The Impact of Company Brand Culture On Driving Performance and Increasing Sales

Most leaders and employees would view company brand culture as a crucial part of job performance and satisfaction coupled with great customer service, yet for so many brands it remains an elusive concept.

 

We all know intuitively that a bad company culture produces bad results and there are plenty of statistics to back this up. One Columbia University study shows that the probability of job turnover when a brand’s company culture is poor is 48.4%, compared to just 13.9% when the brand culture is perceived as a good one.[1]

 

In fact, good corporate brand culture fundamentally drives financial performance as evidenced by the research published in the book ‘Corporate Culture and Performance’ by HBS Professor James Heskett and Kotter International[2]

 

GROWTHAverage Increase for Twelve Firms with Performance-Enhancing CulturesAverage Increase for Twenty Firms without Performance-Enhancing Cultures
Revenue Growth682%166%
Employment Growth282%36%
Stock Price Growth901%74%
Net Income Growth756%1%

 

“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is the most important characteristic, which is trust.”

Howard Schultz, Starbucks

 

Culture matters because it’s about transparency, company behaviour, what you stand for, who you are. Brand Culture is how you convey, share, and translate that into your brand. It’s what every employee believes, does, and lives to express that culture.

 

Brand culture is driven by the fundamentals of your brand profiling i.e. what your brand stands for, it’s personality, mission, vision, values, purpose and way of doing things.

 

It’s about building a relationship between your culture, which may be developed over time but should ideally be guided from the top, the founder, owner or CEO — the visionary behind the brand — and your brand itself in terms of its personality, how it does things, the customer experience it creates and what it stands for. How you develop them to create a strong positive and distinctive brand experience.

 

Related: CEO Brand Leadership, How Vision Drives Brand Growth

 

There are also bad cultures within businesses and organisations which are not positive brand experiences. These poor brand cultures undermine performance, productivity, the whole perception of the organisation, the brand and negatively impact sales.

 

 

 

 

Our experience working with many different companies and organisations across diverse sectors clearly illustrates that it’s not that they haven’t considered company brand culture, it’s that developing and implementing something perceived to be so abstract can be difficult.

 

Related: Top 10 Brands for Customer Experience and What You Can Learn From Them

 

Because of this apparent client challenge we’ve pulled together some tangible ways you can start working on and developing your brand culture together with case studies from worldwide brands to show you ‘brand culture’ in action in the ‘real world’.

 

They’re brands who, like us, understand that building culture is not about placing a ping-pong table in a rec room, it starts with strong brand values that respect your employees and customers alike.

 

12 Ways To Improve Your Company’s Brand Culture so You Increase Performance and Grow Sales

 

1. Don’t be Afraid to Mix Marketing with People

Based in Kansas and proud of its community roots, CornerBank, now part of RCB Bank, describes itself as the bank that is “on your corner and in your corner”.[3] Their approach to culture and marketing lies in people, something which RCB Bank is trying to emulate since their merger last year.

 

CornerBank Brand Culture

Image via CornerBank

 

CornerBank practised what they preached by combining the head of HR and the head of marketing into one role because their “people are their best marketing tool”.[4] While it’s undeniably an unorthodox way of structuring a company, in doing so, they put faith in their staff, and most importantly, their staff’s commitment to upholding those community roots. It’s a company that looks out for the little guy and ensures that its employees identify strongly with this.

 

 

2. Bridge the Gap Between Employee and Customer

With a client retention rate of a near-perfect 97.8%, bank and insurance provider, USAA is one of the most reputable and trusted brands in America.[5]

 

They have a unique proposition in that the vast majority of their customers are active or retired US military. No one knows their customer better than USAA and the company instils this in their employees by training them in the experiences of a soldier.[6]
This works in two ways. Firstly, for company culture, it gives employees insights that help them do their job better, which improves job satisfaction, and challenges them in the right way. And secondly, it shows customers that their experiences are genuinely important to the brand as a whole, but also that the people who they reach out to for service are much better equipped to deal with their situation. For soldiers trying to do their banking from war zones, that is often a pretty unique one.

 

 

 

3. Foster Fun and Creativity

When you think of best practice company culture, tech companies tend to come to mind. They seem to understand the important connection between having fun and innovating. Squarespace embodies many of the principles of best practice company culture – an attractive office space, very few levels of management, celebrations, downtime and flexibility.

