There is an ever-growing trend towards “nostalgia,” hence the throwbacks from Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Doritos, Nike, candy companies, and prominently through the NFL this past season. As technology is moving us forward at warp-speed, the economy is in disarray, and the world seems to be filled with disaster, consumers want to feel safe and familiar again.
It’s time to turn-back to tune-in. People are looking for more ways to enjoy life again, simply. Families are finding the importance of sitting down to dinner (this time without cell-phones and remote controls), people are searching for vacation getaways where there is limited phone reception and internet, people want to learn about the past – hence sites like ancestry.com and the show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ (in its second season).
Classic brands are taking note and tapping into this emotional yearning from consumers. Of course, this only works with brands that ‘we’ grew up with. With the use of throwback packaging, these brands are triggering consumers to think about the past and reminisce about the ‘good ‘ol days,’ even if it was just 10, 15 or 20 years ago.
Brand and brand name is the key factor for customer when choosing a wireless service. What’s interesting in the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction StudySM whose Volume 2 was released today – is that the customers are increasingly influenced by the handset when selecting a wireless service.
While the summed importance of branding (of the carrier and the phone) in purchasing decision seems to remain constant at a total of 59% it is worth noticing that 19 percent of customers cite the type or brand of cell phone as a key factor during the initial process of selecting a wireless service, up from 11 percent in 2004. While the brand of wireless provider is still the most popular reason influencing the initial selection process, it has decreased significantly in importance, down 8 percentage points from 2004 to 40 percent in 2006.
Karen Post‘s excellent book Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds is presenting eleven tatoo tactics that speak loudly even when you whisper.
The strategy is set. You clearly know who you are, you’ve decided on your brand difference, you’ve found folks who want what you have, and you’ve mapped out the great experience you will deliver. Now you must employ the big brand bang and let your message resonate through every point of market contact.
The next step in building your brand is tactical. What specific weapons are you going to launch, at whom, and with what frequency? How will you be heard, noticed, and remembered in a crowded, chaotic playing field, possibly working with less money than your competitors? I refer to this engine as ‘‘speaking loudly even when you whisper,’’ by which I mean making sure that even your smallest effort is on target, relevant, and working to build the brand.
Tactic 1: Visual Identity
The footprint of a brand—your corporate identity, graphic system, or visual voice—can take your brand many good places. It can also head you straight into a wall if it does not accurately project what the brand is and consistently stick to the story.
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
strategy+business, published by the leading global management and technology firm Booz Allen Hamilton, has selected ProfitBrand: How to Increase the Profitability, Accountability and Sustainability of Brands by Nick Wreden as the best marketing book of 2005.
Mr. Wreden takes ambitious steps in explaining the significance of “sustainability” in customer relationships and the value of measuring marketing spending to establish accountability and profitability. Sustainability is critical, since by some estimates 80-95 per cent of products fail to become brands, he writes. Sustainability is also important because more than two-thirds of purchases are one-off buys. Only a brand focused on sustainability will take the steps that lead to second, third or even a lifetime of purchases.
ProfitBrand amplifies this concept, known in direct-marketing circles as the true value of a brand: “A brand is not built by acquiring customers; it is built by keeping them,” he writes. “Most competitive product advantages can be duplicated. The one advantage that cannot be duplicated is customer relationships.” Branding strategies that aim to make a company No. 1 in the market, for example, are doomed to failure, Mr. Wreden argues. That’s because brand sustainability can be achieved only on the basis of relationships formed on customer terms, not company terms.
Read the full review of the book here. (free registration required).
Other leading business books selected by the editors at Strategy + Business in marketing categories include:
While many companies outside of China contemplate the riches to be made, they must be aware of the increasing competition originating from that country into global markets.
This is the caption phrase of a recently released Interbrand white paper on The Strategy for Chinese Brands.
This paper, the first in a series of two, examines this “Chinese Brand Strategy,” current perception issues, lessons from the best global brands, and the impact of leading Chinese brands. A second paper will examine Chinese what brands must do to be globally successful and how entrenched players must respond to the increasing competition.
Many Chinese brands, says the study, are quickly embracing practices common for the best global brands:
Well-performing brands enjoy strong awareness among consumers and opinion leaders. These brands lead their industry or industries. This type of recognition represents the nexus of perception and reality, enabling brands to rapidly establish credibility in new markets.
These brands achieve a high degree of consistency in visual, verbal, sonic and tactile identity across geographies. They deliver a consistent customer experience worldwide, often supported by an integrated global marketing effort.
A brand is not a brand unless it competes along emotional dimensions. It must symbolize a promis that people believe can be delivered and one they desire to be part of. Through emotion, brands can achieve the loyalty of consumers by tapping into human values and aspirations that cut across cultural differences.
Great brands represent great ideas. These brands express a unique position to all internal and external audiences. They effectively use all elements in the communications mix to position within and across international markets.
Global brands must respect local needs, wants and tastes. These brands adapt to the local marketplace while fulfilling a global mission.
The organization’s senior leadership must champion the brand, ideally with the CEO leading the initiative. A leader’s continual articulation of the brand philosophy and the brand’s view of the world is meant to give the business strategy a recognizable face. The commitment is crucial, allowing for a unique positioning that transcends local idiosyncrasies and appeals to a universal aspect of human nature and experience.
Get the full report from Bnet
Landor Associates, the world’s leading branding and design consultancy, in partnership with BrandEconomics, a division of global consulting firm Stern Stewart & Co., today announced the results of its 2005 Breakaway Brands Study. The study’s findings appear exclusively in FORTUNE magazine’s October 31st issue, available now at www.fortune.com and on newsstands October 21st.
The study identifies the ten brands in the United States that have made the greatest percentage gains in business value as a result of superb brand strategy and execution over the three-year period, from 2001-2004.
The list includes a wide range of consumer and business-to-business brands, as well as mono- and sub-brands.
Landor’s Breakaway Brands Study represents a significantly different approach from the more traditional published brand rankings which tend to categorize brands by size or popularity. Instead, our study quantitatively values measurable improvement in brand strength over three years,
said Hayes Roth, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing and Business Development for Landor.
While the study includes popular brands, like Google and iPod, it also recognizes newer brands that are still carving a niche for themselves, like LeapFrog and Sierra Mist, as well as old favorites, such as Eggo and Gerber, that have successfully revitalized their franchises through well conceived and executed strategies. The study demonstrates that building strong brands is vital to virtually any organization, regardless of its size or industry.
The study identifies the following ten Breakaway Brands:
- Google — Internet
- LeapFrog — Educational Toys
- Sony Cyber-shot — Digital Cameras
- Sierra Mist — Soft Drinks
- Subway — Quick Serve Restaurants
- BP — Oil & Petroleum
- DeWalt — Power Tools
- iPod — Consumer Electronics
- Eggo — Packaged Foods
- Gerber — Baby Foods
A brand is state of mind, a mental image that consumers have based on experiences with a company and its products. Successful branding is a process to determine how you can create your own state of mind with customers, and how that can drive growth — the ultimate reason for a brand.
Branding as a topic today is filled with clichés and buzzwords that can sometimes trivialize the real advantage of having a good brand. A brand is more than just hype communicated with heavy spending on advertising and promotion. That just creates awareness, which helps but being well known isn’t enough.