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Brand Renaming: Name and Tagline Change Considerations

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 17 2015 @ 09:14

Is your brand struggling to stay relevant, afloat, or sinking in the marketplace? Do you feel that your brand could be capturing more market share—but it just isn’t happening on your current platforms?

 

Renaming your brand or changing your tagline can be a powerful strategy for brand renewal or revitalisation, but it’s not a process that should be taken lightly. Effectively pushing the reset button on your brand requires careful consideration and planning, and a sound strategy based on the right reasons.

 

The name of your company, product, service or range etc. is often the first thing anyone will come in contact with. It’s your first impression. The question here is, do you want your first impression with your primary audience to be something that’s interesting and helps tell your story? Or do you want something that sounds like many others, an industry or category norm but consequently has less impact because it blends in with the rest - that might be a strategic choice but often not the one most desired.

 

A good name is a compact easy-to-communicate piece of information, it can grab peoples attention and makes them want to know more. It can make them stop and think, laugh or smile, or let people know how you feel about the world around you. Ideally a good name should communicate one key objective, which is strongly founded on your brand promise, positioning, brand values and tailored to fit with your core customer mind set.

 

Google Logo 

Image via google.com 

 

A great brand name is vital to the success of your business. As an example of the power of a name, look to one of the most recognised and powerful brand names in the world: Google. Would the search engine giant have risen to the same heights the organisation enjoys today if they’d kept the original company name of BackRub? Perhaps unlikely—that particular brand renaming might have been one of the best ideas in history.

   

  

  

    

When creating compelling brand names for our clients we use our Nail it Naming System™. If you’re considering re-naming with some inhouse brainstorming, then here are some of the key factors that you should consider before changing your brand name or brand tagline in order to optimise the effectiveness of a re-naming brand strategy, and ensure true growth for your brand.

 

 

Reasons for Brand Renaming: Good versus Bad

The first thing you should consider with a renaming strategy is why you want to change the name of your brand, and / or use a different tagline. There are many good reasons for brand renaming—and some not-so-good reasons.

 

Some good reasons for changing your brand name include:

  • Your brand name has damaging associations. Mistakes happen, but a mistake in business can have a substantially negative impact on your brand name. If your sales or market value are suffering because of a past problem, renaming your brand can give you the opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate.

 

  • Your current brand name is obsolete. Every brand must stay relevant in order to be successful. If your brand name sounds old-fashioned (but not retro), a brand name change may be a good strategic decision.

 

  • Your brand name doesn’t capture the essence of your offering. Consider the brand name Quantum Computer Services. What does that tell you about the brand? Maybe you’re thinking ‘not much’ or assuming it must be some kind of computer repair company. But when this organisation changed their name to America Online (AOL), the brand became synonymous with their service offerings.

  

Aol Logo 

 Image via www.aol.com

  

 

  • Your business has expanded beyond the original brand. If your company name originally conveyed particular founding offerings, but you’ve outgrown and expanded beyond what the brand name originally referred to, changing your brand name can help you refocus and expand to capture other larger markets further afield.

 

  • Another brand has a similar name. This type of issue often arises for businesses that are expanding their geographical reach. If there are established businesses in new markets with a brand name that’s similar to yours, renaming your brand can help you compete in these new markets. As an example, 11-year-old Miller Insurance Group based in Florida was looking to expand nationally in the United States, but Millers Mutual already had a strong presence in the Northeast. The company rebranded to Brightway Insurance and successfully grew a national market base.

 

  • Your company is experiencing a merger or acquisition. When two or more companies come together, there are a few different branding options. In some cases it makes sense to keep the brand name for the strongest brand—but a complete brand renaming may also be a viable option for the newly formed company.

  

On the other hand, here are some situations where renaming your brand may be the wrong strategy:

  • Change for the sake of change: Renaming your brand because you think another name would sound better is a poor decision for change. Brand renaming should not be done on a whim—you need to invest time and resources in a brand name change in order to ensure the desired commercial returns. Changing your name without a solid strategically driven reason can also confuse or alienate your customers.

 

  • Destroying brand equity: For brands that are already well established, changing your brand name can be incredibly risky. If your customers already have a strong association and connection with your brand name, renaming it can substantially undermine and negatively impact your business amongst existing loyal customers. Their trust in your brand can become weakened, resulting in market confusion and plummeting sales.

   

  

  

  

Evaluating Your Existing Brand Equity

Brand equity should also be a top evaluation factor for any brand considering a name change. With brand renaming, you not only risk confusing or alienating your existing customers, you could also end up with high costs for your rebranding efforts that may not deliver the desire return on your investment. For example if you have a large amount of existing brand collateral, changing your brand name can be expensive.

   

Your customers and transitioning them through a potential brand name change is perhaps the most important factor in your brand re-naming brand strategy. Before deciding to change your brand name, you’ll need to conduct some detailed research or a brand audit of your existing brand equity. Find out how customers really feel about your brand, what qualities do they associate with it, what do they think your brand name stands for and how much influence does your brand name have on their purchasing decisions.

  

If you have significant valuable brand equity, but still need to rename your brand—for reasons such as your brand name no longer appropriately reflects your offering, your business has expanded beyond your current brand name’s relevance, another brand has a similar name, or you’re being legally compelled to change the name—you should implement a transitioning strategy that will help both existing and new customers associate the new name with your original brand name thereby helping them make the move with you and reducing the potential risk of any loss of business.

  

As an example, U.S. based company CallCopy was launched in 2004 as a provider of call recording software. The company expanded its market and its product offerings, and recently added a complete suite of tools for workforce optimisation, providing greatly enhanced and expanded functionality beyond merely recording calls. The organisation needed a new name, because existing customers continued to associate their brand with just the original more limited offerings—but they already had strong brand recognition for their founding name in their market.

 

 

 Uptivity Logo

Image via www.uptivity.com

 

 

After deciding on the brand name Uptivity, the company not only created new brand collateral and physical materials like employee shirts and business cards, but also launched two parallel business websites. One used the original business name, and the other was under the Uptivity name, but branded with “formerly CallCopy.” The company kept both sites running for three months to build SEO before redirecting the CallCopy website entirely to the new Uptivity URL and phasing out the “formerly” rubric.

 

 

Choose Your New Brand Name Wisely

Google is synonymous with Internet searches, but that wouldn’t have been the case if the company had remained “BackRub”—primarily because the original name had no association with the company’s offerings and would potentially have triggered the wrong emotional response for customers.

There are many different ways to name a brand. Briefly, a few of them include:

  • Founders’ names, like Cadbury or Disney
  • Geographic names like Patagonia or Cisco (short for San Francisco, the company’s home base)
  • Descriptive names like Whole Foods or Internet Explorer
  • Evocative names that paint a picture of the brand
  • Alliteration or rhyming names
  • Made-up names (neologisms) like Twitter
  • Hybrid names like Microsoft
  • Acronyms (did you know that Yahoo! stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle?)

 

Whatever naming convention or strategy you choose, your brand’s new name should succinctly encapsulate your offerings and capture the emotions you want customers to associate with your brand. It should be memorable, engaging, and differentiated from your competitors. Choose a brand name that is unique to your company and your platform, and your brand renaming efforts will have a much higher chance of success.

 

So, what do you think?

  

• Is your brand succeeding as a result of, or in spite of your brand name?

  

• If your brand is struggling, can it be attributed to your current brand name or tagline?

  

• Is your brand name outdated, irrelevant, or non-descriptive?

  

• Can your customers recognize the types of products or services you offer based on your brand name? How can you give it more meaning and relevance?

 

• How much brand equity do you have built into your current brand name? Does your business situation still demand a renaming?

 

• What brand collateral or platforms would you have to change when renaming your brand?

 

• Do you already have a new brand name in mind? Does it successfully communicate your offerings, values, and brand vision?

 

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

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Brand Stories: Top 7 Tips for Creating a Great Brand Story

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 09 2015 @ 12:05

Your brand is the most powerful asset your business owns. A compelling brand will drive sustainability and long-term profits, increasing your market share and elevate your business above the competition. In order to develop, maintain, and grow your brand, you need an effective brand strategy that combines several elements—and one of the most crucial of those elements is your brand story. To quote Seth Godin “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.”

 

What is a brand story? It’s more than a quick background sketch on your About page. A great brand story taps into the emotions of your target audience, tying your company values to your brand promise and conveying the overall brand experience. Effective brand stories are evocative, relevant, and highly memorable, with the power to connect with your primary customer in a way that supports building a strong and loyal customer base. 

   

 Oegg Family Story

 

 

Here are some of the elements we include or consider when creating our clients brand stories using our Brand Story Selling System™. These seven tips will also help you create your brand story so that it engages your customers, encourages brand loyalty, and ultimately helps you boost your bottom line.