 

What’s important here is that these practices stem from the company’s respect for its employees. This is the approach we take when we are working with clients. Downtime and flexibility show employees that they are respected enough to get on with their job and exercise a certain amount of autonomy.

 

Related: Use Humour in Branding to Create Strong Emotional Bonds so You Increase Sales

 

The fun aspects of this company’s culture are layered on top of this to let employees know that their work is appreciated. This two-pronged approach ensures that your company brand culture is engrained as a real living experience for everyone and not just lip service.

 

 

4. Offer Flexibility

Flextime is not a particularly new concept, and you’ll find it especially prevalent in public service organisations and progressive companies in western countries. Because of this, extensive research has been conducted to measure the value of offering this to your employees.

 

A survey conducted by The Alternative Board (TAB), an international provider of executive peer advisory boards, of hundreds of business owners, found that business owners who thought that their company culture was ‘strong’, also offered their employees flexible conditions, particularly in terms of time and remotely working.[7] We tend to find that when workplaces concentrate on results, project completion, and quality of work, the perceived ‘drudgery’ of the 9-5 work culture is eliminated, and employees feel part of something bigger which engenders a greater sense of job satisfaction.

 

Medium-sized British activewear company, Sweaty Betty, embodies these principles by using open communication and showing that they understand their employees have life commitments in addition to their work ones. “We trust our team and operate on a flexi-hour policy,” says Jessica Howden, people and events coordinator. “If a team member would rather leave earlier in the afternoon because of a long commute, they can start earlier in the morning. Our working hours are not set in stone.”[8]

 

Sweaty Betty

Image via Sweaty Betty

 

 

5. Build Brand Relationships to Create Community

Ask any social scientist, the key to happiness among employees in a workplace is when they feel like they are part of something bigger that makes a difference. Apple and Nike exhibited this in their September 2016 keynote where they teamed up to introduce the second-generation Apple watch. This is a watch that allows people to be part of two tribes – the Apple tribe, and the Nike Running Club tribe.

 

 

 

 

Aligning with another brand that commands respect and complements your brand values and positioning promotes inclusivity in your workplace and makes your employees feel like they are part of something larger than themselves. It also strengthens your brand in the mind of your customer and leads to commercial growth – advocates of one brand will be more likely to become advocates of the other when they are aligned.

 

When we work with companies to identify co-branding opportunities, having a strong brand culture or value fit is essential. Some of the most effective brand collaborations and alignments are not even necessarily in the same industry. This can yield great results for SMEs where the primary focus is to stand out, increase brand awareness with sales and reach new audiences.

 

Related: Co-Branding, 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships

 

6. Hire ‘Your’ People

Traditional recruitment is generally based on skills and experience. Our approach to recruitment for your brand is to ascertain a baseline level of aptitude that you would consider mandatory, and place more emphasis on finding a suitable fit with your organisations brand culture.

 

 

 

 

Recruitment companies, such as New Zealand-based company, Weirdly, take an innovative approach to recruitment using a series of tactics to assess a potential employees culture fit before they even get to the interview phase. In doing this, you create a workplace where people feel a sense of belonging, as well as the crucial creation of an environment where ideas can be shared.

 

7. Employees as Brand Ambassadors

As we’ve mentioned, most companies will try to hire employees who reflect and embody their company’s values in some way. Increase engagement with your brand and create authentic communication by making it attractive for your employees to become brand ambassadors.

 

According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.”[9]

 

Brand Culture

Image via Edelman Insights

 

We believe that this likely stems from the perception that employees are much more likely to voice their honesty, particularly if they are disgruntled. An employee that is openly endorsing a company is viewed as a trustworthy and reliable opinion. Social media is a great platform to try this on. Creating environments where employees feel compelled to share the goings-on of their workplace on their personal channels speaks volumes, and is a great place to start.

 

American-based retailer, Zappos, has an infamous reputation for its focus on employee culture. “At Zappos, we really view culture as our No. 1 priority. We decided that if we get the culture right, most of the stuff, like building a brand around delivering the very best customer service, will just take care of itself.” Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos–January 9th, 2010, The New York Times[10]

 

Related: Brand Sponsorships: The Best Brand Ambassadors Are Already On Your Payroll

 

8. Give Your Audience a Sneak Peek into Your Culture

In a similar way, don’t be afraid to shed a little light on how great your company is behind the scenes. Doing so increases your brand value with your customers and gives employees a public reason to feel proud of where they work. Your customers could also be your potential employees.

