Login

Entrepreneurial Branding: 5 Top Tips For Brand Success

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

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

 

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

  

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

 

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

  

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

 

    Jeff Bezos Amazon

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

  

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

 

 

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

 

5 Foundational Branding Tips to Support Your Brands Success

 

1. Start Early, Brand Consistently and Congruently

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

 

  

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  

  

2. Create the Right Visuals

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

 

 Apple Logo

Image via www.apple.com 

 

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

 

3. Dare to be Different

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

 

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

  

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

  

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

 

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

 

L'etoile Restaurant Usa 

 Image via www.letoile-restaurant.com

 

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

 

4. Brand Promises: Make Them and Never Break Them

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

 

 Ruby Hammer Recommends Lip Gloss

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

  

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

5. Branding: A Solid Foundation for Startups

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

 

What do you think?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

0 comment(s)

Destination Branding: The Key Essentials for Success

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

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

 

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

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

  

  

Creating and Amplifying Market Expectations

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

  

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

 

 

 

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

 

New Zealand has been highly successful at capitalizing on audience expectations that were created through the worldwide hit movie series The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, based on the classic fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien and filmed in New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand embraced the idea that their country was now seen as “Middle-Earth,” and created an ad campaign around that perception to reinforce the brand.

 

   

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

  

Green Dragon Pub Hobbiton Nz 

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

  

  

Capitalizing on Personality and Character

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

 

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

 

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

 

  

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

 

 

Hitching Your Wagon to the Stars

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

  

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

 

  

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

 

 

  

 

  

Bringing Them to You

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

 

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

 

What do you think?

 

• How does your potential audience currently perceive your destination?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

0 comment(s)

Private Label: Branding Tips for Own Label Brands

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 Kroger Logo

 

Image via www.kroger.com

 

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

  

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

 

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

 

 

The Importance of Superb Private Label Packaging

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

  

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

 

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

 

Waitrose Love Life Range

Image via www.waitrose.com

 

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

  

Waitrose Seriously Range

Image via www.waitrose.com

 

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

  

Duchy Originals From Waitrose 

 Image via www.waitrose.com

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

 

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

  

 

Embracing Environmental Causes and Sustainability

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

 

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

 

Waitrose Menu Beef Goulash 

 Image via www.waitrose.com

 

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

 

 

Encouraging Consumer Interaction

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

 

Co Op Tweet4a Table 

Image via www.co-operativefood.co.uk

 

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

 

 Dm Foto Paradies

Image via www.produktdesigner.fotoparadies.de 

 

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

 

 

Broadening Private Label Brand Distribution

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

 

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

 

 

Expanding Your Private Label Brand Revenue

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

 

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

 

What do you think?

  

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

0 comment(s)

FMCG Branding: Going for Gold with Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Posted by Lorraine Carter on March 05 2014 @ 17:04

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is one of the most volatile and toughest categories in which to succeed and sometimes considered the birthplace of modern branding. The competition has always been fierce and the fight for wallet share never more challenging then it is now.

 

Today’s FMCG industry is a multi-billion dollar sector that’s typically dominated by well-established household brands around the globe, from Coca-Cola to Kraft to Henkel. Breaking into that market as a new brand can be a serious challenge, particularly when you’re up against global powerhouses that have ruled their respective niches for decades with deep pockets. Having said that though, smaller brands have more opportunities to make their impact with limited resources than they ever had before, which helps level the playing field a little!

 

 Kraft Logo

Image via www.kraftfoodsgroup.com

 

The question is how do you move from a ‘C’ or ‘D’ tier, largely unknown, consumer product to become a recognized household brand? Success in the FMCG sector is no longer epitomized by just ‘nice’ logos and good packaging alone—modern consumers expect far more.

 

The most successful brands are consistently creating an authentic customer experience around their consumable products, one that is worthwhile and personally engaging. These brands give their core target audience a more compelling reason to buy and create brand perceptions through their brands personality, promise, values, story and total brand world per se, which their customers find irresistible.

 

The following is an insight into what some of the most successful FMCG companies are doing to maintain consistently captivating brands. What keeps them front of mind in terms of customer preferences, and how you can incorporate these strategies into your own brand building efforts.

 

 

Aligning With And Focusing on Your Core Target Audience

While it may seem counterintuitive, the key to becoming a household brand is not to try appealing to a broader audience—it is to be desirable to the right core target audience. You need to know your market, your competitors, and your sector’s environment intimately, so you can focus on developing your branding strategy specifically tailored towards your primary customers – those who are most likely to buy fully into your brand and what it stands for.

