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Brand Resurgence: 4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Comebacks

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 26 2014 @ 14:04

Brands fizzle out all the time. From historic flops like the Ford Edsel to problematic launches from established brands, such as Crystal Pepsi and the disastrous introduction of Apple Maps, brand disintegration can hit any company for any number of reasons. But some brands are agile enough to adapt, adjust their strategies, learn from their mistakes, and re-emerge stronger than ever.

 

Brand revitalization can generate a powerful response for any business, whether your brand is guttering out completely or simply losing steam. Here are some lessons to learn from amazing brand comebacks that have revitalized some of the most successful brands in the world.

 

 

4 Lessons Learned from Amazing Brand Revitalizations

 

1. Apple: An Unconventional Partnership

Despite the company’s problem with its map application, Apple is among the most powerful and well-known global brands today—but they weren’t always. It’s a well know story, the company started out strong in the 1980s with a decisive and profitable position in the computer industry. But following Steve Jobs’ resignation in 1985, performance dwindled, and by the mid-1990s the organization faced imminent bankruptcy.

  

Apple Newton Messagepad

Image via www.apple.com 

   

Jobs returned as CEO in 1997 to face the daunting task of restructuring the company and salvaging the brand. After scrapping the expensive Newton, Jobs took a bold and controversial step by entering into a partnership with Apple’s biggest competitor, Microsoft.

  

  

Apple’s customers weren’t thrilled with the idea of sleeping with the perceived enemy. But the $150 million investment from Microsoft not only allowed for the development of popular Microsoft programs like Office for the iOS system, but also paved the way for the iMac—Apple’s sleek, innovative all-in-one PC that represented the new brand positioning and served as a landmark for the company’s signature products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

 

Jobs’ risk-taking may have met with initial resistance from his primary audience, but the partnership paid off and ultimately helped Apple claim the dominant position in the mobile device market.

 

 

2. Old Spice: Shifting the Target Market

Classic American brand Old Spice introduced its grooming products for men in 1938. The brand experienced steady growth, and by the 1970s was the top brand in its product class. However, the Old Spice brand aged along with its customer base, and by 1990 it had lost its appeal—Old Spice was an old man’s staple, and brand loyalty was at an all-time low.

 

 Old Spice Classic

Image via www.pg.com 

At this point, Procter & Gamble purchased the Old Spice brand from parent company the Shultan Co., and launched a brand retargeting campaign aimed at capturing the younger generation. A new deodorant line called Old Spice High Endurance was marketed to teens, and the brand’s performance slowly ascended. Then in 2010, the company released the first of a series of quirky online commercials featuring the “Old Spice Man,” aimed at the younger generation.

 

 

The video quickly went viral, and propelled the Old Spice brand to the top spot in the body wash market. Sales of Old Spice increased by 107 percent in June 2010, shortly after the video’s release.

 

Old Spice Boat Man 

Image via www.pg.com

 

With a package redesign, new product releases aimed at a new demographic, and a video campaign that targeted younger markets by appearing in the channels they frequent, Old Spice created a brand resurgence that is still going strong today.

 

 

3. Dr. Martens: Banking on Nostalgia

Footwear brand Dr. Martens, known for patented air-cushioned soles and trademark yellow stitching, was a UK favorite for years. Dr. Martens boots saw peak success in the 1970s, when British punk rockers adopted the brand and created a craze. But when grunge moved in during the 1990s, Dr. Martens moved out—in a big way.

 

 Dr Martins Patent

Image via www.drmartens.com

 

The brand fell out of favour in the fashion industry, forcing the company to downsize together with production stopping in the UK. In 2003, Dr. Martens’ production facilities relocated to more economically favorable China, leaving just a handful of design and office staff behind.

 

 Dr Martens Metallic

Image via www.drmartens.com

  

But in 2007, the company took advantage of a growing retro movement to relaunch the brand—and pulled off a successful brand resurgence simply by changing the name of its product. The original Dr. Martens shoe was introduced as the Dr. Martens “Vintage” line, with campaigns appealing to their customers’ sense of nostalgia. By 2010, the brand appeared in multiple designer collections on fashion show runways, and in 2012 Dr. Martens was assessed as the eighth fastest-growing company in Great Britain.

 

 

4. Nintendo: Pushing Brand Innovation

The Nintendo Co. has existed for longer than most people realize. The Japanese company was founded as a playing card manufacturer more than 120 years ago, but is better known as one of the first video game companies in the world. Nintendo entered the video game market in 1974, and found incredible success in the 1980s with enduring classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.

 

By the 1990s, the company dominated the home gaming console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo, and handheld Gameboy system. But competition from Sony and Microsoft heated quickly, and sales of the Nintendo 64 system launched in 1996 lost out to Sony’s PlayStation. The next iteration from Nintendo, the GameCube, performed dismally against both PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.

 

Wii Console 

Image via www.wii.com

 

Following the GameCube, Nintendo stopped focusing on improving its existing design, and moved into a new more innovative direction. In 2006, the company released the Wii—an entirely new design that resembled no other system. It was easy to use, highly interactive, and marketed not just to video game players, but to families with children. In addition, it was no coincidence that the name of the product is pronounced “whee,” which strongly associated it with fun. The Wii sent Nintendo surging back to the top, far outselling both of its main competitors’ same-year system releases, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.

 

 Wii Family 

Image via www.wii.com 

 

A focus on brand innovation and a redirected marketing campaign allowed Nintendo’s fizzling brand to come back stronger than ever. To date, the company has sold more than 86 million Wii units and continues to outperform its competitors.

 

There are many ways to revitalize your brand with a brand resurgence or rebranding strategy, from a simple product name change to an extensive overhaul of brand packaging, brand positioning, and strategic brand partnerships. Regardless of the size of your business, these brand comeback lessons can help you revive a flagging brand and experience greater customer engagement, higher brand recognition, and increased profitability.

  

What do you think?

• Would a strategic partnership with a competitor help you leverage your brand? How about partnering with a complementary business?

 

• What kind of strategic risks have you considered taking with your brand?

 

• Is there a new market demographic you could reach by refining your positioning or brand strategy?

 

• Would you consider relaunching your products under new names to spark a brand resurgence?

 

• What innovations can you implement in your products or promote in your marketing to strengthen your brand?

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Personal Branding: Tips for CEOs & Senior Executives

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 19 2014 @ 12:44

Branding is essential for the success of your business, but your products or services aren’t the only aspects of your company that need a strong brand. As a CEO or executive, and the public face of your business, developing a distinctive and consistent personal brand complements and further solidifies your business brand—while at the same time helping you achieve personal development, growth and enhanced career success.

 

Personal branding is a natural extension of your leadership. Your personal brand encompasses your expertise, your career accomplishments, and your professional reputation. In large part, it is the emotional response your customers have when they hear your name—it is the experience of ‘you’.

 

As a CEO or executive, you don’t have to be Sir Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos to enjoy the benefits of a well-developed personal brand. The following four tips will help you create a consistent personal brand that will help elevate your professional reputation and drive brand effectiveness for your business.

 

  

Top 4 Personal Branding Tips for CEOs and Senior Executives

 

1. Understand Your Existing Personal Brand

Whether or not you’ve worked to develop it, you already have a personal brand. The problem is that it may not be the brand you want.

 

Your personal brand is defined by your reputation, and by other people’s perceptions of you. This is especially critical in today’s digital world, where trusting online information and resources is the rule rather than the exception. What kind of picture does a Google search for your name paint?

 

Controlling your personal brand begins with awareness of the reputation that’s already out there. Your professional website, social media profiles, and published content should all reflect the brand promise you want to deliver to your customers. Without active participation in shaping your personal brand, it will be created for you—and you may not be pleased with the results.

 

Some of the most crucial ingredients for managing your personal brand online include:

  • A professional photo: Maintain personal brand consistency with one high quality, professional headshot that’s used for all of your online platforms, from your website to Linkedin to Facebook to Google Authorship etc. Having a great photo not only encourages brand recognition and visibility, but also helps to create personal connections with your customers.
  • A unified profile: As with your photo, use a single, succinct and compelling personal bio for every aspect of your online presence that encapsulates your personal brand and strengthens brand recognition.
  • A defined and consistent brand position: Make sure your personal brand philosophy is reflected in every piece of content that appears under your name online. Conflicting or incongruent presentations can undermine or dilute your brand and raise doubt in the minds of your audience about your integrity.

