Brand Commoditization : How Safe is Your Brand?

A question to ponder this week… What would your customer’s identify as the number one reason for buying your brand?


If the answer is ‘low price’ or ‘convenience’ your brand could be at major risk of becoming just another commodity brand; a very risky position for any brand to be in.


When it comes to commoditization, no industry is safe.  Whether you produce consumer products or supply professional services, when your customers can no longer differentiate your offering from that of your competitors it puts the company’s success and profitability in jeopardy.


Commoditization is a never ending reality in business today. No matter how hard a successful brand works to be different, their competitors are working equally hard to replicate it.


Markets are awash with ‘me too’ products. Customer choice has never been greater online and offline. Brands need to be very proactive in reinforcing their differentiating factors to their customers i.e. the reasons why their customers should choose them. But without a truly unique product or service that process is becoming more and more difficult.



Is Your Brand At Risk?

How easily can you quantify the differences between your products and services from those of your competitors? Think then about how easily your customers and prospective clients can make the same distinction? What’s your big why for your brand? What does it stand for?


When the tangible differences between competing brands diminish, the danger of commoditization grows. But all is not lost. Many brands enjoy a sustainable longevity in their market, despite aggressive copycatting, and do so by identifying the broader value offered by their brands.


Articulating the extended intangible values of your brand creates a tougher opposition for competitors. Replicating a product is easy, replicating a brand identity is not.



5 Ways To Safeguard Your Brand Against Commoditization


1. Brand Values

The first step for any company in safeguarding against commoditization is to use internal knowledge to identify the company’s broader value. Take time to consider the intangible benefits of your brand, the perceived benefits to customers, and the desired emotive response when someone experiences the brand. Think back to the very beginning and refocus on the brand identity. What were the core values that established the brand?   


 Steve Jobs Apple


Apple’s strength lies not just in innovation but on a dedication to producing a high quality product. Their product prices are amongst the highest on the market but their willingness to lose a portion of market on price reaffirms their dedication to their core value of quality and establishes their brand identity in the mind of the consumer.

 Customer Experience


2. Relationships

Tangible elements are easy to replicate. Strong brands succeed in developing strong relationships with their customers. Leverage face-to-face interactions and social media to learn more about your customer and start a dialogue that fosters a meaningful relationship that extends beyond the brand experience. 


3. Leverage the Corporate Brand

The corporate brand often has sustainable equity. Leveraging the corporate reputation and trust can deliver broader value to product brands and help shape a comprehensive offering to customers that extends beyond the product service attributes.


 O Egg White Eggs Icograda


4. Package Design

Innovative packaging that creates an aesthetic beyond function can help increase perceived value to the customer and enhance market share. The O’Egg brand focused on package differentiation to turn a commodity product into the pre-eminent egg brand in Ireland. 


5. Brand Experience

When a product or service is easily replicated, innovating brand intangibles can strengthen the position of the brand and protect it from the threat of commoditization.


 Apple Customers Queue Ny


Think differently about your business. Change how its’ perceived. A unique service area, outstanding customer support, or special loyalty rewards can set your brand apart.


Starbucks’ strength grew from creating a brand experience around a commodity product. What set the brand apart were the various elements that nurtured the customer’s experience of the brand; from the service setting, to the coffee ordering system, to the interactions with staff. They changed the way the world ordered coffee.

 Starbucks Commoditization


Global giant that it is, Starbucks is now under threat because the brand experience has become the commodity and the Starbucks focus has drifted to profit margins and market growth rather than extending customer value. The brand is currently in the process of returning their focus to their core value, putting the customer’s coffee experience at the heart of their operations again.



One of the biggest problems that lead to a weakening of brand equity is a lack of awareness in the company of the causes of commoditization. 


Businesses end up spending valuable resources on updating products and expanding product lines without having a real understanding as to what their customer’s really need and value.


 Customer Service


• When was the last time you surveyed your customers or researched your market properly?


• Do you really know what’s happening at grass roots level in your market?


• Do you need a brand audit?


In short, how safe is your brand?

When Is The Right Time for a Logo Redesign?

2012 could be seen as The Year of Logo Redesign with some of the world’s largest brands taking a fresh approach to their corporate logos. From simplified updates of existing logos to completely new designs, the last few months has seen brand design success and fails from well-known global brands.


The evolution of brand logos is far from a new phenomenon and brands such as Coca Cola can track the transformation of their current logo over nearly 100 years. Latest trends in brand logo strategies however show that logo updates signify far more than an evolution in design-over-time.