 

Understanding not only what your ideal customers wants, but also how your offering can enhance their lives is hugely important. It’s only when you truly understand their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations that you can really craft a concise and focused brand message that cuts through the noise.

 

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages from multiple channels 24/7. Your challenge is to deliver the right message, on target to catch their much sought after attention, at the right time and then, most importantly, to hold their attention. You need to develop a customer avatar which you then use to underpin your brand proposition and profile.

 

 Johnsons Baby Logo

Image via www.johnsonsbaby.com

  

Your brand should clearly indicate why and how you’ll meet your customers needs and that you understand what really matters to them. If yours is a family orientated brand then broadly speaking it might be important to communicate reliability, safety, and trust. However you need to dig deeper beyond just the general to the specific and identify more detailed characteristics to bring your brand alive in a way that’s meaningful, distinctive and different to your audience.

 

Millennials might enjoy quirky humor that helps mark your offerings as innovative but you still need to add something more unique to your brand story to help it standout and stick. Overall luxury brands focus on quality and prestige but they still need to develop other attributes, messages and stories that make their brand experience exclusive to them alone.

 

 

Developing Brand Loyalty

Returning customers are the heart of every successful company—and this is especially true in the FMCG sector where products are typically consumed quickly and frequently. Brand loyalty is critical to your long term success and you need to develop a brand strategy that helps ensure your customers become tunnel visioned with regard to your brand when they go shopping.

 

You want them to become blinkered to see only your brand offering so they buy it automatically because they aren’t even open to considering others. When you continue to meet their needs your loyal customers will not only continue to purchase your brand, they’ll become brand advocates encouraging family and friends to switch to your brand too.

 

How do you create brand loyalty? Many businesses make the mistake of trying to compete on price alone where only those with the deepest pockets can win. Customers aren’t necessarily looking for just the cheapest product. Cheap rarely engenders ongoing brand loyalty. Customers typically look for the right blend of quality and value, and many are willing to pay more for a brand they can trust and meets their needs on multiple other levels too. It’s also important to note that value doesn’t mean just price, it’s the complete mix of what the brand has to offer – your brand promise, brand values, brand culture, corporate social responsibility, customer experience, your way of doing things in your brand world etc. that collectively all add up to enhance perceived brand value.

 

 

One strong example of this is Johnson & Johnson, the global leader in baby care products. Johnson’s Baby has been helping parents and doctors give babies a healthy, happy start in life for more than 100 years – what a brand legacy. This company understands what its primary customers want – to give their babies a healthy, happy start in life because ‘every moment with your little one is precious’. 

 

 

 

Saving money might feature somewhere in the mix with parents but babies health and happiness is the primary focus, and not at the expense of their child’s care. They are looking for products with safe, gentle ingredients, backed by a company that genuinely cares about the well-being of babies. Everything Johnson & Johnson does is done to reinforce that message, be it through the products themselves, its CSR strategy or advocacy in baby skin care or baby sleeping advice etc. This is an ethical, quality-focused ‘caring’ brand, successfully engaging its audience by pulling at the heart strings through all its communications strategies - which all but the cynical and hard nosed would find hard to resist. 

 

  

Telling Your Brand Story in a Way That’s Relevant

Storytelling is more than just a buzzword. Creating authenticity with an emotional connection and an element of curiosity is very important to help distinguish your brand from the barrage of the external market. When you communicate your own brand journey, your growth and your message to potential customers, you’re able to connect with them on a more meaningful level.

 

 

 

The Askinosie chocolate brand story shows how its really important and worked for this relatively new confectionary company. Their target market consists of environmentally aware customers who typically shop in organic health food stores. Askinosie sets their brand apart through their packaging and their brand story which really resonates with their customers. Each of their chocolate bar wrappers relates personal stories about the cocoa farmers that supply the company with raw ingredients. The focus is on their relationship with Askinosie as business partners who are well compensated with prices that are higher than Fair Trade.

  

 Askinosie Chocolate Packaging

Image via www.askinosie.com

   

Great brand stories can help you elevate your products into the top tier and are a critical part of the successful brand mix and keep your customers coming back for more. A note of warning though – the brand values from your story and the promise it articulates must be consistently lived and demonstrated throughout the business at every level of interaction internally and externally every day.

 

Changing With The Times

The market is constantly evolving, and your brand must be flexible enough to keep up with the changing times. Successful FMCG brands understand how to recognize trends and implement shifts in strategy that will help them continue to stay relevant and meet market requirements over the years and decades.

