What Women Want: Brand Buying Power in 2016 and Beyond

The percentage of purchases decided by women translates into a staggering $18 trillion in earnings worldwide for businesses.

 

More than half of key purchasing decisions are made by women today, product or service. The question is have you tailored your brand to meet their needs? Does the positioning, style, story, tone and focus of your brand messaging capture their attention in a way that’s truly relevant to them? Have you factored in meeting the needs for the discerning female factor if you’re going to successfully capture the attention of this very influential audience and convert their attention into growing sales?

 

Female Factor Bloomberg 600px

Image via www.bloomberg.com

 

 

With more women in the workforce, the increase in female purchasing power has significantly changed the market and consequently how successful brands engage with them. Only recently, a friend who works with Audi, mentioned how the brand is now considerably more female centric in its focus, brand strategy and how they engage this very discerning audience in their various showrooms, together with the rest of their overall brand strategy. The reason is simple, women are now becoming their primary buyers — “they don’t have to go home and ask their husbands, or significant other, about which car to buy, they simply take out their credit card and pay”. Since women make 85% of all purchase decisions today, this is not hard to fathom anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

Whether we realize it or not we live and work in an “experience economy”, so identifying, understanding and connecting with the changing needs of your shifting female audience, on their terms, is essential to your brand success.

 

Take for example, the Super Bowl adverts in the U.S. They’re not just about the ballgame and beer anymore. In 2015 the Super Bowl was seen by 114 million viewers, together with all the advertising campaigns run in conjunction with the big event. As per Nielsen reports, 47% of these viewers, which is close to 54 million, were women. Clearly, the old brand strategies of the past are not going to work with this more selective audience today. Brand strategy, design, management and execution has to change to meet the needs, preferences and demands of these increasingly influential female patrons.

 

Even the choice of beverage brands for Super Bowl has changed. Nielsen[1] reports that while beer spending rose to about $40 million in the week before game, wine was not too far behind. The increasing female fan following has contributed to wine being a primary choice, which in turn has prompted brand owners and advertisers in the industry to rethink their brand marketing strategies. The smart ones who implemented appropriate brand changes achieved record sales.

 

Clearly these developments point to the fact that branding for women is no longer limited to specialist niche categories but an assertive influence you need to get to grips with — fast. Statistics show women are a vast majority of consumers with a rapidly expanding purchasing power.

 

 

Female Purchasing Power Facts:[2]

  • The average American woman is expected to earn more than the average American male by 2028
  • 51% of U.S. Private Wealth is controlled by women
  • Women account for over 50% of all stock ownership in the U.S.
  • Women control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S.
  • Women make 85% of all purchasing decisions across industry sectors – be it technology, cars, houses, pharmaceuticals or any other. [3]

 

While the income for female professionals has increased by over 63% in the last three decades, their male counterparts have seen comparatively limited growth.[4] In fact, the Office for National Statistics have reported that women in their 30s are now earning more than men.[5] But that’s not the only reason why the female purchasing power has increased by leaps and bounds.

 

Women budget, save and buy in a manner that is very different to men. Businesses therefore, need a deeper understanding of what women want, how they think and what influences their choices, how the trends and changes in women’s social and economic status are influencing their buying decisions, and how all of this in turn is transforming female purchasing power and consequently the world and brands around them.

 

Fara Warner[6] offers powerful insights into this paradigm shift in her book – ‘The Power of the Purse (paperback): How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World’s Most Important Consumers — Women’. Among several hard-hitting examples, she talks about the powerful De Beers campaign which promoted the idea of women self indulging and giving themselves diamonds instead of waiting for their male counterparts to gift them the precious stones. She said that this is a striking acknowledgement that women had reached a level of economic power where they could afford expensive jewels and weren’t afraid to show them off.”

 

De Beers Women 600px

Image via www.penduluminaction.com

 

 

These changes are happening right before our eyes, and yet a lot of marketers are not yet fully cognizant to the facts. 91% of female consumers feel that advertisers don’t understand them. 7 out of 10 feel alienated by most advertisements out there. [7]

 

A year ago author Kathy Lette[8] criticised brand managers and advertisers for their reported and apparent inability to connect with older women. At a panel organized by Hearst Magazine at Advertising Week Europe, she pointed out that women over 50 have largely been erased from UK TV screens backed up by the fact that 85% of the people over 50 appearing on TV are men.