 

Top 7 Tips for Creating a Compelling Brand Story

 

1. Know Your Brand’s Big “Why”

When creating your brand story, it’s essential to know your brand inside and out. This includes not only your production values and target audiences, but the reasons your brand exists. Many companies make the mistake of focusing a brand story on the what or the how of their products or services—what they do, how they help people or features and benefits—when the focus should really be on why you do what you do.

  

 

 

 

 

Emphasising the “big why” of your brand allows you to create an emotionally compelling, human-centric brand story. It’s important here to differentiate a brand story from marketing collateral, the aspects of your brand that convey the benefits of your products and services to your customers. The purpose of your brand story is to bring your brand to life, in a way that people can connect with and actually relate to. When you highlight the big "why" of your brand, it’s easier to create that emotional connection.

 

 

2. Set the Right Tone

The tone of your brand story should reflect the values, emotions, and experiences you want people to associate with your brand. Whether your brand is elegant and sophisticated, timeless and traditional, fun and modern, or serious and influential, your brand story needs to capture that tone with appropriate wording and imagery that reinforces your brand values.

  

 

 Eric Cope Smile Squared 600

Image via www.smilesquared.com

 

  

One effective method of brand storytelling that conveys a relevant tone is a heartfelt message from brands that are committed to making a difference in the world. Toothbrush brand Smile Squared serves as an excellent example of this—their About page tells the story of how a husband-and-wife team founded the company after travelling to disadvantaged countries and witnessing the impact of a lack of basic dental care firsthand. Smile Squared is built on a “buy one, give one” philosophy: for every toothbrush a customer buys, the company donates a toothbrush to a child in need.

  

  

  

  

Fun and humour can also create a memorable, engaging brand story that sets the tone for the brand experience. For example, DollarShaveClub.com created a fun and unique video that tells the story of their brand, which went viral and currently has more than 18 million views on YouTube.

 

   

  

  

3. Tie into Your Provenance

Placing a focus on the home location of your brand can make for a powerful and engaging brand story. Provenance is the origin location of your brand, which can mean either the geographic area of your business, or the original country or city of the company’s founders.

   

   

Connemara Landscape 600px

   

   

Many effective brands have built a brand story around provenance. The story can be general, such as brands that emphasise cultural values and originate from small towns, or region-specific, such as brand values that are tied to the perceptions of their country of origin. L’Oreal is a well-known example of brand provenance. The cosmetics company consistently ties their brand story and platform to Paris, focusing on the chic and stylish reputation of the French city to differentiate the brand.

 

 

4. Build a Brand Hero

Brand stories that revolve around a central character can create a powerful connection with your customers and strengthen brand loyalty. There are several different types of brand heroes that can be used to tell a brand story. Some of these include:

  • Fictional characters (Keebler Elves, Tony the Tiger)
  • Brand mascots (Pillsbury Dough Boy, Churchill the Bulldog)
  • Founder characters (Colonel Sanders)
  • Brand personas (Google Chrome)

  

 

 

   

  

A well-crafted brand hero allows your customers to connect directly and personally to your brand. The best character brand stories encapsulate your brand values and promise, and personify the aspects of your brand that set you apart from the competition.

 

 

5. Keep Your Brand Promise Consistent

Brand storytelling is a concept that should extend beyond the About page of your website. The most effective brand storytelling is woven into multiple aspects of an overall brand strategy, including social media, marketing campaigns, and even your brand tagline and slogans. In order to make your brand story work for you, it’s essential to ensure that your brand promise is presented consistently across all your brand collateral and platforms.

 

The Red Bull brand is an excellent example of brand story consistency. With brand values that include freedom, adventure, and extreme lifestyles consistent with the company’s energy drink offerings, Red Bull marketing campaigns continually reflect those values and tell the story of the brand. The strong sense of challenge and adventure that pervades the Red Bull story creates an immediate connection with the brand’s target audience that customers can expect from every interaction.

  

   

 

   

6. Be Authentic

Authenticity is a primary key to an effective brand story. An authentic brand story is true to your company’s values and mission statement, aligning strongly with your products and services while remaining genuine and heartfelt. Brand stories that attempt to sell, or those that are obviously disassociated from the brand, will fail every time with audiences.

 

Being authentic doesn’t mean there is no room for creativity in your brand story. It simply means that the your core brand values embodied by your brand’s storytelling are a true reflection of what your brand offers, and that every brand touchpoint reinforces the ideals presented by your story.

 

 

7. Make Your Brand Story Shareable

Finally, an effective brand story is one that can be easily shared. A great brand story should be a central core of your overall brand strategy—not merely relegated to your About Us page, but highlighted through a variety of media and collateral and displayed in ways that allow your customers to spread the word and get involved.

 

In addition to telling your brand story through words, you can create videos, post images or quotes, and develop taglines that capture the essence of your brand storytelling to help the message spread. Particularly for modern audiences, a great brand story is the best way to create a connection and make customers want to share your story with the world. Shareable brand stories help you harness word of mouth and elevate your brand to new heights of success.

 

You may also like:

  

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

 

• Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned from Tourism Queensland, One of the Most Successful Brand Campaigns Ever!

 

  

So, what do you think?

 

• Is your brand story confined to your About page?

 

• What is the bit “why” of your brand? How can you articulate it in a compelling brand story?

 

• Does your existing brand story accurately reflect the tone of your brand?

 

• How can you effectively tie your brand to provenance?

 

• What type of brand hero would best represent your brand?

 

• Is your brand story authentic and honest? Is it consistent?

 

• How many ways can you share your brand story with your audience?

 

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

1 comment(s)

Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 02 2015 @ 13:10

Your brand is much more than merely product or service related features and benefits, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers. In the words of Simon Sinek “people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.” In other words people buy what your brand stands for, something that has meaning - which is both personal and important to them. And in order to create an exceptional customer experience, underpinned with strong meaning, your brand must have an irresistible personality.

 

Typically, customers choose one brand over another because they’ve made an emotional connection with that particular brand because it means something important to them and they trust that brand. While that connection may sometimes be the brand with the lowest price, more often than not it’s due to the distinctive personality, characteristics, values and behaviours of a brand - the emotional experience and meaning that association with that brand gives them.

 

Martyn Newman, PhD, consulting leadership and emotional intelligence psychologist and best selling author of ‘Emotional Capitalist – The Ultimate Guide to Developing Emotional Intelligence for Leaders’ is one of the leading speakers at Europe’s largest EQ Summit in London in March 2015. Newman talks about emotional capital; the asset on the balance sheet you can’t afford to ignore. In short without sounding cynical, “there’s money in emotion”, “trust is fundamentally built on an emotional experience and emotions are involved with everything a company does. Emotions determine whether or not people will work well with you, buy from you, hire you, or enter into business with you. For this reason, the value of these emotions eventually shows up in financial performance.”

  

“In the new economy it is no longer sufficient to view a company or a brand simply as a commercial entity and its assets cannot be fully accounted for by inventories of financial capital and not even human capital.” “Ultimately, the only way to create real profit is to attract the emotional rather than the rational customer by appealing to their feelings and imagination.”

  

  

Martyn Newman Brands And Emotion 

 Image via www.eqsummit.com

  

“In the information age and globalised economy where values and meaning matter more in the market place, the value of emotional capital increases. This creates brand value and goodwill and results in repeat sales through customer loyalty, lifetime relationships and referrals. In other words, the brand is more than a name or a logo; it creates trust and recognition and is a promise and an emotional contract with each customer.”

   

Brands that compete on price alone fight in a commodity driven arena where only those with the deepest pockets win. Brands with strong, compelling personalities are able to rise above this lowest price, dog fight and command premium pricing, greater market share, and an expanded base of loyal customers.

 

Brand profiling is the systematic process of creating, developing and implementing your brand character and personality through shaping its brand promise, values, the do’s and don’ts of its behaviours, story, emotional benefits, its culture and what it stands for and so forth. It’s this humanized entity that gets your brand message out into the market, cuts through the noise and gets the attention of your primary customers in a way that matters to them. It gives you a clear understanding and expression of what your band offers and what that means for your customers, partners, and key audiences.

   

When creating and developing the profiles for our clients’ brands we use our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™, a systematic approach which underpins the commercial, rational, and holistic aspects of successful brand profile building. The following six key elements are representative of some of the core ingredients included within this branding process, used to create and deploy a compelling personality for your brand.

  

1. Know Your Market

Market research is crucial for any successful brand. You need to be absolutely clear on who your target market is in terms of things like their needs, wants, loves, dislikes and aspirations. Where they live, their life stage, what they do in their leisure time and work life, what matters to them, their interests, education, holiday preferences, what other brands they like, buy or aspire to owning etc.

 

  Brand Personalities

  

  

Essentially you need to develop a ‘pen portrait’ or ‘buyer persona’ of who your ideal customer is so that you can create a compelling brand that meets their needs emotionally and rationally. And you need all this information as the basis on which to develop your brands’ profile or personality.