 

 Starbucks Logo

Image via www.starbucks.com 

Starbucks in spite of all its ups and downs has largely maintained a strong grasp of its market combined with a willingness to change, and has managed to remain one of the most recognized global brands. The Seattle-based company began as a local retail coffee store, and grew into a worldwide chain that caters to customers looking for an upscale coffee experience. By combining quality coffee with a diverse range of related products, a pleasant relaxing environment in which to enjoy their coffee and engaging with their customers more personally—and treating their employees better than other coffee chains—Starbucks has dominated its niche. 

 

 

  

However, there is a fine line between staying relevant and incorporating new trends versus losing sight of what your brand really stands for by inadvertently ‘muddying the waters’ so to speak with an excessive plethora of confusing brand messages. You must always remain true to the core of what you stand for, whether yours is a well established brand or more recent launch to market.

 

Hershey Logo 

Image via www.hersheys.com

 

Hershey’s has seen a decline in recent times compounded by overenthusiastic trend-chasing activities. In recent years, the company’s brand promise of simple, tasty chocolate has been lagging behind in their efforts to anticipate changing tastes. Extreme diversification has resulted in a confusing tangle of confectionery varieties: milk, dark, and white chocolate with a variety of fillings, coatings and new flavours—all of which is somewhat confusing in its marketing to customers who just want an original Hershey bar.

  

 

Developing Your Brand Message

Strong branding is a vital factor for long term success in the ultra-competitive FMCG industry. In order to create a strong and compelling brand message, you need to fully understand your target customers, including:

  • Who they are: Demographics, motivations, trends, and demands
  • Why they buy: Specific needs and wants (rational and emotional)
  • What they buy: The look and feel of the products they prefer
  • Where / how they buy: Channel preferences, point of sale activities
  • How they consume: Key usage situations for your products

 

Pinpoint your target audience, and develop your brand strategy to focus on the things that matter most to them. Transform your offerings into an experience that will keep your customers returning, and create brand ambassadors who will recommend you to like-minded customers. Focus on what helps elevate and grow your brand and your customer base will expand with you.

 

What do you think?

 • How does your FMCG brand differentiate from your competitors?

 

• What message are you conveying with your brand? What should you convey?

 

• How can you tell the story of your brand more effectively?

 

• What steps are you taking to create brand loyalty?

 

• Has your brand evolved to stay relevant with the changing market—without losing sight of your core?

0 comment(s)

Brand Promises: Are You Consistently Delivering Yours?

Posted by Lorraine Carter on February 20 2014 @ 13:28

A brand promise is what your company or brand commits to delivering for everyone who interacts with you. Your brand promise is a pledge, an assurance, or a guarantee that identifies what your customers can expect each and every time they connect with your company—whether it’s through your people, your marketing materials, or your products or services.

 

What makes a brand promise compelling? An effective brand promise must create distinction for your company’s offerings, and connect your purpose, positioning, and strategy. It must describe what customers can expect to receive beyond your product or service. It is more than a purchase—it is an experience, engaging your customers emotionally and allowing you to differentiate from your competitors.

 

Your brand promise presents a compelling reason for customers to buy from you, to return for repeat business—and most importantly, to become brand ambassadors, spreading the word about your company organically and enthusiastically.

 

 Virgin Logo 600px

Image via www.virgin.com

  

 

What Your Brand Promise Should (and Should Not) Be

Organizations often make the mistake of conflating brand promise with marketing. At one end, they may trot out clinically dry descriptions of products or services, on the premise that a brand “speaks for itself.” And on the other, they might make grand and ultimately meaningless statements, replete with abused superlatives such as “best practice”, “world class”, and “market leader.”

 

However, what truly works as a brand promise is not something in the middle, but rather a presentation that takes an entirely different approach to your offerings. 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.

 Nfl Logo 600px 

Image via www.nfl.com

 

To illustrate this idea in action, here are some powerful brand promises from highly successful brands:

  • The NFL: ‘To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together, connecting them socially and emotionally like no other’

 

  • Virgin: ‘To be the consumer champion while being genuine, fun, contemporary and different in everything we do at a reasonable price’

 

  • Apple: ‘To make insanely great, imaginative, cool, easy-to-use, cutting edge products that enrich peoples lives’

 

  • Coca-Cola: ‘To inspire moments of optimism and happiness’

   

 

 

  

Typically, a strong brand promise will achieve three key objectives:

  • It must convey a compelling benefit and emotionally resonate
  • It must be authentic and credible
  • The promise must be kept…every time

 

Any brand can create a compelling brand promise. However, the best and most successful brands will also demonstrate a proven track record of delivering on those promises. A powerful brand does not simply “talk the talk” — it “walks the walk,” consistently and reliably.