 

Just ensure that what you are posting accurately reflects your brand values as a company and how you want people to perceive it. ASOS is a great example of this – they use their Instagram account to provide sneak peeks into their workplace culture. It injects personality into the brand and shows that they value their employees.

 

Brand Culture

Image via ASOS on Instagram

 

 

9. Remove Restrictive Hierarchies

Hierarchies are a particularly tricky area of company politics to navigate. We tend to look at hierarchies not from a ‘have them/don’t have them’ perspective, but rather explore why you have them, what purpose they serve and, most importantly, whether they are restrictive. Closed door policies can inhibit the flow of ideas and creates an ‘us and them’ culture, which is intimidating and often counter-productive.

 

While your brand needs a leadership team, and there will be things that the leadership team knows that employees aren’t privy to, there are ways to create an open and flexible environment.

 

Brand Culture

Image via Valve Software

 

SME, Valve Software[11], does this well – they have no managers, projects are started when an employee can group a team together, and performance management is conducted as peer review. As a result, Valve has experienced tremendous growth – something that would normally require rigidity to manage.

 

10. Make Your Employees Part of Your Brand Mission

Create an atmosphere where employees feel like they contribute to the outcome of your company or organisation. Environments where staff feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves have been constantly proven to be success-drivers. Results happen when everyone is invested.

 

So, how do you go about this? Our approach is to create a great brand and strategy communication from the top down. Internal communication should be tailored so that, no matter the structure of your company, each employee knows how they contribute to wider goals, and, most importantly, has a clear idea of what those wider goals are.

 

Including corporate social responsibility into part of your operations is a great way of tangibly showing both customers and employees that your company is committed to the greater good.

 

Relate: Brand CSR, The Business Case for Successful Branding and Social Good

 

Ice cream giant, Ben & Jerry’s, demonstrates that ethics are not just for the realms of small, niche enterprises by only using fair trade ingredients.[12] In strengthening their customer’s positive perception of them as a company, they increase employee morale, drive purchases, and ensure that their brand personality doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming disconnected with consumer’s needs.

 

 

 

 

Related: Personality Matters: Bringing Your Brand to Life to Grow Profits

 

11. Give your employees what they need

This is the proof point that your company is not just about placing that ping-pong table in the rec room. Showing employees that you value them and their lives as people, not just workers, vastly increases job satisfaction.

 

71% of staff at Goldman Sachs feel that they often or almost always receive great rewards, while 82% of American Express employees report that the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work.[13] While it’s not the glamorous, fun side of company brand culture, creating a base that ensures that your employees know they are valued through things such as child care, mentoring and health, can make a dramatic difference.

Brand Culture

Image via Goldman Sachs

 

12. Create Autonomy

Career analyst, Dan Pink, has spent much of his own working career studying what it takes for employees to be motivated. It turns out, creating an environment where employees feel that they are the ‘masters of their own destiny’ is one of the most important aspects of employee happiness. This can be relatively easy to establish if the work is naturally project or campaign based, so thought should be given particularly to the roles where work is more constant and not as varied.

 

 

 

 

For instance, a Web Content Manager at an SME spends their day ensuring that the content is relevant, accurate and appropriate for the company. A company with a poor brand culture will treat this Content Manager as a worker, one who processes and publishes the team’s work, whereas a company with a great brand culture will instil autonomy in the Content Manager. They own the content space, feel comfortable providing advice and direction, and are looked to as the expert in that field. A small change, but one that makes a huge difference.

 

Related: Family Business Branding and The Secret Drivers to Brand Success

 

Brand culture integrates itself into every part of your company from the way customers perceive your company and trust you, which in turn has a massive impact on their likelihood to buy and become brand advocates, to your own employees’ sense of job satisfaction.

 

If you’re struggling to strongly develop your brand culture in order to improve your overall performance, growth and profitability, then a brand audit is a very useful tool to help you evaluate your areas of strength, weakness and potential innovation and growth.

