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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. Aaker cautions that not every brand identity needs to employ all or even several of these perspectives.
As suggested by Aaker’s elaborate brand taxonomy, brand identity consists of a core identity and an extended identity. As an asset, a brand is a symbol of the expected future profits of a company; the problem is how to determine the earning power of a brand. As evinced by these criteria, Interbrand takes a business-oriented rather than consumer-oriented view of brand. Relevancy—Measures whether a brand has personal relevance for the potential customer. Esteem—Measures whether a brand is held in high regard and considered best in its class.
Familiarity—Measures the degree to which potential customers understand what a brand stands for. According to this approach to brand equity, brand differentiation is the core of a successful brand proposition with a distinctive position in the marketplace that will promote long-term growth.
Once consumers are aware of the brand, it needs to be relevant to their needs, satisfying and exceeding their expectations. The equations represent an attempt to overcome issues with other methods that assess brands solely in terms of present earning power.
Many business owners are looking for a magic pill that cures the ailment and wonder why individual, one-off campaigns and tactics don’t deliver the goods. Building a brand strategy is the foundational work that inspires and informs every subsequent activity in a business from hiring to product development, marketing, sales and more. While a brand strategy for a company can run to 100 pages or more (it can also start on the back of a napkin), I’ll do my best to summarize its most important points here.
A brand strategy (irrespective of the company or industry) always follows the same rules and intention.
To truly allow your organization to execute with precision on your beliefs and reach your goals, the brand strategy must contain your Unified Vision, which is a vision for the next, 5, 10, 20 years of your company in terms of company goals aligned with your previously stated beliefs. Barry Chandler is the founder of Storyforge, a boutique brand consultancy focused on creating preference and margin for exceptional companies.
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Heather manages the development and implementation of strategic content for Belle Communications and our clients across various channels, including social media, email marketing and website content. Subscribe to get our free weekly roundup of PR, social media and marketing resources delivered straight to your inbox. Over the years consumer taste, preference and lifestyles have changed, and with that so has Coca?Cola.
From May in Great Britain our four colas will be marketed under one brand – Coca?Cola – allowing Diet Coke, Coca?Cola Zero and Coca?Cola Life to benefit from its widespread appeal. See how we’ve delivered on our commitments to provide more choice and information about our drinks. Our instantly recognisable Spencerian script will be used across all 330ml Coca?Cola cans, which will also feature the UK Government’s front-of-pack labelling scheme, combining nutrient amounts and percentage Reference Intakes with colour-coding.
Coca-Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 18 brands and over 80 drinks to consumers across Great Britain including the Coca-Cola portfolio – Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Life, Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke. According to Harvard professor, Youngme Moon, hostile brands are “brands that play hard to get.” The antithesis of “feel good brands,” hostile brands defiantly demand a decision – love me or leave me. It sounds risky, yet the number of successful brands that practice at least elements of hostile marketing is astonishing.
Consider Harley Davidson and its not for everyone noisome bikes and in-your-face attitudes.
Red Bull is unapologetic about its bad boy ingredients and underground marketing emphasizing extreme sports. According to Moon, these brands, as well as MINI-Cooper, Marmite, Hollister, Benetton, and many others resemble the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” in that you are invited to go someplace else if you don’t like the way you’re treated. The trajectory of branding is to offer more, more, more, with the ludicrous result of feature loaded products that offer benefits we don’t want or need nor are we willing to pay for. Much has been written about the importance of authenticity in the era of social media, especially when marketing to the exquisitely “BS” sensitive Millennial generation. As these brands demonstrate, polarization can be effective when undertaken with a solid understanding of customers, a clear understanding of your brand’s DNA and its defining “edges,” and a tough resolve to remain indifferent to those who may find your brand distasteful. After all, as the adage goes, it’s better to mean something to somebody than everything to nobody.
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. By using a defined marketing process, you can build expertise and drive your company’s revenue and profit. If you’d like more guidance for creating your strategies and managing your marketing process throughout the year, create a free preview account in our marketing strategy and planning app and use our hundreds of guided, interactive marketing tools.
A comprehensive Brand Identity fully elaborates each element of the prism, describing what it means and just as importantly, what it does not mean. Capabilities describe what a company does, Personality describes how.  Most brands in a category have similar capabilities, and differ in their ‘personality’, or the way they deliver. Company culture has always been important to iconic brands, such as Nike, Apple, Google and Harley-Davidson. Our Brand Identity model takes into account the growing importance of shared values and experiences in brand building.
Today, most strong brands address customers’ quest for meaning by becoming cultural champions, demonstrating their alignment with one or more causes that resonate with the values of their customers. A rallying cry (sometimes called ‘brand essence’ or ‘brand mantra’) summarizes the identity in 3-4 words.