 

As part of your knowing your market you also need to research your competition. Where are they most successful and why, where do the untapped opportunities lie and what simply doesn’t or hasn’t worked in your market sector and so forth. You also need to find out and evaluate what your existing or potential new customers think about your competitors together with their perceptions. Remember 60% of branding is about perception and only 40% about the product or service.

 

It’s only then when you have all this groundwork covered that you can create and actively shape your brand the way you ideally want customers to perceive it. Make no mistake, customers are very intelligent and perceptive so whatever you do, or whatever approach you take, you must do it with good intent, authenticity and integrity if you want to be successful. Brands that ‘mislead’ or behave ‘dishonorably’ are always ‘found out’ and invariable suffer the consequences, particularly via social media.

 

You can gather this market research information through a variety of ways e.g. desk research, surveys, one-to-one interviews etc. Your choice of methodologies is often driven by what is most appropriate to your sector, market size, business or organization size and resources, but usually involves a combination of some of the approaches mentioned.

 

Customer surveys are a great strategy for gaining some of this important information and insights. You can design longer, more formal surveys for use in email marketing or on your business website, or use your social media channels to post quick, informal surveys. Some helpful survey types may include:

  • Give customers a list of personality adjectives, and ask them to rate your brand or multiple brands on each one, using a scale (1 to 5 or 1 to 10)
  • Display photographs of individual people and ask customers which brand(s) in your product category they believe each person would use, and why
  • Ask customers to perform free association with your brand name or slogan—list the first words or phrases that come to mind when they envision your brand
  • Provide a list of brands (including your own) and ask customers to relate them to other types of items such as cars, animals, movies, or books—for example: “If this brand was a movie, which one would it be?”

By using these direct-to-customer types of research methods, you’ll not only generate large amounts of information that will help you define the parameter of your brand personality—you’ll also increase customer engagement and interest in your brand.

 

 

2. Define Your Brand Personality

In addition to evaluating your market, you must also develop the parameters of your brand in the context of what is relevant to your primary target audience. This means determining a brand personality that will be authentic and believable for the customer, accurately reflect your brand values and brand promise, and is consistently represented across your entire brand platform, and throughout all your brand collateral.

 

Remember, your brand personality is a set of emotions and characteristics, rather like a real person, it’s a humanized entity that’s underpins your total brand experience. Brand personalities are often reflective of the target market—for example, brands aimed at Millennials may be fresh, energetic, innovative, or “fast,” while brands focusing on an older demographic base may embrace characteristics like tradition, nostalgia, and reliability.

 

As a basic start to determining your brand personality, consider which of the Big Five Personality Traits your brand falls under. Originally categorized as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, in relation to brands they are: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.

 

These Big Five traits are traditionally used in personality tests, and virtually any brand can be related to one of them. Choosing a broad brand personality category can help you to refine this choice further in your brand profiling.

 

 

3. Create Distinction for Your Brand Profile

Once you have an overview of your brands’ personality, you need to refine your brand profile in order to differentiate from the competition. Take certain aspects of your brands’ character traits and amplify them to create increased distinction and memorability. There are many ways to accomplish brand differentiation, ranging from subtle yet continually reinforced messaging to truly stand-out separation. Regardless of the level of your brand differentiation strategy, it all begins with the essentials of your brand profile.

 

As an example of subtle distinction, major U.S. based department store brands Walmart, K-Mart, and Target share very similar operations and strategies. Yet the Target brand distinguishes itself by focusing on different elements of the brand experience compared to its competitors. Where Walmart and K-Mart typically focus on more affordable pricing, Target infuses its brand collateral and customer-facing content with style, design, and lifestyle choices. The fact that they are competitively priced and offering ‘value’ (which is not just price related) is assumed.

 

Some brands achieve distinctive personalities through a massive departure from convention. One example we’ve previously discussed is FMGC brand PooPouri, a bathroom odour control product that inverts the traditional discretion and euphemistic elegance of the industry by embracing the idea that poo stinks—and their product stops the stink.

  

  

 

  

4. Develop or Refine Your Brand Story

Brand storytelling is another powerful strategy and important part of your brand profile. A great brand story should fully incorporate and reflect your brand’s personality with compelling, memorable elements that help reaffirm, explain and exemplify what it stands for, its brand values and brand promise, how it sees the world, its humour type, tone of voice, what it likes and doesn’t like and so forth.

  

Oxo Family Brand Story 300x180

 Image via www.hootmarketing.co.uk

  

There are several methods for approaching brand story creation - ranging from actual brand origin stories that are emotional, compelling, interesting or engaging, to brand stories that restate your brand values in creative ways, to brand stories that revolve around a symbol such as a brand mascot—think the Keebler Elves, the Pillsbury Doughboy, or Tony the Tiger.

  

   

  

     

FMCG brand OXO created a powerful brand story through their series of commercials aired through the 1980s and 1990s, starring the “OXO Family.” These adverts showed the family growing up and progressively evolving through various stages of life, held together during each stage by a mum who cooked meals using OXO stock cubes. The brand story proved so effective that when the lead actress, Lynda Bellingham, passed away in 2014, more than 150,000 people joined a Facebook campaign to resurrect the advert series.

 

 

  

  

  

5. Develop a Strategic Direction

In order to use brand profiling effectively in your brand communications plans, you must have a well-planned strategic direction for infusing the personality and characteristics of your brand into your all brand collateral and various touch points. It’s essential to find creative and engaging ways to communicate your brands’ personality congruently to your customers across multiple platforms, including physical presentation in retail stores, online media and marketing channels, and internal branding with your employees and leadership team.

 

Online channels like your company website and social media channels can provide excellent opportunities to reinforce your brand personality. Use things like your company’s “About Us” page to creatively reflect the main characteristics of your brand profile—replace stiff images and droning corporate copy with carefully selected content and brand image collateral that conveys the personality you want to communicate. Engage your customers on social medial with posts that reflect your brand’s chosen qualities and characteristics.

 

 John Schnatter Papa Johns Pizza

Image via www.papajohns.com

 

Pizza chain Papa John’s employed a smart strategy when expanding their U.S. based market into the UK—translating larger-than-life chain owner John “Papa” Schnatter’s sports enthusiasm into an association with the UK’s Football League and weaving this association heavily into their social media channels. As a result, Papa John’s market share in the UK has risen dramatically over the last 12 months.

 

  

  

 

6. Maintain Brand Consistency

Consistency is critically important in every aspect of your brand strategy, and this applies to your brand’s personality as well. The more consistently your brand’s personality is reflected across every platform, every customer touch point, and every piece of brand collateral, the stronger and more established your brand becomes.

 

Brand consistency must apply to both the tangible and intangible aspects of your brand—everything from your logo and corporate colors, to your packaging, to your employees’ attitudes and customer experiences and engagement strategies.

 

With a compelling brand personality, applied consistently, you can establish a strong brand profile that increases your market share—and ultimately your profits.

 

So, what do you think?

• How well do you understand your brand personality as it’s perceived by your customers?

 

• Do your brand’s current market perceptions reflect the embodiment of the brand personality you’d like to achieve for your brand?

 

• What distinction or distinctions separate your brand’s personality from your competition?

 

• How does your brand story tie into your brand profile? Could it be better aligned?

 

• What is your strategic direction for reinforcing your desired brand personality?

 

• Is your brand profile reflected consistently across all touch points and brand collateral? How could you be more consistent and more congruent?

 

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

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Brand Revitalisation: 9 Strategies to Revive Your Lagging Brand

Posted by Lorraine Carter on January 30 2015 @ 13:55

Are your sales are slipping or have you been losing customers to your competition? Or is it a case that your brand simply isn’t performing as well as it did previously?

 

Regardless of how successful your brand has been or is at present, at some point in its life cycle every brand needs re-evaluation and revitalisation to stay relevant and keep up with changing trends and market demands to ensure its continued healthy growth and profitability.

 

Rebranding strategy or brand revitalisation can take many forms. A business may choose to make small but significant changes that affect the subtle ways customers perceive their brand, or it may embark on a massive rebranding campaign that transforms every aspect of the brand, giving it a whole new tone and stronger market position.

 

As with any effective branding strategy, your decision to revitalise your brand should be based on a thorough brand health check or evaluation which includes reviewing what’s going wrong or what should be improved and so forth, to ensure you implement a rebranding strategy that will deliver the required results.

 

A brand audit, brand health check or brand review typically underpins the first stage of any rebranding strategy and it’s the first stage we engage in when working with any of our clients using our Audit Analysis Accelerator™ system. The insights and outputs from the brand health check are then what help us decide which combination of rebranding strategies are then best suited to our clients needs. The following nine brand revitalisation strategies are examples of some of methodologies we often consider and deploy amongst a full array of different approaches when developing solutions to help re-energise or revitalise our clients brands.

