Are you launching a new brand to market or considering rebranding but you're not sure where to start to ensure a profitable return on your investment?
Have you got a really fantastic product or service but you're struggling with how to clearly articulate what your brand stands for and what makes it really different to your competitors?
Are you being dragged into a price war or discounting where only those with the deepest pockets can win?
Perhaps you're actually unconsciously sabotaging your own brand building efforts because you simple don't know enough about how to build a successful brand?
Join me at Bucharest Technology Week, 26th May 2016 together with Ozana Giusca and Lilia Severina to discover how to build your brand so you can create obsessive desire for your products or services, become a highly recognised household name and increase your profits.
I'll be sharing success generating action plans that you can take away and implement immediately:
• How successful brands and branding works
• How to make your brand standout and create fanatical desire amongst your primary audience so you become the No.1 preferred choice
• How to leverage your product or service brand so you sell more with HIGHER profit margins
• The top 10 professional insider secrets to how and why successful branding works to generate greatest profit
• The 3 most costly mistakes the majority of small business owners and entrepreneurs make when trying to build their brand — and how to avoid them
• The 10 step process to building a highly recognised and profitable brand — whether you're revitalising an existing brand or launching a new brand to market
• Why your current approach to your branding is not producing the results you expect
• The critical brand strategy factors required to be successful in today's highly competitive economy — local, national or global
• How to connect with your core target audience in a way that gives them a compelling reason to choose and buy your brand instead of your competitors repeatedly
According to statistics, 88 percent of consumers say quality makes them loyal to a brand, and only 50 percent say price is their primary concern.  Also, when people have a negative experience with a brand, 50 percent said they were unlikely to consume content from that brand again. Clearly, this data shows how important it is to ensure your brand is sending the right messages to your customers, and making them want to align with it for the right reasons.
Image via www.business2community.com
What is a Brand, and Why is Brand Equity So Important?
In short it's the sum of all its parts from the quality of its offering to its attributes and the emotional meanings associated to it together with all its brand collateral which includes visual identifiers like its logo, website, packaging, printed literature, trade stands, staff uniforms, interior and exteriors site design and signage, vehicle livery, video content and so forth. All of these elements collectively are what make up your brand when they all consistently and congruently engage your primary audience in a way which is relevant to them, yet are distinctive, different and memorable.
Brand equity is then derived from the overall perception of your brand, the way customers perceive your total brand offering, products or services, rather than the just the isolated features and benefits of the offerings themselves. When customers have a favorable brand perception with a consistently good experience, it’s far more likely they’ll remain loyal to your brand, and recommend it to others. In order to achieve strong brand equity, your brand needs to be unforgettable to your customers —it must resonate both with their hearts and their minds.
It enables you to form stronger ongoing relationships and negotiating power with vendors
Positive brand equity supports long-term company growth e.g. expansion into new markets, product extensions etc.
Strong brand equity could partially shield you if you hit a bump in the road e.g. reputational ramifications related to something unusual such as defective product or atypical manufacturing delay — assuming you handle the situation appropriately
Fundamentally customers are willing to pay more for a brand they trust and value
Although brand equity may seem intangible, it has real dollar, euro, or pound value. Brand equity can be tracked and measured using a combination of specialist research and specific algorithms applied on a comparative annual basis.
Measuring brand equity accurately is a niche expertise, with a number of companies specializing in this particular field. Interbrand is one of those companies and they annually track the brand equity value of companies and brands from year to year. By way of example, in 2014 the brand equity of credit card company American Express was $19.5 billion. That figure is impressive in itself, but it’s even more striking to note the brand’s equity value had grown 11 percent from the previous year. 
Evaluating Your Brand Equity: Auditing its Current State and Identifying Weaknesses
The first step in analyzing your brand equity is to get a reading of customer perceptions. It’s also important to research employee perceptions for comparative alignment. If there are underlying problems with a company’s brand culture there are also likely to be underperformance issues coupled with incongruent communications that customers will pick up on — all of which means they will be less likely to embrace your brand, and may even doubt its authenticity, which in turn causes a lack of trust.
A brand audit health check is a very useful and practical way to gauge how your primary audience and staff feel about your brand. It can also enable you to identify weaknesses that might not have been noticed previously. Once you identify weaknesses and inconsistencies in your brand, you’ll be in a much better position to convert them into strengths, or at least minimize the aspects of those weaknesses that make your brand less effective when pitched against your competitors. A brand audit health check also enables you to uncover and identify new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Make Your Brand Stronger using Keller's Brand Equity Principles
When working with our clients to help them develop stronger brand equity, we also advocate principals from Keller's Brand Equity Model, also known as the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model. It suggests before you’re able to strengthen brand equity, you must first shape how customers think and feel about the brand. 
The model is a pyramid shape, with brand identity at the bottom. That section represents the key characteristics and personality of the brand. It’s important customers recognize those attributes correctly, and believe they are different from what competitors offer.
The next level of the pyramid relates to brand meaning. In other words, what does your brand stand for, and how well does it meet customers’ needs, both in terms of performance, and on social and psychological levels? Think about the ways you want customers to experience your brand, and use those factors to create your brand personality and key characteristics.
Brand response represents the third tier of the pyramid. Credibility, actual and perceived quality, and comparisons with competing products all help shape brand response. Your goal is to make your brand evoke direct feelings and innate emotions.
The top level of the pyramid is brand resonance. When customers actively engage with your brand even when not purchasing it, that demonstrates brand resonance, as does a desire to be associated with a “community” of fellow purchasers. Customers also show brand resonance through behavioral loyalty, such as repeat purchases.
Measuring Brand Equity with the Six-Stage Brand Development Model
The six-stage brand development model is a diagnostic tool that combines proven metrics and a framework to guide brand equity strategies. Below, you’ll find the different characteristics a brand should have , plus how to make improvements if necessary.
A Brand Should Be Recognizable: If your brand lacks recognition in the marketplace it’s crucial to develop your brand strategy and enaction it tactically with a fully intergrated branding plan in order to raise its profile. Brand recognition increases through repeated exposure.
The Brand Must Be Memorable: The brand should be among the first called to mind when customers decide what to purchase. If that’s not happening, educate your target market about what your brand offers and why it’s unique – while remembering to enage your aduience at both emotional and rational levels.
A Brand Should Be Viewed Favourably: As we often remind our clients, it’s not enough for people to be aware of a brand. The target audience must also believe the brand is able to meet their needs with trust and respect for what the brand represents.
A Brand Should Be Distinctive: When customers are ready to buy an item (product or service), they must feel compelled to do so because they think the product offers a unique brand promise unlike what any competitors can provide. Brand perception occurs at both functional and emotional levels, so the goal is to position your brand effectively by stressing attributes that motivate purchases.
The Brand Must Be Preferred: Ideally, customers will prefer your brand over all others, and be willing to purchase it repeatedly. If preference for your brand is low, you’ll need to evaluate why through a brand audit and then implement changes based on the analysis and findings made. Fundamentally you must build brand trust if you want to engender long term brand loyalty.
Your Market Must Be Satisfied with the Brand: Ideally, customers will be so happy with what your brand offers they aren’t just personally content, but eager to recommend your brand to friends — become brand champions. If that isn’t currently happening, you may need to evaluate where the discontent lies and work on improving your product or service in terms of both percieved and actual quality.
Image via www.mindtools.com
Let’s briefly examine three case studies where improving brand equity was the central goal:
Image via www.starbucks.com
Starbucks has become a global brand worth $10 billion. In 2011, the brand went through a brand identity expansion to boost brand equity. A recognizable green mermaid traditionally decorated bags of the brand's trademark coffees.
However, Starbucks wanted to expand its future vision by also using its identity more broadly on other products besides coffee, and associate it with offerings like teas and lemonades. The transition to use the mermaid logo more broadly was lauded by industry experts , with some believing strongly the broader use of the logo would trigger new growth and bolster recognition, without compromising acquired brand equity.
Image via www.veritaswines.com
Established in 2002 as a family-run business, Veritas Wineries was one of the first businesses of its kind in Virginia. The company realized its history and provenance helped establish its brand equity and wanted to implement some brand enhancements without compromising its valuable legacy.
The company commissioned a full brand audit, which resulted in small but meaningful changes  to the brand's identity and made the overall brand more consistent to promote prolonged marketplace success. These alterations have enabled the brand to maintain its dominance, despite increasing competition.
Coca-Cola used "Open Happiness," as a global campaign, to appeal to its consumers’ desire to feel optimistic and be comforted despite a weak economy. At the time, it was the brand's first new campaign in three years. Advertising spots ran in both print and television media.
Although previous campaigns won awards, some analysts felt they required localized tweaking to resonate with culturally different audiences in different parts of the world.  The intention was that "Open Happiness" would have mass worldwide appeal. In the end, that goal was achieved, and the campaign achieved widespread industry praise for its ingenuity.
In conclusion, brand equity is measured one brilliant customer experience at a time. That's why it's so important to maintain a positive brand tone, understand how to relate to your target audience in a way that matters most to them, while simultaneously meeting their needs. Building and maintaining brand equity is an ongoing process, remember successful brand building is as much about all the small things you do consistently well coupled with the bigger campaigns and new initiatives.
Brand equity can make the difference in how customers experience your brand, and whether they want to align themselves with it.
Brand equity is derived from customer perceptions. Strong brand equity increases the likelihood customers recommend your brand to others.
A brand audit can indicate how customers perceive your brand, and enable you to identify weaknesses.
Brand equity is tied to how customers both think and feel.
Brands should be preferred, distinctive, favorably viewed, recognizable and memorable if strong brand equity is to be achieved.
Questions to consider:
What actions or brand strategies could be implemented to increase customer engagement with your brand?
What would help improve the actual and perceived quality of your brand?
Have you taken steps to become informed and evaluate your brand's weaknesses compared to competitors?
Do you feel your brand adequately conveys why and how it meets your customer needs?
Does your brand connect with people globally, and is that necessary for its brand equity?
Posted by Lorraine Carter on April 19 2016 @ 12:10
Once the heavy lifting in creating your brand is done, basic care and ongoing maintenance to preserve and protect it must not be overlooked. “Nurture your brand as you would a child,” says brand expert Jagdeep Kapoor, author of the bestselling “Twenty-Four Brand Mantras.” Just like all living things, a brand requires nurturing to remain healthy and to grow.
From creation through to end-of-life, a brand can encounter unexpected challenges arising from all sorts of corners, not just from the competition. From a poorly planned campaign to a corporate takeover, and from an outspoken CEO to a badly chosen name, a few examples that made recent headline news are worth a closer look to form takeaways and lessons learned for brand owners and managers everywhere.
Case Study: Rhode Island Is Not Iceland - Tourism Campaign Has Too Many Mistakes, Says Governor
America’s smallest state ought to know that details matter. When Rhode Island set out to create its new $5 million integrated tourism and new business promotion campaign, big guns were brought in. Who better, you might think, than Milton Glaser, the graphic designer who created the iconic I ❤ NY campaign?
Lesson #1: Politics matter! Milton Glaser and Havas PR North America, chosen for the PR contract, are New York City firms, not Rhode Island firms.
The newly launched campaign featuring a slogan “Cooler & Warmer” left many people cold...and guessing. What does it mean, they queried across social media channels. One Commerce Corporation board member said he saw “no emotional connection” and “no personal brand to the state or the people.”
An ATOM Media executive in Providence, RI said, “Usually a slogan is something that people know instantly and understand. I think the fact that you need to explain it could be a little problematic.” That sentiment was echoed by the owner of a Newport, RI marketing and graphic design agency, who said the slogan, “Doesn’t make any sense to me. In order to create a good tagline you have to have a brand strategy.”
Lesson #3:Graphics must reflect and express a brand’s persona, and that must be one that resonates with people, not one that needs to be explained.
Lesson #4: Social media matters! A tagline containing a special character or symbol (such as the ampersand in Cooler & Warmer) won’t function as a hashtag. Ever.
That wasn’t all. A YouTube video released with great fanfare was yanked within 24 hours when it was pointed out, “Hey, that's not Rhode Island -- that's the Harpa concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik. Iceland.” Other footage featured a highly acclaimed restaurateur who had already moved his operation to Boston. And the video also claimed 20 percent of America’s historic sites are in the little Ocean State, when it’s actually 2 percent.