Zappos started out in 1999 selling shoes online, grew to over a dozen merchandise categories and over $1 billion in revenues, and was acquired by Amazon in 2009.
The Zappos brand was launched with very clear culture and set of core values that permeate every function, from recruiting to the call center to the warehouse. Unlike positioning which is inherently comparative, it is not necessary for the Brand Identity to be differentiating in each and every facet. A good brand strategy needs to use the right architecture, which is determined by the business needs of an organization. Documentation detailing the branding strategy of an organization is a good source of information for analyzing the current brand architecture.
Each brand in your company portfolio should be categorized according to the role it plays and how it is perceived by the consumer. After analysis and categorization, the last step is to coordinate the branding strategy with the company goals. MORE ABOUT BRANDONAfter being physically and mentally disabled by a brain tumor, Brandon overcame the odds to regain his health to help his pregnant wife in her fight against stage 3 breast cancer. We are strong believers that a brand strategy should be intrinsically linked with your marketing activities and your sales pipeline: with all three working together to generate awareness, build loyalty and drive sales.
Remember that, by appointing The Factory to help with your branding strategy, as part of our ‘joined-up’ or ‘integrated’ (for all you digitally savvy types out there) approach, we also consider your marking activities and sales pipeline at the same time, because these are key tools in delivering your brand.


Proven models for brand development strategies.A brand strategy is more effective when your marketing and sales strategies are considered at the same time.
The team is responsive to our specific requirements and always meets agreed deadlines; excellent communication oils the proverbial wheels and guarantees that the product is nothing short of perfect.
Working with The Factory on a branding exercise was a good experience from start to finish.
The Factory, from the outset, have understood our target audience of children, young people and families and the design work continues to have great feedback from readers. The Factory offers us exactly the range of design skills that complement our editorial and textual capability at a competitive but realistic price; the company also provides us with additional photographic expertise as required. We operate in a challenging and competitive market and have always been delighted with the strategic thinking and creativity shown by The Factory.
Our new website and subsequent on and off page SEO that The Factory have produced has brought in increased visitor traffic, enquiries and orders.
About The FactoryLeeds based agency specialising in branding, marketing, website design and creative design.
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. Aaker, a marketing professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of the popular Building Strong Brands (1996), has developed a comprehensive brand identity planning model. A core element of a brand’s identity is usually its product thrust, which will affect the type of associations that are desirable and feasible.
This perspective focuses on attributes of the organization rather than on those of the product or service.
A strong symbol can provide cohesion and structure to an identity and make it much easier to gain recognition and recall.
Interbrand, a UK-based branding consultancy, has led the way in defining an appropriate method for brand strength assessment and publishes a yearly chart of the top performers. A brand that leads its market sector is more stable and powerful than other market entrants. Brands are more valuable when they are in markets with growing or stable sales levels and a price structure in which successful firms can be profitable.
Brands that are international are more valuable than national or regional brands, in part because of economies of scale.
The overall long-term trend of the brand in terms of sales can be expected to reflect future prospects. The company used its Brand Asset Valuator to assess the brand equity of 450 global brands and more than 8,000 local brands in 24 countries.
Closely related to perceived quality and the extent to which the brand is growing in popularity. Y&R defines it as the power of a brand to express its uniqueness and reach top-of-mind status with target consumers. The way that the brand manager is able to express that relevancy in a language consumers appreciate will determine its success. They suggest that scores relating to brand differentiation and relevance indicate the potential for growth, while those relating to brand esteem and familiarity indicate its present stature.
Barry and his team are experts at developing compelling brand stories, and he’s sharing some of that knowledge here today with excellent insights on building a brand strategy.
The harsh reality is that not only is there no single magic pill, but there really is only one prescription for a business looking to grow and that is to start with a brand strategy. We wouldn’t build a house without a secure foundation, yet business owners often build their walls without a thought given to the quicksand they’re building on.
It is the how, what, when, and to whom you plan on communicating your product or service, aligned with your company goals. Once such an exercise has been completed in your company, the output should be a document that is signed off on by leadership and then shared internally as the official direction and positioning document of the company. Barry has been building award winning businesses since launching his first company in Ireland in 2003.
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She also specializes in SEO and social media advertising to help brands maximize their reach and influence within the digital space.
Too often we see clients jump into tactic mode without really understanding their brand voice or even having a strategy!
By continuing and using the site, including by remaining on the landing page, you consent to the use of cookies. We’ve innovated to include a range of lower and no sugar and calorie alternatives, each with their own identity.
We’ll be promoting the different characteristics of each variant, and giving black, silver and green greater presence in Coca?Cola advertising. Other Coca-Cola Great Britain brands include Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, glaceau smartwater, vitaminwater, Schweppes and Powerade.
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. When you have a clear competitive positioning strategy, brand, distribution strategy, sales process, pricing, etc., you’ll be more successful in generating and managing customers.