  

 

9 Strategies to Revive Your Lagging Brand

Here are nine strategies you can use to revive a lagging brand, to recover and even expand your brand influence, your market share, and your profitability.

 

1. Become Customer-Centric

Your customers are vital to the success of your brand. If you’re experiencing problems with a flagging brand, one highly effective way to turn things around can be to really focus on them—essentially, to find out what your customers want, and give it to them. Of course, this is not a simple process. But with market research, insights, and thorough planning, you can identify the needs or desires of your target audience, and restructure your brand to deliver.

 

 Delta Red Coat Customer Service

 Image via www.delta.com

 

As an example, Delta Airlines recently instituted a more customer-centric approach that saved the organisation from near-certain failure. Facing near bankruptcy, the airline turned things around in 2013 by identifying and focusing on the things that mattered to their customers.

 

Some of the customer-focused changes Delta implemented for their brand revitalisation included:

  • Bringing back Red Coats—highly visible, “elite” customer service agents who are empowered to solve passenger issues on the spot, rather than going through management

 

  • Adding WiFi to their flights sooner than their competitors

 

  • Implementing a “flat tire” policy that lets passengers waive change fees and get seats on the next available flight if they’re delayed by unforeseen circumstances

 

  • Improving performance and efficiency to achieve 95% on-time performance with no flight cancellations

  

The move towards increased customer service saved the company, and restored Delta to one of the top airline brands.

  

  

2. Rename Your Brand

For a faltering brand, a name change can have a powerful effect. Renaming your brand can enable you to start with a clean slate, and go a long way towards reversing any negative perceptions that might have been associated with the previous name.

 

The New Zealand deer industry overcame preconceived notions about their venison products, particularly in the American market, by renaming their offerings “Cervena” as a way to differentiate from other venison brands.

  

  

Cervena Logo 

 Image via www.cervena.com

 

Brand name changes can also be effective when the new name is more reflective of your brand platform and values. Recently, New Zealand dairy product company Fonterra launched a rebranding campaign by changing the names of their RD1 stores to the more descriptive and engaging “Farm Source”.

  

  Farm Source By Fonterra

Image via www.fonterra.com

  

In addition to the name change, Fonterra deployed a farmer-centric marketing strategy that highlights the provenance and roots of their products which creates stronger connections, transparency and authenticity for customers.

 

 

3. Streamline and Simplify

As brands grow, they may often experience slowdowns or lagging sales due to the expansion itself. Brand growth can result in sprawling product lines, confusing offerings, and diluted brand cohesion across the organisation. If your brand is suffering from dilution through growth and expansion efforts, a streamlined strategy can help you recover from falling sales and diminished brand recognition.

 

Technology company IBM successfully used this type of strategy to recover from substantial losses and setbacks due to increasing competition. In 1993, the company experienced a quarterly loss of $8 billion—which represented the largest corporate loss in history at the time. IBM’s successful revitalisation strategy was a return to the basics. The company discontinued business areas that didn’t align with its core competencies and focused on just three areas: hardware, business software, and IT services. Today, IBM remains one of the most successful global technology companies.

 

 

4. Reach Out to Your Community

Similar to appealing to customers, becoming a community-oriented brand can help you revitalise your image and revive lagging sales. Focusing your brand strategies on community connection and outreach can help you build a strong and engaging brand image—and in many cases can help you capture word-of-mouth, the most powerful marketing method for any brand.

 

One successful example of a community-oriented brand is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a restaurant chain based in Denver, Colorado. Chipotle’s actually based their brand strategy on giving back to the community from the beginning. The company spends very little on traditional advertising channels such as TV adverts—in fact, its yearly advertising budget is less than what competitor McDonald’s spends in 48 hours. Instead, the first Chipotle’s restaurant drew in customers by giving away lots of free food, and letting the product speak for itself.

  

 

  

 

The company has continued this community focus in high-profile ways. During the 1997 trial for a devastating bombing in Oklahoma, the company regularly delivered free food to the courthouse. Chipotle’s also currently sponsors a multitude of local programs and pioneered a campaign called “No Junk” that helps millions of school children eat healthier.

  

  

5. Amplify Your Brand Story

In order to have a successful brand, it’s vital to create a meaningful connection with customers. One powerful way to do this is through a compelling brand story, which is a key part of our Personality Profile Performer™ system, and used to created and develop your whole brand profile. You can revitalise a falling brand by refocusing on your unique brand story, and conveying your brand’s origins, values, promise and driving characteristics.

 

Brand storytelling can be highly effective for all categories and types of business, including premium brands. Recently, Chanel launched a video series that has sparked attention and driven customer engagement on social media to new heights for the brand—based on the powerful story of Chanel’s origins. Part five of the series, which tells the story of founder Coco Chanel, has been especially connective for audiences.

  

  

  

6. Wrap-Up in Something New

Your packaging design is absolutely crucial to effective branding. Research has found that 70 percent of customer purchasing decisions are made at the shelf, and 90 percent of those on-the-spot decisions are made simply by looking at the face of the product in less than 9 seconds. If your brand is struggling, launching a package redesign can help you refresh and restore success.

 

 

Lees Snowballs And Jam Teacakes 

 Image via www.leesfoods.co.uk

 

A recent package redesign for a UK confectionary company led to incredible results. After creating a clean, simple uncluttered look for their iconic brand, their first image refresh in five years, Lees of Scotland realized a sales increase of 20 percent for its Snowballs and Teacakes treats.

 

 

7. Go the Extra Mile

For suffering brands, another powerful revitalisation strategy is to choose an aspect that your brand excels at, and make it even more effective—so that your brand stands out sharply from your competitors. This may be pricing (for discount or premium brands), faster delivery (such as Domino’s Pizza 30-minute delivery guarantee), additional features or innovations, or even exceptional customer service, a quality that online shoe retailer Zappos is well known for.

 

Enhancing the unique offerings of your brand will help you differentiate, and over-delivering on your brand promise can help to revive a flagging brand.

  

  

 

 

8. Go Against the Grain

It can be challenging for brands to stand out from a sea of competition. If your brand is struggling to remain solvent, think about how you can make changes that will give you a competitive edge. Often, the most successful brands have distinctive differentiation that make them more innovative, valuable, or desirable than the competition. The bottled water industry, for example, was transformed when companies began adding nutrients, flavours, and carbonation to various brand lines.

  

   Lush Organic Skincare 600px

 Image via www.lush.co.uk

   

As an example of powerful differentiation, UK cosmetics company Lush has realised phenomenal success and gained a cult brand following by providing organic cosmetics ranges amidst an ocean of competitor brands made with chemicals and formulations. This organic-style branding extends throughout the brand—all of their products are handmade and use minimalist packaging, and Lush retail stores are designed to create an exceptional, luxurious customer experience.

  

 Lush Handmade Skincare 600px 

 Image via www.lush.co.uk

 

9. Change your Price Points

Though it may seem counterproductive, you can effectively revitalise your brand by charging more for your products or services. Elevating to a premium brand can bring you greater market share and higher profits—but of course, it’s essential to offer customers something that justifies the higher price point. Rebranding for premium pricing involves an increase in either perceived or actual value for your offerings, and this can be accomplished in many ways.

 

Some premium rebranding strategies may include:

  • Constant innovation, such as Apple and Gilette
  • Unique product mixes, such as Whole Foods and Sharper Image
  • Selling an experience, such as Nordstrom and Starbucks
  • Creating a brand community, such as Red Bull and Harley Davidson

 

By increasing the perceived value of your products or services, you can turn a slumping or stagnant brand around and find new audiences who are willing to pay premium prices, and will remain loyal to your brand above and beyond your competition.

 

So, what do you think?

 

• How could you make your brand more customer-centric? Community-centric?

 

• Does your brand have a differentiation factor that you could enhance through your brand collateral and marketing campaigns?

 

• Is your brand packaging inconvenient, outdated, or too similar to the competition? How could your packaging stand out?

 

• What are some ways your brand could go the extra mile and over-deliver on your brand promise?

 

• How is your brand story currently incorporated into your customer touch points and overall brand presentation? Is there a way to enhance your brand story?

 

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

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Brand Audits: 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know

Posted by Lorraine Carter on January 16 2015 @ 11:06

Building and maintaining a thriving brand takes work, but it’s well worth the effort. A strong brand is the single most effective marketing component your business can have. When your brand is performing well, your business enjoys increased visibility, greater customer loyalty, and a healthier bottom line.

 

So how do you grow a great brand, and keep it on top? One of the most powerful tools for maintaining or improving brand performance is a brand audit - a comprehensive evaluation of your brand’s positioning and market performance that should be done on a regular basis. Here’s what you should know about brand audits in order to drive successful growth for your brand.