This was the ‘alternative’ Rhode Island Cooler & Warmer ‘spoof’ version produced by The Wonderful Show!
Lesson #5:Accuracy matters! The state’s marketing director resigned. Media partners are returning their contract fees to the taxpayers. Cooler & Warmer was scrapped.
After an initial attempt -- picked up internationally, even by The China Post -- Governor Raimondo took a different tack at a news conference, saying, “One of the things I’ve learned from listening and engaging with people is that there should’ve been more public participation in this thing from the get-go.”
With that in mind, Newport Buzz posted a public contest, pitting “Cooler & Warmer” against the previous slogan, “Discover Beautiful Rhode Island,” and a local amateur entry, “Sea to Believe.” With 15,000 votes in so far, the local resident’s idea is clear away the favorite with 80 percent, versus the traditional one at 18 percent and the costly new-fangled entry coming in dead last at 2 percent.
Lesson #6:There’s no room for ivory tower decision-making. Consultation is critical, brand audits are essential.
More Takeaways: All brands should consider geographical location of their contractors and supply chains when performing due diligence in order to avoid potential embarrassment. The look and feel of the brand via tagline, logo, adverts, all brand collateral, media and all touchpoints must resonate with its audience, make an emotional connection and be authentic. The importance of fact-checking and the need to eliminate exaggerated claims cannot be overstated. Handle a brand crisis with carefully thought-out strategy, not something to poke fun at.
Case Study: Brand Takeover - Richard Branson Reacts to Virgin America Sale
Sir Richard Branson is himself a brand who runs a brand that has sub-brands. The self-made billionaire wasted no time addressing the Alaska Airlines purchase of Virgin America -- just in case of any tarnish rubbing off on the overall Virgin brand name.
Image via www.virgin.com and Virgin America
Well aware of the fierce loyalty of Virgin America fans for what they consider a superior product at parity prices, Branson let everybody know, "I would be lying if I didn't admit sadness that our wonderful airline is merging with another. Because I'm not American, the US Department of Transportation stipulated I take some of my shares in Virgin America as non-voting shares, reducing my influence over any takeover. So there was sadly nothing I could do to stop it."
Lesson #7:Confront a brand crisis. Deal with it, manage it, communicate about it professionally and do not hide from it.
In a statement that’s a pleasure to read in its entirety, due to the passion readers can sense, Branson goes on to discuss the importance of the brand, “...once Alaska witnesses first-hand the power of the brand and the love of Virgin America customers for our product and guest experience, they too will be converts and the US traveling public will continue to benefit…”
Even in the face of a forced merger, the rest of the Virgin brand received immediate reinforcement from the top. “Our Virgin airline has much more to do, more places to go, and more friends to make along the way,” Branson stated.
Lesson #8:Find the silver lining. Notice how Branson uses this corporate takeover event as an opportunity to reiterate the ongoing benefits of a Virgin travel experience.
Case Study: Tarnished Brand - Trump Empire?
In his run on the US presidency, Donald Trump’s raucous attention-grabbing style and statements is affecting custom at Trump Collection branded apartment towers, hotels, resorts and golf courses.
Image via http://www.npr.org
Polling and consulting firm Penn Schoen Berland survey results found that 45 percent of respondent US residents with annual earnings of $200,000 or more will make a point of not visiting a Trump hotel or golf course over the next four years. Within that group, 77 percent indicated they would actually boycott the Trump brand.
Lesson #9: From the CEO to front line employees to the back of the house operation, your brand is represented by everyone in each and every customer (and potential customer) interaction. Everyone is, or should be, an ambassador for your brand.
Case Study: Stay Relevant, For The Times They Are A-Changin’
In the 1980’s, four-time Olympic diving gold medalist and five-time world champion Greg Louganis was passed over for one additional honor -- an appearance on the Breakfast of Champions Wheaties Legends cereal boxes. Louganis is openly gay, HIV-positive and an LGBT activist. He is also “widely viewed as the greatest diver in the history of the sport,” according to a recent communication from the Wheaties maker, General Mills.
Calling it “a ground swell of love,” Louganis told Hollywood Today that a petition signed by 40,000-plus people brought the oversight to the attention of General Mills. At age 56, Louganis joins a highly decorated Olympian swimmer and hurdler, a woman and a black man, in the brand’s revamped Wheaties Legends series packaging, available on the grocery store shelves (one million boxes!) from May 2016.
Image via http://www.blog.generalmills.com
Lesson #10:A brand needs to stay relevant to stay alive. The brand must respond to feedback and act to correct an out-and-out mistake.
Case Study: What’s In a Name - Law School Learns to Study Harder
Experts highly recommend that even the smallest of brands invest time and effort in getting a name right from the start to avoid potential legal issues and massive upheaval if a change is required. That advice takes into consideration everything from spelling to acronyms to trademark and domain name. Later, a brand might tweak a logo, revamp packaging design, shift media channels, or even undertake a rebrand if necessary.
AdWeek reports that a recent study by U.K. research firm MillwardBrown found “many brands that change their names can expect an immediate 5 to 20 percent drop in sales, and that the new brand image ‘may not be as strong as it was before.’”
After U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February, George Mason University outside Washington D.C. renamed their law school after Scalia upon receiving a $30 million gift to do so.
Several tweets later, the school realized the awkward acronym they’d created and made a swift change away from Antonin Scalia School of Law, or ASSOL. A crisis was averted at Antonin Scalia Law School before any signs went up or ribbons were cut.
Image via https://www2.gmu.edu
Spelling Counts: When Small Brands Make Big Mistakes
Branding experts point out that misspellings, bad foreign language translations and tricky signage is an area frequently causing trouble at small companies which attempt an in-house branding effort. Even big brands don’t always get it right, with sometimes alarming results.
Amusing examples can occur when random neon lights fail and the Essex House becomes Sex House and Dynasty Restaurant becomes Nasty Restaurant.
Image via Reddit
Even an airport parking garage can be considered part of the airport’s brand. Here’s a curious example of why details matter, right down to vetting your contractors and proofing the signage.
Image via Reddit
Lesson #11:Seek professional assistance in naming a brand to avoid potentially disastrous errors and oversights.
Questions to consider:
• Would you agree that branding is even more important and valuable for small businesses than it is for big companies?
Posted by Lorraine Carter on April 05 2016 @ 16:30
“Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun.” – Albert Einstein
2016 will be a year of convergence for brand strategies. As Joel Comm put it, “there's nothing more social than face-to-face engagement,” and this is the application strategy that brands need to focus on. They need to combine traditional marketing with the emerging. They need to be creative, smart, strategic, and more than anything disruptive. Look at what Amazon is doing. They changed the way the world shopped by pulling in customers online. Just when everyone got hooked, they are focusing on brick and mortar stores. Disruption, new methods and new forms of engagement is the life blood of successful brand strategies.
Why is that important? Because you have to constantly innovate and look at how you use branding more strategically and more creatively. It’s not just a logo or a design and its not just strategy and analytics either.
Instead of just a scientific or design endeavour it should be looked upon as a process that combines analytic and creative thinking. As Sun Tzu had described in The Art of War, “Strategy is an Art; never a Science; it is the Art of the conscious mind in action.”
Brands need creative and artful strategy to be actionable. No strategy, traditional or digital can operate on its own in isolated silo. It needs to be creatively aligned and converged in a cohesive brand message, to offer a complete brand experience.
Image via www.storify.com
Strategy and creativity go hand in hand and this is exactly what Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall emphasized at the panel discussion hosted by The Economist at 2015 Cannes Lions. As he and others in the panel pointed out, there is data and then there is the need to manage this data and extract the brand story hidden within.
Image via www.storify.com
Mildenhall points out that strategic thinking does not have to kill creativity, though if abused it can smother all ingenuity. Equally, creativity without solid strategic thinking frequently fails to deliver the required commercial returns as well. Both are needed and must go hand-in-hand for optimum success. Businesses need to use the data creatively, not use it to stifle creativity and creativity needs to be underpinned by informed brand strategy.
One of the most common mistakes amongst SMEs is that they don’t employ strategic rigour, unlike larger or global brands, which sometimes squash creativity in favour of too much data analysis. It is imperative that creative talent and strategic thinking be merged seamlessly because one is incomplete without the other. In other words, strategic rigour is the essential foundation on which to build creativity.
Therefore, design should never be based on just subjective aesthetic preferences but driven by a well-developed brand strategy. This includes research and analytics together with developing the whole platform of the brand through brand profiling (vision, mission, values, purpose, promise, personality, archetype, story, tone-of-voice, purchaser personas, positioning) and so forth.
As Mildenhall said, when you can state the “non-obvious truth” as a great strategic insight, your brand has won. For you are now hitting on something that is there but has not been noticed or considered before. It takes creativity to get to this point but also means a walk among the data.
Branding sets the stage for clients’ expectations and creativity needs to be activated to bring that promise to life and deliver on it in a ways that’s relevant to the brand’s primary audience.
A salient fact to reflect on –
Your audience couldn’t care less if 73% of the world’s brands disappeared tomorrow – Havas Media
Yes, this is alarming but it’s true so now is your opportunity to ensure you’re not the brand that’s easily forgotten. Instead, develop a strategic foundation on which to build your brand now and into the future to ensure it’s different, distinctive and memorable with a purpose and personality your primary audience finds irresistible. Use data and digital strategy combined with brand profiling to inform and provide direction for your brand’s priorities. Use creativity to tell your story informed by data, and use this story to evolve your brand into something people want to talk about, share and refer.
As David C. Edelman pointed out, “… today, consumers are promiscuous in their brand relationships…" The presence of increasing media options and social networks enable them to simultaneously connect with myriad brands and sift through them at will.
Businesses therefore, need to understand which media to use and how to leverage those channels appropriately to share their brand story. All the pieces need to come together in a highly informed and smart brand strategy which is interactive, dynamic and makes for a cohesive customer journey. It’s crucial to create a knowledgebase. It’s important to use the channels like Facebook and Google, if they’re appropriate to your product, service and primary audience, coupled with other marketing automation players.
Before you develop your brand strategy here are some brand facts to keep in mind:
45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it
Much of this distrust comes from broken promises and brand not delivering on customer expectations
There are 2.1 million negative social mentions about brands in the U.S. alone, every single day
Monitoring, managing and controlling your brand message and reputation is essential
48% of Americans expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs
Customers expect your brand to provide them personalized solutions
72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 69% say it is superior to direct mail and PR
Branded content is an effective way to educate potential clients while establishing your authority in your industry. Build trust with branded content
80% of customers said “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand
Focus on creating authentic content that gives value and reflects the values of your brand without the hard sales push, think pull more than push in your communications
60% of US millennials expect consistent experiences when dealing with brands online, in-store, or by phone
A consistent brand is essential. Humans by nature crave consistency. Carefully monitor all aspects of your brand touch points and communications to ensure your audience has a consistent experience
Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%
As a professional branding expert and international speaker this colour statistic is one that never fails to surprise audiences or branding master-class participants whenever I mention it. It also underpins why colour psychology is so important, should never be underrated or deployed because of personal preferences.
Colour needs to be leveraged both strategically and creatively, and every brand needs a properly developed colour palette which expresses the brand’s personality appropriately, suits context and cultural preferences while also meeting the needs of its primary audience.
It might be worth reflecting on these statistics in the context of how does your business and brand measure up when compared against them? Would a brand audit health check be in order?
Creativity and data analysis are no longer diametrically opposed tools, operating in disconnected silos. Data and creative teams need to work within a cohesive framework because if one doesn’t inform the other, the entire brand building strategy not only remains incomplete but runs the risk of failing.
Case Study #1 – Connecting Strategy with Brand Performance – Lexus
The latest Lexus campaign is an eye-opener. In order to sell a new 467-horsepower, high-performance vehicle it has eschewed conventional rhetoric and has instead created a branded game.
Called “GS F the Bracket”, this has been developed from the ground up in collaboration with Yahoo Sports. The rollout of the new luxury sports sedan will complement Lexus’ sponsorship of Yahoo’s fantasy sports bracket and the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament. Once registered, users get to pick the player match-ups who they predict will most quickly reach a combined 60 points for a chance to win a “GS F-inspired vacation.”