 

 

 

 

Take a look at our brand audit programme called the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. This online course takes you through all the key steps you need to consider in giving your brand a health check. It enables you to identify areas of strength, weakness and pinpoint new opportunities for innovation and growth. You can watch a free course preview here.

 

Brand Audit Health Check

Audit your brand now so you can identify where and how to build your strong brand culture

 

 

Alternatively, if you’ve got a major challenge on your hands then perhaps a brand revitalization or refresh may be the most effective option to turn things around. Feel free to get in touch, we’d be delighted to help. Drop us a line to brand@personadesign.ie or give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT hours 9:00-17:00).

 

Viewing your workplace as a mutually beneficial environment, one that adds value to both the employer, employee and customer is crucial to job satisfaction, role performance and customer satisfaction, which are what collectively drive growth and achieve strong commercial results.

 

There are so many ways that SMEs / SMBs can add value to their employees’ lives by providing them with the benefits and autonomy they need, to creating a fun and inviting environment that instils a sense of pride and appreciation. We can help you uncover and articulate your brand values, and most importantly, how to actually achieve them in your organisation in an authentic way that enhances your peoples’ lives while also increasing your profits.

 

Questions to consider

  1. Have you evaluated how you can improve your brand culture to attract and retain high performing talent so you can increase your brand awareness, market share and sales?
  2. When did you last give you brand a health check so you can identify areas of weakness, strength and where to innovate?
  3. Could you give some members of your team more autonomy to increase their motivation, performance and sense of fulfilment?
  4. Have you trained your staff and fully inducted them in what your brand stands for and what that means in a day-to-day actionable, living sense so you can improve their performance, brand alignment and the quality of the customer experience delivered?
  5. Is now the right time for a brand refresh so you can improve your brand culture, re-invigorate company morale and increase overall market impact and growth?

 

Want to refresh your brand but you’re not sure where to start to get a successful return on your investment?

 

Drop us a line or give us a call… we’re here to help!

 

If you want direction and support transforming your brand so it fully embraces changing trends and increases sales then the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is the perfect fit for you.

 

This is a two-day brand building intensive shared with a small group of like-minded peers where you work on your brand with our leadership. In fact, over the two days, you reevaluate your brand, codify it and create your brand strategy from the ground up whether you’re revitalising an existing brand or creating a new one.

 

At the end of the two-day Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind you leave with your fully documented brand strategy ready for implementation in your business or organisation.

 

If your team is larger and you’d like to include your full team’s participation in the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind then we also run in-house private client brand building intensive programmes too.

 

 

Ring us to discuss your brand building preferences

Just drop us a line to brand@personadesign.ie or give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT 9:00 – 17:00) to discuss your preferences and we’ll develop your brand building intensive bespoke to your particular brand requirements so that you have your brand solution built to greatly enhance your brand culture and secure your future success.

 

 

Persona Brand Building Blueprint Mastermind

 

[1] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238640

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2011/02/10/does-corporate-culture-drive-financial-performance/#7fb4ea207e9e

[3] https://hbr.org/2010/09/brand-is-culture-culture-is-br

[4] https://hbr.org/2010/09/brand-is-culture-culture-is-br
[5] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2010-02-18/usaas-battle-plan

[6] https://hbr.org/2010/09/brand-is-culture-culture-is-br

[7] http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5935-improve-company-culture.html

[8] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/britains-healthiest-company/11848497/flexible-working-hours.html

[9] https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2013/10/08/three-steps-for-transforming-employees-into-brand-ambassadors/#5f8f0e9e1040

[10] http://www.inc.com/ananya-bhattacharya/tony-hsieh-on-company-culture.html

[11] https://www.inc.com/david-burkus/how-this-company-runs-without-managers.html

[12] http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4679-corporate-social-responsibility.html

[13] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245667

 

 

 

Brand Innovation – How to Identify New Growth Opportunities

Every day, your brand has opportunities to positively or negatively impact both current and potential customers. Ultimately, high-quality brand interactions are the difference between people who make purchases and those who take their patronage elsewhere. Brand innovation is a key factor in harnessing customer attention, purchase and ongoing loyalty to ensure growth.