 

 

The Brand Promise At Work

McDonalds is the brand heard ’round the world. With over 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries, the company has to be doing something right—and the core of their success is their brand promise. They are the first job for many, involved with local communities and always seeking new ways to improve what they do best. When customers see the Golden Arches, they know what they can expect: simple, easy enjoyment with great service, cleanliness and value.

 

This is the brand promise McDonalds stands behind. Their more recent slogan, “I’m lovin’ it,” is a simple phrase in itself, one that can be translated easily within every international market the company serves. The McDonalds brand promise is effective, because the company consistently delivers uncomplicated fun with value and service to customer after customer.

 

Mcdonalds Im Lovin It 600px

Image via www.mcdonalds.com 

 

Effective brand promises aren’t limited to the inexpensive and widely available, either. Successful luxury brands are also making a promise—that customers are paying a higher price, and in return receiving exceptional quality, value, and prestige.

 

European hotelier Kempinski has a stated purpose of “serving guests who expect excellence and value individuality.” As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group and a five star prestigious brand, Kempinski promises more than lodgings—the company delivers an unforgettable experience for each and every customer by providing “luxurious hospitality in the grand European style.” They believe life should be lived with style!

 

  

 

Start Where You Want To End Up, and Watch Your Brand Take Off

If your brand is already successful, chances are you’re already clear on what you promise your customers—and you’ve managed to consistently keep your brand promise.

On the other hand, if…

…then its time to conduct a brand audit, do a little research, and or re-evaluate your branding strategy.

 

It’s essential to define exactly what your brand promises to your customers. This process begins with research into your market, your target audience, competitors, and business environment. What do your customers really want? How are they getting it now—and how can your offering add even more value to those desires?

 

Your brand promise should deliver something your target audience really wants, but can’t get elsewhere. Remember, you’re creating an experience for your customers. When you define a unique brand promise first, and then consistently deliver, you’re making it easier for your business to keep that promise and realize branding success.

 

Earning Your Brand Promise

Once you’ve defined your brand promise, you need to focus on ensuring that you’re delivering on that promise—every time. Every aspect of your business should reflect what you stand for in your brand, from marketing to employee-customer interaction.

 

A brand that keeps its promises is virtually unbreakable. This is what kept Microsoft from knocking Google off the search engine throne with its “Bing It On” campaign, which attempted to convince consumers that real people choose Bing’s search results over Google.

 

 

 

The campaign failed to make a dent in the search engine giant’s market share—because Google’s brand promise is too strong. Their search engine consistently delivers what people want.

 

 

You Don’t Have to be Huge

Many smaller businesses make the mistake of thinking that only large corporations have the resources to consistently keep brand promises. The truth is, great branding is powerful enough to carry any business model successfully—when it’s done right.

 

Take, for example, The Ginger Pig. This London artisan butchery uses the brand promise of quality meats that taste great due to the care and effort they put forth in raising farm animals. The company emphasizes this brand promise through The Ginger Pig website, which opens with a brief and intriguing story about how they came to be—and their philosophy that well looked-after livestock simply tastes better.

 

Ginger Pig 600px 

Image via www.thegingerpig.co.uk

 

Is your company still looking for that perfect branding strategy? Prepare for success by taking the time to really think about your brand promise—and to ensure that you can, and do, deliver. Whether you’re a brand new start-up, a local supplier, or a national or global business, decide what will make your brand distinctive and memorable—something that’s worth talking about—and focus on delivering every time.

 

When you deliver on your brand promise, you build customer trust. This translates into brand loyalty that markets itself. Word-of-mouth, particularly through social media, will carry your brand promise to an ever-widening audience. As new customers realize they’re actually getting what they were promised, you’ll find more brand ambassadors out there recommending your offerings, all of which will help increase your profitability.

 

The earlier you establish and maintain your brand promise,

the more successful your branding will be.

  

What do you think?

How is your brand walking the talk?

Can a brand exist without brand promise?

Is your brand promising something you can’t deliver?

How can you communicate your brand promise to your customers?

 

Share your thoughts in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

 

0 comment(s)

1 comment(s)

YouTube : The 2nd Biggest Search Source After Google, Is Your Brand On?

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 14 2013 @ 13:15

In announcing its daily traffic flow back in 2010 the video channel YouTube revealed they were the second biggest online search source after Google. That put it higher than Firefox, Bing and even Yahoo. The YouTube report said it received 2 billion views a day. That’s a statistic that put YouTube in front of all the major US TV channels combined.

 

Three years later nothing has changed audience-wise, except the site has increased in popularity. There are now four billion visitors a day and 60 hours of video uploaded on to the site every minute.

