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For me, brands, and more particularly the cultures that support them, should be seen as belief systems rather than pure-play marketing systems. This year, one of my favorite thinkers, Tom Asacker, published a new book, his fifth, titled The Business of Beliefs. Tom: People’s expectations change, because their experiences in the marketplace change and their desires evolve.
Tom: [Brands] need to be very opinionated today, especially about what they are in business to accomplish, beyond making money. If you find our thought pieces on brand strategy and brand management insightful and would like a deeper understanding for yourself, your marketing teams or leadership teams we can develop a tailored learning solution for you. Brand Education is a core competency of The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider. Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals build strong brands. Subscribe to Branding Strategy Insider Now and get regular updates and two FREE Chapters of Brad VanAuken's best selling book Brand Aid direct to your inbox.
For many startup CEOs in their first and second rounds of funding, their focus is usually on product development rather than creating a value proposition that will form the strategic direction of their fledgling enterprise.
Ask any architect and they will tell you the most important aspect of design is not the structure but its foundation. Publicity, image, design, taglines, slogans and great brand names — which of these is the most important to a growing startup brand? Your brand strategy defines what you stand for, a promise you make, and the personality you convey. Successful branding also creates “brand equity” – the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s your brand. You acquire customers quickly because your prospects’ experience with you supports everything you say.
You can charge a premium because your market knows why you’re better and is willing to pay for it. The market may not have a consistent view or impression of your product and company, but in general you think it’s positive.
You haven’t thought a lot about branding because it doesn’t necessarily seem relevant, but you admit that you can do a better job of communicating consistently with the market. What you do, what you say and how you say it may contradict each other and confuse your prospects. Create a free account in our marketing planning and management web app for step-by-step guidance.
Before working on your brand strategy, make sure you’ve identified your competitive positioning strategy – your brand strategy will bring it to life. Identify which benefits are emotional – the most powerful brand strategies tap into emotions, even among business buyers.
Look at the emotional benefits and boil them down to one thing that your customers should think of when they think of you. Write positioning statements and a story about your brand; use them throughout your company materials. Determine how your employees will interact with prospects and customers to convey the personality and make sure your brand “lives” within your company. Together with your competitive positioning strategy, your brand strategy is the essence of what you represent. The Marketing MO planning app is your behind-the-scenes Chief Marketing Officer, a comprehensive resource that will improve your overall business, whether it’s a consulting practice, start up, or mid-size company. We can help you build relationships with your retailers through instore events, merchandising, co-op programs and more. To a visionary founder working in a new category, we must next add a moment of creativity or sublime innovation.

The Swiss dominate the world of premium watchmaking, but the key question is not how to say ‘Swiss Made’ but rather how a specific watch justifies that premium branding.
A watch qualifies as being Swiss made if at least 50% of the components in its movement are made in Switzerland and if it is assembled and undergoes a final inspection there.
Several foreign watch manufacturers are able to claim a Swiss pedigree despite being non-Swiss owned and, for the most part, non-Swiss made. In 2011, Target launched a range of items designed by luxury Italian label Missoni but manufactured and retailed by its mainstream retail partner. An Italian luxury brand and a US mass-retailer might appear odd bedfellows, but look closer.
Ideally you will find a partner that will not only add new associations to your existing brand equity, but those new associations will confer strategic advantages.
This thought piece is featured courtesy of Marketing Week, the United Kingdom’s leading marketing publication.
Purpose, values and ethics are the oxygen of successful marques because they inspire consumers to see qualities in the brands they choose that make them feel more human, more real and more desirable. Belief is simply a working assumption about something or someone … driven by what we would wish something to be.
We make meaning out of partial information … We have past experiences, which we spin into a coherent story, and revise when necessary, to rationalize previous actions and make us feel good about ourselves, our associations and decisions. Financial measurement is simply a way to gauge how well a brand is executing on its opinions, on its theories about how the marketplace is evolving and its unique role in that evolution.
If established brands won’t, or can’t, innovate to satisfy these emerging beliefs and desires, others will step in to make it happen.
As practitioners and educators we deliver interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align individuals and organizations on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of their brands. Army and Wyndham Worldwide are some of the organizations that have turned to The Blake Project for help in meeting learning objectives. We focus on sharing thought provoking expertise that promotes an elevated conversation on brand strategy and brand management and fosters community among marketers. If you’re going to create a brand that endures, you’ll have to build its value on a solid foundation.
Learn how to set up, manage and improve your distribution channels with this detailed how-to guide from the experts at Marketing MO. And while it includes your logo, color palette and slogan, those are only creative elements that convey your brand. But when you put two companies up against each other, the one that represents something valuable will have an easier time reaching, engaging, closing and retaining customers.
In addition to generating revenue, brand equity makes your company itself more valuable over the long term. It’s easy to begin dialogue with new prospects because they quickly understand what you stand for. A feature is an attribute – a color, a configuration; a benefit is what that feature does for the customer. A great brand strategy helps you communicate more effectively with your market, so follow it in every interaction you have with your prospects and customers.
When tackling any new marketing task, have confidence that we have your back – with the structure and detail you need to get things done right. During their short brand history POC has been able to differentiate themselves in the market with a unique aesthetic style.
For a young man from Basingstoke named Thomas Burberry it was the creation of a new fabric called gabardine – a water-resistant yet breathable fabric. There’s the Swiss Mountaineer watch brand which, despite its name, prominent use of the Swiss flag on its packaging and the words Swiss Made on its timepieces, is actually owned by a Hong Kong company and predominantly manufactured from non-Swiss parts in China. Almost all of the 500 Swiss watch brands that form the federation support its call for a clearer and more stringent definition of what “Swiss Made” actually means.