 Coca Cola Logo Evolution



4 Reasons Why Your Brand Logo May Need A Redesign or Update?


Logos are the corporate face of the brand. The logo in itself is not the brand but it acts as the visual hook reminding customers about what the company stands for, its brand personality and values. It is the glue that binds all the brand information together. With the brand’s visual corporate identity at stake a logo change is no small matter. But how do you know when a logo redesign is necessary?


1. Change in Company Structure

There are often obvious reasons behind logo redesigns. Mergers, acquisitions or company spin-offs often necessitate a new logo that symbolizes the new company.


2. Audience Misperceptions

Sometimes there may be misperceptions and confusion among key audiences about what the brand represents. Powerful brands are ones that have strong values, with an authentic story, which are clearly understood and lived both internally and externally amongst stakeholders and customers alike. If the brand values and story no longer resonates with the target audience or, customer brand experiences differ from the brand promise, then a logo redesign as part of a complete brand revitalization programme, repositioning and re-launch strategy can help realign the brand with the customer and their brand expectations.


 Ebay Logo Old New


3. Shift in Corporate Strategy

If your company is expanding its offering, such new products, new features etc. then an updated logo can signal the brands evolution and change in the marketplace. Ebay recently launched their refreshed logo to reflect the company’s plans to shift their corporate strategy away from auctions and move towards full-priced merchandise. The new logo keeps the colours of the original logo but changes the letters and streamlines the design to reflect the new direction of the brand.


 Band Aid Logo Old New


4. Update of old design

Brands that have been around a long time with a extensive legacy often require a careful evolutionary logo refresh to remain relevant in the market without losing any of the much valued old brand provenance. Johnson & Johnsons’ BAND-AID brand has been in existence since the 1920s and, prior to its latest update, the logo had remained the same since the 1980s. Their latest bolder, more distinctive logo was deemed necessary to create something that feels contemporary and modern yet honours the heritage of the brand.


 Budweiser Brand Evolution


Budweiser has again refreshed its logo. It is hoped the re-evaluation of their brand strategy together with its visual refreshment, which emphasizes the colour red and reflects their ‘continued commitment to quality’, will reverse reduced consumer interest in the brand. Critically the brand’s updated look incorporates the core brand hallmarks that loyal brand followers will recognize.


 Twitter Logo Old New


Earlier this year Twitter launched their revitalised logo. While still a relatively young brand, the company saw a need to simplify and streamline the iconic blue bird. The new logo is created from three overlapping circles, which according to Twitter head of design is “similar to how your networks, interests & ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends”. The new logo reinforces the brand identity with the customer and strengthens the consistency of the brand image online.




In contrast Microsoft launched their new logo design, which is the first time the brand has updated their logo in a quarter of a century. The new design was created to attract and embrace a younger broader demographic to the brand.




The Potential Risks


While logo updates are often necessary to remain relevant in the market it is critically important not to damage any brand equity developed over previous years. The last thing logo refreshment should do is to alienate or confuse loyal customers.


 Jc Penny Logo Confusion


American retail brand JCPenney has redesigned their logo three times in as many years. The changes were designed to coincide with the brand’s repositioning strategy but have left many customers confused as to what the brand stands for and its identity.


 New Old Gap Logo


Retail giant Gap suffered one of the biggest logo redesign disasters in decades when they launched a completely new logo last year. The brand made a fatal flaw when they failed to research and explore the influence of the logo on their customer base. The new logo received major criticism from both loyal customers and design critics alike, who slated the company for changing the brand’s iconic blue square.


While the brand’s desire to modernize the logo for the digital world was understandable, they missed an critical opportunity to engage with their customers and the online community in the redesign of the logo.

 Maguire   Paterson Old New Logo 2008


Brands need to constantly manage their engagement, reputation and image in the market in order to remain relevant with their customers. Sometimes it is small updates to the logo, as was the case with the old Maguire & Paterson Matches brand, dating from 1882, that can breathe new life into a brand and update it for the current market to keep it relevant and take it into the future.


• Is your brand still relevant and resonating effectively with your target audience or in need of revitalization for continued growth?


• Does your current logo meet the needs of both your brand and your target market?


• Have you undertaken recent research to identify your customer’s perceptions of your brand?


If you’d like to find out more about what’s involved in a Brand Revitalisation and Re-launch Programme, and if it’s the right strategy to support your business growth, then feel free to give us a call. We’d love to talk.


Epicom Relaunch Their Very Successful Food Manufacturing Brand

Epicom, a very highly regarded, specialist food manufacturing business based in Navan, Co. Meath, have relaunched their brand to market.