 

Meanwhile Google rates it even higher in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). YouTube videos show up separately so your page gets listed for the text and the video separately, effectively like two for one! Another interesting statistic is that eCommerce stores which show their products via video have much better conversion rates (says Google owned YouTube) then those that don’t.

 

Brands Can Have Their Own Online Channel on YouTube

Now the online video search source (bought early on by Google) has come up with an even better opportunity for brands, with the resources to invest in video content, with their own branded video channel.

 

Called One Channel its part of a redesign for YouTube which involves allowing content developers to start charging subscribers for viewers. To date there are 50 paid channels on YouTube including National Geographic Kids (US) and Samsung UK. Switching to One Channel means more tools to add and curate content, better graphics/art work and the ability to produce a trailer which can be targeted at non-subscribers – all of which greatly enhances to your brand’s marketing activities.

 

 

 

 

All this of course requires some upgraded skills, not to mention resources and agencies are already offering comprehensive packages to big brands.

 

The Benefits of a Brand Channel

Regularly uploading content and engaging with customers makes it easier for a company to build brand loyalty through cultivating an ongoing relationship – which is exactly what YouTube is hoping for.

 

Earlier this year YouTube made a huge leap towards its future strategy model. No longer is it simply a site where people upload videos. Instead it’s now a true social media site in terms of providing a platform where brands can engage with consumers in a dynamic and entertaining fashion.

 

Video Is More Effective Than The Written Word

Even if your brand isn’t at the One Channel stage yet, videos are still more likely to get your message across than a blog post or press release in isolation. That’s because they require less effort and time to watch, tend to be more entertaining and attractive to look at and give a stronger, more personalized sense of what the brand is all about. It’s a platform that really helps ‘bring your brand to life’.

 

 Zappos Advert

Image via Business Insider  

 

Online US eCommerce store Zappos has a YouTube video option for 50,000 products on its site with ‘real’ people talking about and reviewing their shoes. This ‘humanizes’ the brand and provides a sense of trust for consumers when they see that the person they’re watching is ‘just like them.’

  

 

 

 

 

 

Video Can Help Educate Consumers

‘How To’ videos have always rated highly on YouTube and this is where many smaller brands selling unique products – or those involved with DIY and crafts – can really excel.

 

US firm Homedepot show how to customize a pathway using the QuikRete WalkMaker they sell. Potential consumers who were perhaps ambivalent about buying the product because they weren’t sure if it was for them can now see how easy is it to use.

 

 

 

 

Video Can Enhance Customer Engagement

Tip-ex demonstrated brilliantly how a YouTube video can engage consumers. Its bear/hunter video received one million views within the space of just 36 hours and 100,000 shares on Facebook.

 

After 100 days the video had picked up a total of 35.5 million views in 217 countries. Brand exposure was estimated to be around five minutes per person. European sales went up 30 per cent.

 

The reason it was such a hit was because it asked viewers to come up with an ending to the script which involved a hunter who didn’t want to shoot a bear. The company went on to film what they regarded as the best endings.

 

A clever aspect of this campaign was the number of viewers who returned to see the different endings played out. Meanwhile, by giving consumers the opportunity to create their own ending, it made them feel as if they ‘owned’ the video and by association, the brand.

  

 

 

  

Other Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using YouTube 

  • It doesn’t cost much money to produce video content now, thanks to improvements in editing software and camera equipment. In other words, a video production company with an editing suite isn’t necessary unless you are producing high value video content. Video ‘blogs’ or ‘vlogs’ can be produced and uploaded using your smartphone.

   

  • You Tube is available on Smartphones and iPhones – just about anywhere that the internet can be accessed. Videos are easy to embed and share too.

   

  • Just like PPC adverts on search engines or advertising on Facebook, YouTube has a means of advertising via keywords. Advertising on YouTube is just as effective as the aforementioned but with one big difference - it’s less expensive.

 

Engaging with customers via a two-way process is one step away from encouraging them to become brand ambassadors through building brand loyalty. Video is such a mainstream activity today that companies which aren’t on YouTube can seem rather behind the times – particularly with a younger audience.

 

One Channel for brands makes it easier to bring together all forms of social media, while Google is putting particular emphasis on video when it comes to SEO.

 

Providing your brand’s story in an entertaining fashion and quick-to-digest format is more likely to attract visitors – and therefore customers – to your products and services.

 

• How are you using, or planning to use, online video to promote and grow your brand and connect with your customers more effectively?

 

• What type of video content could your brand upload onto YouTube – educational, informative, comedy?

 

• Have you investigated how easy it is to film your own videos as part of your brand strategy?

 

3 comment(s)

Brand Traction : How to Make Your Brand Memorable - For The Right Reasons!

