How to use our Brand Strength Finder to drive your brand strategy

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

The Brand Strength Finder

There are four options for what core strength your brand can win on: product, brand story, experience or price. Many brand leaders have their marketing strategy wrong, when it comes to aligning everything behind the right strength. Here’s a simple little game that we play with executive teams. We provide them with 4 chips against the 4 choices of product innovation, brand story, experience or price. They have to put one at the highest competitive importance, two at the mid level and then force one to be at the low level. Try it and you will be surprised that your team struggles to agree. You may also find that you are at one strength now and figure it is time to shift your brand marketing to become focused on something else.

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Product led Brands

With product as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being better, building around continuous innovation and a rational selling approach. Ensure promise and experience built around product. Establish your reputation as the superior brand in the category, defending against any challengers to your position. Continue to invest in Innovation to stay ahead of competitors, being the leader in technology, claims, and new formats. You should be leveraging product-focused mass communication, directly calling attention to the superiority and differences in your product versus the competitors. Use product reviews and key influencers to support your brand. Build the “how you do it” into your brand story, to re-enforce point of difference. Use rational selling to move consumers along the buying system. As the brand matures and moves towards being more loved, challenge the brand to drive an emotional connection to help evolve and grow.

Brand Story led Brands

With the brand story as your core strength, the strategy should focus on being different, building around being different, supported by emotional brand communication, that connects motivated consumers with the concept on a deeper emotional level. Focus on building a big idea that connects quickly with a core group of motivated consumers, and then everything (story, product, experience) can be lined up under it. Invest in emotional brand communication that connects with a motivated audience. Build a community of core “brand lovers” to influence others in their network. A soft-sell approach, based on tapping into emotions that helps to influence the potential consumer. Know the impact of price, as to when it matters and when it does not. Do not bring price to the forefront, as it can take away from the idea.

Consumer Experience led Brands

With the consumer experience as your core strength, the strategy and organization should focus on linking culture very closely to your brand. After all, your people are your product. As you go to market, invest in influencers and social media to support and spread the word of your experience. Use the brand purpose (“Why you do what you do”) and values to inspire and guide the team leadership and service behaviors. Focus on building a culture and organization with the right people, who can deliver incredible experiences. Invest in training the face of the brand. In terms of Marketing Communications, you will need to be patient as the consumer needs to experience what it feels like before they are willing to speak on its behalf. Effective tools include word of mouth, earned media, social media, on-line reviews, use of key influencers and testimonials. Too much marketing emphasis on price can diminish the perceived consumer experience.

Price led Brands

With price as your core strength, the strategy focus on efficiency and drive lowest possible cost into the products you sell. Fast moving items means high turns and high volume. You have to be better at the fundamentals around production and sourcing. Price brands own the low price positioning, attacking any challengers. Need good solid products. Consumers are willing to accept lower experience.The focus should be on business efficiency built around low-cost, fast-moving, high-volume items. Invest in production and sourcing, using power to win negotiations. Use call-to-action style marketing communication, to drive purchase. Hard to maintain “low price” while fighting off perception that you are “cheap”. Many price brands struggle to drive an emotional connection to the brand.

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Key Learnings from the Strength Finder

Surprisingly, many brands do not know their core strength and some wish their core strength was something else, so they deny it. Many Brand Leaders try to have two strengths, which means you end up trying to implement two completely different strategies at the same time. As you can see, the investment and strategic focus changes for each core strength. Product led brands need to be better and invest in innovation, while Brand Story led brands need to be different and invest in communication. Price led brands need to be cheaper and manage efficiencies, while consumer experience brands need to invest in people, culture and organization who are the backbone in delivering that experience.

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Turning Strategic Thinking into Strategic Statements

The ideal one-year Brand Plan should have 3 main strategies and the 5-year Strategic Plan can have up to 5 strategies. A well-written brand strategy has four elements in the statement:

  • Focus
  • Specific strategic program
  • Market impact
  • Performance impact

In the spirit of focus, if you have too many strategies, all you are doing is spreading your limited resources over too many strategies. This puts your most important strategies at risk of not having enough resources to realize the fun potential of the strategy. As you move to your strategies, the reality is that you will have a combination of strategies from your core strength, competitive, consumer and situational. Let’s look at how to write strategy statements that support your brand’s core strength

a. Focus: Focus on enhancing your brand’s core strength. The choices are one of product, brand story, experience or price.

b. Strategic Program: Deploy resources against the Strategic Program. The choices are Brand Communications, Innovation, People and Culture or Distribution

c. Market Impact: Impacting the market with key message that should match up to your core strength. You could say that your product is better, tell the story behind your big idea, demonstrate how your people are what makes the difference or explain the story behind how you turn efficiency into lower prices.

d. Performance Impact: Align organization and everything you do around strength. It should help to either harness your brand’s power through one of the 8 sources of power or it should drive profit through one of 8 brand wealth drivers

Here are two examples of what Starbucks core strength strategies might look like:

  • Re-build the Starbucks coffee experience (a) by training all the Starbucks baristas (b) to emphasize how our people make the difference (c) to get current brand lovers to use Starbucks more often (d)
  • Enhance the Starbucks experience at lunch (a) with innovative sandwiches and snacks (b), to re-enforce the quality difference at Starbucks (c) to enter the new lunch time market (d).

To read more on Strategic Thinking, here is the workshop we take brand leaders through to help make them smarter.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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For Netflix to survive, they need to stop trying to do 7 things at the same time

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

I love Netflix. Will they survive?  I sure hope so.

Netflix is a much better product than traditional networks. I can watch it when I want. Pause. Pick it up later. The library of movies and shows is pretty good. I wouldn’t call it great. 10478570_10152214521608870_2744465531652776073_n-0However, their original programming is such high quality–production, writing and acting. Network TV can’t compete with that level of quality.