 Ipad Epicom Website Wheat


Epicom provides a full turnkey, ambient food manufacturing service for the retail market on behalf of their customers, which typically includes global multi-nationals and large exporters.


 Ipad Epicom Website Choc


Much sought after for their rigorous operation standards and multi-allergen controlled production units, Epicoms’ service includes every aspect of the manufacturing process from new product development, research and development, full allergen control to bespoke quality control solutions and distribution.


The real secret of their phenomenal success though lies in the people behind the brand. They are an incredibly skilled team of highly qualified professionals, who are not only very committed to what they do, but are also very friendly approachable. Theirs is an ethos of complete operational transparency with a ‘can do’ culture, of doing whatever it takes to meet their customers needs. 


 Ipad Epicom Website Isaac


To find out more visit their new website

Company Culture: Your Brand’s Strongest Competitive Advantage

Company culture may be the most vague aspect of brand management but carefully controlled and nurtured it can provide your brand with a sustainable competitive advantage that even your strongest competitors cannot replicate.


Company culture is a culmination of the behaviors, attitudes, relationships, core brand values and environment within a business. Simply put, your company culture can be viewed as “the way we do things around here”.  The manners in which these components are managed make your culture what it is.



How Does This Support Brand Development?

Many of the strongest brands have a product offering that is similar to that of competitors in the market. What gives them their greatest competitive advantage however is that while competitors can replicate the product, apply similar marketing techniques, and headhunt their staff, they can never fully duplicate their company culture. A company culture is the one truly unique sustainably competitive advantage a brand can have.


A winning culture can be a real point of differentiation, but it must be managed, driven, and reinforced in order to truly see results.


 Team Culture



What is the Culture Within Your Company?

Many companies aim to strategically shape the culture that exists within their organisation, but even companies who have never heard of company culture already have one in place.


The question is, is your company culture strengthening your brand or holding it back or, worse still, undermining it? A good place to start when developing and understanding your corporate culture is asking your staff and customers what they think of the company; the good, the bad and the ugly. What you need to take from that exercise is what elements of the existing company culture that you like and your customers like, and what needs to be eliminated.



What You Do, Not What You Say!

The core values you identify for your brand will shape the behaviour of your employees and provide the guidelines they need to best serve the brand. If providing the best customer service possible is a core value of the brand then employees know that they are expected to do their best to achieve this value through all customer interactions.


Remember, it is not enough for your brand to have strong core values that are clearly articulated to stakeholders if they are not acted upon. It is what you do, not what you say that counts. It must be a fully integrated and intuitive part of your brand’s signature way of doing things.



What Is It That Your Company Values?

In order to create a corporate brand culture that yields results you must first identify what is it you value as a company? How to you live and authentically demonstrate the importance of these brand values to your stakeholders?


If you want to delight your customers then what is the reward for your employees when they achieve this?  Think of it this way. If your company culture values customer service and your core value is to delight customers, then what happens if two supermarket employees each make sales of equal monetary value but one offers to carry the customer’s bags to the car. Does that employee receive a reward for going out of their way to delight the customer? Or more to the point, is the other employee penalized for not doing so?


 Team Hands


Reward your staff for embracing your company’s culture. Don’t just review employees based on measuring results, measure their behaviour and what they try to bring to the work environment.  Encourage, support and acknowledge those that not only promote but act on your core brand values.


If you want to create a sustainable corporate brand culture than staff recruitment should aim to find employees who fit within the existing brand culture and whose values are closely aligned with the brand.


Zappos famously offer potential employees $3000 to leave the company during their initial training to make sure those who choose to stay do so because they believe in the brand and not just the financial benefits of the job.



The Role of The Leader

The most critical influencer on the development of a corporate culture that supports strong brand development is the leader. Leaders understand that their brand’s identity is shaped through touch points between their customers and their organisation.


Leaders cannot possibly anticipate every possible touch point that could influence perceptions of the company’s brand, and advertising can only get you so far, but they can set the example as to the attitude and behavioral cues for the corporate brand culture.


Strong leaders understand that in a sustainable winning company culture, the behaviours of employees are intrinsically linked to relationships, informed by attitudes, built on a foundation of core brand values and suitable to their industry environment. By managing these cultural components a leader can create a company culture that supports strong brand development internally.


 Southwest Airline Staff 


Southwest Airlines embrace a company culture that nurtures staff first and customers second. This may seem counter intuitive but by giving employees the tools to make decisions, by building a culture where people feel respected and valued, Southwest Airlines understood that these values would also be reflected in interactions with customers. Their corporate culture has created an environment where employees want to deliver the best customer service in the business. 