 

Yet, senior women aged 50 and above actually have a net worth of $19 trillion just in America, according to a study conducted by MassMutual Financial Group–2007. Women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and other developed nations over the next decade. Their purchase decisions and power will likewise, change considerably.

 

 

Case Study # 1 – Luxury Car Market

Women buy more than half of the new cars in the U.S., and influence up to 80% of all car purchases. It’s the same in other developed nations as well. Similar to Audi’s changing demographic targets, Jaguar is all set to woo their female customers too.

 

In a recent release, Jaguar Australia announced that they are no longer skewed towards male customers. Their strategies for the new 2016 Jaguar F-Pace SUV are focused at the widening and most particularly, female audience. They are confident that this will bring new customers to the brand and double their sales.

 

Jaguar F Pace Suv 600px

Image via http://www.wheelsmag.com.au

 

 

Porsche increased their female buying market with the introduction of the 2015 Macan. They tasted success earlier with their SUV, the Cayenne which broadened their market share. From a brand that was typically geared towards the high-income male gearheads, their bold experiments doubled Porsche’s market share among female buyers.

 

Porsche Macan 600px

Image via http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/

 

 

In fact, these cars outsell the rest of its stable by sizable margins, helping Porsche reinvent their image from the ultimate guy ride into a brand women love. This goes a long way to prove how smart branding can change the most traditional perceptions and market dynamics.

 

2015 Porsche Macan Interior 600px

Image via http://www.hollywoodreporter.com

 

 

Brand Lesson:

Marketers need to work on their brand messaging and positioning so that they can reach the changing demographics of their target audience.

 

 

Case Study # 2 – Arms and Ammunitions

Increasingly female purchasing power is also reflected in more unconventional segments like arms and ammunitions as well. Reports say that women are the fastest growing group of gun buyers in the U.S. and they are women across all age groups, 25-55, and all regions, from urban to rural according to News Tucson.

 

 

 

 

Brand Lesson:

Female purchase power extends way beyond the conventional segments. Industries need to understand this and act now.

 

 

Case Study # 3 – Pop Music Industry

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also reports on how female buyers are dominant drivers in pop music sales. A case in point relates to a Nielsen study funded by Sony Music, which found that 62% of Adele’s fans are female, between the ages of 25 and 44 years old, and have children. Most importantly these female fans are ready buyers with the desire and ability to purchase.

 

An article by Hannah Karp in the Wall Street Journal, based on data from a number of market research firms, show that female fan following and their purchases have kept the music scene hopping. Their interest spans performers across gender and age groups as well.

 

Adele 600px

Image via www.forbes.com.  Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

 

 

Brand Lesson:

Clearly, brand owners need to re-evaluate their markets, and a brand audit health check may be required to see if brand messaging, positioning, story and so forth are properly tailored and relevant to meet the needs of these different female audiences.

 

 

What Women Want?

So how does a brand owner manager assess and develop the right brand strategy to attract and engage their female customers?

 

Before they can even attract the interest and earn the trust of their potential female customers brands need to analyze their total offering from the female perspective. They need to earn their female customers’ interest.

How can they do this?

 

Businesses should endeavour to identify which media and mode of messaging their growing female audience prefers. Women don’t just fall for the same old awareness campaign routines of bygone years. Traditional repetition and interruption-based advertising doesn’t really work to the same extent as it did historically. Instead they look for a message that they can emotionally identify with.

 

Products or services found in their preferred media are likely to gain more traction. Instead of heavy handed media campaigns and aggressive selling, brands need to develop a deeper understanding of their female customers in terms of their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations before developing more indirect and perhaps more sophisticated ‘selling’  brand strategies such as co-branding, limited editions, corporate social responsibility strategies, product placement, luxury or premiumisation strategies, editorials and sponsorships.

 

 

Deeper Insights

CIO’s Bryan Pearson[9] insightful details about how female buyers think and where brands are going wrong with them is worth a read. Touching on the various ways marketers could fulfill the needs of this customer segment he says, A woman’s shopping cart carries more than goods; it carries stories about her and the many influencers in her life. If retailers better understood that journey, they could ensure the correct products are there for her and prolong the tale.”

 

It might also be worth listening to Microsoft’s executive vice president, Peggy Johnson[10] and her theory of one emerging market everyone is missing out on – women. “We all have to think about the emerging markets. And you probably have given a lot of thought to the largest emerging markets, China and India,” Johnson said. “But I think what gets lost is that a bigger emerging market is, surprisingly, women. Women themselves are an emerging market. There are more and more women entering into the workforce themselves. More and more of them are making more money.”