The collection was meant to last until mid-October but heavy promotion combined with price points between $3 and $600 meant it sold out in most Target stores by noon.
According to the established theory of co-branding, this is a perfect marriage for it is built on contrasts, not similarities.
In the case of Missoni, this partnership was about generating awareness for a brand that has a relatively tiny US marketing budget.
In Missoni’s case, a whole new generation of Americans now know and are interested in the Italian brand. And of course it’s a discussion that is highly pertinent to all marketers because not only are brands today in the business of belief, but they only work if the people in the business believe in what they are there to achieve.
People wanted to believe in the exclusive and unique quality of the Apple brand, so much so that they were willing to pay a premium and evangelize the brand.
It’s a process of continuous learning, discovery and creation of new meaning, which drives profitable growth and adds value to the lives of customers, employees, owners, partners, and the community. [Brands work for us because] it’s impossible to consciously evaluate all of our daily choices and decisions. Great designers are in tune with our present beliefs and design new ones that make it easy for us to adopt and evangelize. Customers lose belief when their desires are not being met, or when something or someone else is better at stimulating and satisfying those latent desires. BSI is a service of The Blake Project, a leading brand consultancy based in the United States, serving marketers around the world. Your brand strategy brings your competitive positioning to life, and works to position you as a certain “something” in the mind of your prospects and customers. Luxury brands don’t start with prestige and premium – they begin with a founder who inevitably comes from the middle of society rather than the top. But back when a young monk named Pierre Perignon was experimenting with the fermentation of grapes, the name Champagne simply meant a region. For a middle-aged entrepreneur named Louis Vuitton it was the addition of canvas to his trunks as a means to ensure they were totally waterproof and could be produced in flat, stackable units – as opposed to having rounded peaks to ward off the rain. If the federation has its way, the proportion of Swiss made components in a Swiss watch will rise to 80% of that timepiece’s total value. For Target, this was another opportunity to bolster its value message with the kind of design and premium associations that will help it trump arch-rival Walmart. For Target, this was a rare chance to entice the metropolitan fashionista back into Target.
Missoni and Target have strong product pedigree in clothing and homeware that made up the Missoni for Target collection. So Steve Jobs orchestrated every single touch point, including something as seemingly insignificant as the product packaging, to communicate and enhance that belief. However, when the choices we make are not giving us the outcomes we desire, it’s time to pay very close attention to [our] beliefs. When brands forget how to dream, the passion for the possible and for the customer typically goes with it. If you want to capture significant market share, start with a strong brand strategy or you may not get far. These users have authority in the sports and must be targeted to add credibility to the brand. Madam Chanel was an orphan, Guccio Gucci a merchant’s son from Florence – founders are artisans not aristocrats. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 40 marketing oriented leaders and professionals. And time must move on until the brand eventually acquires a luster of exclusivity and heritage.

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