 

The positive and memorable impact your brand makes on existing or potential customers is critical, because statistics indicate two thirds of people feel conflicted and need to be reassured on multiple occasions and through numerous touch-points before they trust a brand and make a purchase. [1]

 

In past decades brands were able to generate consumer confidence directly with mass communication strategies such as TV advertising. Now that essential trust factor needs to be developed, nurtured and reinforced through multiple direct and indirect communication routes such as fans, friends, direct marketing and social interaction online. It’s more important than ever for your brand to innovate and leverage new lucrative opportunities that make it, not only highly visible, but known, liked and trusted by your primary audience.

 

If you’re struggling to make your brand standout and be trusted, liked and referred by your ideal customer then the Personality Profile Performer™ is the online brand building programme you need right now.

Factors That Indicate You’re Missing Lucrative New Growth Opportunities

 

There are many factors that may indicate your brand is missing lucrative opportunities, and subsequently losing momentum [2]:

 

  • Loss of Profits or Declining Sales: This is one of the most obvious signs that you’re not identifying and capitalizing on new development opportunities, and are losing momentum. You may not realize how severe the problem is until you look at how each quarter stacks up compared to previous years, and the numbers reveal how sales have plummeted. Earlier this year, Dunkin’ Donuts experienced falling profits, and analysts proposed one of the reasons was due to large burger chains, such as Burger King, offering unbeatable breakfast deals to lure loyal Dunkin’ Donuts customers elsewhere.

 

burger-king-breakfast-sandwich-700px

Image via businessinsider.com

 

  • Poor Customer Feedback: Are you systematically tracking customer feedback? Maybe you’ve asked for customer feedback through surveys and aren’t happy with the responses you’ve received. Perhaps client feedback has been benign — your brand’s simply not doing enough for them, which has motivated previously loyal customers look elsewhere. JetBlue, an American low-cost airline, hired a team of over two-dozen people to handle social media with the primary objective of responding fast to customer feedback across social media — the target being a response within 10 minutes. That’s one example of a brand that’s implemented a proactive brand strategy to mitigate and limit poor customer feedback by handling problems quickly and efficiently.

 

jetblue-700px

Image via jetblue.com

 

 

  • You’re Not Consistently Looking for New Customers or Growth Opportunities: If you’re not actively seeking out new customers or ways to grow, you’ll almost certainly miss new openings right in front of you.

 

  • A Decline in Social Media Traffic/Less Engagement With Your Posts: In addition to keeping an eye on overall social media traffic levels, you should also be concerned if there is less engagement with posts or poorer conversions, depending on your overall brand strategy.

 

  • Your Social Strategies Don’t Ultimately Convert Into Sales: Perhaps your marketing team has spent months developing a social strategy with the objective of translating heightened activity into increased sales. If you have one or more campaigns falling short, that’s a strong indicator that your brand is losing momentum and not on top of changing trends. In an effort to combat the negative press generated by the documentary film Blackfish, the SeaWorld brand of amusement parks spent millions to rehabilitate its image, including running an “Ask SeaWorld” campaign where social media users could pose questions to park representatives. Reportedly these efforts didn’t achieve the desired objectives — to stop the brand’s declining attendance numbers. However, the effects of the film could have been even more severe if the park chose not to respond at all.

 

seaworld-700px

Image via seaworldcares.com

 

  • Your Products or Services Don’t Perform as Expected in the Marketplace: When new products don’t have the impact you’d hoped for, or older products that had performed well over time no longer compete as well in the marketplace, its probably time to audit your offering thoroughly. A brand audit is effectively a health check of your brand to evaluate areas of weakness and strength. It’s also used to identify new innovation opportunities too.

 

If you need to evaluate your brand’s vulnerabilities, weak points and areas in need of innovation and change then now is the time to use the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. It’s an online programme that walks you through, step-by-step, the process of giving your brand a health check. In fact the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™ is a critical brand management tool essential in every brand owner’s arsenal.

 

AAA-eProduct-Promo-Start-Now-800x700px

 

 

 

Brand Strategies for Growth

 

Having considered some of the under performance indicators, corrective action is urgently needed:

 

• Solicit Customer Feedback in Conventional and Non-Conventional Ways:

We’ve already talked about how customer comments could reveal your brand isn’t doing as well as it should in the marketplace because it’s not adequately meeting customer needs. Such feedback could also be useful in shining a light on areas for innovation. In order to be maximally effective, consider methods of getting feedback that are often overlooked.[3]

 

For example, if you use cancellation tickets or opt-out methods, follow up with customers and find out why they decided to leave. Also, if your brand has an app, have a section where customers can go to give insight on how the company is doing in meeting their needs.