   

  

  

2. Define Your Niche

You may know how to define a niche for your products or services, but what about your personal brand? You can’t identify a target audience, because your customers aren’t buying you—or are they?

 

The goal of personal branding is to sell your audience on 'you' as a professional, an expert, and a business leader. This means you do have a target market, and it includes your business customers as well as your colleagues, strategic partners, stakeholders and the thought leaders in your industry. So defining your personal brand niche means deciding who your ideal audience is, and determining how you can best connect with them on a personal level.

 

3. Elevate Your Personal Brand By Association

As the saying goes, you are known by the company you keep. This holds true for personal branding, where a few strategic endorsements from industry influencers can enhance your personal reputation and allow you to be perceived as successful by association with known name brands.

 

 Tim Ferris 4 Hour Work Week

Image via www.timferriss.com

  

Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Work Week, has seen phenomenal success as a personal brand, bolstered by multiple endorsements from highly recognizable names. The bio page of Ferriss’ website places him in the company of big business and personal brands, from working with Google, Harvard, and Nike, to appearances in Forbes and on CNN, to receiving mentions in the class of Richard Branson and Jack Dorsey.

 

As a CEO or executive, networking with influencers in your industry and gathering testimonials is a powerful way to build your personal brand and draw on the success of association.

  

4. Own Your Brand

Even in an impersonal medium like video or the Internet, your audience can tell when you’re being authentic—and they can spot a phoney. Your personal brand will not be successful if it’s not authentic. In fact, authenticity forms the foundation of a unique personal brand that helps you stand out. As writer and poet Oscar Wilde (who was a strong personal brand before the term was defined) said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

 

Many CEOs and executives fear the possibility of polarizing their audiences with a strong, authentic brand. But it’s essential to realize that, like your business brand, your personal brand won’t appeal to everyone—and it doesn’t have to.

 

 Steve Jobs

Image via www.apple.com

  

Take, for example, Steve Jobs. The former CEO of Apple was unquestionably a powerful personal brand. Innovative, dynamic, and widely respected, Jobs was also known for his strict perfectionist tendencies and for being harsh on his employees. He never tried to hide these qualities or apologize for them, yet even after his death, Jobs remains a beloved icon and a symbol of technological innovation.

  

   

Jobs’ less desirable personality traits remained a known but low-key quantity throughout his life and career. But even more polarizing personal brands can be successful, whether at the positive or negative end of the spectrum. Consider the unprecedented success of UK entrepreneur and celebrity chef Gordon James Ramsay, Jr, OBE. Abrasive, brusque, and demanding, Ramsay has built his personal brand on unending criticism delivered in crude language that has actually reduced his guests—his customers—to tears on occasion.

 

 Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares

 Image via www.gordonramsay.com

 

Still, Ramsay’s audience can’t get enough. The reason is that despite his caustic demeanor, Ramsay is absolutely authentic. He has a genuine interest in, and a passion for, helping others succeed, and that passion shines through. And while he may seem to work at cross-purposes, at its core, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares aims to create more successful restaurateurs through the application of Ramsay’s demonstrated expertise.

  

   

Defining, shaping, and promoting your personal brand as a CEO or executive requires concentrated effort and some brand strategy inputs, but the results are worth the challenge. By maintaining a powerful and consistent personal brand that is distinct from, yet complementary to, your business brand, you can engage your customers and strengthen your platform for ongoing success.

 

What do you think?

 

• Are you aware of your existing personal brand? Is it positive, negative, or neutral?

 

• How can you monitor and shape your personal brand online?

 

• What niche audience does your personal brand appeal to, and how will you reach them and engage them positively?

 

• Where would you start looking for influencer endorsements in your industry?

 

• How can you define and enhance your authentic personal brand?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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FMCG Branding: Top 4 Tips For Competing Profitably Against Own Label Brands

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 12 2014 @ 10:10

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market is one of the most competitive and aggressive in the world. Whether your products are foods or beverages, toiletries, cleaning products, household or office supplies, or consumer electronics, your customers have a vast array of brands to choose from—and it’s up to you to build a brand platform, with a sustainable business model, that attracts, retains and grows your target market.

 

As every FMCG brand owner or manager knows, today’s FMCG brands are not only competing against comparable brands at equal retail pricing levels. In fact, the stiffest competition comes from private label brands offering similar products with significant price discounts, which your business may not be able to match. In a suppressed global economy where customers are looking to make every dollar, pound or euro count, you need a multi-pronged branding strategy that addresses the price fighting battles and enables your brand to flourish more profitably, at higher price points.

  

 

4 tips to help you increase your FMCG brands profitability and take market share from private label brands

  

1. Highlight Innovation

Customers are always hungry for something new and different—as the long lines or queues at Apple retail stores whenever a new iPhone is released can attest. Building a brand promise around innovation can also work for FMCG products. Innovative brands have inherent value to the customer, and can therefore command higher prices.

 

To bolster sales in its flagging UK and European markets due to damaging competition from private label brands, Unilever has shifted its brand strategy emphasis to innovation. The company has seen early success in UK markets with the introduction of compressed deodorant cans, presented as an environmental innovation in sustainable living across its Sure, Dove, Vaseline and Lynx brands and, the recent introduction of a new toothpaste brand called Regenerate Enamel Science NR5 which highlights a “unique enamel science formula” for rebuilding tooth enamel. This highly innovative new brand has achieved a significant price premium for the category, retailing at $17 /£10 / €13 per tube—much higher than regular toothpaste prices.

  Regenerate Enamel Science Nr5

Image via www.unilever.com  

 

The innovation lies in the formula they came up with which combines calcium silicate and sodium phosphate to regenerate enamel by up to 82 per cent in three days, while also making the tooth three times stronger. When you consider 80 per cent of tooth problems in adults are caused by enamel erosion Regenerate Enamel Science NR5 is a very compelling brand innovator.

 

However the brand didn’t just stop at this one highly innovative $17 / £10 / €13 Regenerate Enamel Science NR5 toothpaste for daily use, to achieve the best effect is has to be used in conjunction with a second product, a ‘Boosting Serum’ if you want to achieve the full 82 per cent effect, which retails at a further $51 / £30 / €38 and gives the user just the 'once a month' required 3 day usage amount! The consumer has to spend $51 / £30 / €38 per month on the 'Boosting Serum' plus $17 / £10 / €13 on the Regenerate Enamel Science toothpaste, requiring a monthly expenditure of $69 / £40 / €51 per person on their 'at home' dental care! So where the average humble regular toothpaste with an RRP of around $7 / £4 / €5 or less endeavours to prevent erosion, Regenerate Enamel Science NR5 is the first to reverse it. Similar to Apple this is a superb example of brand innovation with premium positioning achieving a premium pricing strategy.

 

  

  

2. Focus On Your Brand Story

Stories hold a timeless attraction for everyone, and brands with strong stories behind them are much more memorable and compelling with customers. Tradition, heritage, and history are classic elements for many successful brands, allowing companies like Burberry, Rolls Royce, and Smythson to cash in on higher price points by emphasizing the timeless qualities and standards of their brands. The same principles apply to FMCG goods, with brand heritage delivering a promise to customers that the extra cost is worth paying for. Note: Your brand story must be authentic, irresistible and consistent in a way that's relevant to your target audience throughout every touch point of your brands' existence and engagement on or offline.

 

Fairy Liquid Royal Wedding 

Image via www.pg.com

  

The UK brand Fairy Liquid has effectively utilised history and heritage to increase market share and surpass competition from private label brands. Beginning in 2010, Fairy Liquid launched a commemorative heritage campaign celebrating the iconic brand’s 50th anniversary, and a consistent brand vision of mildness and domestic harmony. The nostalgic hark back to simpler times, including a re-launch of its original white bottle packaging, drove impressive year-on-year growth of 13.1% in the hand dishwash category and 24.2% in the auto dishwash category.