Last year, the CEO was asked whether they planned to take their high user base into other applications, he answered the right way:  “No, we are going to stick with what we do best, movies and TV shows”.  I loved the focused approach, especially as I see Uber trying every type of business they see.

However, the more I look into Netflix, the more I see they are not as focused as they should be. Or at least, they aren’t making the tough choices on what to give up on. Last week, they had announced better than expected growth on subscribers. The profit numbers are OK, but still could face a bumpy ride from competitors like Amazon, the traditional major networks and any new entrants in the future. Maybe ATT&T will use their combined mobile network and purchase of Time Warner to enter the market.

The 7 things that Netflix is doing at the same time:  

  1. Enter new geographies: Netflix is now available in 190 countries. I understand the desire to be global, but this really spreads your people resources. The amount of work that goes into the gaining of entry with local governments, the launching, language choices, content selection and negotiation by geography. This must be exhaustive on their limited people resource. Netflix should focus on the top 10 markets. Entrenched success in the top 10 markets will give Netflix longer term success than a moderate success across all 190 markets.
  2. Produce original High quality content: Netflix original content is of the highest quality in the industry, matched only by HBO and AMC. Shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black or Bloodline are a potential hook for new customers who need to sign up for Netflix to see the shows that people are talking about. However, the cost of production, writers and actors could be a drain on the profits. The TV shows on the traditional networks look like fast food in comparison. Amazon Prime has not engaged to the same extent. However, AT&T could use the Time Warner purchase to bring the Warner Brother, HBO and TBS assets into a competitor to Netflix.house-of-cards-kevin-spacey
  3. Royalties on high quality movies/shows: Netflix continues to add new content to which they pay a royalty every time one of their users watches. There is pressure to keep the content current and broad. The balance here is between movies that last 2-3 hours for consumers and TV shows like Friends or Gray’s Anatomy that provide 80+ hours of entertainment for consumers.
  4. Drive new users in the geographies they are in: The Netflix marketing effort to push for new users and usage frequency at the same time also drains both financial and people resources.
  5. Manage the consumer user experience: The user experience should be fairly constant given the formatting. However, content will be the biggest driver to the user experience. If that falls, the Netflix brand will suffer dramatically.
  6. Stay as an advertising-free site and Maintain the low monthly fee of $8: Netflix has also made the decision to made two core decisions on their product concept, commercial free and only $8 per month. Both these are essential to the Netflix brand that consumers have bought into, however they put a cap on potential revenues. Imagine the revenues they could have garnered from advertising on House of Cards. The challenge here will come from the main networks who will offer a streaming option on their own content. It will be “free” but will most likely have advertising before the show, possibly during the show and even along side the screen.
  7. Fight off competitors: Netflix is the dominant power player brand in the category, stronger than both Amazon and Hulu. They have much better content, both the original content and library of movies and shows available.

That is a long to-do list for a company that is currently showing 4% profit. Is there value in focus?

Netflix is living the two great Marketing myths

  • We can be bigger by trying to be everywhere.
  • We can be bigger by trying to be everything to everyone.

Which one of the 7 things that Netflix is doing, would you give up on?

The power of Focus

In today’s marketing world, brand leaders are losing their focus. There seems to be a fear, that if we focus too much, we will miss out on something or someone. The idea of focus is that it allocates your brands limited resources to a distinct point that you can breakthrough and move forward towards your vision. Marketers always face limited resources. They never have enough money, enough time or enough people. Yet the creative brain part of the marketer can see an unlimited list of choices, they fear picking a narrow target market, they fear picking only one brand positioning and they fear picking too few strategies for tactics.strategic-thinking-2017-037 They would rather target everyone, list out every possible feature that they do and try to execute a little of each activity. But ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t strategic marketing. This is just doing stuff randomly in the hope that it works. The best Marketers never divide and conquer out of fear. They force themselves to focus and conquer with the confidence of having done the strategic thinking. If you come to a decision point, and you try to rationalize in your own brain that it’s okay to do a little of both, then you are not strategic. In fact, you are not even a decision-maker at all. If we have limited resources, for the equation to work, we must limit the possible solutions to those that will deliver the greatest return.

When you focus, 5 amazing things happen to your brand:

  1. Better return on investment (ROI): By focusing your dollars on the distinct breakthrough point that you know will work, you will see the most efficient and effective response in the market.
  2. Better return on effort (ROE): You also want to make effective use of your people resource. We suggest that you look at the ideas that have the greatest impact and are the easiest to execute. I have always suggested that strategic thinkers are lazy, because they are always trying to think about how to get away with doing less and getting more.
  3. Stronger reputation: By limiting your audience and limiting your brand message, your brand will start to get a focused reputation among a very motivated audience.
  4. More competitive: when you focus your message to a focused audience, you will start to own that message and own that audience.
  5. More investment behind brand: When you focus and deliver, your management team will ask you to do that again. They will give you more money and people. And when your resources go up, I want you to take the same focused approach that you just took. Just because someone gave you money, does not mean you can now spend wildly.

Strategy is all about choices. Netflix may be forced to make a few.

To read more on Strategic Thinking, here is the workshop we take brand leaders through to help make them smarter.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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How to run the creative Advertising process before it runs you

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

As the Brand Leader, you play the most crucial role in getting amazing Marketing Execution. Keep in mind that an OK agency can do great work on a great client. But a great Agency can fail with a bad client. In that regard, the client matters the most. If you knew that being a better client would make your execution better, could you actually show up better? The biggest challenge for most Brand Leaders is to stay focused on your vision at every stage, always inspire and yet challenge.

It can be a very complex process. Make sure you run the process before it runs you.