As Zappo’s CEO Tony Hseih states; “company culture and company brand are two sides of the same coin. Your culture is your brand.”



• Does your corporate culture nurture your brand and provide a competitive advantage?


• How do your core brand values support your corporate culture?


• Do you as a company leader understand your role in the development of your company’s brand culture?


• Do you need to engage in a Brand Discovery Programme™ to re-evaluate your company culture and brand values so you can reinvigorate your brand’s offering to make it stronger, more relevant and more profitable?


Are Your Brand Values On The Money? They’re Critical to Your Profitability

The last five years has seen a massive shift in the fundamentals that shape the corporate operating environment. Technological advances and economic influences have led to fundamental changes in global business practices and customer behaviour.


These changes demand businesses to alter and adapt their business models in order to maintain relevancy and profitability, but it also challenges companies to reinvent their strategies while maintaining the company’s vision and staying true to their core brand values.


 Brand Values Chalk


What Are Core Brand Values?

Core values are essential to the integrity of every brand while also underpinning every organisation’s culture and priorities. They provide a framework through which all decisions surrounding the brand are made.


Explicit core values empower employees and provide them with information they need to understand the brand. Strong brand values help employees articulate what makes their brand different compared to their competitors and enables them to communicate its message effectively to their customers, thereby making them far more effective brand champions and sales agents for your business.


In times of market turmoil and change the temptation exists for business leaders to abandon or compromise their brand values in an attempt to capture market share or adapt to new customer demands. A high quality brand that changes their core values and lowers prices in an effort to capture market share only confuses both customers and employees alike, which in turn undermines the brand, the very heart and life blood of their business. 


While every business must keep profits front of mind, with ongoing plans for increasing sales, failing to act with an authentic representation of the values and beliefs of the brand leads to loss of credibility for the company and brand erosion or devaluation and eventually loss of market share.


 Starbucks Beijing China


Remain True to Your Core Brand Values

Starbucks is a global brand but their commitment to their core values is evident in every market in which they operate. Their success in the Chinese market, a market where many American branding giants have failed, was due to their ability to adapt their strategy to meet the dynamics of the Chinese market while staying true to Starbuck’s core brand values.


Understanding the difference in the Chinese consumer tastes and expectations, Starbuck’s altered their product to include flavours preferred by the Asian consumer. Unlike their western peers, Chinese customers preferred to sit in rather than take out and so Starbucks encouraged this element of the customer service experience. They could have adopted a low price strategy more in keeping with the purchasing power of the average Chinese customer. They could have changed their entire business model to match that to other tea and coffee houses in China.


What Starbucks refused to alter was their dedication to the highest level of customer service and a high quality product. Their commitment to their core brand values paid off.


While many of their Chinese customers claimed they actually preferred the taste of rival brands, they continued to go to Starbucks because of the level of customer service they received. By maintaining their core values Starbucks captured the market of the higher-spending middle class Chinese consumer while also becoming a status symbol along the way.



Flexible in Strategy, Firm in Core Values

A brand strategy should be flexible and capable of adapting to changing market demands, but solid core brand values are essential to provide structure and direction for the brand to evolve and grow profitably. 


Customers need brands to adapt to their changing demands and brands must alter their offering and communication in order to stay relevant. A brand that tries to offer everything to the customer without remaining true to the underpinning direction of their brand values will fail. 


Customers are quick to recognize a brand that is acting disingenuously and without substance. Customers develop brand loyalty based on identifying and aligning themselves with the values of that brand. In order to capture and deliver value to your customers you must first identify and commit to the values that are core to your brand and your business, in order to meet your customers’ needs authentically.


Brand Values Text


4 Elements of Brand Strategy That Allow More Flexibility:


1. Location:

In most cases the ability to transfer the brand from one market to another is not something that is fundamental to the brand, unless the brand is built around a specific location. Las Vegas’s Sin City brand is intrinsic to that one location.


2. Communication:

New communication channels can and should be adopted in order to maximize customer value. Even television, radio and print brands expand their communication channels to include a mix of appropriate online communication channels such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, web sites and appropriate blogs to name a few.


3. Product Features:

While the core product should be consistent across markets, strong brands can adapt some features to suit changing local market demands.


4. Message Creation:

Brands are learning that they need to relinquish some control of the brand message and embrace customer-created content. If the communication of the core value is strong then the message created by the customer will more than likely still fit within the core brand strategy too.



When it comes to brand strategy there is no one-size-fits-all model. There are countless channels available and it is about selecting the most relevant to the brand at that current time. However having concrete core brand values is key to your success.