Image via www.gsfthebracket.com
The campaign blends in Lexus’ branding strategies with its performance by targeting two very different audiences. The first is the affluent group who can afford to spend $80,000 on a new vehicle. The second is the group of younger prospects who are aspiring to buy their dream Lexus car one day.
Working in tandem with Oracle Marketing Cloud’s data management platform, the automobile giant has invested in an addressable data strategy to optimize its performance based on where the customer is in the Lexus life cycle. So while television is still an important medium for them, they are applying email and transactional data to manage and affect customer mindsets. This is exactly what Airbnb CMO talked about when he stressed on the important of creativity and strategy.
A large marketing budget and a great strategy team will be of no use if the brand campaign lacks innovation. A creative thought process that has correctly analyzed how to engage the customer and generate organic demand will have stronger results leading to optimal sales.
So how should a business engage brand profiling and brand strategy coupled with creative inputs effectively? At the very least you need to have absolute clarity over what your brand stands for, its purpose, what makes it different to your competitors, its personality and the needs it fulfills for your ideal audience together with fully developed purchaser personas for each of your different customer types.
Your brand is not just who you are but also what others perceive you to be. As Jeff Bezos so succinctly put it, “Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room”.
As experts have pointed out in the HBR – Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy, managers who do not reconcile creative with realistic strategies are doomed to weigh the futile rigour of ordinary strategic planning. “The key is to recognize that conventional strategic planning is not entirely scientific…… also integral to the scientific method are the creation of novel hypotheses and the careful generation of custom-tailored tests of those hypotheses—two elements that conventional strategic planning typically lacks.” What this essentially means is that modern strategic planning can only be successful when scientific is combined with artistic.
Creativity and strategy when combined to tap into human emotions, lies at the root of successful branding. There is a growing debate on whether advertising and marketing automation stifles this creativity. When smart brand strategies are applied, marketing automation can actually provide brands with immense opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive. They offer message immediacy and pave the way for data to further fuel branding campaigns. Strategic rigour and application of data allows you to see what's working and what’s not. This feedback can then be used to feed back into the creative process.
The tools of communications have to be chosen wisely, not just for wider brand creation but to engage human emotions creatively. What you communicate visually and verbally, and the various distribution channels chosen, underpin the foundations of strategically driven branding. All these are the what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating to.
Case Study #2 – Global vs Local – Airbnb
It is important to create a core global brand strategy. But it is even more important to allow localised ideas more room to scale within the company, in order to be sensitive to different cultural nuances. This is often more difficult for bigger companies because institutional friction and the politics of business often prevents the culturally nuanced to work or build diversity into teams. However, it's a huge opportunity for the more agile and flexible smaller business.
Social media and the rise of crowd culture have broken through geographical barriers and brings together all communities that were once geographically isolated, thereby greatly increasing collaboration. Airbnb’s innovative use of social media, both in terms of promotion and content, has been phenomenal is driving viral leads.
Image via http://blog.tortugabackpacks.com
They have fused global experience with direct and substantial local sub-cultural influences. You can find ways to travel free or with minimum outlay and plan your vacation, stories and blogs about the places you are searching, see why Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyoncé use Airbnb and post it on their social media page, and find easy ways to connect with the service whenever you are ready to book your flight and hotel.
Progressive means blending cultural innovation with early adopter markets. This is an example of how businesses can combine creative with strategic rigour and reach out to millions of global customers simultaneously.
How can smaller businesses achieve an edge?
Be creative when you strategize your brand message – right at the onset of your brand profiling process.Your brand vision and goals should be fully aligned with your business objectives. It should express your brand personality and be positioned in a way that enables you to stand out effectively while also appearing irresistible to your potential customers. Brand profiling and positioning are the tools and systems that enable you to differentiate your offering from your competitors and rise above the generic confusion and noise.
Consider what you deliver and how you can fulfill that promise in a way that reinforces your differences and distinctions while also making your brand more attractive, referable and memorable to your ideal customer. Build your brand promise around that delivery. It tells your customers what they can expect from your products or services and why your brand matters more to them.
How can smaller businesses balance the need for brand strategy underpinned by creativity?
According to Paris-based branding consultant Bolanile Maté, applying smart strategies for example, like heritage and provenance positioning can work extremely well. Though she used Hermès as an example, she also pointed out how these more traditional concepts can capture the imagination of more modern audience too. Its all in the positioning and how you share you’re authentic brand story.
Conventional branding tools have stressed on building brand awareness through repetitive push marketing strategies. Whether it is a print advert or an electronic one, the focus has been on taking the product and placing it in front of the customer, telling them what’s out there, where to find it, what to do and how to use it.
While this has its place in the marketing process, the way this message is delivered has changed. Brand strategy needs to utilize a fully integrated process combining both social and media channels, where relevant, to raise awareness and generate demand. In the age of internet marketing it’s more effective to attract this organic interest with inbound marketing rather than the more traditional push marketing model, to encourage customers to seek out the product, service or company on their own terms. And this is very doable for all smaller businesses and brand owners.
Traditionally, big companies introducing new products into the market use the traditional push marketing strategies when their products are new and unfamiliar. However the smarter ones are utilizing more creative routes combined with well-developed brand strategies. They’re utilizing multiple touch-points and media channels to generate more viral and word-of-mouth brand messaging, all of which smaller businesses can do very flexibly too, on modest resources.
Case Study #3 – Using Familial Roots as a Strategic Tool – cHarissa
This company is a great example of how they blended conventional and new media to make themselves more familiar with their target audience. More importantly, how they strategically used their familial spices to create taste and flavours in a brand that people love.
Octogenarians Earl Fultz and his wife, Gloria Elmaleh of New York started their Moroccan sauces and spices business, "cHarissa” when most people are happily retired. For them the strategy for success was provenance and familiarity – hers with the spices of her familial roots and in his case the food industry.
Image via http://www.charissaspice.com
They used their prior knowledge as a resource but did not stop there. They went on to hire smart people, the ones who knew how modern marketing worked to build a brand that skillfully expresses its personality and touches its audiences with strong emotional resonance, combined with experience and endurance. They’ve used traditional advertising but the real strength of their brand lies in the word-of-mouth and social marketing coupled with innovative promotions. For example, Earl’s presence as a guest chef led to cHarissa being served at the Revolving Restaurant on top of the World Trade Centre.
That is the power of creativity underpinned by strategy.
It’s very accessible for SMEs and new businesses to integrate conventional and newer media to share their brand message, generate demand for their products and services and grow their brand as a viral phenomenon.
Case Study #4 – Using Creative Social Interactions to Build a Sustainable Brand – Herschel
Vancouver based travel goods and accessories business Herschel Supply Co. used social media not only to improve customer service but also to build memorable impressions through well-thought out and consistent branding strategies. They’ve been very smart about analytics and using this information to leverage hot trends and create proactive customer support.
Using smart business tools like Hootsuite they’ve been able to achieve a 20% lift in customer service satisfaction rate, to serve their customers more effectively and on a more personal level. They’ve also gained about 60% increase in their overall positive brand sentiment.
The result – they have become quite synonymous with modern travel fashion – and their followers comprise of the fashion inspired, tech savvy globetrotters.
The most effective way for SME businesses to get a strong footing in the competitive global market is not to worry about big budget media spending. Instead implement clever social strategies which combine traditional and social platforms to creatively engage your audience with campaigns using creativity underpinned by strategy and strong analytics.
In order to be intriguing and successful every brand needs a creative strategy
Creativity without strategic rigour is a waste of time and resources
Creative strategy determines pivotal marketing and advertising efforts
Analytics needs to merge with creative risks for unique breakthroughs
A creative branding strategy will help a brand standout and engage its primary audience
Creativity when based on strong analytical foundations yield robust results
• Are you employing strategic rigour with your creative endeavours?
• Have you fully defined your brand, what it stands for and what makes it different to your competitors so you can use this brand strategy to underpin your creative outputs?
Are you focusing too much on data analysis and consequently stifling your creative or worse still failing to develop your brand strategy with brand profiling and indulging your creative fantasies without any strategic basis?
• Is your brand strategy based on esoteric data or eclectic client expectations?
• Are you generating leads or creating active interest and demand for your brand?
• Before you indulge your creative inclinations in new brand collateral have you evaluated the most effective direction using brand strategy to inform your choices?
 10 Expert Marketing Predictions for 2016, http://www.inc.com/leonard-kim/10-expert-marketing-predictions-for-2016.html
 Sun Tzu, The Art of War
  Jonathan Mildenhall, Marketing Week, https://www.marketingweek.com/2015/06/22/airbnb-creativity-without-strategic-rigour-is-a-waste-of-marketers-budget/ ,2015
 David C. Edelman, “Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places,” https://hbr.org/2010/12/branding-in-the-digital-age-youre-spending-your-money-in-all-the-wrong-places Harvard Business Review, 2010
 Jeremy Durant, “15 Crazy Branding Stats You Need to Know,” https://www.bopdesign.com/bop-blog/2015/10/15-crazy-branding-stats/ BOP Design, San Diego, 2015,]
 Kelly Liyakasa, “Branding And Performance Intersect For Lexus,” http://adexchanger.com/advertiser/branding-performance-intersect-lexus/ March 2016
 A.G. Lafley Roger L. Martin Jan W. Rivkin Nicolaj Siggelkow, "Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy", https://hbr.org/2012/09/bringing-science-to-the-art-of-strategy/ar/1 Harvard Business Review, September 2012
 David C. Edelman, “Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places,” https://hbr.org/2010/12/branding-in-the-digital-age-youre-spending-your-money-in-all-the-wrong-places Harvard Business Review, 2010
 Carol Roth, March 2016 https://youtu.be/DjE3BOxqMKQ
 Kristina Cisnero, "3 Small Businesses That Found Social Media Success," https://blog.hootsuite.com/small-business-social-media-success-stories/ JUNE 2014
Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 30 2016 @ 18:30
Have you ever said “No, thanks” when asked, “Would you like to hear a great story?” Generally not. A great brand story cleverly communicated can be just as compelling as one told in person. Yet, while small children may be enthralled by tales predictably opening with, “Once upon a time…”, sophisticated customers need more from unique brand stories.
The strongest brands have the best stories-- ones that are eminently attention-getting, relatable and most importantly, shareable. In our always-on, always-connected world, brand stories are central to your brand strategy and sharing is a key factor to achieve that essential brand growth.
According to John Mellor, Adobe’s vice president of business development and strategy, brand storytelling is “the most powerful tool marketers have at their disposal.” In March 2016, Mellor addressed 10,000-plus attendees at Adobe’s annual conference, telling the audience, “It’s that human touch that helps us connect with customers and it’s those personal connections that transform the experience, because stories evoke emotions and emotions drive change.” You must win the heart to move the mind because people buy with emotion first — product, service or idea — and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender or cultural background.
Brand Storytelling: It Takes Community Engagement
“The stronger the level of empathy and the deeper the emotional connection, the far greater the likelihood that the customer will look for more information about your brand, purchase your brand, and arguably more importantly, share whatever it is about your brand,” reports Michael Nutley in Adobe’s CMO.com. “Shareability is probably the biggest indicator that you’re looking for and you can absolutely see that emotional intensity drives share.”
An appealing brand story is bound to involve customers’ direct experiences with a product or service. These days, a business cannot write its story sitting around a boardroom table or in an isolated ivory tower. That one-way street is permanently closed; the path via co-creation and connectivity is today’s route.
“Brands are not necessarily what their companies say they are,” explains digital analyst, author, and futurist Brian Solis. Delivering the keynote address at a 2015 content marketing summit at LinkedIn, he stated, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. Businesses are no longer the sole creator of a brand; it is co-created by consumers through shared experience...”
Solis goes on to explain that brand stories aren’t necessarily linear, like the narrative in a classic fairy tale. Rather, these stories begin well before page one. Consider Airbnb and Southwest Airlines as prime examples of brands solidly connected to their audiences. For customers, interaction with these travel brands begins at the dream stage, long before anyone unlocks a rental property’s front door or buckles up a seat belt aboard an aircraft.