Posted by Lorraine Carter on August 07 2013 @ 08:00

When we talk about brand traction we mean ‘sticking power’ in the sense that customers really understand what a company’s brand is all about, what it stands for, its reputation overall and how relevant it is to their own lives. But we also mean ‘force’ in terms of being able to pull ahead of its competitors.

 

Brand traction is something that has to be cumulatively built up over time, be it service or product, through the relationships it has with its suppliers, staff, customers and the media.

  

Mcdonalds Im Lovin It

 

Relationships with the media are extremely important in terms of brand traction too, and not just in the promotional sense. Walmart and McDonald’s, for instance, are currently being ostracised in the States over their failure to pay what is perceived as a minimum wage. Starbucks and Amazon meanwhile are facing criticism over their failure to pay UK taxes.

 

Both of these issues will adversely affect the reputation of these multi-national companies to some degree, generate negative brand traction and compromise sales because certain consumers will boycott them on principle alone. No company wants to be known as the organisation that doesn’t pay its staff a living wage or reneges on its tax obligations.

 

Then there are the brands that have positive brand traction, who are memorable for all the right reasons. A major study recently by US research firm Added Value looked at the cultural traction of a number of the world’s largest brands, 160 brands over 15 sectors to be exact. They measured them in terms of four major metrics – how visionary they were, inspiring, bold and exciting.

 

Top10 Global Brands

 

This infographic shows the results in terms of the Top 10 Global Brands. The most rapid-changing and innovative sector in society at this moment in time, computing and technology, not surprisingly claims the top three positions.

 

Casualties were Facebook (remember its recent rows over privacy?) and alcohol brands which all suffered in terms of popularity due to what the study described as ‘a fall in cultural relevance.’ Absolut Vodka was the highest alcohol brand in the study.

  

Dove Models Real Beauty

 

In contrast, Dove with its 10 year long ‘real beauty’ campaign, where it dispelled media representations of idealized female beauty, was described as responsible and its brand traction positively increased as a result. It was also noted for its creativity.

 

  

In terms of the list then it’s clear to see that the brands which ranked highest were innovative, forward-thinkers and leaders in their field – they ‘dared to be different’ – none of them could ever be accused of being bland. All are distinctive, and we don’t mean this in terms of their logo or advertising jingle, but largely through the way in which they ‘see the world’, engage with it and endeavour to change it.

 

Amazon Logo 

 

Amazon is a brand which has gained huge traction in the field of cloud computing. The US Central Intelligence Agency recently considered dropping IBM (whom they’ve been with for years) in favour of the global company which initially made its name in the world of e-commerce as a global powerhouse. 

 

Meanwhile, in a desperate effort to achieve better brand traction last year PepsiCo engaged in an intense bout of brand building via a huge advertising and marketing spend (5.7 per cent of revenue). In North America they flooded stores with in-house displays and globally launched the Pepsi campaign ‘Live for Now’. With it came a new positioning statement involving the idea of ‘Now’, ‘as in the present moment’. Early figures indicate the campaign has been successful.

 

 

Runner and Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake attempted to up his brand traction by emulating his fellow team mate Usain Bolt, known for his famous lightning pose, by creating a pose for his own personal brand. Unfortunately in his case the results weren’t quite so successful. In order to achieve ‘brand’ success Blake needs to develop his own distinct brand personality, different positioning, memorable message and authentic promise instead of trying to be a boring copy of something that’s already been successfully done, in effect ‘owned’ by another entity.

  

 Yohan Blake

  

At present Blake is endeavouring to grow his brand traction by imitating Bolt, through adopting a pose after a race, when really he should be trying to differentiate himself and show his own unique qualities. His ‘brand message’ should also be unique to make his brand credible. After all it’s what he stands for and the associations that come with the pose that will ultimately lead to stronger branding for Blake.

 

  • How much traction do you think your brand currently has?

  

  • Are there areas in which you perhaps, need to do a bit more work, in order to achieve more brand cohesiveness?

  

  • Where would your brand stand in the Added Value survey in terms of visionary, inspiring, bold and exciting?

 

0 comment(s)

Brand Story : The Key Ingredients to What Makes It Compelling

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 25 2013 @ 11:40

If you were asked to sum up your brand story in a valuable two minute radio sound bite or TV interview could you do it? If the answer is “NO” or you hesitate over your reply, then maybe its time to re-evaluate what your brand story is all about.

 

Is Your Brand Story

Worth Listening to?

  

Being able to succinctly articulate a compelling story around your brand, how it came in to being, what its all about, why it matters to your primary customers and where it’s heading into the future is crucial to your success. Stories connect people and your brand story is what gives it meaning and solidity, helps define its values, shapes its destiny and captures your customer’s imaginations, thereby attracting and engaging their ongoing interest.