Core values are the focal point from which the brand message is shaped and communicated to and through customers. Remaining true to your core brand values ensures that no matter what turn the markets take, your brand will have a clear vision of what the brand strives to achieve, your brand promise and the direction on how to achieve those values through re-shaping your business strategies.



Volvo Safety Video Image


Volvo is a brand that has steadfastly remained true to their core value across the various markets in which they operate. Volvo state that “safety is a fundamental core value… safety is and must be the basic principle in all design work”.  They consistently offer value to their customers through their commitment to safety.  


Your brand strategy should be flexible and capable of adapting to changing market dynamics, integrating new methods of communication, satisfying new customer tastes, even entering new product markets, but your core brand values must remain true and underline everything you do.


• Does your brand have clear brand values?


• Does you brand strategy allow your brand to adapt to changing market dynamics?


• Do you need to redefine what values are core to your business?


• Do you need to engage in a Brand Discovery Programme™ to re-evaluate your brand values and revitalize your offering to keep it relevant and profitable?


 Brand Discovery Blog Ad


7 Steps to Branding Your Way Out of Recession and Into Profitable Growth

There are few companies in existence that have not felt the affects of the current recession impacting on their business and profit margins. As many of us know, uneasiness in the market fostered by fears of job losses and reduction in wages has consumer spending at an all time low.


Many business leaders feeling the pressure on their profit margins often react by applying cuts to their budgets, with marketing spend often first on the chopping block.


Brands Busting Recession


However, as history has shown us, savvy business leaders can recognize that cuts to budget spend alone are not the answer and that changes in the market demand adaptation to current marketing practices.


Recessions create huge challenges to businesses but why try and weather the storm when the opportunity exists to capitalize on your brand equity to strengthen your market position, and even develop profitable growth.


Opportunity Everywhere Crop



7 Steps to Brand your Way out of Recession


1. Adapt Your Brand to Customer Needs and Wants

How have consumers lives been changed by the recession? How have their needs changed? Your brand needs to be managed in a way that adjusts its marketing strategy to meet these changing consumer patterns. Revamp your brand packaging to be more relevant or user friendly, develop and up-sell new service products; analyze the new needs of the market and adjust your brand accordingly.



2. Brand Your Way to Market Growth

“You can’t save your way out of a recession – you have to invest your way out. You can’t just invest in the good times and then forget about them in the bad times and hope to get any results” Craig Barrett. Chairperson Intel  


A reduction in branding investment will have a knock on effect on the entire business. Reduced visibility or weakened brand equity leads to a reduction in demand leading to negative effects on profitability.


History has shown us that brands that increased or even maintained their investment in the brand during a recession actually saw an increase in marketing share. If your competitors are making cuts to their marketing budget than by maintaining your spend you are gaining an instant competitive edge.  



3. Review and Remove

Review and analyze your current brand activity. Cuts to marketing budgets without focused brand strategy have detrimental effects on the overall profitably of a company.


However, removing any lower value marketing costs can actually improve efficiency and effectiveness of your brand strategy. Being more selective in where and how you market your brand can actually bolster profitability. Track the ROI of brand investment and re-allocated funds to marketing activities to monitor what results in increased revenue for your business.


Brand Power 


4. Maintain Consumer Brand Relationships

During a recession remember your current customers. Experts agree there is no better time to focus on clients who are brand advocates. It is far cheaper to keep current customers than to attract new ones. Your current customers understand your brand. They have an affinity with it.



5. Increase Consumer Confidence

Reduction in sales corresponds to increases in consumer wariness. With cuts to wages and uncertainty in their future, consumers have become increasingly cautious in their spending habits.


Now is the time to use the strength of your brand to reassure customers. Convince your customers that they are making the right decision by purchasing your brand. Investing in building strong brand equity can lead to increased sales with customers developing a clear understanding as to the value of your brand. This information gives them the confidence they need to make the decision to purchase.



6. Remember Your Brand Values

Focusing on brand values can refocus the business itself and reignite the passion that drove the business in its early years. In a time where the negatives of the recession weigh heavy on consumer’s minds, being faced with a brand that is driven by passion, determination, inspiration, with clear values and purpose will stand out in the market and can inspire sales.



7. Customer Added Value

Consumer needs change in a recession. Purchasing decisions are often based less on convenience and more on price and value. Adding perceived value to a customer is far easier and has less of a direct affect on profitability than changing pricing structures.

Wow your clients at the various brand touch points and they feel they are getting more for their money than competing brands. Contribute good will, service during hard times and develop customer loyalty that will be stronger than ever when recession ends.