 

 Fairy Liquid Diamond Jubilee

 Image via www.pg.com

  

In 2011, Fairy Liquid once again realized sales growth with the launch of a commemorative bottle to celebrate the royal wedding and another to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Further, the brand is the most popular for parent company Procter & Gamble on Facebook, with a strategy of frequent engagement on social media through nostalgia-based topics. With the right brand strategy, even newer brands can employ history and heritage to add value to their FMCG products.

 

 

3. Inspire Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is a driving force behind the power of a brand, particularly for FMCG brands. Customers who are loyal to your brand will buy your products every time, regardless of cost – but you’ve got to consistently give them a compelling reason for their loyalty! When you develop a loyal customer base, you enjoy not only repeat business, but coveted word-of-mouth advertising as your brand fans tell their family and friends that they’ll only use your products.

 

Procter & Gamble, the parent company to dozens of FMCG brands, creates customer loyalty for not only individual product lines, but the corporation’s umbrella as a whole. The company’s loyalty-driven ongoing Olympics campaign is one of the most notable and effective in the world, with a series of commercials celebrating international mothers and their everyday work in raising Olympic champions. Each of these inspiring, heartstring-tugging commercials ends with a series of brand placement images, and the campaign’s tag line: “P&G. Proud sponsor of Moms.”

 

 

  

  

4. Create Exclusivity

Many luxury brands rely on exclusivity to maintain sales and customer levels at premium price points. Creating exclusivity can also be an effective strategy for FMCG brands in two ways—by developing the perception of exclusivity for customers, and by building retailer relations for exclusive product distribution.

   Grey Poupon Mustard

Image via www.kraftfoodservice.com  

 

FMCG brand Grey Poupon has built a brand on exclusivity. The “luxury” mustard brand has always catered to a higher end customer, creating a brand that is synonymous with discerning tastes. Early in 2014, Grey Poupon applied the exclusivity concept to social media marketing with a unique Facebook campaign that only allowed customers to “Like” their page if their application was approved and they were able to “cut the mustard.”

  

Grey Poupon Facebook Application 

  

The 'Like Applications' were weighed using several factors, including education level, number of friends, and books read. Those who failed to hit the mark were offered tips to improve their standing and invited to try again.

 

 

  

  

In 2013, Duracell rose to 46% of the alkaline battery market share after developing an exclusive distribution relationship with wholesale retailer Sam’s Club, a Wal-Mart company. While the wholesale deal required a slight discount on bulk sales, Duracell was still able to maintain a higher price point than private label battery brands and realize an additional $140 million in sales.

 

As the competition increases between FMCG brands and private label discounters, companies must develop multi-faceted value-added branding strategies to differentiate their products, attract new customers, and earn customer loyalty at higher price points. As always, a consistent brand promise built on delivering incomparable ‘perceived’ value remains essential to long term success in the FMCG arena.

 

What do you think?

• Does your brand have an innovative element you can highlight in your marketing campaigns?

 

• How can you highlight your brand story in a way that adds value for customers?

 

• Are there any traditions or heritage stories you can tie to your brand to invoke nostalgia or pride?

 

• Who is your ideal loyal customer? How does your brand marketing strategy reach them?

 

• Can you develop exclusivity around your brand, either through customer perceptions or distribution and retail relationships?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Pinterest: Top 5 Tips for Building Your Brand & Increasing Sales

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 06 2014 @ 10:08

In the early days of Pinterest the image-based platform, described as a “big online corkboard”, was viewed as little more than a place to exchange recipes, home decorating tips, fashion and craft ideas. But while Pinterest may be a relative newcomer to the world of social media, this highly visual network now has more than 70 million users and a wealth of untapped potential for businesses of all sizes endeavouring to build their brands.

 

Just how effective is brand building on Pinterest? According to data from marketing research firm Annalect:

  • Pinterest leads social media networks for brand discovery, with 40 percent of social media users learning about a new brand (compared to 27 percent on Facebook, and less for other social networks)

 

  • 67 percent of users source and share for special occasions on Pinterest, with second place going to Facebook at only 21 percent

 

  • More than half (55%) of Pinterest users click through images they like to the company’s website to learn more about a product or service

 

  • Users pin products they are considering purchasing (62%) and products they have already purchased (21%)

 

Using Pinterest for your business is easier than you might think. These tips will help you create your brand strategy and engagement on Pinterest coupled with driving brand visibility across all of your digital marketing channels.

  

 

  

1. Show Your Brand Story

Your brand story serves as the foundation for your company’s brand, ensuring memorability, recognition, relevance and resonance with your target audience. If a picture sells a thousand words then the visual nature of Pinterest is an unbeatable strategy for illustrating your brand story in a way that ensures significant impact with your customers, especially when you consider that social media content with images drives three times more engagement than text-based content.

 

Because Pinterest is visual in nature, the platform is highly effective for creating an emotional connection. Remember people buy with emotion, not rational! Well-chosen and powerful images or attention grabbing video that features your products, services, key people in your business or relates to the core of your organisation’s brand, all serve as visual story amplifiers that communicate who you are, and what you stand for, in a really visceral way.

  

 Pantone Colour Of The Year 2014 Pinterest

 

Pantone Colour Institute makes excellent branding use of Pinterest with its boards for Colour of the Year. Each board features images of the highlighted colour featured in foods, flowers, hairstyles, event ideas, and even celebrities wearing the year’s colour. The visual marketing strategy has earned Pantone nearly 50,000 Pinterest followers for 2014’s board alone, and more across the company’s 45 boards.

 

2. Use Pinterest to Drive eCommerce Growth

Images are inspiring, and the right images can truly transport an audience. Another highly effective brand strategy for Pinterest is to show your customers just what their lives would be like with your brand in them, so they can easily picture themselves owning and enjoying what you have to offer. Pinterest is particularly effective, when used appropriately, with tangible products as part of an integrated brand strategy to help drive eCommerce growth. Illustrating your products or services in action works really well in this regard.

 

 Luxury Monograms Pinterest

  

You can also take your lifestyle brand a step further by recommending or joint venturing with other complementary brands products or services and showing your customers a fuller picture that brings the brand elements together. For example, a gourmet dessert company might pin images of a friends celebrating with everyone enjoying their products on a particular occasion or holiday event using the table décor of another popular lifestyle brand.

  

Once you’ve identified complementary brands, consider partnering with other Pinterest business users to cross-promote and increase your followers and visibility. Re-pinning content is one of the most effective ways to grow Pinterest traffic to your boards.

 

3. Maintain Brand Consistency Across All Content

As with any social media platform, the key to success on Pinterest is converting followers into leads and ultimately loyal customers. Pinterest provides several ways to reinforce your brand consistency and funnel visitors to your website, landing page, or email list signup.

  

Pins can be linked to your website, both the images themselves and the text in the description. Every piece of original content you pin to your boards should be linked to an actionable target, making it easy for customers to learn more about the images you’re displaying, and how or where to purchase them or the service they relate to. With linked images, you’ll also gain more visibility as other Pinterest users re-pin your content to their own boards where their followers can also click through.

  

Asos Pinterest 

 

UK online fashion retailer ASOS is a strong example of brand consistency on Pinterest. The company joined Pinterest in 2012, but didn’t see much traction until an overhaul in 2013 when it streamlined and consolidated its boards, and began posting only branded and linked pins. Now, with 35 boards and nearly 80,000 followers, ASOS enjoys strong customer engagement on Pinterest.

 

4. Engage Others to Spread Your Brand

Pinterest is a community, and getting others to share your content helps to grow your brand exponentially. More than 80 percent of the total content on Pinterest are repins from other boards, so it’s essential to interest your audience enough to repost your content and share with their own followers.

 

Having other Pinterest users highlight your brand is a far better endorsement than plugging your business on your own. This holds true not only for repins, but also for user-submitted content that you pin to your boards. There are many creative ways you can invite users to submit pins. For example, auto manufacturer Honda created a campaign called “Pintermission,” where the company chose five influential pinners from among their followers, and gave them each $500 to bring a pin from their own boards into reality.

 

 Honda Pintermission Pinterest

 

The company asked the pinners to collaborate with each other, and to upload photos of their projects to Pinterest once they were completed. Honda also created promotional posters for the campaign that parodied popular motivational images. As a result, the Pintermission board received more than 4.6 million views and over 5,000 repins—and the campaign also spread to Twitter with the hashtag #Pintermission.