Look at everything in your arsenal: website, literature, messages, presentations, phone scripts, proposals, etc. It may take time, but even small changes in key areas can flow through the entire process and produce dramatic results. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.” Similarly, a brand is the result of an unbroken series of consistent gestures, encompassing both what it does and how it does it. Once developed, the best practice is to internalize it up and down the organization, so that everyone making decisions that impact the brand is working from the same understanding. After reviewing several, we concluded there is no one right way, but there are elements that are important to include. Elaborations can include images, relevant quotes, evidence from customer research, third party endorsements or product claims. This usually means how it performs relative to what customers want and need from the category. Jennifer Aaker identified five primary dimensions for describing brand personality: sincerity, ruggedness, sophistication, excitement, and competence. Passionate, engaged employees also explain much of the success of legendary service brands such as Ritz Carlton, Southwest Airlines and Nordstrom’s.
Leading brands create, inspire, support and embrace ways to engage customers in immersive experiences. Brands that offer a larger vision of the world create a kind of ‘ideological glue’ that invites customers and prospects to express their solidarity by identifying and engaging with the brand.
From early on, the team recognized that Zappos was a service company that just happened to sell shoes. If you can answer many but not all of the questions raised by each prism element, you may simply need to add to what you already have. Increasing pressure from competitors and an ever growing (and crowded) market, means only those companies who can gain the trust and loyalty of consumers can thrive. In many organizations, the founders or leaders set out with an intentional plan to build a master-brand or a product brand. Often there is internal documentation for staff use, and a different set of external documentation focused for third party and press use.
Gaille is one of the top business bloggers in the world, and he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. A plan that will provide our customers with simple and clear ways to understand this and tell them how to find out more, and this would be our Brand Strategy. We have several proven models for building a brand from scratch or developing awareness of an existing brand. I was given expert advice throughout the project on how to utilise our brand effectively and the quality of finished work was outstanding. It was creative, really answered the brief and, most importantly, delivered the desired results. 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. Each organization should, however, consider all of the perspectives and use those deemed helpful in articulating what the brand should stand for in the customer’s mind.


Attributes directly related to the purchase or use of a product can provide functional benefits and sometimes emotional benefits for customers.
Such organizational attributes as innovation, a drive for quality and concern for the environment are created by the people, culture, values and programs of the company.
The brand-as-person perspective suggests a brand identity that is richer and more interesting than one based on product attributes. Its presence can be a key ingredient of brand development and its absence can be a substantial handicap. It’s central to both the meaning and success of the brand, and contains the associations that are most likely to remain constant as the brand encompasses new products and travels to new markets. Its set of criteria, chosen subjectively, includes the business prospects of the brand and the brand’s market environment, as well as consumer perceptions. This criterion reflects economies of scale for the first-place brand in communication and distribution, as well as the problems also-rans have in maintaining distribution and avoiding price erosion. Some markets, such as consumer electronics, are so rife with debilitating price competition that the prospects of any brand being profitable are dim. The subjectivity of both the criteria and assessment of the brands, however, makes the dimensions difficult to defend and affects the reliability of the resulting measures. Once consumers understand what the brand can do for them, they need to aspire to own it, or have esteem for it. The results, however, are dependent on subjective analyses of the four criteria in relation to the market, the consumer and the company; although there are market research techniques that can better ensure the necessary analyses accurate reflect the competitive milieu. Rather than hoping for the individual campaigns to create your strategy (hint: that never works), the only proven way to business growth is by starting with the strategy.
His last company, Chandler Interactive, a digital marketing agency, was acquired in 2012 by a California based publicly traded entertainment company which then hired him as Chief Marketing Officer.
In her free time, Heather loves reading, trying new restaurants and hanging out at home with her husband and soon-to-be toddler.
I think often it's the excitement of "let's just get started!" or a sense of urgency to not "waste time" BUT the fact is if you don't take the time on the front end, it will cost you more time and money later. But recent research has showed that not everyone understands the options available to them, and the benefits of each drink, which is why we’re introducing a new “one brand” strategy to help make choice easier and simpler. The strategy will also play an important part in our goal to achieve, by 2020, more than 50% of Coca?Cola sales from lower or no calorie colas in Great Britain. Yet the move reinforces the brand’s credibility, as it suggests Whole Foods is unwilling to compromise its principles. Maverick brands build their reputation on forging their own path and challenging the status quo.
BSI is a service of The Blake Project, a leading brand consultancy based in the United States, serving marketers around the world. They should communicate your strategies loudly and consistently, helping you gain more traction with your market in less time.
Good planning, execution and measurement can help you move from a reactive into proactive mode.