 

 

How can a business connect with this powerful female audience?

What is needed is a greater degree of emotional intelligence in the way a brand is developed through the brand profiling process. The outputs from the process provide in effect the brand’s blueprint or roadmap for why, what, where and how the brand should engage in the market with its primary target audience.

 

Brand profiling also includes evaluating the way in which companies position their products, and how they build an emotional connection with their buyers. Remember customers buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender so you must move the heart to win the mind.

 

 

Characteristics of the Female Buyer [11]

  • Loyal — Women are more likely to purchase from brands they follow
  • Social — Women use Social Media to connect different aspects of their lives
  • Influencer — Women are more likely to tell their friends about their purchases so an advertiser gets a double benefit
  • Spender – Women make 85% of purchasing decisions
  • Frequent buyer – Women shop more. They go back to a store and a brand more frequently than their male counterparts

 

 

Case Study # 4 – Beauty and Personal Care, Understanding the Female Psyche 

If you want a share of the rapidly growing female purchasing power you need to understand the psyche of the female buyer first so you can tailor your brand specifically to meet their needs if you want to convince them your brand is the best solution for what they want.

 

Clairol took something as important, and in many ways, as basic as hair colour and turned it into a winning campaign. They connected deeply with their female audience – women who don’t have to admit that they colour their hair, unless they want to!

 

 

 Clairol Does She Or Doesnt She Hair Colourant

Image via www.hubspot.com and Current360

 

 

 

Dove has been making headlines for some time now.

This Dove commercial does a phenomenal job connecting with the female audience in real world.

 

 

 

 

 

Dove: Real Beauty – This powerful persona marketing campaign stresses how beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. Their Real Beauty Sketches campaign along with a compelling study which showed that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful, touched chords. The advert went viral and has been viewed over 114 million times the world over.

 

Brand Lesson:

Connecting with the female audience at a core emotional level works far better than the more abrasive direct selling approach.

 

 

Leveraging Social Media

It might seem like stating the obvious but women shop differently to men. They are less influenced by adverts and they research more extensively. According to Michael Silverstein[12] of Boston Consulting Group, there is an imperative need for a very different brand and marketing style. Along with a very different sense of what’s valuable.

 

Clearly, a better use of media diversity is needed to leverage awareness.[13] This is a huge opportunity for social media and for content marketing. As Susan Gunelius[14] has pointed out, women tend to trust the information on blogs and social media sites more and consequently brands need to understand this, and implement effective brand strategies to meet their female customers’ needs.  The depth, significance and resilience of female purchase power will determine the future of branding and marketing, consequently how companies and organisations redesign their selling models.

 

 

 Women On Twitter 370x229

Image via https://www.clickz.com

 

 

Women are proactive when it comes to using social media for their research. 76% of internet users are women which says a lot for their preferred mode of communication in the 21st century. A Nielsen study shows that women spend close to 10 minutes social networking while men spend a little less than 7 minutes. [15]

 

For businesses, this is an incredible opportunity to grab the attention of the changing demographics and harness this potential market. A study into which social media is used more, and for what purpose will pave the way for a more focused marketing campaign.

 

 

 Who Uses Social Networking Sites

Image via http://www.pewinternet.org

 

 

Case Study # 5 – Sports & Fitness, Leveraging Social Media for Female Buyers

Nike’s ‘Better for It’ Women’s Campaign went beyond the traditional formats to utilize the power of viral videos, in an eight-episode scripted YouTube series. Focusing on the average athlete’s insecurities and the various obstacles on the way to self-improvement, it aims to ignite a woman’s journey towards empowerment through sport and fitness.

 

Nike Margo Lilly Poster 600px

Image via http://www.adweek.com

 

 

Brand Lesson:

Creative storytelling can be leveraged to differentiate, create rapport and showcase how one brand may affect many aspects of one’s lives – from achieving physical fitness to reaching emotional equilibrium.

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study # 5 – Auto Repair

This small auto repair business, Victory Auto Service and Glass, started out as one shop in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Clever brand messaging and a winning social media brand strategy involved really thinking like their primary target customer, developing a thriving Facebook page, encouraging customers to connect, tag photos and promoting their community.

 

 

  Victory Auto Service And Glass Minneapolis

Image via http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

 

 

Today, the business has 5 locations to boast of, over 1700 Facebook fans and over 3,100 YouTube views. Over 60% of fans and people “talking about” their Facebook page are females. [16]

 

 

 

 

 

Brand Lesson:

If you can think like a customer, you can connect with them on a deeper level, attract more of your target audience and grow faster.