Writing in Martech Advisor, Larry Levy, executive vice president of business development at ScribbleLive, agrees. “The best campaigns come from marketers who spend their time understanding the customer journey, listening to and quantifying the types of conversations that happen along that journey, and weighing in at key points with content that educates, informs, and entertains.”
Brand Conversations: The Customer Journey
Successful brands know that customers are empowered to be more vocal and proactive than ever before. A good brand story is now part of the conversation and it must be central to a customer’s wants and needs.Does your brand story reflect and support your brand positioning, style, tone-of-voice and overall messaging while also amplifying your brand mission, vision and purpose? As a brand owner or manager, the plot and the characters are yours to develop, but twists and turns along the way will be embellished by your target audiences and prospective ones to help you grow the brand as the story unfolds.
As a highly skilled presenter with an impeccable sense of timing, every time Steve Jobs tacked on his famous, “One more thing,” in a keynote address, his packed audiences of developers and media broke into cheers and hoots of approval. But unless you’re the next Steve Jobs talking to a solid B2B fanbase, best practice is to avoid being boring about technical details that won’t hold anyone’s interest beyond the engineering department.
Craft your brand story carefully. A discussion of your latest product’s specifications is fine for a chalkboard in the engineering department, but has no place on a billboard, brochure, website or customer magazine. We use a process called the Story Selling System™ in which all the key ingredients of a strong brand story are structured. It ensures all the authentic, relatable, memorable and emotionally engaging factors are included in a way that’s relevant to your primary audience but leaves room for development and embellishment with customer interaction, without losing sight of brand authenticity and provenance either.
Case Study: Barbie by Mattel
Like Apple, Mattel decided to take customers on a storytelling journey to reinvent Barbie. They did it with a short film, “When Girls Are Free to Imagine They Can Be Anything,” aimed at mothers, resulting in 50 million views and 500 million social engagements, 81% of which were positive.
The story line is that when a girl plays with her Barbie, she imagines everything she can become -- a vet, a pilot, a comedian, a songwriter, a football coach, president.
Image via www.barbie.com/en-us/youcanbeanything/
Importantly, the story was accompanied by a refreshed product line debuting new dolls with different skin tones, body types, hair colors and textures. Kudos to Mattel for growing the brand with a timely story that clearly takes Barbie from her 1959 Baby Boomer introduction right through to Gen Z.
Case Study: Minnetonka Moccasins
A third generation, family-owned Minnesota-based moccasin maker traces their timeline via the Americana story of fringe and beads since 1946, and includes the CEO, designers, stitchers, retail suppliers and customers in the video relating their brand story.
Minnetonka demonstrates how a small town heritage handmade shoe brand grew to a distribution network in 50 countries without losing their authenticity. Better still, the story continues on Instagram with #MyMinnetonka, where customers upload their photos to “show us how you make our styles your own.”
Image via www.minnetonkamoccasin.com
Case Study: World of Beer
WOB’s concept of tavern franchises for craft beers has grown from its first Tampa, Florida location opened by two college buddies in 2007 to about 100 US locations in 2016. Known for its extensive craft beer offerings, its first overseas bar will open in 2016 in Shanghai, followed by India and the Philippines.
To bring that story to life, World of Beer launched a March 2016 search for its summer campaign called #DrinkItIntern, seeking a team of three global brand ambassadors compensated at $12,000 each to “share the best beer stories on the planet to hit the road and experience the world’s best craft beer…” Without question, the passionate and entertaining stories generated by this team will return manifold on the investment.
Image via www.worldofbeer.com
Case Study: Uber
All paths lead to a more and more personalized journey for the customer, currently achieved through brand storytelling that allows a customer to own the space. The intersection of big data and high tech indicates that this trend likely represents the next decade.
Because today’s brand story is intrinsically tied to customer experience, Uber is an oft-cited example of our “ego-centric” urban environment. In talks told at TedX and onstage at conferences in cities all over the world, Brian Solis predicts, “Experience is key and there will be an Uber of every industry.” Calling customers “accidental narcissists,” Solis explains why for Uber, the central characters in the evolving brand story are the (impatient) customers.
When a rider requests a trip through Uber, the nearest driver gets a "ping" telling them that someone wants a ride. They have 15 seconds to tap and accept before the request goes to another driver.
Image via www.businessinsider.com
Drivers receive weekly alerts, encouraging a better than 80 percent acceptance rates. Furthermore, the Uber brand story is one that allows customers to continually tell, re-tell and share it. With every single ride, customers are asked to give their driver a 1-5 star rating and leave comments...and vice versa. The Uber driver’s career depends on these ratings and passengers with good ratings will get faster pickups.
Case Study: Cirque du Soleil
After more than 30 years as a live storytelling on steroids, Cirque du Soleil must continue to pump their story out to connect with new and younger audiences. The strategy for bums on seats amounts to filling a whopping 25,000 nightly, just in Las Vegas alone.
In one year, Cirque sells more tickets than all Broadway shows combined, says Alma Derricks, vice president of sales and marketing. Because Cirque has eight very different Vegas shows and another dozen performing in a traveling repertoire, the brand story must keep interest in them all alive and growing.
That’s done via a signature brand story explained by Derricks, “If you take any element of what we do – music, costuming, makeup – everything is exquisite. Every detail is thought through. Every wiggle of the finger is something that’s been considered and developed and choreographed and polished. It’s something that really sets our shows apart, and it’s the signature of every one of our shows, no matter what it is. It can be laugh-out-loud, knee-slappingly funny. It can be sensual and sexy.”
Image via www.cirquedusoleil.com
Small Businesses Tell Compelling Brand Stories Too
Four Corners Café, a one-off coffee shop in Waterloo, London, is voted best in the UK and earns a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence by operating a loyal customer led trip planner scheme for photos taken around the world tagged and posted on social media.
A pub in Nottingham features a map to the castle on placemats and the story of Robin Hood on the back of its menus.
Image via www.triptojerusalem.com
Everlane makes simple garments sold online for less, with a brand story called “Radical Transparency.” They offer factory tours in LA and expose the supply chain beginning at source, through process, compliance, and cost breakdown right to your door. Explosive growth and out-of-the-box thinking means they have an opening called “Name Your Job” in which passionate people can apply to create a potential position.
Image via www.everlane.com
A small boutique hotel in Paris names its rooms after famous artists buried in the nearby Montparnasse Cemetery and tells their life stories on their website’s booking engine.
Image via www.hotel-mistral-paris.com
Questions to consider:
• Does your brand have a compelling story? Is it populated with characters, scenes and circumstances that people can relate to?
• Is your brand’s story unique and genuine? Does it enthrall and capture your customers’ attention as you carry them with you along your journey of highs, lows and exhilarating breakthroughs?
• Can you identify several touch points at which your brand story is shared with existing customers in a way that matters to them?
• Can you think of additional brand touch points to put in play? What are you missing in your brand story as you evaluate it through a brand audit health check while benchmarking it against the Story Selling System™?
• How do you ensure that your brand story is reaching potential new customers? How many different brand touch points are you using to share your brand story? Are they all relevent to your ideal customer?
• Are your employees embracing your brand story in their daily customer interactions as your brand champions? Are they living it through your brand values and your customer journey?
Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 22 2016 @ 14:35
According to a Gallup study of nearly 18 million people, most customers say brands don't live up to what they promise. Many are also disengaged with their respective brands, and consequently not loyal to them either. Here we take a look at how to create, develop, share and authentically live out and deliver on your brand promise to help you thrive in the marketplace and increase your profitability.
Image via www.gallup.com
What is a Brand Promise?
Your brand promise is an extension of your brand's positioning, and can be explicitly spelled out, or manifested in more subtle ways. A compelling brand promise contains tangible emotional benefits, which in turn stimulates desire amongst its target audience.
Furthermore, a strong brand promise establishes expectations by informing customers on what the brand stands for and what it represents.  Sometimes the brand name in itself conveys the promise. Consider that most people hear the word “Cadillac” and instantly think of an upscale car.
Brand promises can also be communicated through symbolism such as the signature aqua blue associated with Tiffany’s jewelry. Before even opening the box, recipients anticipate that the item inside will be luxurious. The colour has been given meaning by what the brand stands for and the promise it consistently delivers.
Image via www.tiffany.com
Familiarity is also a major aspect of the brand promise. When people see the golden arches of a McDonald’s restaurant sign, they expect the brand to deliver on its promise of uncomplicated fun. This is underpinned by good service and convenient food — all of which is a consistent experience of simple, easy enjoyment regardless of McDonald’s location.
Making Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise should be easy for customers to understand, and very relatable. Most importantly it should be livable on a daily basis within your organization. As customers’ tastes and expectations change, your brand promise may need to evolve over time too. Your brand promise can transform as your brand adapts to the changing market but should remain true to your core brand DNA.  Ideally, customer expectations should be mirrored to whatever your brand promise consistently delivers.
Brand promises should be emotionally compelling, and exciting. Consider the brand promise conveyed when families book trips to Disney World, often referred to as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Travelers who are Disney World-bound expect a promise of stress-free, fun-filled happy adventures where memories are created and shared.
You must be able to succinctly describe the emotional benefit your brand fulfills when developing a brand promise. What can your brand deliver that’s perceived to be totally different to your competitors. Consider this in terms of your brand experience, personality, mission, values, brand story and so forth. This process, known as brand profiling, will help you evaluate which human needs or desires are most relevant to your purchaser personas or customer avatars so you can develop your product or service to really meet their needs. Some examples include:
Need to belong
Desire to do feel; good, healthier, beautiful, intelligent, worthy, smarter etc.
Desire to have; fun, adventure, excitement, relaxation, challenge
Need to get necessities without hassles
Need to get items at best price available
Desire to be admired by peers; status symbol, trend-setter etc.
Need to have a solution which solves a particular problem
Want to have something that intuitively works
The emotional rewards combined with rational benefits, all perceived to be delivered in a way which is incomparable to your competitors, are what contribute to a compelling brand promise. However, you also need to ponder factors such as your commitment to customers, your customer service and the customer journey and which elements contribute most to customer loyalty and ultimately the creation of brand advocates.
Articulating Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise may be communicated through a snappy tagline that emphasizes what people can expect. In the 1980s, Federal Express set expectations about delivery speed with the tagline, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” That’s an example of a very bold brand promise. However, you also may find it advantageous to utilize a more ambiguous approach. Apple did that with their “Think Different” tagline that was open to various interpretations.
A brand promise and a tagline are not the same thing. However, a tagline can be useful for communicating what your brand promise says in a distilled way that’s easy for customers to understand, remember and refer.
Although it is important for a brand promise to be communicated to customers, it must first be internalize amongst your team because staff members are your best brand advocates. Most importantly if your staff and stakeholders don’t fully understand and live your brand promise, your external market — your customers won’t either, which leaves you at risk of being just another generic commodity and failing to meet expectations. 
Conduct a brand audit health check to evaluate how well aligned (or not) your internal team are with the external market. If you uncover weak points in your brand culture and misconceptions about your brand promise, you’ll be empowered to implement internal changes with brand induction and training.
In addition to educating employees about your brand promise, you also need to make them feel invested in it as an important part of the whole entity where their contributions are key to the greater good and brand success, so they care about the emotional needs your brand promise fulfills.
It’s essential to create an emotional brand attachment with your customers, as well as with your employees otherwise they won’t be effective brand ambassadors or properly represent your brand. They are in effect the living embodiment of your brand so their understanding, internalization and commitment to living what it stands for and delivering on your promise is critical to your brand success and long term business growth.
Remember, fundamentally people buy products or services with emotion first and justify with rationale afterwards, regardless of gender or cultural background, so you must touch the heart to move the mind.
When being communicated to customers, the brand promise should have a genre that can be expressed through audible and visual cues. For example, the grocery store Trader Joe's has the unusual genre of a trading post, and promises it has a team of people who search the globe for high-quality products backed by an impressive guarantee.
Communicating your brand's promise effectively means being consistent when attracting customers' attention, educating them, stimulating desire and converting them into paying individuals. If your ideal audience are effectively engaged at each stage, it’s easier to communicate your brand promise in a worthwhile and profitable way.