 

• Ask Employees for Their Views of the Company:

Employees are often your brand’s best brand ambassadors. Take time to understand how they feel about your brand and your company, and find out how you could improve. It’s also useful to ask employees if their friends have expressed opinions about your company, service or product, and if so, what they are. One of your primary objectives should be to ensure you have all your team onboard, behind your brand and motivated because every member of your team can make an important contribution to help it grow. Internal and external alignment is a critical part of your brand success.

 

• Take a Look at What Competitors Are Doing Well:

It’s also useful to examine the habits and trends of competitors in your sector and evaluate how they’re succeeding. This is a reference but should not become a source for emulation. You need to be different and distinctive which means you have to forge your own path.

 

You can acquire valuable insights by observing how successful competitors or high performing brands behave online. Sector relevance does have some bearing though when evaluating their strategies.[4] What do they do to find out what customers are thinking and feeling, and how do they capitalize on those opportunities?

 

• Seek Out Underserved Sectors or Customers:

There’s usually a lot of focus on the top performers in the market, but it’s worthwhile to take a dramatically different approach and view the market from the bottom up. By doing that, you may discover what’s sometimes called a disruptive opportunity. [5] You might decide to offer a product or service that’s more affordable to the bottom part of the market, thereby making it more accessible to everyone.

 

• Study Societal Trends:

By becoming more aware of trends throughout society, you’ll learn more about the amount of disposable income people have, what they tend to buy, and why. That insight could help you discover where your brand could pivot into an alternative market, reposition, rebrand and dominate. A key question to consider, have you thoroughly mapped out your different customer profiles or buyer personas? You can’t truly meet your customers’ needs if you don’t know their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations. Purchaser Personas or Buyer Personas are a critical brand development tool and a core part of the Personality Profile Performer™ online brand building course.

 

woman-at-laptop-700px

Image via Pixabay

 

• Highlight Seasonal Opportunities:

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is a perfect example of a product that highlighted a seasonal opportunity.

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, the product encouraged countless other companies to come up with pumpkin products of their own. You may even want to release products that make it easier for people to keep New Year’s resolutions. [6]

 

A couple of years ago, the Walgreen’s drug store chain did that by creating a special landing page to highlight six of the most common health-related New Year’s resolutions. Then, they offered associated products to help shoppers get off to a good start with their New Years goals.

 

walgreens-700px

Image via Rohit Bhargava

 

 

 

 

Branding Building Opportunities to Consider and What to Keep in Mind While Doing So

 

Here we’ll look at ways you can build your brand after you’ve identified your areas of weakness using a brand audit health check so you can harness and convert potential misses into winning opportunities. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you proceed [7]:

 

Offer Promotional Giveaways:

Freebies may help you enter a new market by giving potential customers a taste of your brand through your product or service so they can experience how good it really is. When deciding what to give complimentary or offer a limited time use, focus on products or services that are the best representations or experiences of your brand.

 

The Republic of Tea, a specialty beverage company, does that well by including free samples of its tea within catalogues, and also packaged with every order a customer places. This approach is a great way to get people acquainted with the taste and quality of this upscale tea and its comprehensive range, thereby helping customers discover that this is a brand worth the indulgence.

 

republic-of-tea-700px

Image via therepublicoftea.com

 

The brand also regularly offers limited-time-only products, including teas based on series of popular books. Free samples arguably encourage people to try teas they might not taste otherwise.

 

republic-of-tea-wonder-herbs-700px

Image via therepublicoftea.com

 

 

Position Your Company as an Expert on a Subject:

What can your company explain better than any other, or what need does your product fill? Once you can answer those questions, you’re in a good place to generate content that showcases your company as one worth listening to, but make sure such content is intriguing and creative.

 

E-mail Customers After Receipt:

Once customers receive your products, e-mail them to ask whether there are things your brand could have done better. To encourage participation, give customers something in exchange such as a discount off a future purchase.