 

It’s given that social media is now a ubiquitous part of every day life and business. It has leveled the playing field and given small and medium size businesses opportunities to leverage growth with incredible creativity, which in turn has enabled them to harness the power of hitherto untapped resources, progress more rapidly and become more profitable.

 

Take advantage of newer technologies to grow your market share with the fastest growing audience segment — women in today’s world.

 

Key learnings for brands to consider:

• Re-evaluate your customer demographics

• Closely examine your analytics

• Rethink your brand profiling specifically for women

• Develop different female buyer personas so you can tailor your brand strategy more effectively

• Reassess your social brand strategy

• Evolve new brand messaging and outreach

 

 

Questions to consider:

• Do you really know your target female audience? Have you done an in-depth study of your target demographics and developed your brand purchasing personas for each target audience type?

 

• Are you truly harnessing the power of the emerging technologies? Is your brand strategy leveraging social platforms as well as the power of new media?

 

• Is your brand messaging powerful enough to resonate with your female audience? Have you fully developed your brand profile, using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, so you can build your brand to be irresistible to your ideal audience, make your brand stronger and increase your profitability?

 

• Are you still talking to your customers or talking with them? Are you building relationships or dictating a message with your brand strategy?

 

• Is your brand speaking the language of your customers? This is not a one-size fits all scenario, because what will appeal to a 25 year old girl will not appeal to a 55 year old woman. Brand profiling will ensure your brand tone-of-voice and messaging is properly developed to meet the needs of, and attract your primary audience.

 

You may also like:

 

Brand Profiling: How Brand Performance and Purpose are Inextricably Linked

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling  

 

The Profit Power of Cult Brands, Why and How to Create One

 

Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

 

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

 

Brand Revitalisation and Relaunch: The do’s and don’ts of doing it successfully!

 

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

 

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

 

 

[1] Nielson Report, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/02/07/super-bowl-ad-costs-soar—-but-so-does-buzz/79903058/  ‘Super Bowl ad costs soar — but so does buzz’. February 2016

[2] Gallup, http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/178616/unleashing-power-purse.aspx ,‘Unleashing the Power of the Purse’

[3] Women in the Economy, http://www.thefemalefactor.com/statistics/statistics_about_women.html

[4] Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/07/16/the-20-best-paying-jobs-for-women-in-2012/#56d471303830

[5] Office for National Statistics, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2841740/Now-women-30s-earning-men-time-female-workers-staving-gender-pay-gap-having-family-later-life.html

[6] Fara Warner, http://farawarner.com/fw_site2/Book.html ‘The Power of the Purse (paperback): How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World’s Most Important Consumers-Women.’

[7] Ali Hanan, http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2016/feb/03/how-advertising-industry-fails-women , ‘Five facts that show how the advertising industry fails women.’ February 2016

[8]NicolaKemp,http://www.campaignlive.com/article/brands-slammed-ignoring-older-women/1340327#Da7IblcMpAxmPUA8.99,  ‘Brands slammed for ignoring older women’, March 2015

[9] Bryan Pearson, http://www.cio-today.com/article/index.php?story_id=020001UILPC8 , ‘What Women Want Retailers To Know About Their Shopping Carts’, February 2016

[10] Peggy Johnson, http://www.winbeta.org/news/microsofts-executive-vp-business-development-peggy-johnson-warns-missing-emerging-female-market

[11] Marketing to Women Quick Facts, http://she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

[12] Michael Silverstein, https://www.bcg.com/documents/file22016.pdf, ‘Women Want More’, 2009

[13] Kim Rocco, http://powersportsbusiness.com/blogs/service-providers/2016/02/08/are-you-missing-out-on-sales-check-your-email-database/, ‘Are you missing out on sales? Check your email database’, February 2016

[14] Susan Gunelius, http://www.corporate-eye.com/main/social-media-trends-among-female-consumers-in-2012/   ,“Social Media Trends Among Female Consumers in 2012”, March 2012

[15] Nielson Report, http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2012/state-of-the-media-the-social-media-report-2012.html

[16] Social Media Examiner, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-case-study-victory-auto/

 

Rebranding: Crisis Recovery and Brand Rebuild

In the first quarter of 2015, SDL conducted a survey of almost 3,000 customers and found four out of five would walk away from a brand and never give it another chance after experiencing a major issue.