Strong brands have well-defined ‘edges’ – everyone in the organization knows where the edges lie and how to respect them. All brand identities have at least three components: rallying cry, capabilities, and personality. The resulting Identity forms the basis of the brand expression guidelines, communications and internal brand activation programs, so it’s worth taking time to get it right. Capabilities often include ideas like ‘quality’, ‘innovation’, ‘reliability’, ‘service’, and ‘selection’, and are what should come to mind first when stakeholders think of the brand. Harley Davidson’s HOGs emerged independently from the company and express the freedom of the open road. In his book, We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Create a Better World, Simon Mainwaring refers to these brand communities as ‘brand nations’ and suggests that in the future, purpose will be essential to creating emotionally invested customers. For example, the Payless ShoeSource rallying cry is “Democratizing fashion footwear.” This is a far cry from its origins as a store for cheap plastic shoes, and provides an inspirational reason for employees to go to work every day. Today, differentiation is as likely to result from a deep recognition and participation in a subculture or a sense of shared purpose or community as from a product feature or functional benefit. While specific products and messages may change with the times, the underlying Brand Identity needs to be stable, to ensure coherence and to allow the accumulated impact of brand decisions to be felt. A strong brand can covey a sense of quality and credibility, beyond the actual components of a product. Though, sometimes the branding strategy forms organically without anyone actively managing it. This is where we tell them specifically that they can find us in Leeds (using our Branding).
Done correctly it will plot our exact location in Leeds, which is so much more useful than just knowing we are in West Yorkshire (as it’s a big place, famous for factories, so we need to let them know we are The Factory). If you want to capture significant market share, start with a strong brand strategy or you may not get far. A product-related attribute can create a value proposition by offering something extra like features or services, or by offering something better.
Elevating symbols to the status of being part of the identity reflects their potential power.
The extended identity, on the other hand, includes elements that provide texture and completeness. Finally, when the brand has communicated its unique, relevant and aspirational message, it will be able to achieve familiarity through repurchase and re-use. While it can’t predict every direction your business may take, it should inform decision making in every area of the business such as HR, PR, marketing, sales, etc.
It is his belief that the greatest products and services remain undiscovered due to lack of a strategic brand strategy; a situation he lives to change!
Other Maverick brands include Harley Davidson, Jon Stewart (The Daily Show), Howard Stern, Steve Jobs, and maybe even Ben and Jerry’s. It explains how the brand will support the organization’s overall mission and objectives, and forms a bridge to making decisions about more than just marketing. Disney Cruise Lines does not have a casino and never will, despite the potential for generating revenue. Some brands include additional traits, such as ‘humor,’ ‘social’ and ‘compassion’ in their personalities.
Many company founders were also customers – that is, highly engaged users of their products or services with a clear and aligned set of values. Patagonia adopted Dirt Bags as the embodiment of the Brand’s rugged, outdoors, minimalist values.
An identity should stay in place five to seven years or even longer if there is no compelling reason to revisit it. Aaker argues, however, that the goal of linking a brand with a product class is not to gain recall of a product class when a brand is mentioned.
For example, it treats Gillette as a single entity, even though it has many sub-brands and extensions, and treats Marlboro, which is a single brand, by the same rules. Now you’ll have a much better chance of success with PR, social media campaigns, print media and more because your goals will be aligned, your audience defined and your strategy clear. These are brands that do things their own unique way, in a very determined fashion, they bow to no one, and they often have a love-hate relationship with their audience – we usually hate that we love them! Successful companies use the brand as a filter for determining whom to hire, which businesses to participate in, what partnerships to pursue and more. Our Brand Identity Model is an adaptation of Jean-Noel Kapferer’s “Brand Identity Prism.” It offers these three elements and four more, a reflection of the fact that the brands that are richest in meaning define themselves on more than just three dimensions. As companies grow, it is imperative that they ensure employees and other stakeholders are inspired by the brand and want to live its values. Today, digital and social media are redefining community and providing brands with tools that make it easier than ever to help their users to find one another, compare notes and share their stories. The purpose of this system is to help brand strategists consider different brand elements and patterns that can help clarify, enrich and differentiate an identity. This flaw reinforces the need to develop more refined and rigorous methods of brand analysis.
As a result, creating a brand identity is one of the most important steps a company can take to ensure a consistent, enduring brand.
These are extreme examples, but the difference between a clearly defined brand and a fuzzy one often rests on the ability to discern boundaries. This facet of the Brand Identity ensures that culture is genuinely nurtured by internal branding efforts as well as customer-facing activities. These are more than phrases, they are compelling forces that resonate with customers, inspire loyalty and motivate internal audiences. This capability informs decisions regarding returns, shipping upgrades, and speed of service. When expressed as part of the Brand Identity, capabilities challenge employees to reach higher. In the case of Zappos, a representative once even helped a hungry caller who was away from home find a place she could get a late-night pizza!



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