 

 

 

Three Brand Innovation Case Studies

Let’s look at three case studies of companies that harnessed new opportunities in the marketplace and capitalized on them to grow their brands:

 

1. Toyota/VH1 Save The Music:

Marketing analysts suggest that marketing at music festivals is of growing importance, especially when reaching Millennials. [8] These two well-known brands teamed up in celebration of Lollapalooza, a huge music festival.

 

They invited people to answer the question “What Does Music Mean to You” on globed ornaments, and broadcast the results on social media. To tie in with this campaign, both companies will present $30,000 worth of music equipment to three Chicago-area schools. This campaign harnessed a missed opportunity because it boosted brand visibility, highlighted CSR [9], and used the power of social media through a special hash tag.

 

 

 

2. Club Mexicana:

This is a London-based SME / SMB vegan Mexican pop-up restaurant [10] that has found success with recipes that both vegans and meat eaters love. The goal is to not only to cater to a growing number of people on a vegan diet, but defy misconceptions that vegan food is bland and not meant for a broader audience. Club Mexicana entered the marketplace at an opportune time, when vegan preferences were becoming more popular.

 

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Image via clubmexicana.com

3. MVMT:

24-year-old college dropouts started a massively popular watch brand by offering cool timepieces at reasonable prices. They adopted a direct-to-consumer model, used crowd-funding and financial contributions from friends and relatives to kick-start the company, and recruited professionals to handle things they couldn’t do independently. This three-pronged plan helped them conquer the Millennial market. [12]

 

 

 

 

As you can see, once you’ve identified signs that indicate your brand is losing momentum in the marketplace, there are multiple ways to get it back on track — a brand audit is definitely required to ensure you achieve the best results. Pay attention to what customers are saying, and evaluate how you can better meet their needs, thereby finding lucrative opportunities you may have previously missed.

 

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Image via mvmtwatches.com

 

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Numerous signs indicate lost momentum, from faltering profits to poorly performing products or services
  • Seasonal opportunities, employee insight, customer feedback and societal trends are some things that can help you identify missing opportunities
  • Follow up with customers to learn what you could have done better
  • Lucrative opportunities are often found when companies proactively respond to signals from their customers and engage with them regularly

 

Questions to Consider:

  • Have you identified signs that your brand has lost momentum? Would a brand audit be in order?
  • How might you reach out to employees to get their thoughts on your brand? Have you considered brand induction and training to make them into powerful brand ambassadors?
  • In what ways could you capitalize on seasons, events or holidays to harness new opportunities?
  • Have you considered giving your customers product samples, discounted access, bundled packages or freebies so they can sample or experience your brand first hand to understand or appreciate its’ superb merits?
  • Have you investigated ways you could tie Corporate Social Responsibility brand strategies into a new growth opportunity, as Toyota and VH1 did?

 

 

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[1] Michelle Hutton, http://www.edelman.com, “I Talk About Your Brand Because I Like My Friends,” September 2015.

[2] Kimanzi Constable, http://www.entrepreneur.com, “5 Signs That You’ve Lost Momentum in Your Business,” March 2016.

[3] Heather McCloskey, community.uservoice.com, “5 Overlooked Customer Feedback Opportunities That Are Product Insight Goldmines.”

[4] Jim Belosic, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com. “10 Big Brand Facebook Tactics Any Business Can Use,” March 2014.

[5] Ronell Smith, http://www.moz.com, “How to Find Your Brand’s Disruptive Opportunity,” February 2016.

[6] Rodolfo Rinaldi Rincon and Hannah Lamb, http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com, “How Brands Can Seize Opportunities Around New Year Resolutions, ” December 2015.

[7] Amanda Stillwagon, http://www.smallbiztrends.com, “9 Ways You May Be Missing Opportunities To Build Your Brand,” May 2016.

[8] Jeff Fromm, http://www.millennialmarketing.com, “Marketing at Music Festivals: Playing to the Millennial Crowd, ” January 2014.

[9] Jordan Simon, http://www.vibe.com. “Toyota and VH1 Save the Music Partner Up for Lollapalooza and Chicago School Grants,” July 2016.

[10] http://www.clubmexicana.com/

[11] Damien Clarkson, http://www.theguardian.com, “Businesses and Entrepreneurs Seize Opportunities in Rise of Veganism, November 2014.

[12] Aimee Millwood, http://www.entrepreneur.com, “These 2 Young Entrepreneurs Seized the Time — and Success,” March 2016.