 

That statistic explains why some brands have no choice but to rebrand in an attempt to resolve crises. Furthermore, of the people who return to a brand after being let down, 59 percent of them show less loyalty than before. [1]

 

Have you given some thought to how to mitigate potential risks to your brand? Do you have an appropriate brand crises management strategy in place in the event of the untoward happening?

 

Here we’ll share with you some of the critical issues you need to consider both in terms of how to rebrand and rebuild customer brand trust after a crisis.

 

Reasons to Rebrand

 

This article will focus on the need to rebrand in order to make a strong comeback after a crisis. However, there are other reasons to tackle rebranding, including: [2]

 

  • Your audience is changing, and rebranding is necessary to maintain brand relevance
  • Desire to move into an international market
  • Outgrowth: You’ve outgrown your brand in its earlier context and need to align more closely to current, larger needs
  • Customers aren’t sure what you do or what you offer. Your brand lacks distinction or difference
  • Competitors are eating into your market and enticing customers away
  • Name change
  • Brand is outdated and lacks relevance
  • Innovation: New technology has changed your market and your brand needs to change with it

 

 

Preparatory and Recovery Measures to Minimize Crises

 

Although you can’t ascertain definitively when problems might occur and what they will entail, it’s important to be aware of the potential threats your brand might face. Those can be identified through a brand audit and SWOT analysis, plus customer feedback. Sometimes, potential threats become apparent because of mass cultural feedback.

 

 

CASE STUDY 1: Page 1 Solutions

 

In July 2015, a dentist sparked worldwide outrage when he went on a game-hunting trip in Zimbabwe and killed Cecil, a beloved lion. Although officials have concluded the dentist’s actions were legal and he cannot be charged [3], people immediately took to the internet to vent their extreme displeasure over Cecil’s death.  

 

 

 Shouting Man 600px

 

 

Page 1 Solutions, a marketing firm that had once represented Palmer, was caught in the fray. Even though the firm had not been associated with Palmer since 2013, the public accused Page 1 Solutions of trying to defend the dentist. [4]

 

The marketing firm’s president clarified Palmer had not been on the client roster for a couple of years. However, public outrage continued to affect the small business.

 

Page 1 Solutions released several subsequent statements, and members of the company’s social media team responded to messages personally.  Other employees reached out to current clients and corrected misunderstandings. Local news branches were also contacted, and the CEO gave several interviews. Although company representatives say the unexpected catastrophe made their establishment stronger, they also recognized the need to develop a crisis plan for future issues.

 

Once you have identified potential threats to your brand, it’s critical to develop and document your brand strategy [5] to deal with them. Your crisis plan should include things such as:

 

  • A defined team to handle crises
  • A media coverage policy
  • Contact information and a contact log
  • Boilerplate information for press releases, plus fact sheets
  • A social media strategy

 

During the recovery process, the crisis plan should keep your actions purposeful and targeted, reducing the chances you’ll forget to attend to the needs and worries of stakeholders.

 

  

Focusing on the Desired Outcomes of Rebranding

 

If you’ve experienced a brand crisis, and post-event analyses indicates too much reputation damage has occurred to fully recover from, then it may be necessary to consider rebranding. However before you launch into a full-scale rebrand you need to determine what your desired outcomes are from rebranding your product, service or company. [6] Typically these might include:

 

  • Solve a problem that has tarnished the brand
  • Correct a damaging story that’s surrounding the brand
  • Disconnect from an association that is harmful or no longer meaningful or relevant from a customer perspective
  • Keep pace with competitors that are outperforming the brand

 

 

Actionable Strategies for Rebranding After a Crisis

 

Unintentional blunders are always possible during a rebrand if it’s not carefully planned, developed, managed and executed. You can minimize these oversights by integrating some of the steps mentioned below.

 

 

Decide if a Complete Rebrand is Truly Necessary

 

Depending on the severity of a crisis, it can sometimes be difficult to fully determine whether it’s better to fix the factors that have caused the brand to falter, or wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.

 

Making the choice can become even more difficult if a crisis has attracted a great deal of media attention. Independent external analysis can be useful to help put things into perspective so informed and unprejudiced decisions can be made.

 

 

CASE STUDY 2: Malaysia Airlines

 

2014 was a difficult time for Malaysia Airlines, as it was the year one of its flights went missing, and another was reportedly downed by a Russian missile. For weeks, the brand received constant negative media exposure, making people wonder if it would ever recover.