Finally, your brand promise should be communicated consistently and congruently across all brand touch-points. You may choose to share it through social media, direct mail brand collateral or your website amongst others. Most importantly it should be a ‘tangible experience’ throughout your whole customer journey, particularly where physical connecting occurs such as over the phone or face-to-face. It should be an emphatic part of your brand experience, be that in the office, on the show room floor or in your physical outlet or store.
Living Your Brand Promise
When evolving or discussing your brand promise with your team, always aim to do so face-to-face and provide opportunities for engagement and feedback. Also, provide direction and suggestions on how staff can personify your brand promise at work amongst themselves and when interacting with customers, through your training and brand induction programmes. Explain and demonstrate that living your brand promise is not a one-off activity, but an integral part of how you do things. When the brand promise is lived out internally, it naturally gets far more effectively expressed to and experienced by external customers simultaneously. 
Be intentional about showcasing your brand promise to customers through your company brand culture. Rather than leaving things to chance, keep channels of communication open, and accept that your brand promise may evolve over time. If you discover your brand is not living up to its promise, considering engaging external professional assistance to help you re-evaluate your whole brand offering using tools and systems like a brand audit health check and brand profile development with a system like the Personality Profile Performer™ to improve matters.
Now that you’re aware of what a brand promise is, and how to create and authentically live it, let’s look at brands that have succeeded in developing compelling brand promises and delivering on them consistently and successfully.
CASE STUDY: Saba Restaurant, Dublin
Saba is widely regarded as being the best authentic Thai and Vietnamese Restaurant in Ireland with an impressive and very extensive array of national and international awards — which are constantly being added to.
Saba means, ‘happy meeting place’, so the brand’s primary aim and promise is to provide really happy experiences for its customers, the kind that mellow into happy memories. This is at the heart of the Saba brand promise and an integral part of the brand culture, which can be tangibly experienced at every stage of the customer journey from initial booking to front line staff interactions at their multiple locations. And the Saba staff are very congruent in the experience they provide to their customers.
Image via www.sabadublin.com
With a very strong commitment to developing his team, Paul Cadden, founder and owner, ensures his team are really well trained throughout the business. The fact that Saba has some of the highest retention rates in the industry is a testament not only to Paul’s remarkable vision but to the genuine commitment of all his team.
Image via www.sabadublin.com
Every team member knows what the brand stands for, their brand promise and genuinely live it internally amongst themselves and proudly ensure its central to all their customers interactions and experiences with them — all of which is evidenced not only in the countless awards received but in the hundreds of customer reviews and testimonials given.
CASE STUDY: Big Blue Whale Toys and Curiosities
This Houston, Texas-based small business delivers the brand promise through the descriptor, “A Magical Place to Find Classic, Hard-To-Find, and Handmade Toys in Houston, TX”. Although its website is basic, it offers a photo gallery that clearly depicts the inviting shop.
Bursting with items for the young and young-at-heart, the photos demonstrate shoppers do indeed have a very good chance of locating toys they couldn’t find elsewhere. The ocean-themed windows also help entice people to come and indulge their curiosities by wandering around this “magical place” that lives up to expectations. The shop has even been recognized by Business Insider as one of Houston’s coolest businesses.
Image via www.houstoniamag.com
CASE STUDY: Ace Hardware
Ace Hardware’s brand promise is as follows: Deliver helpful, neighbourly service to every customer—every time. Although the brand has always prided itself on excellent service, it has more recently begun expanding on the “neighbourly” aspect.
The brand now offers same-day service to homes that are within 15 miles of local stores when orders are placed by 13:00p.m. That perk is very attractive and compelling for customers embroiled in home improvement projects, or can’t fit bulky items into their vehicles.
Image via www.mesquitelocalnews.com
CASE STUDY: Tourism Vancouver
The brand promise of this tourism board is "The Vancouver experience will exceed visitors' expectations. We will deliver superior value in a spectacular destination that is safe, exciting and welcoming to everyone."
This organization has created a "brand toolkit” to help other businesses live the brand promise, and thereby promote Vancouver as a great place to visit. The company also holds an award ceremony to recognize outside parties that are delivering on the brand promise with excellence. The brand promise is emphasized through an extensive collection of media clips, including some that show how Vancouver can be exciting even if people are visiting for business reasons and not only pleasure.
Image via www.discovervancouver.ca
Now that you have a better understanding of what a brand promise is, how to create one, and why it’s essential to your brand success, hopefully you’re on track to not only make promises, but keep them and indeed deliver them in an unforgettably way. If you can do that, customers will thank you not only with their loyalty but also through referring and sharing your brand too.
Your brand promise can be explicit or subtle, and may change as customers’ needs evolve.
Brand promises most effectively relate to emotional needs customers want fulfilling.
Your brand promise, customer experiences and expectations should be fully integrated and congruent.
Consistency is essential throughout every touch-point and communication when fulfilling your brand promise.
Employee commitment, brand induction and training are critical for effectively communicating and upholding your brand promise successfully.
Questions to Consider:
• What’s at least one emotional need your brand meets better than you're your competitors? Have you developed your brand promise fully using the brand profiling process?
• How are you ensuring your employees’ perceptions of your brand promise are fully understood, congruent, authentically lived and effectively delivered throughout your organisation?
• Which channels are the most effective to communicate your brand promise to your customers and enhance their experience with your brand?
• Consider an occasion when a brand you love did not live up to its promise, how are you going to ensure your brand never falls foul with the same kind of disappointment?
• How are you connecting your brand promise to your existing company brand values, as Ace Hardware did? Have you considered or recently conducted a brand audit health check to evaluate how well your brand is performing, where it could do better and where new opportunities lie?
Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 16 2016 @ 09:56
Dare to care! What is brand activism? It’s a term we’ll all be hearing a lot more about. Historically, people are more familiar with the term consumer activism, which the Financial Times defines as, “The range of activities undertaken by consumers or NGOs to make demands or state their views about certain causes linked directly or indirectly to a company.” In the extreme, such a movement could even lead to a boycott, the FT explains.
If you flip that negativity around, but retain the passion, you get brand activism -- a positivity in which a brand’s purpose is seen to bring real value into people’s lives.
Image via www.benjerry.com
In 2016, finance professor Alex Edmans, PhD., of the London Business School announced the results of a study into the effect of purpose on profit. “I found that the 100 best companies to work for in America beat their peers by 2-3 percent per year over a 28-year period, from 1984 to 2011.” He added that, “To earn profit a company is forced to care about society. It has to make high quality products, or customers will stop buying. It has to treat its workers well, or they’ll leave. And it can’t pollute the environment, or its brand will be hurt.”
Simon Mainwaring, author of the branding manifesto, “We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Renew Capitalism and Build a Better World,” summarizes in his article, “Why Profit Alone Will Put You Out of Business.” Research from three top global firms: Havas Media, Cone Communications and Edelman, indicate that today’s consumers “expect brands to be socially responsible and are willing to pay more for products and services from those that do.”
How to Activate Your Brand
Your brand’s goal is to give a customer the feeling of a personal connection with the brand via the brand’s purpose. We’ll take a look at some brand strategy examples from each of these activism approaches:
In-store retail marketing
Experiential: Donald Trump and Brand Activism
When politicians generously supply people attending a rally with signs, banners, baseball caps and badges, they understand that not all brand activism is measureable in standard ROI terms. Nonetheless, they are certainly aware of the effect such a display makes for the television cameras. Donald Trump calls his staged events “a movement.” For better or worse, that’s brand activism impacting the voting booth.
Image via Evan Guest, flickr
Promotional: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brand Activism
As we all know, celebrities embody their own personal brands. But there are huge differences among such people as to how they choose to activate the power of their brand.
In 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated Leonardo DiCaprio as UN Global Ambassador of Peace saying, “Mr. DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message. I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to UN efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change.”
Image via Leonardo DiCaprio fan page www.leonardodicaprio.com
One glance at the actor’s website highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation indicates where he’s coming from as he invites his fans to follow him to the podium at the Global Citizen Festival, the Paris Climate Summit, the World Economic Forum, and more.
Before a standing ovation by his Hollywood peers at the 88th Academy Awards in 2016, Leo channeled his 60 seconds as king of the world to frame an urgent call. Using his Oscar acceptance speech to reach 34 million people, the actor expressed his passionate views on climate change. Within a week, brand marketers had dubbed this “The Leo Effect.” One glance at the actor’s own website highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation indicates where he’s coming from. That’s brand activism.
Image via Leonardo DiCaprio fan page www.leonardodicaprio.com
In-store: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Brand Activism
When it comes to wide flung brand activism, it’s hard to beat the Vermont ice cream maker. “We speak to the aspiring activist inside all of us...everyone gets a happy feeling when they contribute to society,” says Ben & Jerry’s CEO. The prosperity of this brand is about sharing a business model meant to create positive change in the world, right down to the electric car fleet solution.
At the Vermont ice cream company, the director of social mission says, “We work our way from inside the pint out. So we start with the dairy, making sure we support the farmers from which we source our dairy so they can have more sustainable, profitable family farms. Then we work our way through the pint -- sugar, cocoa, banana, coffee, vanilla -- all fair trade certified. Then we work our way to environmentally sustainable packaging.”
Ben & Jerry’s brand activism goes beyond the store’s freezer. In London in 2012, 18 consumers made the final round of “Join Our Core,” presenting an environmental sustainability pitch before an expert panel of judges.
Image via www.benjerry.com
Five winners each received a £10,000 cash prize, six months of mentoring and a trip to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont, as well as a year’s supply of ice cream. The priceless clincher? Having a Ben & Jerry’s flavour named after the winner. This annual initiative has gone global.
The People’s Climate March is a Ben & Jerry’s activation that has seen 700,000 people in cities around the world taking to the streets in peaceful protest, demanding action from corporate and political leaders. The brand is deft at connecting the dots from environmental conservation passion back to the brand, reflected in clever flavour names such as Save Our Swirled, Fossil Fuel, and Baked Alaska (“If It’s Melted, It’s Ruined”). Ben & Jerry’s is a leader in brand activism across three sets of elements: product, economic, and social.
Image via http://www.benjerry.com
Content: Dignity Health and Brand Activism
Dignity Health is a California-based not-for-profit public-benefit corporation operating hospitals and ancillary care facilities in 17 states. Via their project, “Hello Humankindness,” Dignity Health shines a spotlight on acts of kindness in their hospitals and throughout the world.
On the dedicated Hello Humankindness website, readers learn about a special education teacher who instills self-esteem among his students by praising each one of them at the start of every day. Another story features a former oncology nurse who is hand weaving Disney-themed wigs of soft yarn for young cancer patients who have suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy treatments, shipping them off at no charge to kids in 11 countries so far.
Beginning with small acts like saying good morning and making a new friend in the playground, the Great Kindness Challenge accounted for a record 250 million acts of kindness performed by 5 million primary school students and Dignity Health employees during a five-day period in January 2016. Nothing resonates more than an authentic, selfless act of human kindness; it’s contagious. These very personal stories of kindness reflect favorably on the brand while making the world a better place.
Small Brand Activism: London Estate Agents
Bective Leslie Marsh is a small estate agency with five offices in Prime Central London, focused on extremely popular residential areas like Chelsea, Kensington and Notting Hill, where standing out from a crowded field isn’t easy.
The emphasis on being “refreshingly different” includes hiring staff who live close to those offices, so they not only know the area, but have deep roots in each community. In addition to local knowledge, Bective Leslie Marsh has run a sponsorship department for two decades.
Image via www.bective.co.uk
Brand activism takes Bective Leslie Marsh way beyond simply making a charitable donation. BLM staff give time, energy and resources to long-standing local charities, such as West London Action for Children, by serving on the planning committee.
BLM staff are deeply embedded in the local communities they serve through brand activism which manifests in activities such as running prize-giving stalls at the local school together with garden fairs, hosting tables at trivia and bridge night fundraisers, providing players, homemade lemonade and branded trophies at tennis tournaments, serving hot cider at holiday events. Being laser-focussed on neighbourhood charities that build lasting relationships creates a far more personal, trustworthy approach to selling and letting clients’ homes — in short another form of brand activism at a meaningful local grass roots level.