 

A brand’s story isn’t a nice ‘add on’ for marketing purposes either. Rather it’s the foundations and inspiration for your marketing strategy – supporting the way you drive awareness and sales for your product or services and ultimately increase your business's profitability and growth. The more compelling your story, the more powerful your brand.

 

A great brand story can be unifying (for both customers and stakeholders), motivating and inspiring for your teams internally and give the work they do more direction and meaning, thereby enriching the environment in which they work, all of which filters through to the experience your customers have with your brand through your front line staff – your brand ambassadors.

 

Brand stories are never static either, they continue to develop over time in order to stay relevant and respond to customer demands and ever changing market dynamics.

 

 Ben And Jerrys Ice Cream

Image via Ben&Jerry’s

 

A great example, amongst many, of a brand with a very powerful story is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The tale of two young men who were determined to set up a company which would embrace sustainability and share prosperity (with employees and stakeholders alike) and, incidentally at the same time produce amazing ice cream, all of which hooked the imagination of the US public. Their story then went global and the rest is history.

 

Ben and Jerry’s aim today, they declare, continues to centre around finding interesting and unusual ways to improve the quality of life for individuals, produce top quality all-natural, wholesome ice cream and respect the environment at the same time…

  

 

  

Back in the UK, the well-known healthy fruit drink brand Innocent had a great story which, crucially, captured not only the imagination of consumers but journalists everywhere. Three Oxford educated students who wanted to produce drinks which would boost the nation’s health using only natural ingredients went on to succeed where many others had failed.

 

 Innocent

Image via Telegraph.co.uk

 

Their commitment to their cause and brand ethos couldn’t be faulted. Their packaging was simple and amusing yet full of character – and their social media channels (they were early adopters) reflected the same brand story and personality traits too. They had energy, enthusiasm and innovative marketing techniques to capture their core audiences attention.

  

 

  

Interestingly their brand has been bought over by global giant Coca Cola yet that move hasn’t dented the brand’s success. Innocent still continues to sell under the ‘wholesome goodness banner’ brand story and to this day it still continues to resonate with their customers. The brand was powerful enough in itself that it didn’t matter who owned the company. Their brand ethos and customer base had already been established to such an extent that the smooth take-over was hardly noticed. The brand has become a living entity in its own right.

 

Historically Innocent’s engagement with consumers began even before they’d launched. Following a busy day selling fruit drinks at a festival, the three owners asked their customers there whether they thought they should start up in business. The rest is history and a very successful and profitable one at that.

  

Lego Logo 

  

Lego, another long established and much loved Danish brand, with a compelling brand story too used a series of amusing YouTube vignettes in their video The Lego Story which they used to re-tell their brand story when they celebrated their 80th anniversary last year. It tells of their inventor, the company’s values and the commitment to their product both in terms of quality and the education of children around the globe.

 

  

The story of women’s underwear brand SPANX is very much connected with its founder and owner, the former sales trainer and stand up comedienne Sara Blakely. Her story of being unable to find tights she liked, then inventing her own, resonates with every woman who has a bulge or two to hide (at least the first part does!). This ‘everywoman’ even had her mum draw the design for the original prototype.

 

 Spanx Leggings Packaging

Image via themagicknickershop.co.uk

 

Today, proceeds from every pair of SPANX sold go towards the Sara Blakely Foundation which helps women in underprivileged parts of the world start up their own businesses through education and entrepreneurship.

 

 

Some re-occurring themes, worth reflecting on when reviewing elements of your own brand story, have appeared in each of the powerful brand stories mentioned above – however they must be authentic and real!

  • Share what you care about to engage your audience emotionally
  • Localize wherever possible in order to speak directly to local communities and create engaging connections
  • Encourage individuals to make your brand their own and become your brand champions

 

When creating your own brand story, be absolutely clear on what you want to communicate and why it’s important to both you and your core target audience. This should centre on who you are, why you’re doing it, why it’s important - so customers care, and what differentiates your brand from your competitors. To be truly engaging it must evoke strong emotions in your audience and ooze personality!

 

Your brand story must consistently underpin everything you do within your business, be the filter through which all your communications and brand strategy flows, influence the way in which you interact with your customers and shape the experiences they have through every touch point of your brand.

 

  • What’s the ‘truth’ or ‘inspiration’ behind your brand story?

  

  • What’s significant about your brand story compared to your competitors?

  

  • Have you considered how to consistently communicate your brand story and brand values through your fully integrated brand strategy?