Here are the 10 steps in the creative Advertising process that you need to manage: 

  1. Strategy Pre Work: This is the homework you do before you even write the brief. Go deep on finding the consumer insights and consumer enemy. Understand the brand positioning, the Big Idea and then lay out a Brand Concept. From your Brand Plan, and then know how the overall brand strategy plays out into the Brand Communications Plan. Only once you have all the homework done, should you take a pen to the creative brief.
  2. Focused Brief: Sitting with your Agency, map out a Creative Brief that will create the right box that the ad must play. From your homework you should have a tight objective, insights, strategic desired response, knowledge of what main benefit will resonate and what support points (RTB) should move forward into the advertising.
  3. Creative Expectations: It always surprises me that the first time Brand Leaders meet the creative team is at the first creative meeting. This seems like an old-school way for the Account team to control both the client and the creative team. However, I believe the best advertising is highly personal. You will need a personal relationship with the creative team. Just after signing off on the brief, you should request to meet the creative team to help convey your vision, passion, strategy and needs to the team. This is a great chance to inspire and push for great work.
  4. Tissue Session: When you have a completely new campaign or one that has a high risk to it, I would recommend having a tissue session before the creative meeting. This is where the creative team can present 10-20 ideas that are not really fully fleshed out. It is a good chance to focus the team, either encouraging them to keep exploring further or talk about how it might not fit. Focus on big ideas, push for better.
  5. Creative Meeting: How you show up as the Brand Leader at the first creative meeting can make a huge difference. Think of it like a first date. You have to stay positive and only focus only on big picture. You will need to give direction and make decisions. However, do not use this time to add your own solutions. Don’t get too wrapped up in the details as there is plenty of time to keep working those. Stay inspiring as there is a long road ahead of you.
  6. Feedback Memo: We recommend that you work it out with the Agency ahead of time that you will give a feedback memo 48 hours after the creative meeting. This gives you the chance to gather your thoughts, balancing your instincts and your strategic thinking. In the memo, you can ask or clarify the details that you did not talk about in the creative meeting. However, even at this stage, you should avoid giving YOUR specific solutions. Use the feedback memo as a chance to create a new box, that continues to evolve from the creative brief.
  7. Ad Testing: The use of Ad Testing can depend on how timing, budget or degree of risk. Where you have a new major campaign, you should potentially test 3 ideas that you feel have the best chance to project your brand positioning, communicate the main benefit, break through with consumers and motivate them to purchase. You can use either qualitative focus group style feedback that will help your instincts, or quantitative testing that will replicate how it might do in the market. However, you should use testing to confirm your pick, not make your decision.
  8. Gain Approval: Even though we have this as the eighth step, you should keep your boss aware at each stage, especially the creative brief and first creative meeting stage. They should be aligned with the feedback you give. However, you will still need to sell in the Ad. Be ready to fight any resisters to make it happen. With every great ad I ever made had a share of resistors. However, with every bad ad, I seemed to be the only resistor trying not to make it.
  9. Production: The production process can be a very complex project. Remember that you have zero real expertise in this area. Don’t even pretend you do. Stay engaged, listen and make decisions. Your main role is to manage the tone to ensure that it fits with the brand. First, you always should deliver as close to the original spot that was approved. Think of this as the base version that you know your boss will approve. Once you get that, you can then explore how to make it even better. I always thought that we should get more than we need, just in case it looks different by the time we get to the final edits.
  10. Post Production: As you move to the post production stage, you become even less of an expert. Many clients stay close to their account person. I have always believed you should talk directly with and leverage every expert you come across. Stand with the editor and ask questions. The added personal approach will enable you to get the most out of each of the experts.

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To read more on How to lead the Marketing Execution, here is our workshop that we lead on Analytical Thinking.

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Before planning where to go next, you need to understand where you are today

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

analytics-2017-extract-001Before starting the Brand Plan, we recommend that you conduct a deep-dive business review that looks at everything connected to the business including the category, consumer, competitors, channels and the brand. You should be doing this at least once a year.

  • Category: Start by looking at the overall category performance to gain a macro view of all major issues. Dig in on the factors impacting category growth, including economic indicators, consumer behavior, technology changes, shopper trends, political regulations or what is happening in other related categories that could impact your own category.
  • Consumer: Define your consumer target, digging deep on the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends, consumer enemies and key insights. Use a consumer buying system analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop the category and your brand. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data or market research.
  • Channels: Look at the performance of all potential distribution channels and every major customer in the category. Understand your channel customer’s strategies, as well as the available tools and programs your customers have, so your brand can align your brand with each customer and find a pathway to success within each channel.
  • Competitors: Dissect your closest competitors by looking at their performance indicators, brand positioning, innovation pipeline, pricing strategies, distribution and the perceptions of the brand through the eyes of their consumers. Map out a strategic Brand Plan for all major competitors to help predict what they might do next, and know how you might counter in your own brand plan.
  • Brand: Understand the reputation of your brand through the lens of consumers, customers and employees. Use brand funnel data, market research, marketing program tracking results, pricing analysis, distribution gaps and financial analysis. Look at the internal health and wealth (inside the company) as well as the external health and wealth of the brand (in the market place).

To draw conclusions from the deep-dive review, you need to summarize the factors driving the brand, the factors inhibiting the brand and then lay out the untapped opportunities and risks. Here is a summary tool that lays out the top 3-4 points for each box.

  • Drivers: Factors of strength or inertia that accelerate your brand’s growth. The driving factors could be related to brand assets, successful programs working, favorable market trends. New products, advertising, channels. Keep fueling.
  • Inhibitors: Factors of weaknesses or friction that slows your brand down, or a leak that needs fixing. Achilles heel, competitive pressure, unfavorable market forces, channels, specific segments. Minimize going forward.
  • Opportunities: Specific untapped areas in the market that would fuel future growth, based on unfulfilled consumer needs, new technologies on the horizon, regulation changes, new distribution channels or the removal of trade barriers. Take advantage.
  • Risks: Changing circumstances including consumer needs, new technologies, competitive activity, distribution changes or potential barriers to trade create potential risk to your growth. Minimize the impact of these risks.