People don’t buy just a product or service, it’s not just transactional business; they buy into the idea and the actions the brand stands for. Brand loyalty motivates fans, devotees, and advocates to tell others, often via social media, about their favorite products or servcies. This invaluable word-of-mouth is what leads to accelerated growth, increased profits and a lasting positive impact in society.
• Are your team at all levels within your business fully aware of and aligned to your brand’s purpose.
• Have you articulated your brand’s purpose through brand profiling using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™ to successfully move it from the meeting room to a living, breathing part of your brand DNA driving everything you do internally, and externally in how you connect with your customers?
• Have you performed any brand activations at a local community level?
• Has your brand ever sponsored a charity event or a charitable foundation?
• Have you ever held a product sample giveaway at your retail location or at an event?
Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 07 2016 @ 10:32
The percentage of purchases decided by women translates into a staggering $18 trillion in earnings worldwide for businesses.
More than half of key purchasing decisions are made by women today, product or service. The question is have you tailored your brand to meet their needs? Does the positioning, style, story, tone and focus of your brand messaging capture their attention in a way that’s truly relevant to them? Have you factored in meeting the needs for the discerning female factor if you’re going to successfully capture the attention of this very influential audience and convert their attention into growing sales?
Image via www.bloomberg.com
With more women in the workforce, the increase in female purchasing power has significantly changed the market and consequently how successful brands engage with them. Only recently, a friend who works with Audi, mentioned how the brand is now considerably more female centric in its focus, brand strategy and how they engage this very discerning audience in their various showrooms, together with the rest of their overall brand strategy. The reason is simple, women are now becoming their primary buyers — “they don’t have to go home and ask their husbands, or significant other, about which car to buy, they simply take out their credit card and pay”. Since women make 85% of all purchase decisions today, this is not hard to fathom anymore.
Whether we realize it or not we live and work in an “experience economy”, so identifying, understanding and connecting with the changing needs of your shifting female audience, on their terms, is essential to your brand success.
Take for example, the Super Bowl adverts in the U.S. They’re not just about the ballgame and beer anymore. In 2015 the Super Bowl was seen by 114 million viewers, together with all the advertising campaigns run in conjunction with the big event. As per Nielsen reports, 47% of these viewers, which is close to 54 million, were women. Clearly, the old brand strategies of the past are not going to work with this more selective audience today. Brand strategy, design, management and execution has to change to meet the needs, preferences and demands of these increasingly influential female patrons.
Even the choice of beverage brands for Super Bowl has changed. Nielsen reports that while beer spending rose to about $40 million in the week before game, wine was not too far behind. The increasing female fan following has contributed to wine being a primary choice, which in turn has prompted brand owners and advertisers in the industry to rethink their brand marketing strategies. The smart ones who implemented appropriate brand changes achieved record sales.
Clearly these developments point to the fact that branding for women is no longer limited to specialist niche categories but an assertive influence you need to get to grips with — fast. Statistics show women are a vast majority of consumers with a rapidly expanding purchasing power.
Female Purchasing Power Facts:
The average American woman is expected to earn more than the average American male by 2028
51% of U.S. Private Wealth is controlled by women
Women account for over 50% of all stock ownership in the U.S.
Women control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S.
Women make 85% of all purchasing decisions across industry sectors – be it technology, cars, houses, pharmaceuticals or any other. 
While the income for female professionals has increased by over 63% in the last three decades, their male counterparts have seen comparatively limited growth. In fact, the Office for National Statistics have reported that women in their 30s are now earning more than men. But that’s not the only reason why the female purchasing power has increased by leaps and bounds.
Women budget, save and buy in a manner that is very different to men.Businesses therefore, need a deeper understanding of what women want, how they think and what influences their choices, how the trends and changes in women’s social and economic status are influencing their buying decisions, and how all of this in turn is transforming female purchasing power and consequently the world and brands around them.
Fara Warner offers powerful insights into this paradigm shift in her book – ‘The Power of the Purse (paperback): How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World's Most Important Consumers — Women’. Among several hard-hitting examples, she talks about the powerful De Beers campaign which promoted the idea of women self indulging and giving themselves diamonds instead of waiting for their male counterparts to gift them the precious stones. She said that this is “a striking acknowledgement that women had reached a level of economic power where they could afford expensive jewels and weren't afraid to show them off.”
Image via www.penduluminaction.com
These changes are happening right before our eyes, and yet a lot of marketers are not yet fully cognizant to the facts. 91% of female consumers feel that advertisers don’t understand them. 7 out of 10 feel alienated by most advertisements out there. 
A year ago author Kathy Lette criticised brand managers and advertisers for their reported and apparent inability to connect with older women. At a panel organized by Hearst Magazine at Advertising Week Europe, she pointed out that women over 50 have largely been erased from UK TV screens backed up by the fact that 85% of the people over 50 appearing on TV are men.
Yet,senior women aged 50 and above actually have a net worth of $19 trillion just in America, according to a study conducted by MassMutual Financial Group–2007. Women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and other developed nations over the next decade. Their purchase decisions and power will likewise, change considerably.
Case Study # 1 – Luxury Car Market
Women buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S., and influence up to 80% of all car purchases. It’s the same in other developed nations as well. Similar to Audi’s changing demographic targets, Jaguar is all set to woo their female customers too.
In a recent release, Jaguar Australia announced that they are no longer skewed towards male customers. Their strategies for the new 2016 Jaguar F-Pace SUV are focused at the widening and most particularly, female audience. They are confident that this will bring new customers to the brand and double their sales.
Image via http://www.wheelsmag.com.au
Porsche increased their female buying market with the introduction of the 2015 Macan. They tasted success earlier with their SUV, the Cayenne which broadened their market share. From a brand that was typically geared towards the high-income male gearheads, their bold experiments doubled Porsche's market share among female buyers.
Image via http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/
In fact, these cars outsell the rest of its stable by sizable margins, helping Porsche reinvent their image from the ultimate guy ride into a brand women love. This goes a long way to prove how smart branding can change the most traditional perceptions and market dynamics.
Increasingly female purchasing power is also reflected in more unconventional segments like arms and ammunitions as well. Reports say that women are the fastest growing group of gun buyers in the U.S. and they are women across all age groups, 25-55, and all regions, from urban to rural according to News Tucson.
Female purchase power extends way beyond the conventional segments. Industries need to understand this and act now.
Case Study # 3 – Pop Music Industry
On the other end of the spectrum, there are also reports on how female buyers are dominant drivers in pop music sales. A case in point relates to a Nielsen study funded by Sony Music, which found that 62% of Adele’s fans are female, between the ages of 25 and 44 years old, and have children. Most importantly these female fans are ready buyers with the desire and ability to purchase.
An article by Hannah Karp in the Wall Street Journal, based on data from a number of market research firms, show that female fan following and their purchases have kept the music scene hopping. Their interest spans performers across gender and age groups as well.
Image via www.forbes.com. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
So how does a brand owner manager assess and develop the right brand strategy to attract and engage their female customers?
Before they can even attract the interest and earn the trust of their potential female customers brands need to analyze their total offering from the female perspective. They need to earn their female customers’ interest.
How can they do this?
Businesses should endeavour to identify which media and mode of messaging their growing female audience prefers. Women don’t just fall for the same old awareness campaign routines of bygone years. Traditional repetition and interruption-based advertising doesn’t really work to the same extent as it did historically. Instead they look for a message that they can emotionally identify with.
Products or services found in their preferred media are likely to gain more traction. Instead of heavy handed media campaigns and aggressive selling, brands need to develop a deeper understanding of their female customers in terms of their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations before developing more indirect and perhaps more sophisticated ‘selling’ brand strategies such as co-branding,limited editions,corporate social responsibility strategies, product placement, luxury or premiumisation strategies, editorials and sponsorships.
CIO’s Bryan Pearson insightful details about how female buyers think and where brands are going wrong with them is worth a read. Touching on the various ways marketers could fulfill the needs of this customer segment he says, “A woman's shopping cart carries more than goods; it carries stories about her and the many influencers in her life. If retailers better understood that journey, they could ensure the correct products are there for her and prolong the tale.”
It might also be worth listening to Microsoft’s executive vice president, Peggy Johnson and her theory of one emerging market everyone is missing out on – women. “We all have to think about the emerging markets. And you probably have given a lot of thought to the largest emerging markets, China and India,” Johnson said. “But I think what gets lost is that a bigger emerging market is, surprisingly, women. Women themselves are an emerging market. There are more and more women entering into the workforce themselves. More and more of them are making more money.”
How can a business connect with this powerful female audience?
What is needed is a greater degree of emotional intelligence in the way a brand is developed through the brand profiling process. The outputs from the process provide in effect the brand’s blueprint or roadmap for why, what, where and how the brand should engage in the market with its primary target audience.
Brand profiling also includes evaluating the way in which companies position their products, and how they build an emotional connection with their buyers. Remember customers buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender so you must move the heart to win the mind.
Characteristics of the Female Buyer
Loyal — Women are more likely to purchase from brands they follow
Social — Women use Social Media to connect different aspects of their lives
Influencer — Women are more likely to tell their friends about their purchases so an advertiser gets a double benefit
Spender – Women make 85% of purchasing decisions
Frequent buyer – Women shop more. They go back to a store and a brand more frequently than their male counterparts
Case Study # 4 – Beauty and Personal Care, Understanding the Female Psyche
If you want a share of the rapidly growing female purchasing power you need to understand the psyche of the female buyer first so you can tailor your brand specifically to meet their needs if you want to convince them your brand is the best solution for what they want.
Clairol took something as important, and in many ways, as basic as hair colour and turned it into a winning campaign. They connected deeply with their female audience – women who don’t have to admit that they colour their hair, unless they want to!
Image via www.hubspot.com and Current360
Dove has been making headlines for some time now.
This Dove commercial does a phenomenal job connecting with the female audience in real world.
Dove: Real Beauty – This powerful persona marketing campaign stresses how beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. Their Real Beauty Sketches campaign along with a compelling study which showed that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful, touched chords. The advert went viral and has been viewed over 114 million times the world over.
Connecting with the female audience at a core emotional level works far better than the more abrasive direct selling approach.
Leveraging Social Media
It might seem like stating the obvious but women shop differently to men. They are less influenced by adverts and they research more extensively. According to Michael Silverstein of Boston Consulting Group, there is an imperative need for a very different brand and marketing style. Along with a very different sense of what’s valuable.
Clearly, a better use of media diversity is needed to leverage awareness. This is a huge opportunity for social media and for content marketing. As Susan Gunelius has pointed out, women tend to trust the information on blogs and social media sites more and consequently brands need to understand this, and implement effective brand strategies to meet their female customers’ needs. The depth, significance and resilience of female purchase power will determine the future of branding and marketing, consequently how companies and organisations redesign their selling models.
Image via https://www.clickz.com
Women are proactive when it comes to using social media for their research. 76% of internet users are women which says a lot for their preferred mode of communication in the 21st century. A Nielsen study shows that women spend close to 10 minutes social networking while men spend a little less than 7 minutes. 
For businesses, this is an incredible opportunity to grab the attention of the changing demographics and harness this potential market. A study into which social media is used more, and for what purpose will pave the way for a more focused marketing campaign.
Image via http://www.pewinternet.org
Case Study # 5 – Sports & Fitness, Leveraging Social Media for Female Buyers
Nike's 'Better for It' Women's Campaign went beyond the traditional formats to utilize the power of viral videos, in an eight-episode scripted YouTube series. Focusing on the average athlete's insecurities and the various obstacles on the way to self-improvement, it aims to ignite a woman’s journey towards empowerment through sport and fitness.
Image via http://www.adweek.com
Creative storytelling can be leveraged to differentiate, create rapport and showcase how one brand may affect many aspects of one’s lives – from achieving physical fitness to reaching emotional equilibrium.
Case Study # 5 – Auto Repair
This small auto repair business, Victory Auto Service and Glass, started out as one shop in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Clever brand messaging and a winning social media brand strategy involved really thinking like their primary target customer, developing a thriving Facebook page, encouraging customers to connect, tag photos and promoting their community.
