in its logo design. 

I find many marketers who change a logo do so as a distraction because they don’t know what to do with the brand. 

For a company not known for radical moves and who sells to older, more conservative consumers, the new BMW logo feels like a dramatic departure when they didn’t need a dramatic departure. Forget the debate over the art. Why the heck did they do this? My only guess is they are kinda bored and not really sure what to do with the brand.  

New BMW Logo

From 1917 until yesterday, we can see the consistency in the logo design that has created a highly distinctive brand asset for BMW. Not only is it easily recognizable (even on a lousy cell phone), the logo has been a symbol of success for generations who have desired to own a BMW. 

Out of interest, there is still debate over the meaning of blue and white quarters of the inner circle. For years, some have told the story of how it represents a spinning propeller from the vantage of the pilot as they look out at the blue skies. BMW had originally started as an airplane company. The other explanation is that the blue and white show the colors of the Free State of Bavaria, the site of BMW’s head office. Considering the art direction happened in 1917, we will never know the real answer. 

Here’s how the new logo looks on BMW’s bronze-hued eclectic i4 concept car. 

I will admit; it looks rather nice. But it just doesn’t look like a BMW logo. 

If you are a BMW brand lover, this new logo might be a shock to your system. We shall see if this new brand logo sticks. So far, many at BMW are saying it is just for promotional materials and digial advertising.

Is this new BMW logo just a case of boardroom boredom?

Remembering back to BMW Films

If BMW is looking to modernize their brand, look back at what they did in 2001 with one of the most innovative approaches to content marketing. They gave $1 million to movie directors with the only requirement is they have to use the latest BMW model car. This was game changer. A new logo…not really. 

Explore how our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks can help you

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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

How to build your brand around your core strength

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

To be loved, brands must know who they are and then stand with pride, conviction, and confidence. You need to build everything you do behind your core strength.

Too many brands try to have a few core strengths cluttering up their brand positioning, so they end up with no real perceived strength that stands out. Our core strength model forces you to select one of four possible options for you to win with: product, brand story, experience, or price.

For many marketers, their immediate response is an urge to pick two or three core strengths, believing the myth that having many strengths makes your brand stronger. A focus will make your brand stronger.

         
Core Strength Finder

Here is the game I have created to help choose your brand’s core strength.

  • Using the diagram, start with four chips. You must place one chip where you believe you have the highest competitive advantage to win. 
  • Then put two chips at the medium level that backs up and supports the core strength. 
  • Finally, the game forces one chip to be at the low end, which is almost a throwaway weakness that will not be part of the strategy. 

It is a great game to try with your team, as it sets up a great debate among your team members.

  • Product-led brands should invest in R&D while communicating the consumer benefits, features, and claims for what makes the brand better. 
  • Story-led brands need to invest in advertising, with the story, idea, or brand purpose communicating what makes the brand different. 
  • Experience-led brands have to invest in creating a culture with strong operations. Build your brand communications around the idea that, “Our great people make the difference in creating amazing experiences.” 
  • Price-led brands must invest in operational efficiency with the brand communications explaining how “We are smarter and able to deliver the same quality at a lower cost.” 

Product-Led Brands

When you are a Product-led brand, you must own the “better” position in your category. Invest heavily in continuous innovation to maintain category leadership in new technology, superiority claims, and the latest product formats. These brands must aggressively defend against any challengers. Leverage product-focused mass communication, directly highlighting the product’s superiority and comparing product features to those of other competitors. 

Within your mass communications, you can layer in “how the product is built” into the brand story to reinforce your brand’s product point of difference. Use online product reviews sites, bloggers, and expert influencers to reach the trend influencer consumers on all new product innovations. 

When selling to consumers, use a rational approach, highlighting technical features, new claims, and the logic behind the purchase decision. One issue to watch out for in product-led brands is the struggle to build and drive an emotional connection with consumers. 

As the brand matures, it must find ways to layer a brand idea on top of the product to inspire the consumer to connect on a deeper level. Fantastic product-led brands include Samsung, Tide, Five Guys, or Ruth’s Chris. The product manages to create a high degree of consumer loyalty, even if the brand struggles to project an emotional message.

Rolex is an excellent example of a product-led brand that has done an incredible job of building emotion into their brand. Consider Rolex’s language choices. “Crafted from the finest raw materials” and “assembled with scrupulous attention to detail,” convey the brand’s commitment to product design and production, ensuring the Rolex brand epitomizes prestige and success. Rolex uses beautiful writing for a product-led brand. Their brand communications are subtle in tone, sticking to high-profile, refined sponsorships events like Wimbledon tennis and the Master’s golf.