Here’s an example, using Gray’s Cookies.

brand-plans-2017-029The simplicity of the deep dive analysis is that it provides a starting point for the issues, as you will want to find ways to continue or enhance the drivers, minimize or reverse the inhibitors, take advantage of the new opportunities and avoid or manage the risks.

To read more on How to lead a deep-dive Business Review, here is our workshop that we lead on Analytical Thinking.

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We use workshop sessions to help your team create a winning brand positioning that separates your brand in the market, write focused brand plans that everyone can follow and we help you find advertising that drives growth for your brand. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. Our Beloved Brands training center offers 10 training workshops to get your team of brand leaders ready for success in brand management–including strategic and analytical thinking, writing brand plans, positioning statements and creative brief, making decisions on creative advertising and media plans.

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands.

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Sears Canada just pulled a “not your father’s Oldsmobile”, with a disastrous Ad too close to the truth

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

yebb-ubdI love when a TV ad really captures the consumer insight and I stop and say “that’s exactly how I feel”. A lot of people use the term “brand truths” to describe an insight.

Well, like the famous “Not your father’s Oldsmobile” ad from a few decades ago, unfortunately Sears just nailed the consumer insight, and not in a good way, in their latest ad that says “Attention people cutting through Sears, just to get to the Mall”. Yikes.

 

 

While Sears is definitely highlighting the truth in how consumers feel about Sears, they aren’t moving the consumer into a new space. We already know we can get a low quality sweater at Sears. The only thing we don’t know about Sears is why you are still around. There’s no purpose or passion here. No point of difference from someone else. We have seen Sears closing store after store. But why should we stop cutting through Sears to get to the mall? What Sears did wrong here is used the insight to make their brand look like a loser. Just like Oldsmobile, no one wants to be associated with a brand that portrays itself in negative light. I am not sure there is a place for Sears in the market. They could take a run at being the small town department store, where they are the only big player in town?  Brands have to be better, different, cheaper or not around for very long. They are not better or different, and with Walmart, they are no longer cheaper. They are on a steady decline since 1980, with no real end in sight. Sadly, this type of ad will speed up their demise.

Consumer Insights are little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Brands should think of consumer insights as a competitive advantage, equal in importance to a patent or intellectual property. The insights are what enable brands to connect with their consumers on a deeper emotional level, showing your consumer that “WE GET YOU” so that consumers will stop and listen to your brand’s promise, brand story, innovation and consumer experiences that you create along the pathway to becoming a beloved brand.

Arguably, Sears nailed the insight. They just haven’t given the consumer a reason to shop there.

Hey Sears!  Why do you still exist?

 

Below is one of the workshops we run to help Brand Leaders enhance their strategic thinking.

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program, so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

Learn the fundamentals of Marketing

At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full potential of your Marketing team

  • How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to use on your own brand. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: We show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We then show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by telling analytical stories through data. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: We provide Brand Leaders with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great execution.
  • How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy, exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and Modern media options such as digital, social and search.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase. Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior, competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing, promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution.

If you need any help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com

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What you need to know to be a great Marketer in today’s modern and cluttered brand world

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

 

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The ways of the consumer have changed dramatically, impacting what it takes for brands to win.

Today’s consumers see 7,000 brand messages per day, too much for their brains to handle. They filter out the irrelevant advertising. Consumers are constantly distracted—driving, walking, talking, texting. Brands have to work harder than ever, to earn their attention. Consumers are tired of being burned by faulty brand promises. Their instinct is to doubt first, then test to see if it holds up. They are rarely sold to anymore. Instead consumers now take control over the buying process. Consumers explore rationally, but engage emotionally with brands that they believe in. They cast aside brands that don’t live up to their promise, yet stay loyal to those that offering the most amazing brand experiences that exceeds their expectations.

The best brands of the last century were based on product inventions that solved small problems that consumers didn’t even realize they had until the product came along. Old school Marketing was dominated by logical TV ads, bold logos, catchy jingles and tag-lines, product superiority claims and a battle for shelf space at retail stores. Marketing was all about owning a place in the consumer’s mind. Brand Leaders that continue to follow these rules will fail in today’s Marketing world. You will need to adjust.

In today’s modern and cluttered Marketing world, Brand Love is the new currency, with Marketing shifting to building big ideas, leveraging insight-driven stories that are in the moment, creating consumer experiences that people talk about and managing ubiquitous purchase moments. The focus of Marketing is to create a brand reputation with consumers, yet equally important, with your internal organizational culture that reflects the brand’s soul. Instead of shouting your message at every consumer, the best brands trigger the conversations by confidently whispering to those who are the most motivated by what the brand does, who then whispers with influence to their friends on behalf of the brand. In the modern world, the best brands now fight for a place in the minds and hearts of consumers.

As much as Marketing has changed, the fundamentals of brand management matter more now than ever.

We believe that the fundamentals of brand management are essential for brands to win in the modern economy. You need to tightly define your brand. Focus on those consumers who are the most motivated by what you do. You need to talk benefits, balancing the functional and rational benefits. Brands need to build around Big Ideas that organize all the activity on the brand—the brand promise, communications, innovation, purchase moment and the consumer experience. There are too many tactical choices these days. You cannot do them all. You need focus or you will deplete your limited resources. If your consumers want amazing experiences, you need to market your brand internally to your staff, to ensure everyone is delivering the same brand promise. You need to your work to move your consumers along the Brand Love Curve, going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and to Beloved, believing that the more connected your brand is to your consumer, the more powerful and profitable your brand will be.