 

5. Your Brand, Visualized

With a compelling brand design, and easy tools for linking and sharing, Pinterest is a really powerful branding tool for most businesses. You can strengthen your brand visibility significantly through the use of meaningful images, engaging video, consistent brand messaging coupled with encouraging user engagement through pins, comments and competitions on Pinterest.

 

What do you think?

• Is your brand a good fit for Pinterest?

 

• Are you sharing your brand story through images or video?

 

• What might complement your brand lifestyle messages and help customers envision your brand as part of their lives?

 

• How are you ensuring you maintain brand message consistency with your images or video content creation?

 

• Have you used Pinterest effectively yet to help drive your eCommerce growth?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts or comments in the box below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 Branding On Pinterest Persona Design Blog

 

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World Cup Branding: What Can You Learn from the World Cup Campaigns?

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 28 2014 @ 12:42

Much like the Olympics, every four years the World Cup captures the attention of the globe—and global marketers. World Cup branding is a powerful way for businesses to elevate their brand profiles and strengthen brand visibility on a global scale.

  

But the branding techniques used by companies during World Cup fever don’t have to be confined to once every four years. Here are some branding lessons your business can take away from the latest World Cup marketing campaigns.

  

Take A Risk With Something Different

World Cup advertising sponsorships aren’t easy to come by—they’re highly limited, extremely costly, and competed for fiercely. Only a handful of big brands manage to score these coveted sponsorships. Non-sponsor companies, therefore, usually arrange for star-studded branded advertising that conveys support for the game and suggests affiliation.

 

 Nike Swoosh Logo

Image via www.nike.com

  

Nike, who wasn’t a sanctioned World Cup sponsor for 2014—though competitor Adidas was—managed to grab an early win by going against the trend. The company created a video, released right before the start of the tournament, that broke all the rules: it’s animated (though some of the characters are futbol celebrities), it never directly mentions the World Cup, and it’s a whopping five and a half minutes long—nearly twice the maximum length of three minutes that’s usually recommended for customer engagement.

  

 

  

The video, which is really a mini-film, uses subtle and strategic product placement throughout. The theme of the video’s story is “risk everything”—and it’s a risk that paid off significantly for Nike, who garnered over 65 million views and experienced more user engagement than its sponsored competitor, with less effort.

 

What can your business learn from “The Last Game”? When you take risks and deliver something unexpected, your brand benefits.

 

Be A Good Sport

When it comes to sporting events, especially global tournaments like the World Cup, passions can run high. Everyone will have their favorites, but not all of them can win. Brands in particular need to carefully monitor their support for one team over another, and be cautious when posting their sentiments in public spaces.

 

KLM Airlines learned the hard way with what happens when you offend your audience with your fan sentiments. The European company tweeted about Mexico’s defeat to the Holland team with a stereotyped picture of a mustached, sombrero-sporting figure next to a departure sign, captioned with the words “Adios Amigos!” The tweet went rapidly viral in a negative way, incurring backlash from the online community that included a profanity-laced attack from Hollywood A-List actor Gael Garcia Bernal tweeting his 2 million plus followers that he’ll never fly KLM again! Though KLM soon deleted the tweet, the damage had been done.

   

Gael Garcia Bernal Tweet

    

The takeaway here is to choose your brand alignment carefully, and be a good sport when it comes to wins and losses. Your brand sentiment should never offend your customers.

 

 

Link Your Offline and Online Campaigns Together

The most successful global brands present a consistent customer experience throughout all aspects and representations of their brands. One of the best ways to maintain consistency is to create links between various campaigns that will drive customer engagement on multiple channels.

 

During the World Cup, several brands strove for integration across channels, from television to social to mobile. Global auto manufacturer Hyundai created a particularly successful integrated World Cup campaign with television commercials that called on a popular internet meme and created a user-friendly Twitter hashtag to continue the theme online.

  

  

The video incorporates the “because something” meme that’s frequently used on social media and pop culture websites. While the subject is the Spanish team and their 2010 World Cup win, the advertisement is universal, with just one line of subtitled dialogue and the rest of the story told in actions and flashbacks. It’s funny and endearing, and the use of the #BecauseFutbol hashtag helped to engage audiences and increase Twitter activity for Hyundai.

 

The lesson here is that a consistent and integrated brand strategy across multiple channels can help your business succeed any time, not just during global sporting events.

  

What do you think?

 

• How can your brand capitalise on global events, even without official sponsorships?

  

• What are some unique ways you can present your brand, or unexpected twists you could deploy over typical marketing themes?

  

• How carefully are you monitoring your brand alliances to ensure you’re not offending your audience?

 

• What are you doing to tie your online and offline campaigns together?

  

• Do you create a consistent customer experience across all channels, on and offline, with your brand?

  

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Personal Branding: The Difference Between Product and Personal Branding

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 23 2014 @ 11:01

Branding is crucial for any business looking to be competitive in today’s marketplace. When most organizations mention branding, they’re referring to the carefully crafted perceptions surrounding their products or services designed to create an emotional response in their target audience. But there’s another type of branding that can be equally important in marketing your business—namely, your personal brand.

 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, a professional or an executive, a spokesperson, marketing associate or CEO, drawing a distinction between your product and personal brands, and working to position each of them, can help you propel your business forward and increase public recognition, customer loyalty, and profitability.

  

  

 

What is a Product Brand?

Defining a product or service related brand is paradoxically simple, yet also quite complex. A brand is what your product or service ‘stands for in people’s minds, what it means to them,’ and ‘branding is the process of executing and managing things that make people feel the way they do about your brand’. What your brand stands for—its values, promise, customer experience, and those associated feelings your brand provokes through its story, and so forth—is what makes up a product or service brand. It’s a combination of all those intangible and tangible elements associated with your products, services, or the organization as a whole that gives your brand meaning in a way that’s relevant to your target customers.

 

Companies endeavor to suggest and influence customer perceptions and predispositions to buy through their branding strategies—and this is where the definition becomes more complex. Defining a product brand on the company side can involve a number of components, all working together to reinforce a desired brand perception. This can include brand positioning, brand values, the brand story, and the brand promise.

 

A product or service brand shapes customer perceptions of the things they purchase, everything from eggs to airline travel! These types of brands can become so powerful that they're perceived as synonymous with the function of the product or service provided. For example, many people refer to all disposable tissues as Kleenex, all copy machines as Xerox, or all clear adhesive tape as Scotch tape or Sellotape.

 

What is a Personal Brand?

Your personal brand is all about you, as a person, but in the more public sense of how you project your image to the outside world. A personal brand doesn’t necessarily reflect every detail of an individual’s private life, unless an individual chooses to live their life in a ‘reality TV’ way! Just as with product or service brands, personal brands are (or should be) carefully crafted in terms of both perception and authenticity. In a very fundamental sense, your personal brand is your reputation.

 

 

 

  

A personal brand includes the perceptions, qualities, and characteristics people associate with you, your name, how you conduct yourself (professionally and privately) and your professional position. Personal brands can be leveraged in brand strategy terms just as effectively as product or service bands. They too represent the emotional experience others will expect when encountering you in a professional capacity. Your personal brand is a unique promise of value that can be attributed to you as an individual, which can also tie in to your company’s brand promise on some level as well.

  

 Richard Branson Virgin

 Image via www.virgin.com

  

Take Sir Richard Branson and Virgin or Michael O’Leary and Ryanair. Both have very separate, individual personal brands that are distinct from the product or service brands they head up. They are, in effect, the spokespersons and visionaries behind the product brands, with brand personas which are aligned to the brands they stand beside—but neither are one and the same.

  

   Michael Oleary Ryanair

 Image via www.02b.com

 

The most successful personal brands are an authentic reflection of that person’s true qualities, without necessarily divulging every micro detail on a private level in their personal lives.

 

 Marthas American Food By Martha Stewart

 Image via www.marthastewart.com

 

One strong example of a successful personal brand is Martha Stewart. In this instance, her personal brand is tightly linked to her products and services, which typically also carry her name. The public face of a vast business empire, Martha Stewart the person is also Martha Stewart the brand. Customers associate her as an individual with taste, quality, and comfortable living. Interestingly Martha Stewart’s personal brand was strong enough to carry her through a legal ordeal that had her serving time in prison—after her release, her reputation recovered and her business empire continued to grow.