Story-Led Brands

When the brand story is your brand’s key strength, focus the strategy on ways to be different. Invest in gathering consumer insights, equal to how a product-led brand spends on patents. To tell the brand story, use emotional brand communication that connects the most motivated consumers with the brand idea, lining up everything—brand story, product, and experience—under that brand idea.

Story-led brands should cultivate a community of core “brand lovers” who can then talk about the brand story and influence others within their network. These brands should use a soft sell approach and never bring the price to the forefront, as it can take away from the idea. 

Some of the more successful story-led brands include Apple, Nike, Virgin, Dove, and W Hotels – which are also some of the most beloved brands of our generation.

Most recently, the Tesla brand has borrowed a lot of Apple’s core principles. Tesla builds everything around the story of “Tesla will save the planet with innovation.” Tesla uses many innovative approaches, including the visionary charm of their leader, Elon Musk, who appears to be the new generation’s answer to Steve Jobs. Musk has become a spokesperson for a generation of consumers who want to save the planet. Tesla’s environmental activities around the world go far beyond expectations.

A great example of the mystique of the Tesla brand is how quickly it mobilized to help out Puerto Rico after a hurricane knocked out the island’s power in 2017. Even as various levels of government were arguing over who should do what, Tesla brought 700 solar panels to the Hospital del Niño, where the batteries restored service to 3,000 patients who needed constant care.

In 2016, Tesla topped Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey at an incredible 91% rating, 5% higher than a Porsche, and 15% higher than Toyota and Honda. The same year, over 400,000 consumers put down $1,000 for a specific Tesla model that did not yet exist. On top of that, these new cars would not roll off the factory lines for another three to four years. Consumers see Tesla as more than just a vehicle, but rather an investment in a movement for the future. Even as Tesla struggles to meet demand, the company keeps adding to its brand story.

Consumer Experience-Led Brands

When the consumer experience is your brand’s lead strength, the strategy and organization should focus on creating a link between your culture and your brand. Your people are your product. Use your brand purpose (“Why you do what you do”) and brand values to inspire and guide the service behaviors of your people. Then build a culture and organization with the right people who can deliver incredible experiences. 

Experience-led brands need to be patient with how fast they build the brand, as the quick mass media approach might not be as fast or efficient as the product-led or idea-led brands. The most effective communication tools for consumer experience-led brands include word of mouth, earned media, social media, online consumer reviews, the voice of key influencers, and consumer testimonials. These brands can make a mistake if they put too much emphasis on price, which can diminish the perceived consumer experience. 

Some of the best consumer experience-led brands include Ritz-Carlton, Emirates Airline, Airbnb, Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks.

Airbnb does a fantastic job of delivering a fabulous consumer experience. They deliver on their brand idea of “Don’t just go there. Live there.” Airbnb takes all the hard work travelers have been doing, and they put it right in front of the consumer. You can sort by city, even down to the neighborhood, sort by the type of residence, specify a few needs (Wi-Fi, pet-friendly), then enter your price range. With most of the rentals, you can see 15-20 photos to give you an idea of the space. You make your choice, select the dates, provide government ID to confirm your identity and then your offer goes to the owner. Moments later, or when they wake up, they reply saying yes. There is a bit of hunting that goes on, but it adds a thrill to the travel experience. Overall, it is so much easier than everything the traveler, looking to rent a house or flat, has done in the past.

Airbnb has nailed the creation of the brand idea of “Don’t just go there. Live there.” Airbnb’s data says 86% of the consumers who use Airbnb pick the platform because they want to live more like a local. That insight of living rather than visiting inspired the brand’s latest and largest marketing campaign, “Live There.”

Price-led Brands

When price is your brand’s lead strength, you must focus on ways to drive efficiency to ensure the lowest possible cost structure. These brands should invest in the fundamentals around production and sourcing to maintain a low-cost competitive advantage. They must use the brand’s power to win negotiations. These businesses have to drive cash flow with fast moving items that deliver high turns and high volume to compensate for their lower prices. The winning price-led brands need to own the low price positioning by fiercely attacking any potential competitive challenges. 

Regarding advertising, the smartest message explains your secret for how you are smarter than your competitors, and you can offer lower prices. Also, use call-to-action marketing to keep high sales turns. 