The role of a brand is to create a bond with consumers, that can lead to a power and profit beyond what the product alone could achieve.

Consumers connect with brands based on their big idea, that is simple, unique, own-able and motivating. The Big Idea helps to simplify and organize brand messages making it easily understood and remembered. The idea must be unique, own-able and motivating. The Big Idea must gain a quick entry with consumers, be layered easily across all consumer touch-points and have longevity over the life of the brand. All activity on the brand must be organized under the Big Idea.

Brand Love matters more than ever before.

strategic-thinking-2017-005

Below is one of the workshops we run to help Brand Leaders find their Brand Positioning statement.

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program, so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

The fundamentals of Marketing

At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full potential of your Marketing team

  • How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to use on your own brand. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: We show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We then show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by telling analytical stories through data. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: We provide Brand Leaders with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great execution.
  • How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy, exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and Modern media options such as digital, social and search.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase. Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior, competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing, promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution.

If you need any help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

 

How fast will the new “copy cat” Google smart phone fail?

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

 

I say we are in for a long slow death. Kinda like Google +

I am a huge brand fan of both Apple and Google. And while I’m frustrated by the incremental innovation of Apple the last few years, I have to say I am in complete shock over the recent launch of the Google Pixel I am seeing. I was hoping for so much more. I was hoping it would be innovative, hoping it would be different and hoping it would be smarter. I was just hoping for something. Not more of the same. Sad. jbareham_160926_1228_0206-1-0-0

I am an iPhone 6s plus user and I am likely your average smart phone consumer. I would say I basically want to know and nothing more. I have my email, my social media platforms, my Netflix, a few games and some useful apps. I know how to turn on Airplane mode and use my iPhone as my remote control during slide presentations. There is a cost to switching phones, and that is the feeling of stupidity you go through when everything is on the phone, just in different places. Prior to this phone I had used the Samsung Galaxy 3. I will admit any day that Samsung is the superior product. It’s just not very easy to use. The buttons aren’t in the right place. It might be smart for the total tech geek. It is just not intuitive for the mass consumer.

I was excited this week when I saw that a Google smart phone was being released. I watch their new TV ad a few times. And I still don’t get it. There is nothing in this ad that would suggest that the new Google phone is anything different. So I searched articles (using Google of course) to see if anyone on-line was talking about the differences between the iPhone and the new Google pixel phone. I even went as far as to read comparison charts. My conclusion: they have the same phone. Same size camera, same price, same size screen etc….They even look the same. So I went back and watch the TV ad again and again. Even the TV ad looks like an apple ad.

Only 357k views for that TV ad. That’s shockingly low from the company that owns YouTube?  Wow. Plus Google has a history of making some damn fine ads in the past. I sure hope the agency didn’t talk them into the “be cool by being minimalist, as it will make consumers curious”. This ad isn’t different. It’s just plain boring.

 

Brands have four choices: better, different, cheaper or not around for very long.

Sadly for Google, this might just be like the launch of Google+. Lots of sizzle up front, but a slow fizzle on a long slow path towards a brand death.

strategic-thinking-2017-069

Yes, I realize bed Google has tons of cash. They will likely gain some share from the audience that hates the other two companies: Samsung and Apple. This seems like the Gary Johnson approach to gaining a 5% market share. And Google just might gain a 5% share. But this isn’t going to revolutionize the smart phone category. Even if you are a huge Google brand fan, there is no way you are EXCITED about this launch.

Below is the Google Pixel launch video that tries to take a lot of the same Apple features and makes them seem “new”. It has already had 4.8 million views, suggesting there is a real appetite for something different. But people still can’t find the difference. Google “difference between Google Pixel and iPhone 7” and you will see tons of articles by experts that can’t figure out any real difference. Sure, the virtual reality might be different, but the consumers might not even be ready for that. And if you say, you want it, then you are not the average consumer. You would be in the 0.1% share category. Apple can use their quick-follower approach to have Virtual Reality into their phones by the time the mass market is ready.

I read in the industry papers that Google is going to go after Apple consumers. To do so, they need to take a real challenger brand mentality and turn Apple’s strengths into a potential weakness, while amplify their own strengths. Even though Google has been a tremendous innovator in the search area, they have done the me-too copy in a few different categories already. Gmail is pretty much the same as Outlook. Google+ is a poor man’s version of Facebook—with 3.5 million active Google+ users instead of the 1.7 billion Facebook users. Maybe Google is just throwing this Pixel launch out there hoping to get a few sales. But for consumers, that would truly suck, wouldn’t it?

Here are the flaws of Google’s launch:

  1. You cannot be loved until you are liked: With any new product, no matter who is launching, you must assume you are at the unknown/indifferent stage. Sure Google is beloved, but this new phone is still an unknown. You have to stand out so consumers see the brand in a crowded market place and you have to establish your brand in the consumer’s mind. The new Google Pixel ad looks isn’t very different at all, so it will not stand out and it fails to say anything that will make me understand their point of difference. I hope this is just a teaser. Or, I hope the new ads bombs very quickly and Google course corrects and can still maintain a successful launch. POINT OUT THE DIFFERENCES PLEASE!!! I REALLY WANT TO KNOW!!!
  2. Build on the strengths of your master brand: Google is a product-led brand while Apple is an idea-led brand. This new phone will never re-define the overall master brand so it would be wise to fit into the overall strategy. Google needs to establish your reputation as the superior brand in the category, defending against any challengers to your position. Continue to invest in Innovation to stay ahead of competitors, being the leader in technology, claims, and new formats. strategic-thinking-2017-074Early on, they should leverage product-focused mass communication, directly calling attention to the superiority and differences in your product versus the competitors. Use product reviews and key influencers to support your brand. Build the “how you do it” into your brand story, to re-enforce point of difference. Use rational selling to move consumers along the buying system.
  3. If you want to be a Challenger brand, then have the guts to act like one. The mistake that many brands make is trying to exploit your competitor’s weakness. While it seems the obvious victory, you are wasting your resources because consumers already know your competitors weakness. You are not altering their mind. A more powerful strategy is to attack your competitor’s strength and turn into a weakness, by making their strength either less important or interesting. You begin to change the consumer’s mind about your competitor. Google should go after the business market, and exploit the idea that Apple is a fun toy, but not a serious business machine. This would position Apple as cute and fun, but lacking in the substance needed you would get with an integrated package from Google. They may need to build in a more integrated platform.
  4. If Google wants to bring emotion into the advertising, they have to pick the right emotional zones to own. positioning-2017-048Google has a history of telling great stories around the knowledge and control space, while Apple usually targets the freedom and optimism space very well. This new ad for Google Pixel does a poor job in communicating knowledge. It looks like an Apple ad, because it tries to play in the fun/free space. I would prefer that Google show people benefiting from being smart, rather than benefiting from the escape of life. This Google ad below would be the type of ad would have been much better for the new Google phone. It is attention getting, about the brand, communicates the clear points of difference and it will stick in the consumer’s mind. Go back to your agency and get them to make that, rather than the crap you just released.

 

Let’s hope that Google hits control-alt-delete on their initial phase of the launch and comes up with a real product that can accelerate the incremental innovation we are seeing in the smartphone category.

I want the new Google phone to work. I’m just afraid it will fail and fail fast.

 

To read more on Strategic Thinking, here is our training workshop that we run to help Marketers get smarter:

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program, so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

 

Beloved Brands Training program

At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full potential of your Marketing team

  • How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to use on your own brand. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: We show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We then show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by telling analytical stories through data. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: We provide Brand Leaders with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great execution.
  • How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy, exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and Modern media options such as digital, social and search.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase. Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior, competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing, promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution.

If you need any help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

Audi stole the show during the US Presidential debate

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

 

audirenderThe ratings for Monday night’s US Presidential debate hit an all-time high. Based on recent polls, it appears a very close race. With such a large and captivated audience, the Audi brand did a fantastic job with their new ad released on-line during the debates. This 90 second spot for the new $110,000 Audi R7 is a high quality spot that feels like a Super Bowl ad, with the hope of going viral.

 

 

For advertising to be considered effective, it has work to establish your brand’s long-term reputation, based on a simple, unique, own-able and motivating brand positioning while engaging and influencing consumers to see, think, feel, act or scream about your brand, so your brand ends up in a stronger business position. At Beloved Brands, we use the ABC’S to judge whether an ad will work for the brand. (Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness). The Attention and Branding are about how you say it, while the Communication and Stickiness are more related to what you say. It is the creative idea that brings them all together.

  • Attention: You have to get noticed in a crowded media world where consumers see 7000 ads per day. If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
  • Branding: Ads that tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand will link best. Even more powerful are ads that are from the consumers view of the brand. It’s not how much branding there is, but how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad.
  • Communication: Tap into the insights of the consumer helps tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand, not just about what you say, but how you say it.
  • Stickiness: Build a consistent experience over time to drive a consistent reputation in the minds and hearts of the consumer.

 

 

marketing-execution-2017-051

 

Our review of the Audi Ad

Audi’s creative idea says “Beautiful things are worth fighting for”. That line just screams consumer desire. To be able to afford a $110,000 luxury car, they are positioning it as a reward for all your hard work. The ad uses the creative idea of “worth fighting for” as the main inspiration for everything in the ad, helping gain attention, driving towards the branding in the end and communicating the desire. As they build this campaign, I hope they keep going with this idea.

  • They use it to garner the attention of the audience. As I watched the ad, my first thought was “here are two campaign officials about to fight” and in the moment of the debate, I thought this is going to be hilarious. It made me want to watch right away.
  • In terms of branding, I admire that they waited. Ipsos will tell you that the best brand link comes from the ads where the brand is part of the climax of the story. Too many Marketers mistakenly think it is about how much branding you have in the ad, or how early you have the brand show up. As this is a viral ad, with the Audi name on it, you can really afford to wait. I kept wondering “how are they going to naturally tie this story into the brand?”. Great job.
  • In terms of communication, they did a great job in creatively expressing desire. That’s what every brand manager asks for, but it is not an easy thing to do. This ad used the build up of the story to pay off that desire with the ending having the two valets about to fight over who gets to drive the new Audi. With any viral ad, in a crowded world of social media it can be hit and miss.
  • In terms of stickiness, the spot has over a million views after 48 hours. For this type of budget and brand, I would say that is ok-to-good, but not yet amazing. I found it through an industry friend on Facebook. I can see the advertising community loves the spot, but I would like to see it show up more naturally through others on Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn. So maybe it’s a case of a poor media play. I hope the brand stays with this type of campaign and continues to build the idea outward. I love it and I am looking forward to the next ad in the campaign.

Lastly, Audi did a great job in staying politically neutral. As a brand coach, unless your brand is closely related to the outcome of one party over the other, with a 45%-to-45% race, only a foolish brand would publicly pick sides.

To read more on Marketing Execution, here is our training workshop that we run to help Marketers get smarter:

 

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program, so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

Beloved Brands Training program

At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full potential of your Marketing team

  • How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to use on your own brand. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: We show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We then show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by telling analytical stories through data. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: We provide Brand Leaders with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great execution.
  • How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy, exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and Modern media options such as digital, social and search.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase. Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior, competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing, promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution.