   

 

  

 

Product and Personal Brands: What They Share, What’s Different

While personal and product brands are different, they are not totally separate either. Regardless of your personal brand’s standing in the market in terms of its recognition and associations, the strongest personal brands are often linked in some way to your company’s product or service brand. There are often commonalities—for example, Martha Stewart’s personal style is reflected by the brand promise of her company to lend that style to customers’ home décor, clothing, and other Martha Stewart Living product lines. Richard Branson’s personal brand is reflected in some of the characteristics of the Virgin brand, such as being seen as a game-changer, a challenger of the status quo, and an innovative risk-taker that puts the customer at the heart of everything.

  

   Martha Stewart Crafts

 Image via www.marthastewart.com

  

Generally, product and personal brands are similar in that they stand for something that’s meaningful to their audience, and must be consistent in how they are reflected or presented to the world. Consistency is an important key for both personal and product branding. The more customers experience the same values and emotions through each interaction with you, or your products and services, the more they will trust, expect and value a similar relevant experience every time.

 

There are several differences between product and personal brands, and the most important is one that’s inherent to the nature of what these brands represent. Product or service brands are created by branding and marketing campaigns, which help to shape customer perceptions. On the other hand, personal brands are a deliberate choice by the person who is that brand.

  

     Howard Schultz Starbucks

 Image via www.starbucks.com 

  

A cup of Starbucks coffee can’t choose to be a social status symbol, representative of discerning cultural tastes and community responsibility. But Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, can choose to launch an initiative to create more jobs and encourage entrepreneurs, and kick-start that initiative with a $5 million donation.

  

Establishing Your Own Personal Brand

One vital realisation in personal branding is that, no matter who you are or how you comport yourself professionally, you already have a personal brand. If you’re known to people in a professional capacity, you have a reputation and a set of expectations that surrounds your involvement—good or bad. And you can allow others to continue establishing your personal brand according to their own perceptions, or you can take control to actively shape, promote, and grow the personal brand you want to project.

 

Sir Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group, takes an active role in shaping his personal brand. Branson is widely perceived as pioneering and inventive, which has led to the formation of an array of diverse, yet wildly successful industry groups—from Virgin Records to Virgin Mobile, Virgin Airways, and Virgin Trains. Branson’s business pursuits are continually evolving, and they continue to succeed based on the strength of his personal brand as much as the aggressive effectiveness of his business decisions and the perceived value of the Virgin brand itself.

  

 

   

  

Building a personal brand involves first defining the perceptions of yourself that you want others to expect, and then remaining consistent in your presentation of those perceptions throughout your professional appearances, both online and in person. Creating central pieces, such as your biography and professional photo, and using them to identify yourself consistently wherever you appear online or in more traditional media are important tools to manage and reinforce your personal brand.

 

In general, your personal brand won’t require as much research, campaigning, and analysis as your product or service brand—but the effort to shape and maintain personal branding can be highly effective in supporting the growth and success of your product or service brand or indeed your career!

  

What do you think?

• Is a personal brand important to you as a professional?

 

• Have you developed a strongly established personal brand? When did you last audit how others perceive your unique personal brand?

 

• How can you tie your personal brand to your product or service brand and maintain authenticity to yourself?

 

• What opportunities can you identify to showcase your personal brand?

 

• Will your personal brand evolve separately from, or in tandem with, your product or service brand?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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Branding Amazon: 3 Lessons to Learn For Your Brand Success

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 15 2014 @ 13:20

Amazon is one of the most recognizable companies in the world, occupying and serving more global regions than any other organization. And while it may seem hard to imagine branding a store that sells “everything,” the world’s largest ecommerce store has managed quite well! In fact, the name Amazon has practically become synonymous with online shopping.

 

While your company may not have the reach and capabilities of Amazon just yet, there are still several branding lessons you can take away from the mega-store’s strategies, positioning and brand management.

 

 Amazon Logo

Image via www.amazon.com 

 

1. Root Your Brand Identity Through Your Business Story

The humble start of Amazon is among the best-known business origin stories in the world and this story has been a tremendous asset in establishing the company’s customer-centric brand positioning. Millions of people know that founder Jeff Bezos left a high-paying career to found a startup bookselling company, which at first he operated out of a garage. The company’s unusually rapid ascension from selling books to U.S. customers, to selling everything to the whole world, completes the Cinderella story, even with its ups and downs along the way.

  

With this powerful brand story firmly established, Amazon is able to maintain its image as an organization that will always care about its customers, no matter how unimaginably large it becomes. Amazon’s story is a differentiator, setting the brand apart from other mega-corporations through its entrepreneurial grass-root beginnings. Their customer centric approach still is one of their highest brand values and drives the whole focus of the business in terms of their business model, brand strategy and customer experience.

  

Your brand story is a really important part of your whole brand strategy and any business seeking to strengthen its brand leverage should consider amplifying it appropriately in a way that’s relevant to your customers.

 

People buy with emotion and your story helps build that emotional connection. That said, your story needs to be worth talking about so you really must craft and communicate it in a way that your core target audience finds truly compelling, memorable and referable. Develop your brand story by revisiting the reasons you launched your business in the first place. This can help you pinpoint the areas worth leveraging to increase your brand recognition in the market. What was and still is your big 'Why?' To quote Simon Sinek, ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it.’

 

 

 

2. Highlight Your Brand Differentiation at Every Opportunity

Ask anyone what sets Amazon apart from other online retailers, and they’re likely to answer in a number of ways: the product selection, the customer centric approach and the prices. Regarding the selection, the original tagline for the company when it only sold books was “Earth’s biggest book store.” As the organization experienced exponential growth and added product line after product line, it became known as “the world’s largest online retailer.” Today’s Amazon customers can expect to find anything they’d like to buy—and some things they would never buy—available for sale on Amazon. This enormous selection of products is a crucial part of Amazon’s brand differentiation.

 

The second prong, regarding the lowest prices, has been part of Amazon’s branding strategy from the beginning. In fact, the company is so dedicated to under-pricing its competitors that part of Bezos’ business plan was not to make any profits for the first four to five years of operation, in order to keep prices low for customers. Other money-saving features have been added to the retail site in addition to low pricing—the most notable being the Amazon Prime program, which offers customers free two-day shipping, unlimited movie streaming, and now unlimited music streaming for a yearly subscription fee of under $100—amounting to around $8.25 per month.

 

Amazon’s huge selection and low prices figure prominently into their branding, marketing and positioning. Then their customer centric approach means they are constantly innovating on ways to enhance the customer shopping experience. Customers are continually informed of money-saving opportunities through onsite callouts, email notifications, and public announcements. Every customer’s online experience is bespoke and tailored according to their browsing interests.

 

3. Remain Flawlessly Consistent with Your Brand Promise

Above all other factors Amazon’s brand promise has driven the company’s explosive growth, worldwide expansion and enduring popularity among customers from every walk of life. It is a simple promise, though from a business standpoint it’s not so simple to keep: consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience.

 

Everything about Amazon is engineered to serve the customer in the best possible way. From the unmatched product selection, to the powerful search engine that allows shoppers to find exactly what they’re looking for in seconds, to the customer review system that supports shoppers research products from trusted sources (other consumers) as well as an opportunity to voice their own opinions and experiences with products, to low prices and highly responsive customer service communication. When you shop with Amazon, you’re guaranteed a flawless experience with as little hindrance as possible. And if you don’t get what you expect, Amazon will make it right.

 

 

  

In addition to setting the standards for the online customer experience, Amazon has built in several innovative customer features that enhance the overall environment. The company’s popular 1-Click ordering feature, which saves shoppers’ preferred payment and shipping information and lets them complete purchases with a single click, not only improves the customer experience but also increased impulse buying. And along with the extensive customer review system is a massive online community, with forums and message boards that allow Amazon customers and vendors to interact, discuss products and more.

 

The key to successful branding is, amongst other things, absolute consistency in everything you do combined with an unshakable brand promise. When your brand promise is reflected in every facet of your business, from customer-facing features to employee actions, to your products or services themselves, you create a customer experience which engenders lasting loyalty, high profile brand recognition and a much more powerful market position.