Brand Growth 


Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to cut down a three and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. Business leaders need to start sharpening their marketing practices, not cut them.



• Have you analyzed the changes to your market?


• How have you adapted your brand strategy to changing consumer needs?


• Can you streamline your branding to get a better return on investment?


What have you been doing to brand your way out of the recession? Leave a comment or drop us a line. We’d love to hear your success stories.


Can You Streamline and Simplify to Increase Your Brand Profitability?

Tea or Coffee? When restricted to two options, choosing your preference is simple. However, standing at a supermarket shelf faced with several brands and multiple varieties the choice can be overwhelming.


Supermarket Shelf Overwhelm

 Supermarket shelf choice overwhelm!


When it comes to building a strong profitable brand sometimes less is more. If your brand aims to deliver then it must make the decision making process as easy as possible for the consumer.


Is it Time for Your Brand to Streamline and Simplify?

Sometimes you might feel you are offering the market everything you can: offering multiple products to multiple market segments, and communicating through all the marketing touch points at your disposal.  However, if you are not seeing the returns to match this level of offering perhaps it is time to simplify your marketing strategy.


Ford Any Colour As Long As Its Black

Ford: Any colour as long as it’s black!


4 Ways to Streamline Your Brand Strategy and Strengthen Your Brand Equity


1. Focus

Offering everything to everyone rarely works. Different markets have different needs.  Reassessing and refocusing your brand marketing strategy can help your company identify who your consumers really are, what that market wants, and how best to target them. A highly targeted brand experience offers greater value to the consumer which in turn can lead to greater brand affinity and a more lasting profitable relationship between the brand and consumer.


2. Be Selective

Just because you can use multiple channels to communicate with your market doesn’t mean you should. Using multiple channels can lead to noise and increased consumer confusion rather than creating a strong brand message. Being selective with your touch points makes it easier to monitor the consumer’s reaction and responses to your brand, thereby making it easier to structure your brand message to best influence your target market.


Being selective should also extend to the marketing message itself. Keep the message clear and concise. You should be able to communicate your brand message in a few short sentences.


3. Streamline Product Offering

Streamlining your brand offering can actually lead to increased sales. Eliminating certain brand offerings can also eliminate consumer confusion. A simpler more focused brand strategy can be more appealing to consumers and makes their decision to purchase an easier one. If 30% of your products generate 70% of your sales then reducing your product offering can actually boost sales.


Ronseal Wood Stain


4. Simplify Who You Are & What You Do

A focused brand strategy starts from the inside. If you cannot articulate who you are and what you sell as a company in a few short minutes then you need to look at streamlining your internal strategy. Analyze why you ‘do what you do’, outline core values, set goals, and perhaps redefine your product offering. Reassessing your original corporate strategy can help focus your brand strategy moving forward. When you started in business what were you selling? Who was your target market? What was your original brand identity?


Why it Can Work – The Jam Effect

Columbia University conducted a consumer study offering an array of brands of jam and chocolate for consumers to choose from. Consumers who were given a choice of 6 brands were 30% more likely to make a purchase than those given a choice of 24-30 brands.


Toothpast Choice Paralysis

Toothpaste choice paralysis!


Decision Simplicity in the purchase process is the number 1 reason why consumers 
are likely to buy your brand, do so repeatedly, and recommend it to others.


One of the fundamental roles of a brand is to positively influence purchase behavior. Having a focused streamlined brand offering with a clear brand message that simplifies the decision making process at the point of purchase can be a winning strategy.


Consumers faced with multiple brand variations can be overwhelmed. Offering consumers a refined selection can give your brand a point of differentiation within your market.


A brand that tries to offer everything to everyone will satisfy some but wow few. Being selective and focused with your product offering, your marketing channels, and your brand message can lead to expanding profits. It’s that simple.



• Is your level of commercial returns relative to the size of your brand offering?


• Do you need to refocus your brand positioning?


• Is your brand strategy in need of simplification?


• Do you need to eliminate consumer brand confusion?


What’s your view on implementing a simpler decision making process for your customer through a streamlined brand offering? 


TLTR: Why streamlining your brand strategy can strengthen your brand profitability. Decision simplicity in the purchase process is the number 1 reason why consumer s
are likely to buy your brand, do so repeatedly, and recommend it to others. Sometimes the brand with the smallest market offering presents the greatest brand value to the consumer. 




Does Your Brand Name Transfer Successfully to the Global Export Markets?

Local versus Global. If you are considering launching your product or service on the international market you’ve probably invested significant amounts of time, effort and resources to date in developing your offering or solution.