If you need any help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com

bbi-creds-deck-2017-007

Marketers have to stop targeting everyone!!! Your fear over missing out on someone is really annoying.

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

A few weeks ago, I was doing my regular “you gotta focus more” rant, trying to convince to focus their resources against a tight target market. Someone interrupted me and said “Yes, but I love all our customers!”I thought “Oh god, not again.” 

It is really just a new way to spin that I am afraid that if I target, I will miss out on someone who might want to buy. The line that really bothers me is “we can’t alienate our current consumers”.  Uhhhh, by advertising to new consumers, my guess is that you’re not likely going to put on offensive ad that makes fun of your current consumers, right? Well, then it will be impossible to alienate them. So stop saying this.

Yes, you can love all your customers. But your target market should be those consumers who are most likely to respond to the brand message that you will be advertising.

positioning-2016-extract-4-002We believe that spreading your limited resources across an entire population is cost-prohibitive and will provide you with a low return on investment and low return on effort, that will eventually drain your brand. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is actually less safe because you never get to see the full impact of the resources you apply. Too many Marketers seems to think that the way to make your brand bigger is to be able to appeal to a bigger, broader target. We take a different approach believing that instead of going after who you want the most, we recommend that you should go after those consumers who are the most motivated by what you do.

To get Brand Leaders to focus their target, we show three types of targets: selling target, marketing target and program target.

  • Selling Target: Of course you should sell to anyone who wants to buy. I just wouldn’t spend my money against this large of a target. You can always reactively sell to anyone who engage and show interest in your brand, regardless if they fit your ideal target. However, as every brand is constrained by limited resources, we just don’t recommend that you spend your limited marketing resources against this large of a target, especially when you have seen no signs that they will respond enough to provide an efficient pay back.bbi-creds-deck-2017-002
  • Marketing Target: The best marketers know exactly who is their ideal consumer. In the new world of Marketing, we can know more and more about these people. We recommend that you focus your limited resources on those consumers that are the most motivated by what your brand offers, those most likely respond to your brand story or your product offering, which then provides you with the fastest and highest return on investment and return on effort.
  • Program Target: Specific campaign target that you hope to move to think, feel or do with your specific marketing program.

A few years ago, I was working with bank who told me that their target market for a first time mortgage (home loan) was 18-65, new customers, current customers and employees. Sarcastically, I said, “You have forgotten tourists and prisoners”. As I pressed to help them narrow their consumer target, they pushed back saying that they didn’t want to alienate anyone “just in case” someone outside the usual target wanted a home loan.positioning-2016-extract-4-003 While the odd 64-year-old might be tired of renting for the past 40 years and wanting to finally buy their first home, they would not be offended if there was a 32 year old in the advertising. The reality is that first time home owners are usually in their late 20’s or early 30’s, and they usually spend 6-12 months looking for a house. No one buys a house on impulse. And no one ever wanted a mortgage, without buying a house. The target should be: “28-33, already considering buying a house within the next year and nervous about their debt load.” Imagine the difference that focused target market will make in the brand message and in the media choices you might make now. For instance, instead of just randomly advertising to everyone on mass media, you can focus your resources where the consumer would be most open to your message. You could advertise on real estate websites, take out billboard ads outside of the new housing developments and buy radio ads on Saturday when people are looking at new homes. The focused target market helps focus your resources on those consumers most likely to respond to your brand messages.

positioning-2016-extract-4-001Realizing not everyone can like you is the first step to focusing all your attention on those that can love you. It becomes all about choices and you will be much more effective at convincing a segment of the population to choose your brand because of the assets and promise that you have that match up perfectly to what they want. The best brands don’t go after consumers, they create a desire and connection, to get consumers to go after the brand. The best way to get consumers motivated is to tap into their need states, to understand their frustration points they may have and to connect by showing that you understand them. Motivating someone to buy your brand should start with the consumer not your product. You have to understand consumers, to match your brand up to their needs, wants and desires. Done right, if you can make consumers want to buy, then you will never have to sell.

Why would any Marketer think that talking to everyone is the answer to hopefully someone out there responding?

Many Brand Leaders seem to fear focusing, yet focus is essential for strategy to work for you to get more from it, than what you put into it. When you focus, 5 things happen:

Better return on investment (ROI): With all the resources against one strategy, one target, one message, you’ll be able to move consumers enough to drive sales or push other key performance indicators in the right direction.

Better return on effort (ROE): It’s about getting more back than you put into the effort. Working smart helps make the most out of your people resources.

Stronger reputation: When you only do one thing, you naturally start to become associated with that one thing—externally and even internally. Reputation is a power you can push to find deeper wins.

More competitive: As your reputation grows, you begin to own that one thing and you can better defend that positioning territory. You can expose the weakness of your competitors, attract new consumers as well as push internally (R&D, service, sales) to rally behind the newly created reputation.

Bigger and better P&L: As the focused effort drives results, it opens up the P&L with higher sales and profits. People with money invest where they see return.

As a Marketer, we can have favorite consumers: those who are most likely to respond to what we have to say.

To read more on what makes a Beloved Brand, here is our workshop presentation:

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

Beloved Brands Training program

At Beloved Brands, we promise to make your team of BRAND LEADERS smarter, so they produce smarter work that drives stronger brand results.

  • How to think strategically: Strategic thinkers see “what if” questions before seeing solutions, mapping out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the organization to follow: sales, R&D, agencies, senior leaders, even the Brand Leader who writes the plan.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: The brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s promise to the consumer, impacting both external communication (advertising, PR or in-store) as well as internally with employees who deliver that promise.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The brief helps focus the strategy so that all agencies can take key elements of the brand plan positioning to and express the brand promise through communication.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: Before you dive into strategy, you have to dive into the brand’s performance metrics and look at every part of the business—category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders rely on agencies to execute. They need to know how to judge the work effectively to ensure they are making the best decisions on how to tell the story of the brand and express the brand’s promise.
  • How to build Media Plans: Workshop for brand leaders to help them make strategic decisions on media. We look at media as an investment, media as a strategy and the various media options—both traditional and on-line.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the path to purchase, by gaining entry into their consumers mind, help them test and decide and then experience so they buy again and become a brand fan.