There is a big difference between low-price and cheap. Price-driven consumers are not always willing to sacrifice product quality. They expect lower prices but still want robust performance standards. However, these price-driven consumers have shown they are willing to accept a lower-quality consumer experience. Since price is such a rational reason to buy, consumers do struggle to love the price-led brands.  

Walmart is one of the best price-led brands. No one is more efficient at brick-and-mortar retail. While many department store competitors sell through their inventory in 100 to 125 days, Walmart sells through its inventory in 29 days – one day before they even have to pay for it. 

Walmart successfully beat century-old retailers, such as Sears, Kmart, and JC Penney. It also destroyed the “mom and pop” shops of small towns across America. The company’s outward sales pitch is price, but efficiency drives its internal culture, and their real secret is to focus on fast-moving items. Walmart uses its brand power to bully suppliers, who give in just to be part of Walmart’s high sales volumes. 

Now Walmart faces its toughest battle with Amazon, in what some are calling, “Clicks versus Bricks,” as online has disrupted traditional retail. While Walmart has struggled to create an emotional bond with consumers, one significant advantage for Amazon is its reputation as one of the most beloved brands on the planet. Amazon uses smart pricing with extraordinary customer service to delight its consumer base. Walmart will be in the most desperate battle of its life.

How your investment stance lines up to your core strength

We start to see one of the significant benefits of finding your core strength is that you can focus your investments in the right areas. When you are a product-led brand, you need to invest in product innovation with a robust R&D team. When you are brand story-led, you need to make sure your advertising, PR, social media is delivering. For experience-led brands, it’s about the culture, with values, service behaviors, and motivation fo your people. Price-led brands are not cheaper; they have lower costs. You need to focus on efficiency through high volume, fast-moving items, and lower costs. 

How your core strength helps focus your communication

The benefit of finding your core strength is the focus it provides your brand communications. When you are a product-led brand, the main message is “what you make is better than everyone else.” When you are brand story-led, you need to structure your story, brand idea purpose to show how it makes you different. For experience-led brands, it’s about your people making the difference. Price-led brands gain more trust when you can show how you are smart enough to find and explain the efficiencies that give you a lower price. 

This type of thinking can be found in our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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

Explaining the secret behind Panera’s crazy unlimited coffee subscription for $9 per month

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Panera is not really known for coffee. Yet, this month, Panera is launching a highly innovative subscription model that gives consumers unlimited coffee for $9 per month. This classic loss-leader strategy will cut through the clutter of fast-food marketing and create some energy for Panera. With many coffee addicts, this will certainly make you take a second look. 

There is a method to the madness behind this strategy. It will bring new consumers into their restaurants who will then be tempted to buy their high-priced, high-margin treats, and food. For current Panera consumers, coffee is a great addictive product to build a routine around, and this might drive up the trips per buyer. can’t do these because they don’t have enough sales per consumer. 

Panera

Some of the numbers behind the madness

Panera is the #10 quick-serve restaurant (QSR) in the U.S., just Dunkin’ who sits at #8, and dramatically behind #2 Starbucks. In the last few years, Panera has experimented with a few options with a revamped breakfast menu, faster drive-thru, the use of their app, and even table service for in-restaurant dining. All reasonable attempts, but not enough to make a quantum leap in the highly competitive QSR market. Every brand is trying something to move ahead.  

As I dug into the numbers, the first thing that stood out for me is that Panera’s sales per store is at $2.74 million, which matches up with McDonald’s, and is twice that of Starbucks who sells only $1.35 million per store, and nearly three times that of Dunkin’ who sells only $933k per store. Given how we might not even think of Panera as having coffee makes me Panera must sell a whole lot of pastries and sandwiches. 

Panera’s current price for a cup of coffee is $2. Without access to Panera’s numbers, let’s assume the cost of goods for a cup of coffee (product alone) is a generous 25 cents per cup. The break-even on margin alone is 36 cups per month. So even at once a day, Panera can cover the cost. Panera’s 150 store test showed that subscription-based consumers visited the store every other day, which would be 15 cups per month. 

The test showed that consumers who signed up dramatically increased their food consumption at Panera. With a revamped breakfast menu, this is an excellent opportunity to move Panera’s after 11 am base (75% of Panera’s sales are after 11 am) 

Panera’s 38-million-member loyalty program, which connects across channels, is among the largest in the business. For perspective, Starbucks has 18.9 million active U.S. members. That’s shocking. 