  

Top 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know about Brand Audits 

  

1. What a Brand Audit is (and isn’t)

A brand audit is a comprehensive analysis of the current state of your brand. Effectively, it is a brand health check, helping you identify any problem areas with your brand strategy, collateral, positioning, and market value - with an eye towards turning things around and increasing the effectiveness of your brand.

 

A brand audit is not a quick review of your numbers. Effective brand audits are comprehensive investigations of all the aspects that make up and effect your brand.

  Brand Audit Magnifyer

 

2. Reasons to do a Brand Audit

There are many reasons to do a brand audit, but some of the most common are business performance issues that can be tied into the strength of your brand. If your business is sliding down, you are losing customers to competitors, or your revenue is sinking, a brand audit can enable you to revitalise flagging performance and recapture your market - or take your brand to new, profitable heights.

  

3. What a Brand Audit can do

The benefits of a brand audit are numerous and substantial. Just a few of them include:

  • Highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of your brand

 

  • Showing where your brand currently stands in the market compared to competitors

 

  • Painting an accurate picture of your brand’s market perceptions

 

  • Enabling you to align your brand with customers’ expectations

 

  • Identifying new trends and market opportunities to expand your brand

  

 

4. Conduct Brand Audits Even for Healthy Brands

If your brand is performing well, you may feel that there’s no need for a brand audit. But the fact is, even healthy brands need to be monitored for performance. When your brand is already winning, a brand audit can show you why it’s winning - enabling you to focus your brand strategies and efforts on the most effective areas for high brand performance.

   Brand Audit Team

 

5. Brand Audits Increase Your Profits

Strong brands simply make more money. When you have a robust and consistent brand, you’re able to engage and inspire your audience, building brand loyalty that translates into more returning customers, more word-of-mouth visibility, and less money spent on attracting new customers. You can also implement premium pricing strategies with a stronger brand that’s able to command higher prices.

 

A powerful brand is an investment that pays for itself, and a comprehensive brand audit can unlock your brand’s potential.

 

6. Brand Audits as Competitive Strategy

A highly competitive brand is a successful brand - and every brand has competition. Done correctly, a brand audit will show you how your brand stacks up against your most direct competitors, and reveal tactics and brand strategies you can use to gain a higher market share. For brands that require an aggressive competition strategy, brand audits will help you pinpoint the exact areas your brand is underperforming compared to your competition, and make improvements that lead to greater market success.

   Brand Audit Girl

  

7. A Brand Audit Reviews Every Piece of Brand Collateral

If you’re looking for an effective brand audit that will truly help you grow your brand, you need to review and analyse every touch point and piece of brand collateral for your brand, from your logo and brand colors, to product brand packaging and merchandising, to website and online presence, to your organisation’s business cards, letterhead, and email signatures. Both internal and external brand collateral must be included in a brand audit.

 

8. Internal Brand Perceptions are Important

A successful brand audit will analyze your brand from your employees’ point of view. Engaging employees and earning employee buy-in for your brand audit is crucial to success - after all, your employees must participate in the changes you implement according to the brand audit results, or you’ll be unable to effect real change or maintain brand consistency and your efforts to revitalise the brand will fail.

This means brand aspects such as your employee orientation and training programs, sales force training, human resources material, and employee engagement strategies must be included in your brand audit.

    Brand Audit Man

  

9. Your Customers Should be Part of Your Brand Audit

One of the greatest benefits of a brand audit is the ability to gain an accurate picture of customer perceptions of your brand - and there is no better way to do this than going to the customers themselves. Customer participation and feedback should be an integral component of your brand audit.

 

There are many ways to solicit customer feedback during a brand audit. Online polls and surveys are common methods that can bring results faster, and help you gain a wider reach for your customer data pool. It can also be very effective to gather customer feedback at your point of sale, whether that is online or in a retail location, or over the phone or in a meeting. This is another reason why it’s valuable to involve employees in the brand audit process - they will have direct access to customers and can solicit the feedback you need to move forward effectively.

 

10. The Real Value of a Brand Audit

Many brand owners make the mistake of believing the value of a brand audit lies in the data that is collected. But in order to make brand audits work for you, it’s important to realize that the most essential value lies in the actions you take as a result of the insights gleaned through the process. The brand audit is a diagnostic tool, offering a detailed look at the current position of your brand - but the real work begins when the brand audit ends.

 

For this reason, it’s vital to make your brand audit rigorous, engaging, and objective. A brand audit can reveal hard truths about your market standing that you may not be prepared to accept.

We have found when conducting brand audits, using our Auditing Analysis Accelerator™system, that when clients take on board all of these factors their brand audit provides very insightful and invaluable information which has a significant impact on their brand strategy and the growth of their business and its profitability going forward. 

 

 

The Benefits of Working with a Specialist Brand Consultancy

The need for objectivity in brand audits makes a strong case for your organisation to work with an outside party when implementing a comprehensive brand audit. An experienced brand consultancy can help you create an impartial picture of your brand, enabling you to visualize the strengths and weaknesses clearly and take corrective action that will be truly effective in strengthening your brand. This type of collaboration provides you with both objectivity and the ability to integrate insights with your brand strategy going forward, without preconceptions that can skew the results of the audit.

  

So, what do you think?

• Has your business hit a plateau or encountered a decline, which a brand audit could help turn around?

 

• If your brand is healthy and performing well, do you know exactly why? Could a brand audit help you focus on your strengths?

 

• Does your brand need to be more competitive in your industry?

 

• Have you been considering a premium pricing strategy? How would you use a brand audit to help you implement higher pricing tiers?

 

• Have you performed a brand audit before? How comprehensive were your results?

 

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

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Branding for Women: Why Women are Redefining Brands and Branding

Posted by Lorraine Carter on January 07 2015 @ 09:45

The idea of a male-dominated society has been slowly creeping towards extinction, most noticeably in western society, as more people - both men and women - truly embrace the concept of gender equality. Millennials in particular are leading the charge towards a heightened awareness of disparity in marketers’ treatment of females, but the foundation that’s currently being built for gender equality spans multiple generations.

 

For brands in the modern age, there are two important facts to recognise:

  • Women are the primary customer demographic for the majority of brands, including “brands for men”

 

  • More women are moving into leadership positions and redefining brands from the top down

  

Here’s how the brand landscape is shifting, and why women are more important to your brand than ever before.

 

Women Make Most Purchasing Decisions - Even for “Men’s” Products

According to recent data, women are responsible for 80 to 85 percent of all purchasing decisions. The vast majority of FMCG buying decisions are made by women, but more women than men also make purchasing decisions for vehicles, technology, luxury items, and more.

 

Forbes reports that women make 80 percent of automotive buying decisions, and a study from the Consumer Electronics Association found that women are involved in 89 percent of consumer technology purchases, and directly purchase 57 percent of all tech products.

 

What does this mean for brands? If you’re not already doing so, it’s vital to include or even highlight women in your brand marketing strategies. Even for brands that are used primarily by men, marketing to women is powerfully effective.

 

FMCG brand Old Spice not only revived a flagging brand, but vastly increased sales and market share when it rebranded men’s body wash with a campaign targeting women - the wives and girlfriends who actually buy bathroom products.

 

The brand’s “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign was an immediate, viral success, with a tongue-in-cheek description on the original YouTube video that further reinforced the intended target market: “We’re not saying this body wash will make your man smell like a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it.”

   

  

  

Marketing to Women is More than “Shrink it and Pink it”

A traditional strategy used by a multitude of brands over the years is to market products to women by making men’s products smaller and using more “feminine” colours. This is particularly easy to see in disposable razors - if it’s black or blue and has five or more blades, it’s for men, and if it’s pink or pastel and has three or fewer blades, it’s for women. And while this brand strategy can be somewhat effective for quick identification of products that should be separated by gender, more women are tuning out this type of messaging, because it perpetuates the idea that females are still the softer, “weaker” sex.

 

A global study called “Female Tribes” performed by JWT London found that 70 percent of women feel alienated by advertising and marketing, despite their increasingly substantial wielding of economic power. The study urges brands to “stop thinking about women in terms of blunt demographic descriptions” like “busy hardworking mums,” and start viewing the roles, lifestyles, and ambitions to develop a richer understanding of why women buy.

  

The tech industry is notorious for trying (and failing) shrink-it-and-pink-it. USB cords painted with flowers, sparkly clutch handbags that hold speakers and nothing else - these products sit unsold on retail shelves, because they’re pretty but useless. In 2009, Dell Computers launched a website called Della.com that tried to snag the female demographic by selling pastel-coloured computers. The attempt was so spectacularly unsuccessful that the company took the site down in a matter of weeks.

  Everpurse Ways To Keep Your Phone Charged

 Image via www.tech.co 

  

 

Take the real authentic actual needs of women into account with your brand, and you’ll be onto something big. For example, entrepreneur Liz Salcedo, after struggling with her mobile phone constantly running out of battery charge, retrofitted a purse with off-the-shelf components to create a built-in charger.