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands

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Did Apple just break the Steve Jobs golden rule?

Posted on Posted in Beloved Brands in the Market

Innovation is not easy. We all look for those blue ocean ideas and game-changers that no one else can see. Most times when see them, we get scared. They look so different. Will they work?  Who knows. Incremental Innovation is easy. It is comfortable, similar to what we did last year, so let’s pull the trigger because we know it will work. The original iPhone was a game-changer. It looked so different, that even the main competitor laughed about it. (There is video footage somewhere).

The beauty of the original iPhone is that it was intuitive in design, simple enough for anyone to use.  From a technical view, it wasn’t innovative at all. From the consumer view, it was the most innovative product of the century. It was merely a copy-cat product that was bundled together in a much smarter consumer way. While everyone else in the category was inventing cool things and spending lots of time figuring out how this would work with consumers, Apple figured out what the consumer wanted and then went and collected and bundled all the current technologies into one simple phone.

Customer-experience-quote-Steve-Jobs-finno1

This statement is what made Steve Jobs a Marketer among scientists. He understood that everything a Marketer does has to start and end with the consumer in mind. For a Marketer like me, this is half common sense and half motivational that I can project to Marketers.

Let me whisper something quietly. The only real reason we have brands is because the brand owners believe that they can make more money from investing in a brand, than they could if they just sold the product alone. Jobs was a billionaire beyond belief. Yet, the beauty of Apple is that while they are the richest company on the planet, until this week, they never let anyone know that was their end goal. They have always been on the side of the consumer. Always living by the golden rule of Apple: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology. Not the other way around”.

No Headphone Jack

I have an iPhone 6, so I’m good for now. I am not seeing enough in the iPhone 7 that makes me want to jump. It’s purely an incremental play. Since I’m not in the market for a new phone, once I heard that it was fairly incremental, I barely paid attention. As I said above, pumping out incremental innovation is a necessity of business.

But then when I heard the new iPhone  did not have a headphone jack, I kinda cringed. There is no way the consumer was demanding that you get rid of the headphone jack. 

A couple of years ago, I started to see guys at the gym with headphones without a wire. What a great idea. That way it wouldn’t get in my way doing a bench press or on the elliptical machine. I went to the store and was like, “Woah, $100 more for wireless, I think I’ll wait”. Checking Best Buy’s website this morning, we can see that we can buy some nice Beats by Dr. Dre headphones for $129….

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 10.17.15 AM

While the same pair of WIRELESS headphones cost $229.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 10.17.37 AM

 

I’m sure someone on the Apple team thinks this is a brilliant move: if we take away the headphone jack, we will make the entire planet go spend $229 on new headphones. That’s a bit like the bank that gave out a huge bonus to the person who came up with the 19.99% interest rate on your credit card, instead of 19.9%, because the extra decimal gave the bank made millions of dollars more. That is also brilliant. But both of these things are fairly disgusting. And almost too obvious that there is a complete “money grab”

Brand Plans 2016 Extract 2.001

The role of Marketing is to improve your brand HEALTH, which then can be stored and leveraged over time to drive longer term to drive more WEALTH for the brand. Sometimes, going after wealth in the short term, can actually take away from the overall heath of the brand. You have to believe that by driving the health that the wealth will come.

Apple’s lack of a headphone jack makes them look greedy for money. It is an annoyance to the consumers who love your brand. For those not willing to invest in new headphones, this is the solution that Apple is providing. Wow, that really just screams consumer friendly. It costs $40, and likely weighs 3x more than the phone. It will be great for consumers to carry that while they run.

Tama-Electric-Lightning-To-Headphone-Adapter

It is completely fine for brands to make a lot of money. But the best Marketers never let consumers see that ugly side. And this one by Apple is pretty ugly. By the way, the Apple stock price first broke the $100 mark in September of 2012. Four years later, it is at trading at $104. It just might be time for Apple to invest in driving that brand health a bit higher.

I love Apple. I just want them to love me back.

Apple just failed big time, because they failed to start with the consumer experience and work back toward the technology. 

To read more on what makes a Beloved Brand, here is our workshop presentation:

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.

Beloved Brands Training program

At Beloved Brands, we promise to make your team of BRAND LEADERS smarter, so they produce smarter work that drives stronger brand results.

  • How to think strategically: Strategic thinkers see “what if” questions before seeing solutions, mapping out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out.
  • Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the organization to follow: sales, R&D, agencies, senior leaders, even the Brand Leader who writes the plan.
  • Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: The brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s promise to the consumer, impacting both external communication (advertising, PR or in-store) as well as internally with employees who deliver that promise.
  • Write smarter Creative Briefs: The brief helps focus the strategy so that all agencies can take key elements of the brand plan positioning to and express the brand promise through communication.
  • Be smarter at Brand Analytics: Before you dive into strategy, you have to dive into the brand’s performance metrics and look at every part of the business—category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand.
  • Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders rely on agencies to execute. They need to know how to judge the work effectively to ensure they are making the best decisions on how to tell the story of the brand and express the brand’s promise.
  • How to build Media Plans: Workshop for brand leaders to help them make strategic decisions on media. We look at media as an investment, media as a strategy and the various media options—both traditional and on-line.
  • Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the path to purchase, by gaining entry into their consumers mind, help them test and decide and then experience so they buy again and become a brand fan.

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911.You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands

 

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