Playing with the math of marketing

Marketers have to be good at being able to forecast. Using consumption data helps you understand what’s going on in the marketplace and will match up to what’s happening at the store level. A brand can get more people to use your brand (drive penetration) or try to change the way they use your brand (drive purchase frequency). The tool below uncovers the data; then, you need to put a story to that data.

  • A: Penetration is the percentage of households who purchased your brand product at least once during a measured period. 
  • B: Buying rate or sales per buyer is the total amount of product purchased by the average buying household over an entire analysis period, expressed in dollars, units, or equivalent volume. 
  • C: Purchase frequency or trips per buyer is the number of times the average buying household purchases your product over a time period (usually one year).
  • D: Purchase size or sales per trip is the average amount of product purchased on a single shopping trip by your average buyer. It can be calculated in dollars, units, or equivalent volume.
The total sales number is a combination of the size of the market, what percent of that market you can penetrate, and how much you can get them to buy.

With Panera, let’s play around with a few best-case and worst-case scenarios based on assumptions. For starters, I’m also going to assume all outlier purchases will be the same in either model. The one-time rare $112 purchase or the $2 total bill will be the same in either model because this program influences neither. 

Here are the assumptions: 

  • Currently: The coffee price is $2, and the cost of goods is $0.25. Panera consumers currently buy coffee 5x a month and buy food every second trip. When they buy food, they spend $12 each trip, and the margin on their food is 40%. 
  • Best case: The program attracts a gain of 5% of new consumers, and they double their coffee buying to 10 cups per month. The buying rate of food stays the same at 50% of the time, and the price per trip stays the same. The profit gain from the best case is a gain of 67%. 
  • Mid case: The program attracts only a 2% gain of new consumers, and they love the $9 program so much, they triple their coffee trips to 15 cups a month. With more visits, the buying rate can’t hold, and it now falls, as consumers only buy food 25% of the time. The mid-case scenario shows a profit gain of 23%. 
  • Worst case: Panera gets no new consumers, and current consumers now buy 30 cups a month. As the program attracts coffee only trips, the food buying rate falls dramatically to once every eight visits. Even with this worst-case scenario, Panera would see a profit gain of 7%. That’s still 2-3x the growth rate of the economy. 

What Panera's actual test results showed

In their test, Panera saw frequency jump by more than 200 percent for customers after they signed up compared to before. Next, Panera witnessed a 70 percent increase in food attachment for subscribers, which Panera called “staggering.” Another alluring result was the fact close to 75 percent of coffee redemption occurred off-premises through their app using the drive-thru or delivery programs that are set up. 

At this point, Panera believes they are the only ones who can launch this program. 

“We’re the only people who have coffee and food. We’re the only ones who have an e-commerce platform that’s robust enough to handle this along with omnichannel ways for you to get it. So whether it’s Rapid Pick-Up, drive-thru, delivery, or on-premise. And we’re the only one with a loyalty program to really enable it.”

This is a disruptive strategy

Disruptor brands move into a blue ocean space, alone. They use a new product, distribution channel, target market, or price point. They are so different that they appear to be the only brand that can satisfy the consumer’s changing needs. When successful, the disruptor brand repositions the major players, making them appear unattached to consumers. 

What I like about this program is Panera recognizes that no one else can do this. McDonald’s $1 Coke is the closest thing, believing every Coke drinker will buy more food to compensate for the lost sales. Starbucks can’t do this, because they are a coffee-first brand, and don’t sell enough food to offset any lost sales in coffee. They might have to charge $50 or $75 a month, which might be less than my daughter currently spends, but certainly won’t disrupt the market!!!  Dunkin’ can’t do these because they don’t have enough sales per consumer. 

 

Does Panera have enough coffee awareness to make these numbers work?

This type of thinking can be found in our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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

How to build your personal brand positioning statement

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

As you manage your career, it is crucial for you to control the management of your personal reputation before others define who you are. In this article, I will show you how to build your personal brand positioning statement. 

Just like a brand, you have to believe if you do not define your reputation, then you run the risk  that others will define you. And you might not like it. 

I remember when I was on the job market, one of the most frustrating things I experienced was short-sighted people who attempted to define me. I would hear, “you are a CPG marketer” or “you are a creative marketer”, or “you lack this experience or that industry.” 

 

personal brand pitch

Even with 15 years of experience, I felt I could easily maneuver around. However, every time I went outside of the comfort zone with a potential employer target, it was frustrating when they spent more effort telling me what I couldn’t do it, rather than focusing on why I could. I felt I was losing control of the conversation. 

I eventually took control and defined myself with how I wished to see myself in the future. 