Image via http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com
Today, the business has 5 locations to boast of, over 1700 Facebook fans and over 3,100 YouTube views. Over 60% of fans and people “talking about” their Facebook page are females. 
If you can think like a customer, you can connect with them on a deeper level, attract more of your target audience and grow faster.
It’s given that social media is now a ubiquitous part of every day life and business. It has leveled the playing field and given small and medium size businesses opportunities to leverage growth with incredible creativity, which in turn has enabled them to harness the power of hitherto untapped resources, progress more rapidly and become more profitable.
Take advantage of newer technologies to grow your market share with the fastest growing audience segment — women in today’s world.
• Do you really know your target female audience? Have you done an in-depth study of your target demographics and developed your brand purchasing personas for each target audience type?
• Are you truly harnessing the power of the emerging technologies? Is your brand strategy leveraging social platforms as well as the power of new media?
• Is your brand messaging powerful enough to resonate with your female audience? Have you fully developed your brand profile, using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, so you can build your brand to be irresistible to your ideal audience, make your brand stronger and increase your profitability?
• Are you still talking to your customers or talking with them? Are you building relationships or dictating a message with your brand strategy?
• Is your brand speaking the language of your customers? This is not a one-size fits all scenario, because what will appeal to a 25 year old girl will not appeal to a 55 year old woman. Brand profiling will ensure your brand tone-of-voice and messaging is properly developed to meet the needs of, and attract your primary audience.
 Marketing to Women Quick Facts, http://she-conomy.com/facts-on-women
 Michael Silverstein, https://www.bcg.com/documents/file22016.pdf, ‘Women Want More’, 2009
 Kim Rocco, http://powersportsbusiness.com/blogs/service-providers/2016/02/08/are-you-missing-out-on-sales-check-your-email-database/, ‘Are you missing out on sales? Check your email database’, February 2016
 Susan Gunelius, http://www.corporate-eye.com/main/social-media-trends-among-female-consumers-in-2012/ ,“Social Media Trends Among Female Consumers in 2012”, March 2012
Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 01 2016 @ 11:20
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” (Jeff Bezos) – CEO Amazon.
89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016 according to a recent Gartner survey, compared to only 36 percent four years ago. If your customers don’t like the customer experience they have with you, there’s a high probability they won’t buy again and they’re highly likely to share their poor brand experience with everyone they know — online!
Here we’ll take a look at who has been delivering a great customer brand experience and how they’re doing it really well, contrasted with others on the opposite end of the scale — with actionable learnings for you to take away from both.
The latest reports on customer brand performance are eye-openers and worth reflecting on when you review your own brand or give it a customer performance brand health check.
Common Brand Experience Traits for Top Brands
One factor that definitely stands out is steadfast perseverance. What has attracted customers before, and will attract them in the future, is perceived value. The brands that have continued to deliver highly regarded perceived brand value, from a customer perspective, and continued to unwaveringly improve upon it, are ruling the day.
This perceived brand value has nothing to do with affordability but everything to do with user experience, a unique experience that creates strong brand loyalty and engenders long lasting customer brand champions.
Image via http://i.huffpost.com
Who’s Got Exemplary Customer Service Really Covered?
5. First Direct
6. LL Bean
7. Air Asia
10. Worldwide Stereo
Let’s take a closer look to see how these brands have a made real difference to their customers’ lives, and consequently massively grown their profits too.
Case Study #1 Amazon – Let the Customer Rule
How Amazon created a brand around its customers?
When it comes to perceived value and web-based customer service, Amazon wins hands down. It has repeatedly demonstrated to the world that, when done correctly, with meticulous attention to detail and tireless focus, they are the byword for customer service. In reality, despite many detractors and ever-growing competition, the retail, or rather the e-tail giant, has proved that customer service is a fine art. It’s no wonder than many fail, despite best intentions.
The core vision
One of the reasons Amazon excels at customer service is because their core vision blends in with their founder’s original mission seamlessly — make customers the primary focus and deliver unflagging perceived value. They’ve built their entire customer service brand strategy, and in extension, their brand around this mission.
What stands out first is their incredible returns policy, which is the first thing to reassure the buyer that they will be taken care of, even if they dislike their purchase. In other words, their money is safe, if in doubt.
Another outstanding feature is the Amazon fast response times. Unlike many other instances where a customer might hold for an eternity on their phone, waiting for customer service with other brands, with Amazon you connect swiftly.
With the recent additions to their call service centers, thorough follow-ups, and thoughtful tips for buyers, Amazon has consistently continued to prove that it is the guru of customer service. 
Consistent reliability, every time
Case Study #2 Apple – Is this an iPhone 6s?
How the brand inspires pride and ownership?
Technology companies in general have delivered an overall great customer service experience, which when you think of their reach, is not an easy task.
In the collaborative survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St. and research survey group Zogby Analytics, Apple had 40% of its customers vouching for its customer service.  For a company that has reinvented the word innovation, this figure is important.
How the brand functions?
First comes the customer, followed by the technology. Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology.”
Powerful words that still define the way the company works. It is a brand that stands for exclusivity and innovation. Today it is also a brand that stands for its customers. 
Its customer satisfaction rating has improved by nearly 5 percent from 2014, helping it move its way closer to the top spot in the customer service Hall of Fame. Apple's increased sales figures, a 30 percent increase in 2015 from the year before, also suggest a satisfied customer base.
What’s more, it has also ranked exceptionally high, a 4 out of 5, for employee satisfaction. Employees not only take pride in working here but they also identify with the brand and are active champions of the brand, a fact that reflects in their customer service and in the way customers identify with the brand.
In order to excel you have to innovate. You also have to identify a need and fulfill it and then ensure that the service you provide is truly exemplary. From the product design to the unique Genius bar, Apple has ensured that customer experience is not just good, but unique every time.
The luxury brand has become the absolute role model for customer service with their seamless returns policy. The atmosphere is still that much loved and wonderful blend of convivial warmth together with subdued luxury tones, that makes shopping there a really enjoyable experience.
Their customer service agents are helpful, well trained and knowledgeable. While their recent policies have included more frequent promotions, their teams have been simultaneously trained to deal with the increased foot-fall and expanded customer mix.
Image via http://i.cbc.ca
According to experts, what stands out however is their incredible price-matching policy across the country, similar to John Lewis in the UK. If an item has a price-drop anywhere else, no matter which store it is, they’ll match that price right away for their customer. 
Online shoppers can even get benefits like free shipping on every order and paid return shipping. The brand message has slowly evolved from classic to timeless and secure with customers made to feel important and cared for.
Feel good luxury
Case Study #4 Lush – Beauty is Naturally Indulgent
What should be the brand focus?
Putting a definite smile on their customer faces is the focus for natural cosmetics firm Lush, with the help of their welcoming and very knowledgeable staff. The ‘happy atmosphere’ of the store enfolds customers like a welcome balm, who typically leave with or without buying, feeling in a better mood and good about themselves.
They garnered a whopping 89 percent of the votes and came out as the winner among UK’s top brands. According to the leading industry surveys from KPMG Nunwood and Which?, retail brands like Lush have made significant impact with their customers and consequently increased sales, simply by creating the right environment for their customers consistently. 
Most people would think that a brand like Lush has been built on the premise that they are offering an exemplary range of products. Actually, when you look closely you will see that their entire brand strategy is focused on making their customers feel good and confident through their exemplary natural products, coupled with their proactive CSR strategy and giving back for greater social good. A fine difference but difference nevertheless.
Create a brand personality associated with a warm and happy feeling, together with giving back for the greater good.People buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards — regardless of gender or cultural background, so you must win the heart first if you want to move the mind.
First Direct was a close second with 86 percent of the votes, no doubt ruing its fall from the winning position that they held the year before. But it has nevertheless carried on its tradition of great customer service, which has been reflected in the surveys.
Much praise was heaped on it for its high-profile switching deals, as well as making the change process really easy for customers too.
Making money management easy
Case Study #6 – LL Bean – You are the Heritage
Across the Atlantic it is LL Bean which came out on top. The heritage retailer has received five stars for its outstanding customer service and courtesy that left customers feeling positively happy, a word that is often not often associated with customer service today. Worth noting when you consider that according to another study, nearly one third of all consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to most companys’ customer service agents! All LL Bean customers are responded to and quickly, one can even speak to an LL Bean representative in close to 30 seconds and get email responses within an hour.
So what makes LL Bean so popular? They have made their brand easily identifiable for each and every customer by being so approachable. One just doesn’t take pride in the product but spreads the word for others.
Image via http://www.businessinsider.com, Flickr/jimshooz7
Case Study #7 AirAsia – Connecting Anywhere, Anytime
How to overcome existing barriers?
We live in the age of constant connection and social media and this list would be incomplete with at least one brand that rules that space. The winner surprisingly is an airline, a category that has been historically notorious about customer service.
Image via www.tommyooi.com
In an age where news, especially bad news, spreads faster than we can blink, keeping up with great customer service is a definite challenge. AirAsia, with JetBlue a close second, has changed our perceptions about customer service and interaction in the airline industry.
How have they succeeded?
Mastering the emerging technologies
With an outstanding Facebook presence, easy to navigate and helpful web pages, fast customer response time across all social and online platforms, AirAsia is rocking the virtual space.
They have over 3 million likes on their Facebook page which is not just a content sharing space but one where they have actively engaged their customers and readers.
They make it a point to respond to all queries and comments and fast. Their representatives are always friendly and personable and available 24x7.
Fun promotions like "Free Seats Challenge," one that offers 12 winning customers a year's worth of free seats on flights doesn’t hurt either.
You can reinvent around perceived barriers.
They have reinvented their brand by reinventing the way we look at airlines today. Instead of expecting hassles and hold-ups, one can experience instant connection and responses.
It immediately changes brand perceptions as it simultaneously engenders customer confidence and goodwill, before they potentially become irate — which is particularly important in a sector where unscheduled delays or unpredictable problems can make travelling more arduous.
Case Study #8 Uber – Customer Service Redefined
How a new brand becomes a giant?
Expert reports have revealed one brand that has been touching the thousand to million mark, in terms of customer service, and across the world it’s Uber. 
What started as simply easing of commute worries has now transformed into a whole new concept of transportation. With its ingenious and virtually seamless innovations it has now integrated itself into our daily lives together with a very robust customer following. Very soon, we will see it as a one-stop travel planner too.
Identify a need, even in a crowded marketplace.
Innovate a service by adopting the latest technologies.
Image via www.sfexaminer.com
Small and New Can Win Too
Case Study #9 Net-A-Porter – Be a Relaxed Shopper
The online retailer came next for its best phone-based customer service, an aspect of business very few brands can testify to.
Their outstanding one-to-one communication, in this era of mass communiqués have touched hearts and moved minds.
It is still a growing brand but it has effortlessly managed to hold its own against the goliaths by virtue of its incredible customer service.
This focus on customer has indeed paid off with spreading word-of-mouth referrals.
Word-of-mouth, after all, is still the strongest brand strategy when leveraged for the right reasons.
Case Study #10 Worldwide Stereo – Customer is King
It’s not always the giants that rule either. In the world of behemoths, one small company that has made its mark in sales and customer service is the World Wide Stereo.
This electronics and audio store not only offers an amazing (and ever-increasing) array of innovative products, but has also garnered a reputation for its stellar customer service.
It’s fast becoming the place-to-go when you want an out of the box product that no one else has — and which often has sizable discounts too.
How they do it?
They hold their own against the big retail brands with their expedited two day delivery, and even a free next day delivery in some cases.
Image via http://membrane.com
They stand by their products and are known to quietly upgrade orders and deliver a faster and better service. They even boast a custom home installation team, something many of us have never even heard of in this twenty-first century. 
They have created a brand that stands for the customer, all the way.
Building a Brand with Customers at its Heart
According to the StellaService report, the brands that measured well are accessible to their customers via multiple channels: phone, email, online live chats, and have outstanding shipping and return policies too. 
When we look at all the brands that have made it to the top positions for customer service, we see one thing in common – perceived brand value.
When you analyze performance more closely these brands have taken that concept to a completely new level. This is not the value for money concept in terms of the cheapest solution but rather the complete brand experience and the perceived increased brand value that engenders with its customers.