 

And in case you’re thinking otherwise, you don’t have to be Amazon to apply these brand strategies. All of this is very doable at a micro local business or national level and when done well, with absolute commitment, significantly contributes to your abilities to achieve brand success, sustained growth and increased profitability.

 

What do you think?

 

• Is your brand story really well developed and most importantly, known to your customers and resonating with them? If not ask about our Story Selling System™

 

• Have you identified the best way to integrate your brand story into your brand positioning?

 

• Is your brand really different, distinctive and memorable and are you capitalizing on your brand differentiators effectively?

 

• How can you draw attention to the unique aspects of your brand?

 

• Where is your brand promise being fulfilled properly and which areas of your business are weak and could benefit from reinforcing your brand promise more effectively?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Entrepreneurial Branding: 5 Top Tips For Brand Success

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 24 2014 @ 15:17

Entrepreneurs typically face an array of challenges with a failure rate which is dauntingly high. Estimates range from 75 to 90 percent of startups failing within the first few years - those numbers are enough to give even the most stoically resilient and determined entrepreneur pause for thought.

 

The good news is that a strong brand strategy can vastly improve your chances for entrepreneurial success. If over 80% of the Fortune 500 Company CEOs, rate ‘their brand’ as their company’s number one asset, then maybe you should be giving the planning and thought around your brand a lot more consideration than merely tokenism. When building a brand, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to realize that brands are not solely visual. The most common misperception is that many think their brand is just their logo and not much else! A logo is not a brand. This one of the most prevalent mistakes business owners, and designers alike make - much to their detriment.

  

A brand is what your product or service ‘stands for in peoples minds, what it means to them’ and ‘branding is the process of executing and managing things that make people feel the way they do about your brand’. What your brand stands for, its values, promise, customer experience and those associated feelings your brand provokes through its story, and so forth, are what determine the creative design brief for what you logo, and all your other visual materials, actually look like. Your logo is merely the visual idnetifier for your brand, assuming it is well designed enough to appropriately convey your brand meaning in a very distilled visual representation. In short you need to build your brand profile first, before you start designing your logo.

 

If you define what your brand is all about from day one, through your brand profile, it will provide you with absolute clarity on the direction of your brand strategy in parrallel with your business strategy and overall business plan. It will provide you with the right direction for all the different choices you will need to make such as suppliers, communications, online interactions and marketing activities etc.

  

The question here is what's different, really different about what you're offering? Slightly different is not good enough. If you want to stand out, you've got to be brave and think bigger - dare to be different with your brand in a way that is really relevant to your primary customer. This is what gives your brand substance and potential sustainability - not a logo. You can have the most beautifully designed logo but that still won't make it into a brand.  

 

    Jeff Bezos Amazon

 Image via www.financialpost.com and Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg

  

One entrepreneur that has defined a brand very succinctly is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, when he said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Successful branding is about winning and keeping customers, about influencing choice, and ultimately about finding and dominating your place in the market.

 

 

Checkout these top five branding tips to help you achieve a stronger start and give your budding business a better chance of success.

 

5 Foundational Branding Tips to Support Your Brands Success

 

1. Start Early, Brand Consistently and Congruently

For any entrepreneur or startup, it’s never too early to begin building the foundations of your brand. In fact, you should have your brand well developed and thought through so you can put it to work for your business long before you interact with your first customer. This can be summed up in Simon Sinek’s quote ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it, and what you do simply ‘proves what you believe’.

 

  

Understanding is the first step to building a successful brand. You must know, as a company, exactly who you are, what you stand for, why you do what you do, and what you have to offer your prospective customers that they can’t experience or get anywhere else. Your brand must emotionally and intellectually have the power to engage, motivate and inspire both your prospective customers and your people internally.

 

Dedicate committed time and effort to determining your brand vision. Challenge your thinking, don’t settle for second rate ‘me tooism’ or hybrids of what’s already out there. The greatest sin is to be bland, obvious and ordinary. You must be different, distinctive and memorable for the right reasons if you want success. Be rigorous and thoroughly challenge yourself. Be able to answer questions such as:

  • What is your company’s mission? What will you deliver to your customers—not just in terms of products or services, but emotionally and as an overall customer experience?
  • What benefits and features of your company’s products and services are unique to your business?
  • How will your brand enhance your customers lives and/or solve their problems?
  • What qualities do you want your consumers to equate with your company?
  • What should your business be synonymous with in one year, five years, ten years?
  • Will it still be relevant and powerful in one year, five years, ten years or twenty years plus?
  • Would you fight to protect what your brand stands for? Do you believe in it so strongly that you simply won’t compromise on it? Is it fundamental to your core belief system?

 

Once you have fully fleshed out your business brand vision and values, you can begin distilling your core message into a powerful and captivating brand communications strategy that puts your brand to work effectively.

 

However this can only be done authoritatively when you have a very clear picture of who your ideal core target audience is. Do you know what their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations are? How and where do they live, what age and gender are they?

 

You need to build your customer persona or avatar because its only when you have absolute clarity on what this is, that you can create a brand that will truly resonate with your core target audience. You need to create a brand that meets their emotional needs because when people buy, be that a product or service or into your ideas, they buy with emotion - not rational. Think about it, you can’t build something of substance and compelling meaning if you don’t know or understand who you core customer is and what matters most to them.

 

  

  

2. Create the Right Visuals

While a brand isn’t just about visuals, your brand collateral or visual materials are far more important than most entrepreneurs often realise. Think about all the brands you know that are instantly recognizable: the BP flower, the Nike swoosh, the red Coca-Cola can, McDonald’s golden arches, and Apple’s…apple.

 

 Apple Logo

Image via www.apple.com 

 

For any entrepreneur or startup, a well-designed logo can become a powerful hook for your brand. It’s your brands identifier and like a tattoo, not something you easily or readily change once you start establishing it - so it needs to given some serious thought and investment from day one. In short it needs to be invested in properly as does all the rest of your brand collateral be that your website, brochures, PowerPoint or Keynote Presentations, packaging, direct mail, advertising, social media presence and videos etc. Your brand collateral is the tangible evidence of your brand and it must be designed to congruently reflect and tell your brand story, its values and personality properly. Every single touch point or piece relating to your brand must be consistent and properly designed. They are the tactile materials of your brand, an extension of your reputation and part of your branding strategy.

 

3. Dare to be Different

Every business has competition, and as an entrepreneur, your startup must stand out from not only the established companies in your industry, but also the thousands of other startups launched every year. This means that having absolute clarity on what your brand stands for, what your ‘big why is’, and how you’re going  to communicate your message and that distinction to your customers, is crucial to your brands’ potential success.

 

Distilling your brand values, what it stands for, its personality, the do’s and don’ts of how it will behave and the experience it will create for your customers through all the various ‘touch points’ of its interaction with them is critical to its potential success.

  

It can be challenging to properly and fully develop your ‘brands’ profile’, but once done becomes vital to the fundamental success of your business and part of your ongoing business strategy and plan. It’s integral to your business model.

  

As an example, many entrepreneurs around the world have built their success through a brand profile that has been strongly rooted in the provenance of their unique geographic location. The hospitality and restaurant industry is particularly crowded, but with enough differentiation from other restaurants in the same locality and an authentically lived and experienced brand story, you can attract a loyal customer following.

 

The world you create around your brand must be authentic with an almost theatrical piece of escapism, from a customer experience perspective. From the moment they stand outside your door, metaphorically speaking, to consider a purchase from you, your brand must offer them something they can’t get or experience anywhere else. It must richly express its own personality in a way that’s truly relevant and compelling to your target audience.

 

L'etoile Restaurant Usa 

 Image via www.letoile-restaurant.com

 

One restaurant owner in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, not only created success with her brand proposition, but also used it to elevate her status from entrepreneur to icon. Odessa Piper’s vision led her to launch a fine-dining establishment, L’Etoile, in the middle of a large farming community, which became successful due in large part to her brand vision and commitment to serving only the highest quality, locally sourced food. While sustainable dining may be nothing new today, it’s important to note that Piper opened L’Etoile in 1976, making her a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement and earning her the title of “First Lady of Cuisine” in Wisconsin.

