How do you stand out in a saturated market?
When confronted with near-infinite choice, consumers use both tangible and intangible attributes to navigate their way to the checkout. Rationalizing a purchase can be a very irrational process. As consumers, we’ve never had so much choice. Brick-and-mortar store shelves are brimming and ecommerce is booming. Need toothpaste? You can choose from not just dozens but hundreds of options—breath-freshening, sensitivity-reducing, teeth-whitening, all-natural, artisanal, and on and on. In fact, a Mintel study counted 352 distinct types. It’s great news for consumers—especially those whose like their dental hygiene bacon-flavoured. But it’s tough on companies whose products are jostling for space on product shelves and in consumer’s minds. While competition is fierce in virtually every product category, there are still ways to stand out. Be materially different Every product has the potential for differentiation. Even in a commodity market, you don’t invariably need to resort to price wars. Improve on customer service, tweak the delivery model, strengthen quality-assurance processes, develop more convenient packaging, or bundle the offering with a value-added product or service. Whether your company is small or large, there’s a unique advantage you can leverage. Larger companies can leverage their reputation to attract top-tier partners to create a premium product package that smaller market participants can’t match. But small companies can pivot and mobilize faster than larger organizations, bringing fresh ideas...
Developing a Brand Strategy
A brand doesn’t begin with the creation of a logo, a visual identity, or a tone of voice. It begins with a brand strategy—a rigorous and intensive process that uncovers the unique space your company occupies in the hearts and minds of your customers. Developing brand strategy is hard work, and it can be tempting to skip the gruntwork and go straight for the gusto—those tangible elements of the brand that consumers actually see and interact with. But developing those visible brand elements without a comprehensive brand strategy results in a simulacrum rather than a true brand. The strategy is the rudder and the engine for your brand: without them, the boat is adrift, no matter how pretty the paint job. Stronger brands for challenging times Today, building a valuable brand requires even more discipline, because brands are more permeable. Companies no longer simply broadcast their message to passive recipients. A brand is now a two-way communication across an array of social and digital channels, with consumers actively contributing to and evangelizing the brand. (And in some cases, such as Adobe’s crowdsourced logo refresh, they’re co-creating it.) Under these conditions, brands need to be more resilient, more focused, and more attuned to the market than ever before, and developing brand strategy is an indispensable part of the process. Emotional Appeal...
3 Great Ways to Ruin Your Brand
Your brand is more than a slick visual identity: it’s a valuable corporate asset in which a significant investment has been made. In many organizations, its value is both tangible and fungible, with a line in the P&L statement and a big role to play a company’s market value. For example, when Gillette was acquired by Procter & Gamble, the brand was valued at $24 billion—a sizable chunk of the $54 billion paid for the company as a whole. Brand mistakes can have a serious impact. But the brand is also fragile, and knowing how to protect it from common missteps is crucial. These cautionary tales underscore three of the easiest ways to undermine the brand’s integrity and destroy its value. Hyper-extending the brand Fans of The Simpsons will recognize the perils of brand hyper-extension in the example of Krusty the Klown, the greedy, opportunistic huckster who lends his face to everything from handguns to home pregnancy tests. But real companies often make the same brand mistakes. A brand should be flexible enough to allow the company to evolve and grow. But that growth needs to be thoughtful, logical, and organic. Push the brand to fast or too far, and you risk jeopardizing its integrity. Colgate discovered this when they made the bemusing decision to extend the brand to packaged...
In 2014, more than one in three global employers reported talent shortages. Three in four job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. But only 57% of employers say they have an employer brand strategy.
A Brand Strategist
This article was published by Marketing Magazine in January 2016. It's a question and answer article that offers candid insight into the dark and mysterious world of a brand strategist...
As Marilynjean.com planned its move into the US, we conducted primary and secondary research for information that would help shape their brand for a US orientation. These were the key learnings...
What’s in a name?
A good name has three characteristics. Firstly, it makes the company memorable and buzz-worthy. Secondly, the name tells us something important about the actual or emotional space the brand is aiming to occupy. Third, The name invites layered meaning by being evocative.
What is a brand?
Simply put, a brand is what your business represents in the collective mind of your customers. A brand has a higher purpose than simply selling goods or services. A brand’s purpose is to provide human value to your products and services.
What is a Brand Strategist?
If a brand strategy is the vehicle that turns your businesses into a brand, then the brand strategist is the person behind the wheel. The brand strategist is a catalyst for transformation. This person is equal parts scientist, psychologist, communicator, and designer. This is someone capable of recognizing the significance of the moment, predicting the future, and translating those elements into visual and verbal artifacts. While the responsibilities of the brand strategist are vast and complex, their objectives can be bucketed into three important categories. Creating Customers. A brand strategy aligns your business with your customers, transforming the “buyer-seller” mentality into a mutually beneficial relationship where one side’s success—measured in happiness, growth, or a myriad of other factors—is dependent on the other. To begin the relationship-building process, you must first determine who your customers are. Your business is likely one of many in a very competitive space. What separates you from the others saturating the market are your specific strengths and weaknesses. Those particulars define your target audience. Essentially, your brand scratches a very specific itch that the competition is simply unable to reach. Through meticulous research and analysis, the brand strategist looks beyond purchasing trends and uncovers who your customers are on a human level. By finding out what makes these individuals tick—their behaviors, habits, needs, and desires—the...