A great case in point is a premium brand like Apple with a premium pricing strategy – it is considered a top brand that offers value because of its outstanding product quality and great service. Every customer interaction is focused at making customers feel important while ensuring the product is accessible so it enhances peoples’ lives.
Customers need to be able to count on their favoured brands and the brands in turn have to focus on meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations, and work their deliverables around those expectations.
Amazon delivered innovative support through their May Day button on the new kindle, where customers get support at the click of a button from a live person. No calls, no hold times, no chats and no waiting for email responses. This close attention to detail is what creates a sustainable brand. This is the value all brands should strive for.
Brands working on reinventing themselves or on their way to create a distinctive brand presence should focus not just on their products and sales, but also on their after sales service because word-of-mouth is still the strongest sales voice in the field.
A quick look at preferred customer service attributes:
Great Positive Emotive Feelings
Monopoly is so Last Year
There is also much to learn from the brands that did not do so well in the surveys and consequently what not to do! Interestingly, cable, satellite and wireless service providers reportedly fared quite badly on both sides of the Atlantic. Their long-running problems with low customer satisfaction are unfortunately very much a part of negative customer experiences according to the latest industry surveys.
What not to do
According to customer ranking research and survey results, despite the continued poor performance they still appear to suffer from a lack of urgency to improve the quality of their customer interactions. This could explain the continued customer complaints and dissatisfaction. 
One reason for this apathy could be the limited competition these companies face which somehow undermines the need for appeasing the customer faster, but hardly anything can explain this sectors indifferent attitudes reportedly experienced a little too frequently. The moment there is a new kid on the block, a challenger, disruptor and innovator, no matter how small, customers will switch.
Key Learnings to Consider:
• A brand is built through its service – both sales and customer service
• If customer experience isn’t one of your top priorities long term, you’ll lose
• Be reachable, always, anytime on multiple platforms
• Expect what the customer expects, exceed their needs and design your service to meet those demands
• Innovation is the key to keeping customers engaged
• Never be too complacent for the next big thing is always round the corner
 Matt Granite, Money Expert, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20QoVsWsD58 ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015
 24/7 Wall Street, http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/generalmoney/the-2015-customer-service-hall-of-shame-and-fame/ar-AAdiO5T, ‘ Companies with the best customer service’, July 2015
 Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, 24/7 Wall St.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/07/24/24-7-wall-st-customer-service-hall-fame/30599943/, August 2015
 Matt Granite, Money Expert, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/04/22/save-of-the-week-best-customer-service/26180985/, ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015
 Which? Survey, http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/shopping-grooming-and-wellbeing/reviews-ns/best-and-worst-brands-for-customer-service/100-big-brands-rated-for-customer-service/, ‘Best and worst brands for customer service: 100 big brands rated for customer service’, May 2015
 Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily, http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7578-social-media-customer-service.html#sthash.pFzb6Eu5.dpuf, 10 Companies That Totally Rock Customer Service on Social Media', December 2014
 Matt Granite, Money Expert, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20QoVsWsD58 ‘The top 5 companies for customer service’. April 2015
Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 24 2016 @ 09:56
These days, it’s all about disruption. In tiny Davos, Switzerland, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” was the central theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum, designed to engage thought leaders to prepare us for the “next big thing.”
The proposition is that we are on the cusp of a new era fundamentally changing the way we work and live.Vast technological changes brought on by digitalization are disrupting conventional business practices and social norms, states the economic forum founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, in his essay published by the Council on Foreign Affairs.
Image via www.weforum.org
Enter Innovator Brands
A 2015 survey by Brand Keys on behalf of Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network indicates that household brand names are being replaced by innovative game changers, and they’re gaining respect with mainstream consumers. “Nimble startups compete with legacy enterprises,” say 98 percent of those asked and “the disruption is severe,” indicate 37 percent. Furthermore, there is a “distinct correlation” between perceived innovation and a company’s bottom line results, according to the study.
Image via www.bpinetwork.org
Challenger Versus Disruptor Brands
The terms challenger brand and disruptor brand are not interchangeable. Challenger brands bring innovation, enhancements, new pricing, or other tweaks (diet soda, dishwasher tablets, boy and girl nappies) to an existing marketplace.
Disruptors enter a marketplace and completely set heads spinning. When eBay appeared, for example, it was difficult for many people to accept paying online in advance for an item from a stranger and simply trusting it would arrive in the post. When email gained traction, traditional mail service was rattled and companies were required to re-define legalities in their terms and conditions. And when Airbnb was introduced, the hotel industry was more than mildly shocked; cities are still attempting to define tax issues.
Image via www.preweek.com
A Shift to the Customer Interface
The battle for today’s customer is occurring in the digital interface between product and consumer. As Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, explains, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
Image via www.reddit.com
These companies fill a connector space between product and people. These brands are the jam in the sandwich between the customer and the business. Furthermore, Goodwin points out that this new breed of interface companies (Uber, YouTube, Airbnb, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google) are the fastest-growing in history. All of them began as challenger brands.
What is a Challenger Brand?
From the original biblical tale, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell borrows a title, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” reminding us that compelling storytelling has long been at the heart of a challenge. In brand marketing today, some famous challenges fall into the hero/underdog sort (Coke vs. Pepsi, Avis vs. Hertz; McDonalds vs. Burger King); others make into it a three-way contest, or even a Big Four fight (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury, Morrison’s).
Still other challenger brands enter a crowded category or endeavour to maintain challenger momentum once it starts to fade. Enter the game changers, disrupting the status quo by creating altogether new categories (Match.com, Uber, Airbnb), thus far a hallmark of 21st century disruptor brands.
In discussing the rise of the challenger brand, CMO of Adobe points out, “Essentially, the heart of a challenger brand is the passion, process, and tools they use to create and magnify customer advocacy.” Reflect on those overnight queues snaking around the Apple Store in anticipation of new product releases. “The heart of challenger brands’ success is their ability to turn emotion and affinity into a customer acquisition machine.”
Shock and awe counts more than playing by the rules. This challenger type is big on attitude and best have a big budget for flashy PR, interactive sales tactics and legal advisors. Think Red Bull.
The core message is critical for this brand which identifies a need to do something better. The authors suggest. “Think of Al-Jazeera looking to ‘redress the balance’ in media coverage of the Middle East.
The Next Generation
Daring to call out the market leader as being old fashioned, this challenger seeks to position itself as very much here and now, totally relevant to today’s cultural trends. Emirates Airline, Euro Star and GoPro are examples.
Sharing great design, catwalk looks and labels is the function of this challenger brand. Often seen in retailing, the purpose is to challenge elitist brands. The right influencers are often part of the equation to deliver street cred. Think H&M.
The Real and Human Challenger
Using people as a company resource, this brand breathes life into a dead category, fires up consumers’ imaginations. In the UK, Innocent (little tasty drinks), are those guys who drive around in those cow camouflage vehicles or Hungry Grassy Vans.
The Enlightened Zagger
Less fashionable is fine for brands that swim against the tide and challenge conventional wisdom. A brand challenge from Camper shoes mixed it up by suggesting that we walk, rather than run.
Big, bold and beautiful is the vision -- but never boring. A visionary challenge brings a higher purpose and an emotional connection to the brand, Lady Gaga comes to mind.
The Game Changer
An entry into a category that’s unlike anything consumers have seen before is a game changer. The designers think outside the box. Steve Jobs brought game changers to categories from personal computing to phones, cameras and music.
The People’s Champion
This brand’s founder/CEO may act as the people’s champion, suggesting the public suffers an inferior service or product from everyone else in a category. The people’s champion puts a friendly face to the shakeup, using humour like Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.
The Feisty Underdog
Here’s the David versus Goliath story in all its storytelling glory. It’s us versus them in the style of Avis Car Rental which adopted the slogan “We try harder. We’re #2,” a unique tagline that garnered empathy during its 50-year run.
Examples of Successful Challenger Brands
What do eggless mayonnaise, furniture in a box, bagless vacuum cleaners and fashionable spectacles have in common with driverless electric cars and return rockets for colonizing Mars? From aspirational to mainstream and from ideation to manufacture, challenger brands can change the world. Once a brand does achieve commercial success, a new set of opportunities comes into play in order to stay fresh edgy, and relevant, maintaining a challenger brand mentality as a bigger brand player.
1. Hampton Creek
Josh Tetrick, founder of this plant-based food maker, believes that industrialized egg and meat production is unsustainable. Hamptons Creek’s leading product, Just Mayo, is an egg-free spread that’s about making foods with less water, land, and carbon emissions. This is a brand that proves the business case for CSR and social responsibility.
Image via www.hamptoncreek.com
Since 2011, Tetrick has attracted funding from 12 billionaire investors, including Bill Gates, and shot to the top of several lists of innovative companies shaping the future of food. The Guardian reports that Silicon Valley investors are pouring “serious cash into ersatz animal products. Their goal is to transform the food system the same way Apple changed how we use phones, or Google changed the way we find information.”
With 373 stores in 47 countries, no one would call Ikea a small company. Yet, it was born as a challenger concept in the back woods of Sweden in the 1940s: inexpensive flat-packed furniture for self-assembly, sold via a catalogue and warehouse showroom. By remaining functional, simple, and design-led, Ikea has managed a harmonious marriage built on durable pillars of inexpensive, yet decent quality. Partnering with UNICEF among three dozen other NGOs and IGOs, IKEA Foundation is considered the world’s largest charitable foundation, with an estimated net worth of $36 billion.
Image via www.ikeafoundation.org
3. Warby Parker
Four business school grads asked: Why is eyewear so costly? With US $2,500 in seed money from their university, they founded Warby Parker in 2010, shaking up the supply chain dominated by one company. The challenger brand designs and manufactures fashionable spectacles in-house and provides eyewear via its innovative e-commerce site. The Home Try-On program comes with a free no-questions-asked return policy at a fraction of the price. For every pair of eyeglasses that’s sold, Warby Parker donates the funds to donate one pair to charity, currently over one million pairs of glasses. CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility sits at the heart of this very compelling brand. The company is currently valued at US $1.2 billion.
A few years ago, nobody (except James Dyson) imagined a vacuum cleaner without a vacuum cleaner bag that could operate by centrifugal force. Dyson worked for five years experimenting on 5,179 prototypes before taking a product to the marketplace. With research and design at its core, Dyson machines now include hand dryers, lighting and air treatments that are available in 65 countries. More than 1,000 engineers continually work on inventions. The James Dyson Foundation sponsors design engineering students with scholarships and awards in the UK, USA and Japan.
Image via www.jamesdysonfoundation.co.uk
5. Tesla Motors
Inventor, engineer and investor, self-made billionaire Elon Musk has a stable of disruptive products across multiple industries. From artificial intelligence to solar power to reusable rockets for space exploration, Tesla Motors electric cars are Musk’s best-known challenger brand. His entire stable of companies exist to contribute to Musk’s overarching vision: protecting Earth and humankind via sustainable energy sources and reducing the risk of human extinction by becoming a multi-planetary species. “Really pay attention to negative feedback,” is one of this entrepreneur’s top tips. Next up? “I really want to go to Mars,” says Musk, “It’s a fixer-upper of a planet.”
A View from the Challenger Brand Grave
No stranger to failure, Steve Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford University commencement speech, “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
And for challenger brands which do reach their goal, they must innovate, innovate, innovate. Success has a great way of dulling the keen edge of ambition; challenger brands can reach a comfort zone of complacency and constant change is the only answer.
Questions to consider
• Are you clear on the differences between a challenger brand and the need for a rebranding?
• Have you figured out what you’re challenging and crafted a story that explains why?
• Do you have a fresh, imaginative, and stimulating idea, product or service, that you’re now ready to develop using brand profiling which provides your roadmap for bringing it life — making it distinctive, different and memorable so your primary audience can’t resist it?
• Do you have the ambitious challenger brand mentality? Are you a risk-taker at heart?
• Does your challenger brand represent a positive value for consumers?
• Do you have the conviction that your brand is something that will leave the world better off? Are you ready to leave an amazing legacy that changes peoples’ lives, and makes them better forever?