 

 

1 comment(s)

Branding for Women: 80% Plus of FMCG Buying Decisions Are Made by Women

Posted by Lorraine Carter on July 09 2013 @ 08:12

At least 80 per cent of household buying decisions today are typically controlled by women, especially in the areas of fast moving consumer goods. The question is, are you developing and marketing your brand effectively to this dominant ‘wallet controlling’ audience? Is your brand positioning, story, values and offering resonating with their needs? Are you capturing and holding their attention or have you overlooked their buying power?

 

And just in case you were breathing a sigh of relief because your brand isn’t in the FMCG category, don’t get too comfortable or complacent either. US marketing expert Marti Barletta points to an old report by the Automotive Service Councils of California way back in 1999 which showed that even then, females influenced 80 per cent of all car purchases and in 95 of 100 cases had the final say when purchasing decisions were being made where couples were involved. In addition, an article in Business Week (2004) showed women bought two thirds of all cars sold and influenced 80 per cent of sales. I mention these old stats for my more sceptical readers because female purchasing power has continued to grow year on year, and even more so relative to this older research.

 

Surveys into consumer electronics have likewise shown that women spend just as much as men on ‘gadgets.’ However females tend to buy at a later stage in the process with the early adopters of technology being men. Women tend to buy once ‘the problems have been straightened out,’ said Barletta.

 

 Nokia Lumia 1020

 

Multi-national electronics brand Nokia started marketing to women after realising more females than men were buying smartphones. The brand’s senior consumer insights manager Elizabeth Southwood told Marketing Week last month: “We were aware of technology brands alienating women with their tone and messaging but also of the fact that increasing numbers of ladies were adopting smartphones which has now overtaken men, 58 per cent to 42 per cent, as well as other tech.” 

 

As a result the phone giant ran a female focused promotional campaign named Remarkable Women in which they gave a community of career types - and generally busy women who’d overcome a whole series of obstacles in their lives - a Nokia Lumia. The inference was how much having a phone would help make their lives so much easier. A whole community was set up around the promotion, launched earlier this year in the UK, and is continuing to gain momentum.

 

Remarkable Women

 

Image via Remarkable Women (Facebook)

 

Research has also shown that not only do women tend to make most of the spending decisions in the household, for both everyday and larger items such as furniture, their decision-making process as a rule tends to differ from their male counterparts. That’s because women prefer to go into secondary considerations such as other brand options as well as features, benefits and price. Men, on the other hand tend to be more focused and judge whether or not it satisfies their primary consideration i.e it plays music and looks good.

 

 Office Max Logo

 

US stationary company Office Max earned themselves a precious CNN news spot when they decided (like Nokia and its smartphones) that their target market was the wrong gender emphasis. They changed from a more male to female marketing focus and stocked up on ‘prettier’ products such as coloured folders - while at the same ensuring there was more variety in most ranges (remember, women like to ‘weigh up’ the choices).

 

Unilever’s anti-perspirant Axe initially marketed a limited edition fragrance to young men until it discovered around one quarter (500,000) of its social media followers (Facebook and Twitter) were female. There followed a marketing push towards the fairer sex (along with a ‘refined’ product). The following are adverts for the same brand but marketed at different genders.

 

 

The brand’s target market however was still young men – they had simply expanded it to include young women. Axe’s head of strategy Jonathan Bottomley explains: “You can’t be a successful youth brand today if you’re not co-ed in your approach, this is a generation where guys and girls are friends and like to hang out in groups.”

 

 

 

The world-renowned brand regarded as the so-called bastion of male toughness Harley-Davidson did an ‘about turn’ several years ago when they introduced the SuperLow – a lighter bike suitable for women - in an effort to capture the market for females and first-time riders. They also held ‘women only’ in-store safety nights twice a week in 650 Harley dealerships. Today women make up around 12 per cent of sales for the Harley-Davidson company (in the past it totalled two per cent).

 

Harley Super Low 2011

 

The above examples demonstrate that it’s essential for the majority of brands today to include women in their marketing and overall brand strategies. Not only do women make up 50 per cent of the population but, in most cases, they are also the gender with the greatest influence in consumer purchasing decisions.

 

Brands need to ensure they are gender balanced at the very least, and not alienating women, at the expense of men and vice versa.

 

  • Do you know the percentage ratio of male to female consumers for your brand and have those figures altered over time?

  

  • Do you market more towards women or men and if you were to do a ‘gender switch’ what different messages would you use to engage that particular group?

  

  • If you currently only sell to the one sector could your product or service be adapted to appeal to both?

 

 

0 comment(s)

 
Winner Blog Awards Ireland

Subscribe to Blog

Categories