In this article, I will show you some of the thinking homework you can do to figure out a winning brand positioning space for you to play in and win with. I borrow the Beloved Brands tools I use to define a brand and put them to test in defining you as a personal brand. I will go back in time to use my own personal brand from 2010 when I was last looking for a job. Along the way, I hope to trigger thoughts that match up to your own experiences you bring. 

The elements of your personal brand positioning statement

Four elements make up a brand positioning statement, including the prospective employers who you serve, where you play, where will you win and why consumers should believe you. These are the employer target, workplace definition, your main benefit, and support points. 

  1. Who is your employer or client target? What type of industry, company or hiring manager would be the most motivated by what you offer? Do not just think about who you want, but rather think about who would want you.
  2. Where will you play? What is the competitive set that defines the space in the market where your brand competes? Positioning is always relative to the others you are competing against.
  3. Where will you win? What is the main benefit promise you will make to the prospective target to make you stand out as interesting, simple, unique, motivating, and ownable? Do not talk about what you have done in the past (features); instead, talk about what the employer or client gets (functional benefits), and how that employer or client will feel (emotional benefits).
  4. Why should they believe us? Understand what support points and features you need to back up your main promise. These support points should close any possible doubts, questions, or concerns the employer has after hearing your main promise.

Before you randomly write out a brand positioning statement based on your intuition, I will force you to think deeper to help focus your decisions on the best possible space for your brand to win and own.  

Use the personal brand benefits ladder to begin to focus

I borrow this tool from my positioning work with consumers. In this case, the personal brand benefits ladder helps turn your potential features into propsect benefits in the mind of a hiring manager or potential client who might engage you. Stop talking about what you do and start talking about what they get or how it will make them feel. The four steps to building a personal brand benefits ladder: 

  1. Define your ideal employer or client target profile with industry type, level of the hiring manager, stated need states, and employer insights.  
  2. Using your latest resume, look at all your possible features you offer. Focus on those features you believe give you a competitive advantage in the hiring or promotion process.
  3. Move up to the functional benefits by putting yourself in the shoes of the employer. For each feature on your list, ask, “So, what do I get from that?” Challenge yourself to come up with better benefits by asking the question until you move into a richer zone.
  4. Then move up to the emotional benefits. Look at each functional benefit and ask, “So, how does that make me feel?” As you did in step 3, keep asking the question until you see a more in-depth emotional space you can win with and own.

Functional benefits

To help brand leaders, I have taken nine functional need state zones and expanded the list to over 50 potential functional benefits you can use to build your personal brand around. As you look through the list, gravitate to the functional benefits you think will fit the needs of the potential employer or client, and gravitate to the space where you can do it better than any potential competitors. 

Start with the zones and supporting words on the cheat sheet below, and then layer in your creative language based on specific category words or specific consumer words and phrases they use.

Personal Brand benefits

Emotional Benefits

I have used Hotspex research methodology to create an emotional cheat sheet with eight emotional benefits zones, that includes optimism, freedom, be noticed, be liked, comfort, be myself, be in control, and knowledge. Use the words within each zone to provide added context. 

Personal Brand

Benefit cluster brainstorm

Start by looking at the two cheat sheets and narrow down to potential clusters of the functional and emotional benefits. Match what consumers want and what your brand does best. Take three of the zones from each cheat sheet and add 2-3 support words per zone to create a cluster. In this example, I go back to how I felt about my own personal brand when I was last looking for a job before I started my consulting firm. 

Benefit sort

For each cluster, use the words to inspire a brainstorm of specific personal brand benefit statements that fit you, using the specific personal, industry, or category words. For my own personal brand, I have chosen to build around functional clusters, such as works better, drives results and helps execution, and emotional clusters such as control, knowledge, and optimism.

Once I have a list of statements, I can try to test out whether these statements are potentially motivating to a potential prospect and how do I feel any of these statements could be ownable for me in the long term. Will they care, and can I do it better than anyone else? 

This process can help provide clarity when writing out the potential statements I want my brand to stand for. 

Final personal brand positioning statement

Personal Brand

To read about transforming your positioning statement into a personal brand pitch

Try it out. What is your personal brand positioning statement?

You can help build your marketing skills with our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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

How to run your B2B (business to business) brand

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

I get so many B2B brands tell me, “That may work for a consumer-driven brand, but can our brand be loved?” I can hear the doubt and insecurity in their voice. I believe the best B2B brands must deliver on a promise, build a reputation for something specific over time, and create a deep bond with their most cherished customers. 