Have you invested comparable effort in the foundations, planning and development strategy for your brand or even the name for your brand?


When it comes to brands or sub-brands, the name is one of the most important elements in its proposition. A name is often the first act of public branding and helps establish the tone for your product or service which is even more important if you plan trading on an international market. Being a distinctive, different, memorable yet familiar name takes you miles closer to the sale.


You might think naming your brand is very easy and in some instances there are “happy accidents” that work brilliantly, but they are largely in the minority. In the commercial world your brand’s name can have a very strategic impact on your business, particularly if its use is for a global market and this often stretches far beyond casual observation or the aurally pleasing.


Typically brand names fall into the following categories:

• Evocative: Names that evoke a relevant vivid image

• Personification: Many brands take their names from real or myth

• Descriptive: Names that describe a product benefit or function

• Neologisms or Madeup Names: Completely made-up words

• Founders’ Names: Using the names of real people

• Geography: Many brands are named after regions and landmarks

• Alliteration & Rhyme: Names that are fun to say and are memorable

• Foreign Word: Adoption of a word from another language

• Acronym & Initialism: A name made of initials


The Irish market is becoming increasingly multicultural and leveraging your growth through the internet can effectively make your market borderless, depending on what you sell. These factors cumulatively demand considerably more strategic thinking if you want successful target market penetration on a larger scale, rather then just your local catchment area.


Global giant Kraft Foods, who arguably have the marketing budget to make any brand name well known, recently invested considerable effort behind the naming of their new global snacking division.




The name selected, ‘Mondeléz’ (pronounced mohn-dah-LEEZ), is the result of suggestions garnered from thousands of Kraft employees around the world. It was created from two separate submissions, one from North America and the other from a European employee. Kraft executives explain that the Mondelēz name is a portmanteau that communicates the idea of a “delicious world” through the Latin word for “world” (Monde) and “delēz,” which is a “fanciful expression of “delicious.”


According to CEO Irene Rosenfeld “for the new global snacks company, they wanted to find a new name that could serve as an umbrella for our iconic brands, reinforce the truly global nature of this business and build on our higher purpose – to ‘make today delicious.’ Mondelēz perfectly captures the idea of a ‘delicious world’ and will serve as a solid foundation for the strong relationships we want to create with our consumers, customers, employees and shareholders”.


On the other hand large Chinese brands are finding it increasingly difficult to break into western markets because of the lack of understanding, by western consumers, to the meanings and pronunciation of ethnic brand names.


Li Ning Logo


Referred to as ‘silent dragons’, companies, such as Li-Ning, a sporting clothing company, have huge brand value in their home markets but are failing to impact globally. Li-Ning even re-named its brand after the towering Chinese basketball player who made headlines at the Beijing Olympics but to no avail. Western audiences have simply not responded to a name that carries little meaning in their own market.


Equally Irish names might have resonance to Irish consumers but how would some of them fare in international markets? Could global consumers pronounce them easily or understand what they mean? Can they transcend cultural barriers? These factors can have a very significant bearing on your brand even being noticed, not to mention recall amongst your target audience.


Connemara Logo


Connemara SeafoodsIreland’s premier seafood cultivator, processor and exporter have been exporting very successfully to the global markets for decades now. The brand name, Connemara, now has a high recognition value amongst its target market but they have consistently invested in their brand over the years to achieve these results. Their brand is very firmly rooted in their Irish geographic location with is Class A Waters off the West Coast of Ireland, the consistent premium quality of their product ranges, their multi-award winning reputation, highly regarded leadging edge expertise and the value of the family provenance with decades of specialist knowledge.


Certain types of Irish products and services have very successfully developed powerful and highly recognized brand names on the global markets particularly in the areas of food, beverages, alcohol, glass wear, foot wear and fashion. Indeed some of our best known brands are leaders in their categories e.g. Guinness, Jameson, Dubarry, Kerry Group, Baileys and Waterford Crystal to name a few.


If you are re-branding or considering a new name for your product or service for a global, or even local market, then please don’t treat it as an after thought. Give it the strategic input it deserves at the beginning to avoid the biggest pitfalls and you’ll reap the rewards into the future.


Key name selection criteria for a global market include:

• Fit with the brand proposition

• Be relevant for all target audiences

• Be distinctive, different and memorable

• Future-proofed for the life of the brand

• Linguistically and culturally acceptable and appropriate

• Appropriate if translated into other languages or cultures

• Easy to spell, pronounce and refer

• Registerable and protectable as a trademark and URL

• Approvable by the requisite regulatory authorities


Set clear and consistent objectives and criteria for your name selection and be unwavering in benchmarking potential name against those criteria. Don’t be tempted to choose your brand name subjectively!