    

 

Everpurse 

Image via www.everpurse.com 

  

 

When friends started requesting their own, she started Everpurse to sell a line of handbags that charge phones. Salcedo worked with female investors, advisers, and employees to set up the company - and six months after launch, Everpurse had half a million in sales and had sold out of its holiday season inventory.

   

  

  

Women and Brand Leadership

In addition to dominating the consumer demographic, more women are stepping in as brand leaders and visionaries, across every industry. Some of the most high-profile examples include women leaders in large tech companies: Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts’ move to Apple as senior VP of retail and online sales in 2014; Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo! since 2012, and Sheryl Sandberg, who became CEO of Facebook in September 2014.

  

Other traditionally male-dominated industries are also making inroads with promoting women higher in the ranks. In the automotive industry, Mary Barra was appointed CEO of General Motors last year, and in the UK, Linda Jackson was named CEO of the Citroen brand earlier in 2014. At the same time, Citroen appointed Yves Bonnefont as CEO of the automotive group’s premium DS brand.

  

In the drinks industry Swedish Anna Malmhake took the CEO spot at Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard in 2011, having previously been VP Global Marketing at the Absolut Company. One of the Irish brands in her care, Jameson Whiskey, has grown exponentially and is now selling 48 million bottles every.

  

The female demographic is increasingly essential for brands that want to be successful. But many brands still need work on appealing to women, without relying on the traditional stereotypes and tired demographic categories that turn women away from your brand. Look for more innovative, intelligent, creative and appealing ways to satisfy your female audience, and your brand will flourish.

 

You may also like:

 

• Millennial Branding: Creating Brands to Appeal to Teens and Young Adults

 

 • Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

 

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding

  

   

So, what do you think?

• How does your brand appeal to women?

 

• Are you relying on cliché or stereotypical brand strategies to attract the female demographic?

 

• If you have not marketed to women before, how would you start?

 

• Does your female-centric brand promote the latest trends for women consumers?

 

• What can your brand do to combat the alienation of women in marketing and advertising?

 

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

 

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Top 10 Branding Articles in 2014

Posted by Lorraine Carter on December 31 2014 @ 09:05

Have you ever wondered which Persona Branding and Design articles are the most popular with readers?

We're always interested to see which of our posts resonate most with you. Even though we do lots of research and planning, there are no guarantees which topics will get the most attention.

Today we're giving you an exclusive peek into our top ten most popular posts of 2014, some of which you might have missed.

I know you'll find at least one that will be very useful to your business.

Enjoy!

 

  Top 10 Branding Articles 2014

  

 

1: Top 20 Branding Trends for 2015

As 2014 draws to an end, now is the time to review, revamp, and update your branding strategies for the year to come. Successful branding is the key to driving business growth and profitability - and in 2015, it will be more important than ever to have a strong, thriving brand.

 

2: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

Building a strong brand is the undisputed key to success in today’s business world, and robust differentiation is an absolute must to build a powerful and compelling brand. There are many ways you can differentiate your brand. The skill lies is developing and applying the most effective brand differentiation strategy in a way that appropriately reflects your brand’s personality, values, promise, way of doing things and key characteristics.

 

3: Rebranding: How to Make It Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger

Brands are not static, unchanging identities - the most successful brands live and breathe, evolving along with changing shifts in market tastes, trends and demands. Rebranding or brand revitalisation, when properly planned and implemented, can be a powerfully effective strategy for rescuing or reinventing a failing brand, jump-starting a stagnant brand, expanding your markets, or initiating substantial business growth. A rebrand may be subtle or evolutionary in nature, or it may involve radically transforming a product, service, or entire brand.

 

4: Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health - Can It Be Improved?

Have your sales hit a slump? Are hot new brands drawing your customers away? If your brand seems to have lost its shine, it may be time for a brand audit or brand health check. Brand audits are effectively a health check for your brand. These comprehensive, honest evaluations look at the overall effectiveness of a brand and its current position in the market compared with the competition, as well as pinpointing inconsistencies and weakness, and identifying potential areas for improvement.

 

5: Packaging Design: How It Can Make or Break Your Brand

Research shows that you have less than 9 seconds to engage your customer and close the sale. In a fast-paced and highly competitive world, packaging design has become one of the most crucial elements for communicating your brand and standing out from the competition. Your brand might be the best in its category, but without packaging that grabs your target audience, customers won’t investigate your product to find out more or see what’s inside.

 

6: Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation

Brand Naming is all about strategic rationale, not emotion and not politics. It's your first impression so it's critical you get it right. A good name is a compact easy-to-communicate piece of information. It grabs peoples’ attention and makes them want to know more and it carries a hugely significant portion of your brand recognition all on its own. 

 

7: Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

Creating a brand with an authentically strong character is central to your branding strategy success. Just as people can be larger than life, a brand’s personality can take on a life of its own. Creating a brand with an authentically strong character is central to your branding strategy success and effectively the decider between just another average price fighter or a truly magnetic and profitable brand.

 

8: Brand Promises: Are You Consistently Delivering Yours?

A brand promise is what your company or brand commits to delivering for everyone who interacts with you. A strong brand promise describes how people should feel when they interact with your brand, how your company delivers its products or services, and what sort of character your company embodies. Is your brand promise authentically 'walking the walk'?

 

 

9. Branding Amazon: 3 Lessons to Learn For Your Brand Success

Amazon is one of the most recognizable companies in the world, occupying and serving more global regions than any other organization. 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.

 

 Ceo Leaders Logos

 

10: CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?

The company leader is the single most powerful influencer on branding, the visionary and voice behind the brand, particularly in a small, medium or large businesses (SMEs). Phil Knight, Sir Richard Branson, Maxine Clark and Johnny Earle are all very different visionary leaders behind their brands but they have shared characteristics - the secrets to their incredible brands success.

 

 

Which is your favourite?

• Do you have a preferred article from Persona Branding and Design that didn’t make the top 10 list?

• Which of these top 10 posts did you find most useful?

 

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

 

 

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Christmas Branding: Top 10 Tips to Infuse Your Brand with Seasonal Spirit

Posted by Lorraine Carter on December 16 2014 @ 09:11

The Christmas season is an important time for any brand. In the UK, Christmas spending online is expected to reach more than £13 billion - an estimated 18 percent increase over last year’s online spend. What’s more, online spending and marketing typically increases retail and in-store spending, as more of your customers reach and connect with your brand through channels like mobile and social media.

 

At this time of the year, having a seasonal marketing strategy can deliver tremendous ROI for your brand. Customers love to see brands getting into the Christmas spirit. But just as with any branding strategy, it’s important to make sure your Christmas branding is authentic, meaningful, and engaging and most importantly – congruent with what your brand stands for.

 

Here are our top 10 tips on what to do - and what not to do - in order to bring the seasonal spirit to your brand and elicit a positive and profitable customer response.

 

1. Don’t Just Slap on Some Tinsel and Call it Christmas

Great Christmas branding collateral incorporates the season in a meaningful way, and delivers a message that makes customers look forward to celebrating Christmas, it must touch them with appropriate emotional connectivity - preferably with the help of your products or services. But dropping Christmas-related items into your regular marketing without any particular reason or strong branding strategy simply makes things uninspiring and largely forgettable.

  

 

 

2. Do Have a Defined Reason for Incorporating Christmas with Your Brand

There are so many aspects to the Christmas season that failing to draw a connection to your brand with seasonal marketing should be inexcusable. Whether your brand platform emphasizes fun, heartwarming, luxurious, affordable, or timeless, there are endless meaningful connections you can make.

 

For online custom greeting card company Cardstore.com, one campaign highlighted their brand’s convenience. This video spot contrasted an overly enthusiastic Mum trying to package her actual family inside a Christmas card, with the convenience of creating your own custom cards online.

  

  

  

Another company that gets Christmas right is John Lewis. The upscale UK department store, which also owns Waitrose, has created powerful and heartwarming Christmas commercials that have really captured the spirit of the season and kept customers coming back to shop. In fact, this year’s adorable advert from John Lewis contributed to the groups’s record-breaking sales during Black Friday week.

   

  

  

3. Deck out Your Packaging (or Brand Collateral)

At this time of year, an enchanting presentation is important to your customers. Shoppers want their loved ones to know that they’ve put some thought and effort into their Christmas preparations, and they’re drawn to festive packaging and cheerful or whimsical designs.

  

You can make your brand aspirational, fun, and desirable with limited edition Christmas packaging - or if you didn’t consider it this year, now is the time to include it in your brand planning for next year! You can also brand your online collateral such as your website and social media channels with Christmas themes.

 

Again, the key here is to make it meaningful and connected to your brand, without going over the top and obscuring your core brand messaging. Hershey’s is a well-known example of this, as they change their signature silver wrapper for Hershey’s Kisses to a mixture of red and green for the Christmas season.