 

4. Brand Promises: Make Them and Never Break Them

Every successful brand comes with an unshakeable promise—in fact, your brand promise is a core part of your brand. You don’t have a meaningful brand without a brand promise. Having a brand means that your customers can and should expect certain rewards whenever they interact with your company. Whether that promise is incredibly great quality ingredients “using only the really good stuff”, exceptional customer service that “goes beyond just the good to an exceptional and unforgettable experience” or “social distinction in a class of its own”, the key to sustaining your entrepreneurial business is to deliver on your brand promise - every time congruently and consistently without question. Your brand promise must be non-negotiable in its delivery and fulfillment all the time.

 

 Ruby Hammer Recommends Lip Gloss

 Image via www.rubyhammer.com and www.debenhams.com

  

International makeup artist and successful entrepreneur Ruby Hammer understands and capitalizes on her brand promise. Hammer co-created and launched the now-discontinued Ruby & Millie makeup brand in partnership with Boots—but she’s also responsible for the launch of other successful brands in the UK, including Aveda, L’Occitane and Tweezerman. She was awarded an MBE in 2007 by the Queen, and she’s recently launched a new line called Ruby Hammer Recommends.

 

In an interview with the Female Entrepreneur Association, Hammer states that promising and delivering quality is vital to the success of a brand. “The key to developing a successful brand is first, you’ve got to have something worthy of success,” she says. “You can’t do it with a bad product.”

 

Successful brands not only give customers the expectation of a unique perspective and a valued experience, they deliver on that promise to provide something undeniably and irresistibly desirable.

 

 

5. Branding: A Solid Foundation for Startups

The majority of new businesses may fail, but yours doesn’t have to be one of those sorry statistics. Strategic branding with a clear message that communicates the unique experience and attributes of your offering can help you win and sustain your business from day one. Commit to building a strong brand foundation to attract and underpin a loyal customer base. This will in turn inspire your brand advocates who in turn will help you spread your brand name and reach much further, and most importantly, help you build an ongoing profitable empire.

 

What do you think?

 

 • Does your business have a strong brand profile? If not, how can you create one?

 

• Do you understand what your target audience wants, and exactly how you can meet their desires?

 

• Does your logo really stand out in its uniqueness and distinction, capturing the essence of your brands’ mission, vision, and qualities of your business at a glance? If not, how can you improve it?

 

• How can you measure the effectiveness of your startup’s brand?

 

• What channels are you using to spread your brand, both visually and conversationally?

 

Drop us a line and share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

1 comment(s)

Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 17 2014 @ 13:45

Travel is one of the largest industries in the world, with several trillion dollars spent globally by travellers each year, and within that mix, destination branding has become an increasingly important part of the marketing strategy for locations and the businesses that serve their area’s tourist demographic.

 

Destination branding, or place branding, can be complex. There are a multitude of brand strategies specifically related to the needs of products or services - but location branding is effectively a combination of all those offerings collectively. Building a destination brand strategy can focus on several top line or key targets, depending on the area and the offerings, which may include:

  • Understanding and highlighting the market perceptions of your destination
  • Capturing the unique essence of your destination and its special attributes
  • Building on media and cultural references that link to your destination

  

  

Creating and Amplifying Market Expectations

When it comes to destinations, many people already have a certain perception in mind. Everyone “knows” that if you’re visiting England, there’s a high likely hood it might rain and the royal family with its historic associations (pomp and circumstance, events or historic locations) might also feature on your radar, and in Egypt first time visitors might expect to be surrounded by pyramids and camels wherever they go! Of course those clichés and people’s perceptions aren’t always right!

 

The first step for any successful destination branding campaign is to understand how your destination is perceived and then either change tired expectations, or amplify more unique positive ones. The expectation of the experience is all in the brand promise of destination brand, and your branding needs to really ‘dial up’ the experience that you want your destination to reflect, and be associated with, in a way that’s truly unique and relevant to your primary target audience.

 

Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland, does this very well through one of their more recent marketing campaigns of the Wild Atlantic Way where you can experience one of the wildest, most enchanting and culturally rich coastal touring routes in the world. Wherever you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way you’ll find magic, adventure, history and beauty in abundance. Divided into five main sections each part offers you memories that will last a lifetime. The brand story and video are very compelling - whether you're native Irish born or an overseas visitor!

 

 

  

Another example of a successful image-changing campaign based around expectations comes from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the official destination marketing organization of Las Vegas. When tourism declined in “Sin City” following the 9-11 attacks and a number of unsuccessful attempts by some businesses to position themselves as “family friendly,” the LVCVA developed a massive campaign called “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

 

 

 

The branding campaign, which included a dedicated website and several brief and humorous TV commercials, worked to recapture audience perception of Las Vegas as a place for adults to have slightly risky fun with no lasting consequences. Overall, the strategy was successful at driving tourist traffic and creating a strong brand for Las Vegas.

 

New Zealand has been highly successful at capitalizing on audience expectations that were created through the worldwide hit movie series The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, based on the classic fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien and filmed in New Zealand.

  

 

  

Air New Zealand cashed in on the Hobbit craze with its safety video and Tourism New Zealand embraced the idea that their country was now seen as “Middle-Earth,” and created an ad campaign around that perception to reinforce the brand.

  

    

Aside from the country itself, some New Zealand businesses have also capitalized on the worldwide fame resulting from the movies—such as The Green Dragon pub, the original film set for the Hobbit pub in The Lord of the Rings movies, which became an actual pub that’s open to the public.

  

Green Dragon Pub Hobbiton Nz 

 Image via www.dailymail.co.uk and London Media

  

  

Capitalizing on Personality and Character

One of the most effective strategies for destination branding is the ability to define, articulate, and convey the unique qualities of your particular destination. This strategy delves into the primal mindset of the traveller - people head out on holiday to get away from their everyday lives and experience something completely new.

 

Successful destination branding is all about that tangible experience at every touch point for your primary audience. This starts from the moment they start thinking about visiting your location, possibly prompted by your successful marketing campaign, to the moment they arrive. Every one of those ‘brand experiences’ must positively reinforce what your brand stands for and what makes it different to your competitors, reaffirming they made the right choice and your destination is even better than they expected! You want them to leave ‘wanting to come back’ and enthusiastically referring your destination to friends and family or better still extolling 'your destinations virtues' on social channels.

 

Australia is most assuredly a unique location, and Tourism Australia has found incredible success with their destination branding efforts by highlighting the characteristics of the land, the people, and the wildlife that can be found nowhere else. The organisation’s advertising campaign, “There’s Nothing Like Australia,” uses powerful visuals and dramatic music and narration to project the excitement of Australia directly to viewers.

 

  

In addition, Tourism Australia offers multimedia presentations through their Bringing the Brand to Life website section, which explore their branding concepts and strategies through video series and a book.

 

 

Hitching Your Wagon to the Stars

Media tie-ins are a powerful branding strategy, and there are plenty of resources for destination branding. One particularly strong example can be found with the UK and VisitBritain, a tourism organisation that is working to change the sometimes slightly grey or stuffy perceptions some of the world associates with the UK, and highlight the beauty and excitement to be found throughout this stunning and incredibly culturally rich country.

  

For example, VisitBritain created an international commercial that was shown in theatres around the world in conjunction with Skyfall, one of the more recent iconic James Bond movie series. The commercial shows the evolution of Bond through various actors who have played the British superspy, and brings it all together by urging audiences to visit Britain and “live like Bond.”

 

  

VisitBritan has also launched a series of celebrity commercials, in which globally recognized Brits explore what they love about the country. Dame Judy Dench performs a spot that revolves around Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII many wives! Other commercials in this series star Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame, prominent English model and actress Twiggy, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

 

 

  

 

  

Bringing Them to You

At its heart, destination branding follows the same principles as any other successful branding strategy, though typically on a much larger scale. One of the keys to successful destination branding is to be very clear on 'what your brand stands for', what makes your brand different to your competitors and to follow through on this with a very clear and compelling picture of how you’re going to fulfill that promise and meet those expectations. 

 

You’ve got to connect with your audience on their terms at a very personal level, maintain consistency through every aspect of your branding - from the distillation of your branding promise throughout, to your brand experience at every customer touch point and how everything ‘looks and feels’ from a brand style perspective. It must all look and feel like it all unmistakably comes from the same ‘stable’ and be irresistible to your primary target customer in a way that’s truly relevant to them.