If the best brands win because of the passionate and lasting love they have established with their most cherished customers, shouldn’t that be even more important for a B2B brand?  


b2b branding

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

The fundamentals of brand management matter more now than ever. Old-school marketers learned the 4Ps of product, place, price, and promotion. It is a useful start, but far too product-focused. New-school marketers have to deliver on customers insight that connect, both functional and emotional benefits instead of features, and focus on building a culture that delivers exceptionally happy customer experiences. 

What is a B2B brand?

In the diagram, you will see seven types of brand models. For business-to-business (B2B) brands, we will cover four primary types:

  • B2C thru B: Sell your products through a third-party partner, whose reps then sell your brand to consumers.
  • B2B Products: Sell your products as an ingredient or component your customers will use to make their brand better.
  • B2B Services: Sell your services to companies or individuals at the company who want help to achieve success.
  • DTC: Sell your products directly to specific B2B customers who are using the product in their jobs or companies. 

B2B Customers have changed

It takes a smart strategy to balance the rational and emotional management of the brand-to-customer relationship. The most beloved brands are so exceptional because of how well they treat their most loyal customers. They make them feel loved. The customers of today must be won over. They are surrounded by the clutter of 5,000 brand messages a day that fight for a glimpse of their attention. That is 1.8 million per year or one message every 11 waking seconds. 

Even B2B brands must compete for your customer’s attention, as customers are continuously distracted—walking, talking, texting, searching, watching, replying—and all at the same time. Even at work, your customers are checking social media feeds and looking at their phone on a regular basis. In a cluttered media world, customers glance past brand messages all day long. Their brain quickly rejects boring, irrelevant, or unnecessary messages. To succeed, B2B brands must capture the customer’s imagination right away, with a brand idea that is simple, and unique. It must create as much excitement as a first-time encounter. 

Customers are tired of being burned by broken brand promises. Once lied to, their well-guarded instincts begin to doubt first, test second, and at any point, they will cast aside any brand that does not live up to the original promise that captivated them on the first encounter. A brand must be worthy of love. The best brands of today have a soul that exists deep within the culture of the brand organization. 

Brands must be customer focused. The brand’s purpose must be able to explain why the people who work behind the scenes of the brand come to work every day so energized and ready to over-deliver on the brand’s behalf. This purpose becomes a firm conviction with inner motivations, beliefs, and values that influence and inspire every employee to want to be part of the brand. This brand conviction must be so firm that the brand would never make a choice that directly contradicts their internal belief system. Customers start to see, understand, and appreciate the level of conviction with the brand.    

Brands must listen, observe, and know the thoughts of their customer before they even think it. Not only does the brand meet their functional needs, but the brand must also heroically beat down the customer’s enemy that torments their life, every day. 

The best brands must show up consistently at every customer touchpoint, whether it is the promise the brand makes, the stories they tell, the innovation designed to impress customers, the happy purchase moments or the delightful experiences that make customers want to tell their friends and colleagues the brand story. The customer keeps track to make sure the brand delivers before the customer is willing to commit. Only then will the customer become willing to open up and trust the brand. 

The integrity of the brand’s soul tightens the customer’s unshakable bond with that brand. Brands have to do the little things that matter, to show they love their customer. Every time the brand over-delivers on their promise, it adds a little spark to the romance. 

Over time, the brand must weave itself into the most critical moments of the customer’s lives and business, and become part of the most cherished stories and memories within the customer’s heart. In today’s cluttered brand world, the pathway to brand success is all about building relationships with your most cherished customers.

A brand idea must be interesting, simple, unique, inspiring, motivating, and own-able. The brand idea must attract and move customers

The first connection point for customers with a brand is that moment when they see a brand idea worth engaging the brand. The brand almost jumps off the screen of a presentation, grips the audience’s attention through content communications, or compels customers to click on a demonstration video. The brand has to generate interest very quickly.  

When the brand idea is interesting and simple, it helps the brand gain quick entry into the customer’s mind, so they want to engage and learn more about the brand. With the B2B customer bombarded by 5,000 brand messages every day, the brand has only seven seconds to connect or else customers will move on. 

That is why the brand idea should be unique and ownable to stand out amid the clutter, and the brand can see enough rich potential to build their entire business around the idea. The idea should inspire the team working behind the scenes to deliver amazing customer experiences. The idea must be motivating to customers, so the brand can move customers to see, think, feel, or act in positive ways that benefit the brand.

