Asking Smarter Questions is your go-to guide for the latest points of view, news, trends, insights, statistics and tools regarding data driven digital marketing. These days, it’s no big surprise to see companies actively tracking and communicating with individual consumers online, as opposed to the push marketing strategy from the days of old.
Coined ‘adaptive marketing’ by companies like Forrester Research, this form of direct marketing combines insights from data analysis with a customer-focused mentality to tailor product offerings and marketing strategy to meet the needs of customers while providing a truly unique brand experience.
Your brand will be repeatedly exposed in multiple ways throughout the life of your business. 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. One long-standing example of such success dates back to 1955 with the advent of the Marlboro Man. Additional examples abound; however to understand the purpose for using these archetypes, and the reasons for their success, we must examine the psychology behind them. Psychology is the study of the human psyche, the mind’s role in and affect upon human behavior.
Jung’s theories of archetypes relate to his theory of the existence of a collective unconscious. While this all sounds less scientific and more mystical, note that Jung considered the human psyche to be primarily spiritual in nature, not unlike the Buddhist concept of mind.
Jung’s archetypes are thus patterns of thought and associated behaviors that exist in every human being.
This is also related to the proven effectiveness of subliminal suggestion or subliminal advertising, wherein suggested behaviors are passed before the human senses at a rate too fast to be perceived by the conscious mind. Consider further that subliminal advertising has evolved into what we now call product placement advertising.
In the 1988 blockbuster movie DIE HARD, one of the thieves provides a moment of comic relief by reaching under a concession counter, picking up a Nestle’s Crunch candy bar, and eating it. Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Alisha Webb at Datadial, a London based marketing agency. The world of marketing has evolved, and today the companies that supply marketing communications and brand strategy are very different. Ad agencies should do what it says on their tin – be agents for the creation of advertising – and accept that the strategy work that feeds their creativity will be devised elsewhere and without their involvement.
As brand has become more central to the success of most major clients, it has moved further away from the core competencies of advertising agencies. Niall FitzGerald identified this separation while he was chief executive officer at Unilever. Today, brand strategy requires a fundamental knowledge of business operations, finances, employees and internal culture – subjects most ad agencies, which often struggle even to understand how their clients make money, are ignorant of. But it is time for agencies to recognize that brand consultancies offer inherently superior systems, people and solutions when it comes to branding.
In the long and twisting journey to building a brand, the external communications stage usually occurs late in the day, if at all. The biggest challenge facing brand consultants today is helping clients to understand the difference between branding and marketing.
I typically find that when you map a brand’s touchpoints around 25% maximum lie within the responsibility of the marketing department. There are people and organizations that are both big and small of every kind and variety that get it, and there are those that don’t. To quarantine brand strategy in this manner like it is on Easter Island, just makes for ever more fragmented approaches, developed in a vacuum, and out of full context. Branding and the strategy that goes with it are at best when it is conducted across skill sets. Because, for example, of all the great thinking you guys do, initiatives often fall short at the visualization stage.
I think we need to put a little less emphasis into starting new kingdoms and start working in the full context of the team. Branding, marketing, whatever you want to call it, is in need of a self-adapting, unified theory. It often appears that this tactic is more about carving out a ready to use, instant market space, than simply just being better at branding and branded thinking.
I think it is more about perpetuating a business model, than about the work, the end product, or the thing that is made, in most cases. Having grown up in a big ad agency at a time when we were trained in brand and business strategy and driven to care for brand expression across all touchpoints, I believe there is a way to have both serious brand consulting chops and creatively brilliant thinking connected on behalf of a brand…. This thinking led us to a proliferation of specialist shops and for the marketer looking for true holistic thinking, it puts the issue in his lap to find the right talent and to connect them on behalf of his business – it spins us right back to the silo issues of big agencies today. If a group of people expert in brand and business strategy can sit alongside folks who can bring brand strategy to life across key touch-points, wouldn’t that answer a lot of need for marketers today?
If a group of people who got to know a brand inside and out, could continue on from strategy to comms planning and creative work and yes, incorporate shopper wisdom, wouldn’t that yield unusual value?