 

For websites and social media, a simple banner change to Christmas greetings that aligns with your brand colours and themes can bring cheer to your customers and seasonal spirit to your brand.

  

4. Redefine Your Christmas Discounts

Christmas shoppers love a good bargain. But while deep discounts, clearances and blowout sales can move products, many are reluctant to take advantage of such heavily advertised specials. It can cheapen the experience of gift-giving, and the recipient may realise that they’ve just seen the item on sale.

 

A good alternative way to offer your customers added value, without devaluing your brand, is to pair products with a free gift, which customers can either keep for themselves or give to someone else. Some popular examples here include branded items like tote bags or mugs, trial sizes of products, or even small gift vouchers.

  

 5. Make it a Mobile Christmas

Recent research from Nielsen found that 80 percent of UK Twitter users access Twitter on their mobiles, and for 70 percent, mobile is the primary means of access. More importantly, 94 percent of UK Twitter users engage with mobile commerce on their smartphones, and one-third of all online sales are now made via mobile devices.

 

There is a strong case for your brand to interact with your customers via mobile. In the midst of the Christmas shopping season, mobile branding and marketing allows you to connect quickly with customers and keep your brand top-of-mind while they’re shopping, either in-store or online.

 

  Royal Albert Hall Advent Calendar

 

 

The Royal Albert Hall took this strategy onboard for Christmas by creating an “Advent Calendar” for their Twitter feed. The iconic venue counted down the month of December by tweeting a series of historic facts that tied into the day - for example, on December 19 the tweet read: “Beach volleyball has been played at the Hall for a grand total of nineteen minutes” and included an image of beach volleyball at the Hall.

  

6. Make it Easier for Last-Minute Shoppers to Choose your Brand

Regardless of intentions, most of your customers will end up last-minute shopping for Christmas. You can create an inviting sense of accommodation for your brand by keeping customers informed of last-minute opportunities. Use your website and social media channels to highlight any extended opening hours for your retail location, shipping deadlines for orders delivered by Christmas, and special last-minute offers or deals such as free shipping upgrades.

  

 Asos Christmas Gift Suggestions

 

  

7. Help Customers Find the Perfect Gift with Your Brand

Many a Christmas shopper struggles to find the right gift for the right person. One inexpensive and effective Christmas branding strategy is to put together a seasonal gift-giving guide, showing which of your products make the best gifts for certain people. For example, UK clothing retailer ASOS has created a Christmas splash page that groups gifts into fun categories like “Me Me Me,” “BFF,” “Cheap ‘N Cheerful,” and “Beauty Booty.” The page includes a few short YouTube videos that offer further gift-giving tips and tricks for shoppers.

  

  

  

8. Consider Christmas Vouchers to Extend Brand Loyalty

It can be difficult to choose the perfect gift - that’s why more shoppers are turning to gift vouchers that let recipients buy whatever they want. Offering branded gift vouchers or gift cards is a great way to increase visibility, strengthen your brand platform, and increase profits - an estimated 61 percent of gift card holders spend more than the amount of the card when they make a purchase.

  

Gift vouchers give your customers an additional way to interact with your brand, and also introduce your products or services to new customers who receive your gift vouchers as Christmas presents.

  

9. Reach out to Your Current Customers

The Christmas season is an opportunity to increase brand loyalty by reaching out authentically to your current customer base. It’s the perfect time to do something unexpected and pleasantly surprising for your customers - reach out with a small gift or freebie, hold a VIP night, or organize a special Christmas event for your most loyal brand supporters. Demonstrating appreciation for your customers’ patronage helps to ensure that they’ll remain loyal to your brand, and they’ll remember the gesture fondly.

 

Canadian airline WestJet deployed this strategy in a big way in 2013, treating 250 of its customers to a Christmas miracle. As passengers boarded their Christmas flights, they were invited into a booth to “tell Santa” what they wanted for Christmas. The passengers were recorded and viewed by airline employees at the destination airport, who raced out to buy all the gifts the passengers had wished for - and had them waiting when they arrived at their destination.

 

WestJet uploaded a video of the campaign to YouTube, and it promptly went viral. Currently, the video has more than 37 million views.

  

 

  

10. Get Festive on Facebook

In order to engage with your brand authentically, your customers need to know that there are real people behind the brand. One of the best ways to accomplish this during the Christmas season is to show your Christmas spirit on social media channels like Facebook. Post photos and video of your staff, your office or storefront, your corporate Christmas party, your involvement in the community and giving back together with other seasonal events that your customers might like a glimpse into.

 

And whilst using social media, don’t forget to be social! Engage your audience with interesting conversations that are relevant to your brand, or share your Christmas sentiments with favourite quotes, inspirational photos, or interactive question and fill-in-the-blank posts such as “All I want for Christmas is [blank]; how about you?”

 

Christmas branding doesn’t have to be complex or expensive to be successful. No matter the size of your brand, you can engage in authentic, meaningful seasonal strategies and initiatives that preserve your brand values, story, and loyalty without devaluing the core of your brand amongst the Christmas mayhem.

 

So, what do you think – how will you integrate Christmas into your brand strategy?

• How can you dress up your brand collateral for the Christmas season in a meaningful, relevant way?

  

• What authentic connections can you draw between your brand and popular Christmas symbols, values, or traditions?

  

• How are you maintaining the authenticity of your brand amidst the rush of the Christmas season?

  

• Are you reaching out to your current customers with Christmas rewards to preserve brand loyalty?

  

• Can Christmas shoppers clearly find the right products or services for the people on their gift lists, and identify last-minute shopping opportunities from your brand?

 

• Are you engaging your audience on multiple channels during Christmas, including mobile and social?

 

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

  

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Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

Posted by Lorraine Carter on December 09 2014 @ 14:46

Building a strong brand is the undisputed key to success in today’s business world, and robust differentiation is an absolute must to build a powerful and compelling brand. Brand differentiation is the means by which your brand is set apart from the competition, by associating a superior performing aspect of your brand with multiple customer benefits.

 

In terms of branding, differentiation can relate to any combination of the following from the physical characteristics of your product or service, to the emotional response your brand triggers, aspects of its presentation, its price point such as very high or very low, your brand story, and even the customer experience of your brand as a whole.

 

There are many ways you can differentiate your brand. The skill lies is developing and applying the most effective brand differentiation strategy in a way that appropriately reflects your brand’s personality, values, promise, way of doing things and key characteristics.

  

If your brand fundamentally lacks sufficient personality or is very undeveloped then maybe its time to consider a brand audit or maybe your brand could benefit from some revitalisation or proper development of its character and brand profile using a process like our Personality Profile Performer™ system.

 

Your decisions must be made strategically so they are the most relevant to your particular products, services, or business goals - the ones that will strengthen your brand platform, and be most relevant and attractive to your customers - thereby increasing their loyalty and indeed referibility - so ultimately you can grow your bottom line successfully. 

  

Here are 30 ways to differentiate your brand from your competition, many of which we employ, amongst others not listed here, when developing our clients brand strategies. 

 

 

30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

  

1. Price Differently

Varying the price of your products or services from the competition can be an effective differentiation strategy. You can be either the economy bestseller with a low price, or a premium brand with a high price - such as Starbucks, which prices coffee higher to increase perceived quality. In fact, many brand differentiation strategies can help you charge and receive a premium price.

 

 

2. Mine a Niche

Niche products or services have built-in brand differentiation, and the marketing for them should reflect that niche. A good example is GoPro, which makes body-mounted video cameras and markets them to athletes.

  

 

3. Be the Expert

If your brand is the best at something in your industry, you can differentiate by focusing on your expertise. Domino’s Pizza provides differentiation through its expert home delivery and 30-minute guarantee.

  

4. Deliver a Unique Point-of-Purchase Experience

Give your customers a memorable buying experience, and your brand will stand out. Children love stuffed animals, but they love them even more when they can create their own stuffed animal right in front of their eyes. The Build-A-Bear Workshop has differentiated and flourished with this strategy. You can read more about what the founder Maxine Clark did to achieve this in a previous blog.

   

   Build A Bear Workshop Store Front

 Image via www.buildabear.com

  

5. Distinctive Brand Collateral

Your brand collateral can be a key aspect of differentiation. A memorable, instantly recognizable brand identity that’s not typical of your industry segment or category can be very effective at adding differentiation. For example, Johnny Cupcakes, a unique apparel company in the US, sells its branded t-shirts with a baking theme, including both the way in which the clothing is merchandised and the packaging in which you purchase your clothing – ovens, bakers shelves and cake boxes! You can read more about Johnny Earle's strategy, the founder, here.

  

    Johnny Cupcakes Store

Image via www.johnnycupcakes.com 

    

  

6. Use a Mascot

Brand mascots can be powerful differentiators, especially if you want to bring a sense of humour to your brand perceptions. American Insurance company GEICO has created massive success with its mascot - a talking lizard that has nothing to do with insurance, but still makes millions of people believe there’s something different about the company.