You have only seven seconds to connect with customers

A brand idea must have enough longevity to last 5 to 10 years and enough flexibility to show consistency no matter what media options you choose. The idea must provide a common link across the entire product line-up. Everything you do should deliver the brand idea.

The brand has to show up the same way to everyone, no matter where it shows up. Even as the brand leader expands on the idea, whether telling the brand story over 60 seconds, 30 minutes or over the lifetime of the brand, it must tell the same story. 

When the idea works best, the most far-reaching sales rep, the scientist in the lab, the plant manager, or the customer service rep must all articulate the brand idea, in the same way, using the same chosen words. Every time a customer engages with the brand, they must see, hear and feel the same brand idea. Each positive interaction further tightens their bond with the brand.

Use your brand idea to organize everything you do

As a brand leader, you have five customer touchpoints to align and manage, including the brand promise, brand story, product innovation, the path to the purchase moment, and the overall customer experience. The brand idea map shows you how to align all five customer touchpoints.

  • The brand promise connects with customers and separates your brand from competitors. The promise must position the brand as interesting and unique, utilizing brand positioning work to define the target market, the balance of functional and emotional benefits, along with key support points.
  • The brand story helps the brand stand out from the pack to gain the customer’s consideration for purchase. It must push customers to see, think, feel, or act differently than before they saw the brand message. 
  • Innovation must help the brand stay on top of the latest trends in technology, customer need states, distribution, and competitive activity. A brand cannot stand still. The brand idea should act as an internal beacon to help inspire the product development team to come up with new ways to captivate customers.
  • The purchase moment transforms the awareness and consideration into a purchase. The brand idea ensures everyone along the path to purchase delivers the same brand message, using retail and selling strategies to influence customers. 
  • Create customer experiences that overdeliver the promise, driving repeat purchase, and future customer loyalty. When you partner with HR, the brand idea inspires the culture and organization, influencing hiring decisions, service values, and motivation of the operations teams who deliver the experience.

It takes a strategic mind to figure out brand love

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

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

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

  • For unknown brands, the strategic focus should be to stand out so customers will notice the brand within a cluttered customer brand world they live in, where they see an estimated 5,000 brand messages per day. 
  • For indifferent brands, the strategy must establish the brand in the customer’s mind, so they can see a clear point of difference over other potential brand choices in their consideration set. 
  • At the like it stage, the strategy is to separate the brand from the pack, creating satisfied experiences that build a trusted following over time. Only after they trust the brand, customers begin to open up emotionally.
  • At the love it stage, the strategic focus shifts tightening the bond with the most loyal brand fans. 
  • At the beloved stage, the strategic challenge is to create outspoken brand loyal fans, who are willing to serve as brand advocates willing to provide testimonials for a brand, that their peers will see.

The B2B Brand Love Curve

20 activities matching up to the brand love curve

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

This type of thinking can be found in our B2B Brands playbook

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative content marketing and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

You can find our B2B Brands playbook on Amazon, Rakuten Kobo or Apple Books

How to lead a brand turnaround to revitalize your business

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

When your brand faces poor external results with a decline in sales, shrinking market share, and lower profit margins due to lower prices or rising costs, the brand leader needs to create a turnaround plan that will fix it. 

From my experience with a brand turnaround, you will need both a short-term and long-term fix. The quick fix helps address the hemorrhaging results that are impacting the bottom line of the company. 

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

Address your brand situation before you make your next move

In our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks, we outline four distinct situations your brand could face:

  1. Fuel the momentum
  2. Fix it
  3. Realignment
  4. Start-up

Apply the right strategy and leadership to the right situation you face

When business results are healthy, fuel your momentum by staying on course and attacking small weaknesses. When things are going well, everyone within your organization will resist a change plan. When the external results are abysmal, your management team will look for opportunities to turn around those results quickly. They will be impatient. Manage the short-term and long-term fix it plans at the same time. When different silos operate entirely autonomously within your organization, it causes unnecessary conflict and confusion that holds your brand back from maximizing its full potential. Build a realignment plan to get everyone moving in the same direction. Whether you are in an entrepreneurial start-up or entering into a new business from within a corporation, follow the plan for a start-up.

Start with a deep-dive business review

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

Dig in on the five specific sections—marketplace, consumers, channels, competitors and the brand—to draw out conclusions to help set up your brand’s key issues, which you answer in the brand plan.      