I think we should stop thinking about specialist value and silo’d ownership and instead consider how to solve for what brands need today.
Where the problem lies is most clients don’t see the importance of planner within an agency ( as they are unaware of the role they play) and refuse to pay for it. The result of this will be smooth processing from brand strategy to communications strategy as there will be less friction. This article should be mandatory reading for every CEO, business student and every person working in advertising.
Watch an ad agency person roll their eyes when a client tries to develop their own creative! Some searching questions recently from executives who seem to pride themselves on being brand skeptics prompted me to review the parameters of what brands can do, what they can’t and why I still believe that branding is a vital business activity. There are five drivers of customer brand insistence – awareness, relevant differentiation, value, accessibility and emotional connection.
Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and many other platforms provide an excellent vehicle for companies and consumers to correspond. For example, some e-commerce brands provide products online that are customizable by the individual users themselves, allowing them to create a more relevant, personalized product. With consumers personalizing a product to their own interests and preferences, they are less likely to switch brands.
Coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, it applies to customers who are offered too many different options. Our extended checklist gives some insight into the many ways in which your brand strategy can be complemented. 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.
The Jungian-based psychology behind the use of archetypes began in earnest shortly after World War II.
The campaign featured an archetypal rugged, straight-shooting, unpretentious American cowboy. He first appeared on the scene in 1963 and was instrumental in propelling the small hamburger franchise into one of the world’s largest multinational corporations.
Another famous student of the psyche, Sigmund Freud, affirmed that each person has his or her own personal unconscious mind or mental state. Deep within the collective unconscious, symbolism triggers the association of the primordial thought and behavior pattern and that in turn affects a conscious behavior. While some quarters refute that subliminal advertising really works, consider that on January 24, 1974 the U.S. The difference here is that the suggestive images appear at a level just within conscious perceptibility. One sees a late night pizza advertisement and within minutes is on the phone placing an order. It is incumbent upon the brand manager to determine the correct archetype for the brand and to provide a physical body for that conceptual entity.
Successful brands utilize symbolism, the personification of the archetype, to tap into the human emotions that lay buried deep within the collective unconscious and evoke an associated behavior.
There is plenty of money to be made and work to be done in the area of marketing communications. Just as I would never recommend that a client work with a brand consultant to create a communications campaign, I would be equally aghast if they asked an ad agency to work on their brand strategy. Consequently, the initial research, positioning and engagement work will always occur long before an ad agency has any reason to become involved.
However, while 75% wanted their agency to give them more strategic business advice, 46% were not satisfied with the strategic services provided. Marketing tactics, particularly when the focus is on communication, are valued more than brand strategy… which for many, is still an esoteric theoretical exercise. I think Jim Thornton’s response says it all, taking personal offence for not being invited to the party.
Only branding, especially visualization, is a fundamentally different function than any other part of business. Which is ironic because the ability to visualize effective, aligned, and differentiated concepts is one of the most critical parts of branding and the strategic thinking that surrounds it. That ability to steer the ship or at least have a more profound influence it and facilitate organizations running on all cylinders, will reap the most long term financial rewards for brands, both stewards and owners.
I would say I agree, but coming from a brand consultant that would be obvious and unhelpful. Without an agency bias, consultants can provide tactic-agnostic advice and planning free from a revenue model that might affect objectivity. IE Burger Kind, Pizza Hut, Radio Shack, most of the Unilever brands, etc…in my opinion. Those of us with the flex to build customized brand teams just might be able to make a very big difference.
When you say Brand Strategy to be handled outside, it creates a gap and more-so a communication gap between the agency and brand consultants because of both trying to prove each other.


Here I believe it is more of a job of the clients to demand a planner rather than going elsewhere (or using their own marketing professional) and dividing work. Also most agencies feel more comfortable taking advice from there own people who they know and trust rather than some outsider. Price can be influential in portraying a brand as affordable and ‘on the side of the customer’, or exclusive and just for the few. Check out our new series to learn the best processes for finding efficiencies across your business. But thanks to growing technology and data analysis capabilities, communication has recently stepped past this online virtual arena and into a complete overhaul of brand experience and product marketing strategy. If you’re an online shopper, you’ve probably noticed Amazon offers personalized recommendations based on your past views or orders. Rather than picking one option and purchasing, they are overwhelmed by the number of possibilities and just give up. BSI is a service of The Blake Project, a leading brand consultancy based in the United States, serving marketers around the world. Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, also conceptualized the theories of archetypes and the collective unconscious.
Within a short time after its debut on the airwaves and in the print media, sales jumped by over 5,000 percent.
Kids and families believed that McDonald’s was a happy place, a place of fun and good food. To understand psychology, one must accept that the frontier of the human mind remains largely unexplored. Jung expanded this by asserting that in addition to that state, all humans shared a deeper state, which he called the collective unconscious. This is similar to the way in which a real hypnotist can affect behavior by reaching into the darkness of one’s subconscious mind and planting a suggestion there.
The human eye may or may not see the Pepsi machine in the background as the action hero blasts his way out the train station. Though no studies exist for that scene, it is plausible to believe that some percentage of the audience felt compelled to join in with a trip to the theater concession stand.
The question is how does the public perceive your images and do they reach into the collective consciousness and evoke the desired behavior? It is probably the single-most important brand issue for most major branded companies, yet most ad agencies would have trouble even identifying what the concept means, let alone advising their client on a major brand consolidation or co-branding strategy. Indeed, with the gradual disintegration of terrestrial TV advertising and the fragmentation of the market, there has arguably never been a more challenging or interesting time to work in advertising.
If brands are at least partly a consequence of the company’s core capabilities then brand strategy is a key component of business strategy.
Not as a violin section, playing its own music whenever it wants with a separate conductor. And it is my belief that design thinking, that is innately holistic, will drive the innovation and associated huge rewards.
Those leaders who see the true value in taking the time and spending the budget to get the right strategy will have stronger ROI with their advertising agencies.
It wasn’t the case in the majority of agencies I have been with (8 to date), where I got some killer training and education in brand building and architecture. It can generate responses ranging from the thrill of a bargain to the indignation of a price tag that seems far too steep. And if you’ve shopped Nike online lately, you know the brand gives shoppers the ability to customize their shoes using Nike ID.
By putting the power of the product in the hands of the consumers, it could wipe out the need for pre-defined demographics, thus ending mass production and mass appeal. If you plan on developing your brand experience and marketing strategy in this direction, you might want to consider the number of options you provide, as well as the position of your competitors.
His theories certainly seem to have great merit, given their unparalleled success when applied to consumer marketing and product branding. It is in this realm that one finds primordial thought patterns and instincts that evolved in the human psyche over the period of human physical evolution. But that era is over and even big and brilliant agencies are no longer qualified to work on brand strategy.
The problem of having advertising people run brand strategy is also one of vantage point and their stage in the business cycle.
Everyone can win, staying in the right sandbox of where expertise lies is best for the clients long term.
The Dutch airline KLM provides a Facebook-connected service that allows customer to pick their seats based on where their friends are sitting. This new customer-focused marketing trend could revolutionize the way we cultivate the brand experience, but also the actual products and marketing strategy behind them.



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