 

  

Geico Lizard Mascot Logo

Image via www.geico.com

   

   

7. Heritage and Provenance

Brands can differentiate through strong associations with their country of origin. Many UK brands are noted for a timeless, classic appeal, brands from Switzerland are often associated with craftsmanship and precision, and German brands are viewed as reliable and well-engineered.

 

  

 British Brands

 

   

8. Innovate

Innovation can be a key brand differentiator. This type of distinctiveness is common for tech brands - Apple is synonymous with innovation, ease of use and enhanced life experiences, SalesForce captured a largest market share with an SaaS-based CRM. But innovation isn’t limited to technology: FMCG brands can also differentiate with innovative packaging and/or different product solutions such as O’Egg and their liquid egg products and white shell eggs.

  

  

O Egg Liquid Egg Bottles 500px

  

 

9. Create a New Product (by Renaming it)

Offering your customer something entirely new is a great way to differentiate, and you may not have to change what you’re selling - just what it’s called. Tyson Foods - the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and port - began selling chickens that were much smaller than average. The product might not have caught on if they’d called it “miniature chickens,” so they marketed them as “Cornish Game Hens” instead.

  

   

Tyson Cornish Game Hen 

 Image via www.tyson.com

  

  

10. Be the Underdog

A lot of customers love a good underdog story and will connect with you through your ‘David and Goliath’ brand story. Emphasizing your brand’s humble beginnings can help you differentiate, especially if your competitors are focused on being the biggest and the best. Successful founder stories with an underdog aspect include Nantucket Nectars’ “only a blender and a dream,” and Amazon CEO’s Jeff Bezos launching his “everything store” from his garage. Sir Richard Branson has launched the Virgin brand into multiple sectors with a ‘David and Goliath’ strategy – challenging the perceived big guys and the status quo - as the ‘customers champion’.

  

   

Virgin Logo 600px

 Image via www.virgin.com

  

 

11. Make it Convenient

Convenience can be a big brand differentiator. Something that makes life easier for your customers will make you more desirable than the competition. Amazon is the obvious example, but other brands, such as Stamps.com, have banked on differentiation through convenience and won.

   

   

Amazon Logo

Image via www.amazon.com

  

 

12. Consistently Over-Deliver on Customer Service

With all other factors equal to your competitors, consistently superior customer service and exceeding expectations can differentiate your brand. Online shoe store Zappos commands a premium price tier because of their outstanding customer service, including free shipping and free returns.

   

 

Zappos Logo 600px

 Image via www.zappos.com

 

 

13. Stand Out on Shelves

Really strong brand packaging can be an obvious and effective differentiator, in fact it can make or break your brand. If, for example, you use black packaging for your butter like Rachel’s Organic Butter, your brand will be distinctive amongst all the yellow, red, and green packs. 

  

Rachel's Organic Butter Salte 600px

Image via www.rachelsorganic.co.uk 

  

 

14. Tell Your Unique Brand Story

Every successful brand has a compelling story behind it. Fully developing and emphasizing your brand story can help you differentiate, be core to your brand DNA, and reinforce the personality, promise and values of your brand. Creating irresistible brand stories is a key part of our brand profiling service when working with clients to help them create and build the personality of their brands, using our Brand Story Selling System™.

  

 

15. Solve a Universal Problem

If your brand addresses a problem everyone can envision or relate to, you’ll achieve brand differentiation. TOM’s shoe brand took on the issue of children in need, by donating a pair of new shoes to a child for every pair of shoes purchased. This not only massively differentiated the brand, but emotionally engaged its audience by making corporate social responsibility live within the heart of what the brand stands for and created immense customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

  

  

Toms Logo

Image via www.toms.com

 

 

16. Appeal to Emotions

Your brand can stand out by delivering an emotional experience that’s associated with your product or service. Coca-Cola capitalizes on emotional appeal by branding their products as happy, implying its the maker of joy and harmony. Everything Coca-Cola does from a strategic branding perspective is to associate the brand with ‘happy occasions’.

 

  

17. Be (Relevantly) Shocking

Aligning your brand with shock value can help you differentiate, but use this strategy with care. The outrage you can generate from a shocking brand should be directed in a positive way, toward your brand and what you stand for. Italian fashion brand Benetton’s has used shock campaigns multiple times over the years to raise brand visibility such as with their “Unhate” campaign, which managed to anger the U.S. government, the Vatican, and many other organizations - but was a hit with customers.

 

 

18. Change Your Customer Experience

If your industry is known for a certain type of experience, you can differentiate by making your customer experience different. GEICO succeeded in the insurance industry, which often uses serious approaches and scare tactics, by creating a whimsical and fun marketing strategy with talking animals. Southwest Airlines injected quirkiness and enjoyment into the cookie-cutter world of travel.

 

 

19. Make it Personal

Personalization can help you differentiate your brand. Allow your customers to make your products their own through interactive buying experiences, higher levels of customer service, and digital marketing strategies like retargeting and pre-targeting that offer the right products, to the right people, at the right time.

 

 

20. Link to an Occasion

Another way to differentiate is to build up your brand’s association with a particular occasion or celebration. Cadbury’s is synonymous with Easter, De Beers is equated with Valentine’s Day, and Christmas (in the United States, at least) can’t happen without the Macy’s parade and Coca-Cola virtually invented the big red suited man at Christmas along with a multitude of other 'happy occasions' throughout the year.

 

 

21. Personify Your Product

A slightly different strategy from brand mascots, brand personification involves creating a “character” that represents the characteristics of your brand. Green Giant vegetables has done this successfully with the Jolly Green Giant, while Keebler snacks are personified through the Keebler Elves.

 

 

22. Give Back

Modern customers, most notably Millennials, love to get behind a brand that gives back to the community. By emphasising corporate social responsibility (CSR), you can differentiate your brand and get an edge over the competition such as O'Egg's support of 'Action Breast Cancer Ireland'.

   

O Egg Pink Ribbon

 

23. Go Green

By the same token as community generosity, more of today’s customers are concerned about the environment. Differentiating through green packaging, green manufacturing, or even environmental charity can help your brand stand out.

 

  

24. Break Away

You can differentiate your brand by moving away from the conventional wisdom surrounding your industry and delivering an opposing viewpoint. Odour control brand PooPouri accomplished this by abandoning discretion in their marketing and embracing all things poo – with lots of toilet humour.

 

  

  

   

25. Redefine Your Product Use

If your products can accomplish more than one thing, the alternate use can help you differentiate your brand. As an example, Arm & Hammer was just another baking soda until the brand began marketing the idea that it also made an excellent air freshener along with a multitude of other uses.

 

 

Arm And Hammer Baking Soda 

Image via www.armandhammer.com  

  

  

26. Simplify Your Customers’ Lives

Simplicity and purity are highly prized in today’s cluttered world. Marketing your brand as a simple pleasure can help you rise above the noise. The Method brand of cleaning products uses this strategy, providing naturally derived and non-toxic household cleaning products that simply work. This simplicity is underscored by their tagline: “people against dirty.”

 

   

Method Cleaning Products

Image via www.methodhome.com 

  

 

27. Provide Higher Quality

Luxury brands are able to command premium pricing through an emphasis on higher quality products - either actual or perceived. Providing luxury is an automatic brand differentiator for most markets.

   

  

Luxury Car Brands

  

 

28. Limit Availability

While it may seem counterintuitive to profits, limiting the availability of your brand can actually help you sell more, at higher price points, through differentiation. When customers perceive that not everyone will be able to have a product, demand and perceived value increase. Ben & Jerry’s premium ice cream employs this strategy with limited production runs for some flavours, and by “retiring” flavours after a certain period of time.

  

    Ben Jerrys Flavour Graveyard

  Image via www.benjerry.ie

 

 

29. Reposition Your Category

You can differentiate your brand by developing a new category that falls within your industry. In the United States, the National Pork Board accomplished this with a campaign slogan: “Pork, The Other White Meat,” which appealed to customers who enjoy red meat, but don’t care for chicken. The campaign also made pork more appealing due to the health issues being associated with red meat consumption.

  

 

30. Serve an Unmet Need

An effective way to differentiate your brand and reach a broader audience is to identify a need that isn’t being met, and fill that need by tweaking or repositioning your offerings. Enterprise Rent-A-Car became the top car rental company in the U.S. when they began to offer a leasing option - when none of their competitors did.

  

  

So, what do you think?

• How does your brand differentiate from the competition?

  

• Is your packaging distinctive or stand-out in some way? How could you change that?

 

• What does your brand do to differentiate your customer service?

 

• Are there new audiences you can reach through differentiation?

 

• What would it take to reposition as a luxury brand and differentiate through added value?

 

• Can you share other strategies for brand differentiation?

 

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

  

   

 

  

  

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