 

What do you think?

 

• How does your potential audience currently perceive your destination?

 

• What are the perceptions you’re looking to create for your market?

 

• How can you develop an expectation of your unique experience, and follow through on your brand promise?

 

• What makes your destination unique and worth visiting and how can you leverage that more powerfully?

 

• Are there any global media tie-ins you can connect with your destination brand?

 

 

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Private Label: Branding Tips for Own Label Brands

Posted by Lorraine Carter on June 11 2014 @ 16:23

Private labels used to be seen as the second rate offering in the retail world with a majority of consumers shying away from these alternatives to major brand products. They were viewed as knockoffs, cheap substitutes or poor quality ploys only purchased if you were trying to make your weekly shopping budget stretch a bit further. However the market view on private label brands has shifted considerably, especially with the recent economic downturn, and more consumers are willing to forgo the big brands in favour of lower-priced private labels—as long as the quality is maintained.

 

 

 

Time Magazine reported that since the latest recession, 93 percent of grocery store shoppers have changed their buying habits and now stock up on own label, also often referred to as private label store brands. Major chains stores have seen significant increases in consumer purchases of private label brands according to Bloomberg. In the USA, Safeway’s store brand has shown a 3-to-1 growth margin over major brands, and Kroger’s store brand sales accounts for 27 percent of total grocery sales.

 

 Kroger Logo

 

Image via www.kroger.com

 

Of course, in order to sell private label brands successfully, retailers must promote their own label brands to their customers and make them just as appealing compared to major brand names. It’s not enough to simply stock them high and sell them cheap, as in the early days of own label branding.

  

Brand positioning, the brand promise, brand values, the brand story and category segmentation together with consumer mindset and so forth, must all be very carefully developed and fully integrated into the brand strategy for private label items to be most successful, with the same level of intricacy as major brands, and perhaps more so, because they’re competing with the automatic perceived quality of big, familiar brands.

 

In fact it would be fair to say that private label branding has become extremely sophisticated in some of the retail groups with their ‘private label’ brands carrying significant weight and authority amongst their target audience consumers.

 

 

The Importance of Superb Private Label Packaging

As every marketer knows, presentation is key to selling products. In fact people’s willingness to buy, recommend, refer, work for and invest in an organization is driven 60% by their perceptions of the brand and only 40% by their perceptions of the product or services (source: Kasper Ulf Nielsen).

  

Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the underperforming sales of private label brands in the early days was the bland, generic packaging and questionable quality. Many retailers felt that a lower price would sell these own label brands so few bothered to give any significant thought to packaging. In fact private label products were noticeable, for the wrong reasons, with their generic and non-descriptive packaging that looked completely underwhelming next to the carefully designed major brands. Also plagiarism of major brands was a notorious problem in the early days until legal channels flexed their muscles accordingly.

 

Today’s successful private label brands incorporate appealing packaging design into their branding with a very clear focus on who their target audience is and how they’re going to grab attention and engage with them effectively, through their packaging design. Gone are the stark, single or two-color boxes that simply state the name of the product inside.

 

Waitrose Love Life Range

Image via www.waitrose.com

 

Many retailers are creating entire lines of own branded products carefully segmented and tied to their “brand name” such as UK grocery retailer Waitrose’s impressive portfolio of store brands including Seriously, Heston, Menu, Duchy Originals, Love Life, Good to Go and Essentials, each with its own specific brand strategy and distinct look or brand style.

  

Waitrose Seriously Range

Image via www.waitrose.com

 

These proprietary Waitrose brands are not always directly comparable to any other ‘brands’, be they national or private label, thereby making them unique all of which helps support growing consumer Waitrose brand loyalty and increased wallet share. Some don’t even mention the proprietary store owner, such as department store chain Target’s Simply Balanced health foods and beverages.

  

Duchy Originals From Waitrose 

 Image via www.waitrose.com

These private label brands and their relevant product lines feature distinctive packaging styles and well defined brand propositions with clear target audiences that are competing with major brands on the shelves. In fact, many are indistinguishable from standalone major brands as they've become 'brands' in their own rights, with the exception of the lower price segments.

 

The best private label brands are blurring the lines of ‘major brand’ or ‘own label’ brand distinction through ensuring superb product quality, creative brand packaging and compelling brand offerings all of which attracts consumers to choose the own brand product without compromises on quality or price. Many are now brands in their own rights without any of the old stigmas of the early days.

  

 

Embracing Environmental Causes and Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental consciousness in both food sourcing and packaging is another major brand selling point that some private label brands are adopting. For example Waitrose has made several changes to its private label products that reduce packaging waste significantly.

 

Recent changes to the packaging of a number of Waitrose's private label brand lines is estimate to have saved the company almost 100 tonnes of packaging annually. Among other changes, the company’s line of prepared meals, Menu from Waitrose, now features a reduced-width package sleeve and a recyclable, lacquered aluminum tray that allows consumers to cook and serve the meal right from the packaging.

 

Waitrose Menu Beef Goulash 

 Image via www.waitrose.com

 

It's effectively a 'win win' for all concerned, rubbish is kept out of the landfills, the packaging changes make life easier for the consumer - who now has less waste to deal with and less space used in their refridgerator. Waitrose has also raised consumer awareness of their rebranded, environmentally conscious private label packaging through a marketing campaign in which they pledge to reduce packaging by half, by 2016, all of which helps generate a very positive engagement with the Waitrose brand.

 

 

Encouraging Consumer Interaction

Just as with any form of branding, interaction and a personal touch can help to promote private label brands. Several companies have launched innovative campaigns that aim to introduce consumers to their brands, and give them the opportunity to experience high quality at a lower price—therefore earning repeat business and private label brand loyalty.

 

Co Op Tweet4a Table 

Image via www.co-operativefood.co.uk

 

As an example, business group The Co-operative in the UK recently launched a Twitter campaign called “Tweet for a table,” which offered a grand prize of a free, gastro-style meal for up to 4 people, served in one of the company’s pop-up restaurants. The winning meal was created entirely with private label products from The Co-op, introducing potential shoppers to a number of brand lines during a fun and memorable experience.

 

 Dm Foto Paradies

Image via www.produktdesigner.fotoparadies.de 

 

German drugstore DM uses an innovative way to personalize the shopping experience with private label brands. The company teamed with a product designer to create a website called “Foto Paradies” where customers can create their own custom labels for a range of private label items—choosing their own text, and even including photos.

 

 

Broadening Private Label Brand Distribution

Recognition and visibility is an essential component of branding, and some retailers are branching out by offering their private labels for distribution in other markets. Once again, Waitrose UK is demonstrating private label innovation in this area, offering several of its lines through international grocery corporation Dairy Farm’s retail locations in Singapore.

 

French mass retailer Groupe Casino is expanding its private label brands to the Asian market. The company works with Rustan in the Philippines, and A.S. Watson in Hong Kong, to distribute and sell several store brand lines through the retail chains Shopwise and Taste.

 

 

Expanding Your Private Label Brand Revenue

Consumers are no longer ignoring private label brands, they’re actually seeking them out, and often preferring them over major brands. In fact, shoppers are willing to pay more for store brands than they had previously. The Wall Street Journal (via Time Magazine) reported that average prices for private label brands have increased by 12 percent, compared to an 8 percent increase for major brands in the same time period—yet store brands still cost an average of 29 percent less than major national brands. If you're a independant brand owner maybe supplying 'private label' along side your 'branded' product could also be a significant part of your growth strategy.

 

Its the combination of erasing the perceived quality gaps between private and major brands together with solid brand strategies underpinning 'eye popping' great packaging design, excellent customer experiences and consistently engaging customer campaigns, alongside maybe broadening distribution through strategic partnerships, that can collectively help increase sales of own brand for more profitable long term growth and increased customer loyalty.

 

What do you think?

  

• Is your private label brand packaging comparable in quality to major brands? Is it time for a redesign?

 

• What kind of consumer experience are you offering for your private label brand?

 

• Are your private label brands developed with the capability of range extensions, or are they simply single-shot offerings?

 

• Are there any markets you could investigate to broaden your private brand distribution?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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