The Customer-Centric Brand

John Hagel, co-author of The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, has an interesting post about the current shifts in brands power.

In broad strokes, we are moving from product-centric brands to customer-centric brands. Product-centric brands represent promises about products (or retailers) – “buy this product from us because you can trust that it will be a quality product at good value.

Customer-centric brands offer a radically different promise – “buy from us because we know and understand you as an individual customer and we can tailor an appropriate bundle of products and services to meet your individual needs better than anyone else.” In other words, customer-centric brands promise that, if you give them their attention, they will give you a better return on attention than anyone else.

Continue reading

Branding a Country

Tourism is only one of several areas that every nation needs to develop and only one of the sectors that can benefit from country branding. After all, a country with fine beaches might also be an easy or safe place to invest in if relevant legislation is in place and the rule of law firmly established.

How a country is perceived, both domestically and from abroad, from the quality of its goods and services, to the attractiveness of its culture and its tourism and investment opportunities, to its politics, economic policies and foreign policy, can be shaped under a brand. The branding process strengthens democracy and helps both internal development and successful integration into the world community, on all levels.
Continue reading

6 Steps to Develop Your Personal Brand

Creating a personal brand differs, however, from creating a commercial or company brand in that personal brand is not something one invents. Instead, your personal brand is the reflection of what already exists — your unique strengths, qualities, and talents. The process of personal branding helps you learn, own, and communicate what you have to offer the world and what renders you distinct from everyone else. In other words, it helps you make sure that whatever people say about you behind your back is what you want them to say.

Here is a list of 6 steps to consider when you start building your personal brand: Continue reading

Innovation and Branding

Innovation has become important first, to the perpetuation of businesses (a process of renewal): without regular innovation, brands lose their salt and are eventually overtaken by market events.

Secondly, innovation is a major driver of growth and profitability, though it may work against the brand if it does not align with the core tenets of the brand.

Thirdly, innovation is a core brand strategy and must be an integral part of the brand concept.

Studies have shown that the new forms of innovation driving today’s companies are based on an intimate understanding of consumer culture. Unquestionably a deep understanding of consumers and a broader awareness of trends fuel inspiration and creativity – and better position companies to balance innovation risk and opportunity. Continue reading

Revitalizing a Mature Brand

Building a strong brand takes time, commitment, and hard work, but the result is one of the most valuable assets a company can own. Instant identification in the mind of the customer, a reputation for competence and quality, the knowledge that the promises of the brand are genuine and not just slogans…the list of benefits goes on.

A strong, mature brand isn’t a static asset. It must be cared for and nurtured, kept fresh, dynamic, relevant, and at top of mind while retaining its unmistakable identity and heritage.

Revitalizing a mature brand is to a degree the classic meeting of irresistible force and immovable object. One side of the argument is “change or die,” while the other is “tradition is paramount.”

Continue reading

2005 Product Placement Awards

A successful product placement either introduces or reinforces a brand name in the audience’s mind.

In case you missed it the Brandcameo product placement awards from Brandchannel are up.

Ford, which has had roles in movies from Bullitt to Are We There Yet?, was a winner. As a large, established brand, Ford Motor Company’s placements are brand reinforcements, and reinforce Ford did. Its 19 placements in 2005 mean that Ford appeared in nearly 50 percent of all Number One films (41 total).

Also worth mentioning the Brandcameo 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award for Product Placement which goes to Gatorade.

Gatorade’s real-life sideline omnipresence has made it a sports film necessity in order to achieve a realistic scene — an enviable position for products attempting to get into films and fight the “it’s just not natural” label.

As Darren Rovell, author of First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon puts it, “If you cant use the pro uniforms, if you cant use the real players or the real coaches, having Gatorade on the sidelines immediately conveys to the movie viewer, ‘This is authentic.’ If you are making a sports movie that has any action, Gatorade is one of the most natural fits.”

Read more about it here.

Drive Organisational Growth Through Your Brand Strategy

A brand touches every part of the organisation and cannot be defined by: a product or service; a logo or graphical identity; an advertising campaign; a symbol; a spokesperson or a name.

Ultimately the brand is the intellectual and experiential substance behind the value you create in your customer, staff and stakeholders mind. This is far more than just creating a brand perception. It is about ensuring the delivery on the perception so that brand perception and brand reality become the same thing.

How do we go about developing an effective brand strategy that is designed to drive organisational growth? Here a simple five step process as a guideline:

1. Redefine organisation strategy to include the principle that your brand is everything and drive brand from the top of the organisation.
2. Understand clearly who you are, and who you are not, as an organisation.
3. Understand your target market clearly:

  • Understand how their purchases are broken down between the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase stages.
  • Understand what their specific needs and motives are during the different stages, as they will be very different during each stage
  • Understand how your organisation impacts on each stage

4. Identify and engage with your brand culture as this will drive your staff’s behaviour and result in a positive brand experience.
5. Understand how to measure the above in terms of brand strength and the strategy pillars, so you know how to adjust your organisation in a meaningful way.

Branding as Business Personality

Big companies with big marketing budgets usually have personalities. Their ad agency calls this branding, but it is really just a corporate personality.

Giving your company a personality can be done on the cheap, an important thing for a small or medium-sized business.

The real cost of a corporate personality is commitment. A commitment to represent yourself through your corporate, personal and community communications with a consistent (and positive) personality.

Personality makes you a brand – not the other way around. Personality is what makes people remember you, for better or worse. A good personality makes people come back for more.

A personality can make your business remarkable.