 

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

Read more on how to conduct a business review:

How to lead a deep-dive business review on your brand

The brand turnaround plan

  • Assessment indicators: Poor external results, declining sales, shrinking profitability, falling share position, and losing competitive battles. 
  • Strategy: Quick wins stop declines. Dig in deep to find underlying causes. Need long-term fixes for communication, innovation, selling and in-store 
  • Leadership style to engage: Use a transformational change management style to challenge everything and everyone.
When different functions operate in silos, you see the marketing and sales team each delivering their distinct brand messages, and the product development team invents products in a lab without any direction from brand or input from consumers. You want to make sure everyone on the team is moving in the same direction to the same brand plan. A high-functioning team must agree on the following: 
  • Target market 
  • Main consumer benefit
  • An organizing brand idea 
  • Articulation of the brand idea for each function
  • Brand vision
  • Brand purpose and values
  • Shared goals
  • Key issues 
  • Strategies
  • Execution plans and activities you will invest in
 

The quick fix plan

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

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

Invest in a brand idea that is supported by a unique brand positioning

To kickstart your brand turnaround, you need a brand positioning statement focuses on the consumer target your brand will serve and the emotional and functional benefits your brand will stand for. If you don’t position your brand the way you want, then your customers and competitors will do it for you, and you might not like their answers. A smart brand positioning statement should narrow the target to those consumers who are most capable of loving what the brand does. With your consumer in mind, your brand positioning should find the ideal balance between functional and emotional benefits.

Thoughts on bringing the brand positioning statement together:

  • Who is your consumer target? Keep your target definition focused. Never go after two target markets at the same time. Bring the target to life with need states, consumer insights, and a consumer enemy. 
  • Where will you play? Define the space you play in, measuring it against those brands you compete with. 
  • Where will you win? Narrow your benefit down to one thing. Never try to stand for too many things at once—whether too many functional benefits or too many emotional benefits. You cannot be all things to all people. Make sure you talk benefits, not features. The ideal space must be unique and motivating to the consumers while being ownable for your brand. 
  • Why should they believe us? The role of support points is to resolve any potential doubts the consumer might have when they see your main benefit. Ensure these support points are not just random claims or features that you want to jam into your brand message. They should support and fit with the main benefit.

To read more on brand positioning:

Build a new brand plan that everyone can follow

When engaging a brand turnaround, you should build a smart brand plan that gets everyone in your organization on the same page. Everyone drives against the same vision, key issues, strategies, and tactics. 

A smart brand plan makes choices on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to drive the biggest return. The plan gains approval from senior management around spending, strategies, tactics, goals, and projects. And, your plan aligns, steers and inspires all functional areas of the organization. The plan aligns marketing, sales, finance, supply chain, product development, human resources and any outside agencies. And lastly, the brand plan even helps the Brand Manager who wrote it. You need to stay focused on delivering on what they said they would deliver.Make focused investment decisions, and take smart risks to fix the brand communication, product innovation, purchase moment, and the consumer experience. 

 

Read more on how to write a brand plan:

Our brand consulting services

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

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

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

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

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

Nike’s beautiful “Mamba Forever” tribute takes us through the life of Kobe

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

Nike manages to produce videos that touch our hearts in surprising ways. This week, as the world watches the Kobe tributes, Nike has released a 2-minute tribute video called “Mamba Forever” that only has words on a black screen, telling his story from his childhood in Philadelphia though to the Lakers and his role as a friend, husband, and daddy. The simplicity of the video is startling. If you are a Kobe fan, you know where the video is going. As I was halfway through, I knew it would end with his role as a father. Kobe was a complex figure, much more than talent and much more than a basketball player. The video tells such a powerfully and sad story elegantly. 

kobe

Nike's tribute to Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan's tribute speech to Kobe

For those who missed Michael Jordan’s raw speech, it is emotionally charged. Jordan even makes fun of himself about future “crying Jordan” memes he will have to see. 

Our top 10 Nike Ads

Our Beloved Brands and B2B Brands playbooks

Learn to think, define, plan, execute and analyze your brand

  • You will find strategic thinking models and examples for each of the four strategic thinking methods, looking at core strength, competitive, consumer, and situational strategies. 
  • 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. 
  • For brand plans, I provide formats for a long-range brand strategy roadmap and the annual brand plan with definitions for each planning element. From there, I show how to build a brand execution plan that includes the 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 marketing execution around creative advertising and media choices. 
  • When it comes time for marketing analytics, I provide all the analytical 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.

You will learn everything you need to know so you can run your brand. My brand promise is to help make you smarter so you can realize your full potential.

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