• Consider, who is the target audience for your product or service and exactly who are you trying to appeal to?


• What meaning will your brand name convey to your ideal customer and will it help shape the desired identity of your brand?


• How does the brand name fit with positioning strategy of your product or service?


• What is the role of your brand name within your company’s overall brand strategy?


• Is your current brand conveying the desired meaning to your customers or do you need a re-branding strategy?      

Are You Leading Your Brand Effectively to Maximize Commercial Success?

Branding is not just about big business. Regardless of whether you have a specific brand strategy in place or not, if you are operating in business then you have a brand – good or bad, weak or strong.


In small and medium businesses the single greatest influence on the business brand is the company leader. Think about it. Even if the company has marketing personnel, the final decisions and creative control lie with the executive director. This is something many leaders of small and medium enterprises fail to recognize.


Remember, your business brand goes far beyond the just the name and logo. Your website design, your marketing message, your staff, your pricing policy, the look of your business interior, your brand collateral, your customer service together with the whole culture of your business all shape your customer’s perception of your business and your brand. And who has overall control of these elements? The leader. So whether intentional or not, for better or worse, as leader you are currently shaping the development of your business brand.


Building a strong brand starts from the inside. Whatever happens inside the business reflects what the customers perceive from the outside.  I am sure we all know of a local business we love to visit because the staff are friendly and helpful. In more cases than not, this is because the owner is the friendliest and most helpful of them all. The owner is the influencer who affects everything around them within the business and beyond.


In fact, many of the world’s biggest brands are shaped by the vision of their leaders.  Anyone who has read Steve Jobs biography knows that he was the visionary of the Apple brand. He influenced everything about the brand. Apple is design obsessed because Steve Jobs was design obsessed.

Steve Jobs Apple


If we think about the brand personality of Ryanair, we think abrasive, sometimes downright rude, unfriendly, brash but invariably the best deal and on time. Now think about Michael O’Leary, Ryanairs CEO, any of those traits come to mind?! It’s no accident that these characteristics are cultivated as part of his public persona to congruently fit with the brand, like it or hate it!


Michael O Leary Ryanair

You can make similar leadership and brand visionary comparisons with Richard Branson and the Virgin brand, amongst others, a very different brand and leadership style but he is undoubtably a very shrewd leader of the Virgin brand. And these are global companies. In small and medium companies where the business leader has total control on decisions, they intentionally or otherwise shape the brand more than anyone else.


We know that some business leaders are better than others in terms of skills and knowledge and this has an obvious effect on the financial success of one business over its competitors.  But business acumen aside, when a business leader is closely associated with the embodiment of a brand their sheer existence in the company has an effect on people’s confidence in the company performance and ultimately the profitability of the business.


Steve Jobs is one of the greatest examples of how strong the influence of a leader is on a brand. When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple the company’s shares dropped as much as 7%. This company is a global titan, with some of the world’s greatest minds and strongest business strategists at its helm, and yet, without Jobs’ involvement customers were wary because Apple had become synonymous with Jobs and his utter embodiment of what made Apple ‘Apple’. Customers found it to difficult to separate the brand from the leader, ultimately affecting the company’s bottom line.


If your business is not performing or where you want it to be, you need to look at what you are doing to influence those in your company, your brand and how its perceived internally and externally and the service you provide.


If you don’t have a clear vision of what your business brand identity is, what your brand stands for and how it engages with your target audience in a way that matters to them, then how can your business have a clear strategy ?


The huge positive for leaders of small and medium businesses is that building a strong brand is not difficult, done correctly and with the right team expertise on board to support you, because it starts with you. 


If you are serious about building a strong brand for your company and maximizing your profit potential then the first step is to undertake brand profiling for your business. Understanding your brand’s current position and identity in the market will help you on your way to understand the role you can play in shaping it to greater profitability for the future.


Your business’ brand strategy lies in your hands and with it the growing profitability and success of your business.

As the leader of your business do you know what aspects of your brand are working effectively, or falling short and in need attention or just tired, out of touch and in need of repositioning and revitalisation to increase your commercial returns ? 

Good & Murray Smith Solicitors Relaunch Their Long Established Brand

Good & Murray Smith Solicitors, a long established niche litigation practice based in Dublin have relaunched their brand to market both on and offline.


Goodmurraysmith Website


Established in 1895, the firm has an enduring reputation, highly regarded for both its expertise and experience. They service clients in both the Irish and overseas markets with acclaimed success. To find out more visit their new web site