 

Although a complete rebranding is in the works, there are few details about it.[7]  Therefore, some industry analysts suggest it would be better to refresh the brand so as to not lose certain favorable associations or the perceived value of the brand’s equity. [8].

 

  

  

  

The airline was established in 1937. With that long history comes an undeniable amount of brand equity and awareness. Malaysia Airlines already had declining profits before the disasters of 2014, and it would be very expensive, indeed required considerable investment, to create a similar level of awareness after a rebrand. Although it remains to be seen what Malaysia Airlines will do in an attempt to recover, it’s clear the brand has a tough road ahead.

 

 

Rebranding and Crises Recovery Tips

 

1. Maintain Ongoing Communications: A rebrand risks alienating your audience. Avoid that possibility by keeping in touch through open, transparent dialogue.

 

2. Involve Skilled People: Rebranding will likely require a specialized team. As you give feedback during a rebrand, remember the people you’ve hired have gone through rebrand and crises challenges before and should be best positioned to provide expert direction on how to best handle yours.

 

3. Make All-Encompassing Changes During the Rebrand: Some companies make the costly mistake of thinking it’s sufficient to merely create a new company logo, change the brand collateral or switch employee uniforms to make people forget about a crisis. Instead, understand that major changes will have to be instigated across your entire organization, which will also typically require brand cultural changes together with both management and general staff brand induction and re-training, if you want to ensure your rebrand is a success.

 

 

CASE STUDY 3: LIVESTRONG Foundation

 

When it was discovered that cyclist Lance Armstrong had been taking performance-enhancing drugs for over a decade, yet had reportedly denied doing so, LIVESTRONG realized it needed to cut ties with the athlete. Meanwhile, Armstrong went on an “apology tour” and visited media outlets.

 

It began by changing its name from LIVESTRONG to the LIVESTRONG Foundation, launching a new identity, and reminding the public of the brand’s fundamental values and focus on helping people affected by cancer, not the actions of one person who’s a cancer survivor. [9]

  

  

  

  

The brand tapped into the public recognition of the foundation’s bright yellow hue and kicked off a campaign about cancer’s impact and what’s needed to address it. [10] The teams handling the rebranding deemed the project successful, and subsequent media coverage was positive.

 

 

Livestrong 600px 

Image via blog.livestrong.org

 

 

Rebranding and Crises Recovery Tip 4

 

Influence the Conversation: During a rebrand, it may be necessary to bring a new voice to the conversation. That’s especially likely if your brand has gone through a crisis that has caused people to speak badly about your products or services.

 

 

Case Study 4: Maggi Noodles

 

In June 2014, Maggi, a leading Indian noodle brand, marketed by Nestlé, was removed from the market when tests reportedly revealed lead content and found the product was mislabeled regarding monosodium glutamate (MSG). A Global Chief Executive from Nestlé stated the noodles were safe, but shortly afterwards, the company was unable to confirm when the noodles would be available to purchase again. [11]

 

By September, Maggi decided it would go against a characteristic aversion to publicity. Part of that initiative involved encouraging people to recall fond memories of eating Maggi noodles, complete with nostalgic media spots and the #WeMissYouToo hashtag.

 

Nestlé believed by changing and moving the conversation towards something emotionally more positive, people would begin to trust the brand again. [12] When Maggi noodles were offered for sale, the brand capitalized on a “Welcome Back” theme.

 

 

 Maggi Noodles 600px

Image via http://www.maggi.in

 

 

Rebranding and Crises Recovery Tip 5

 

Measure the Worth of the Rebrand: There are several metrics that can be examined to evaluate whether your rebrand was a success. Some forms of measurement include customer engagement levels, quarterly profits, and feedback surveys about perceptions.

  

  

  

  

  

The exact elements of a rebranding campaign will vary depending on the crisis a brand has dealt with, but whatever the circumstances rebranding is far more than just changing a logo and colour scheme. Rather, it often entails fundamentally changing or evolving what the brand ‘stands for’ through brand profiling; values, mission, vision, promise, personality, culture and goals, not to mention ensuring the rebrand is well positioned in the marketplace and fully understood by its target audience.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

  • A crisis plan will help your brand respond strategically to mishaps without losing focus
  • Desired outcomes and key objectives should be fully established before proceeding with a rebrand
  • If issues can be remedied, a complete rebrand may not be necessary
  • A successful rebranding requires being transparent and fully engaged with your customers, stakeholders and the public at large

 

 

Questions to Consider

  

  • Does your brand have a crisis plan, or are you working to develop one?

   

  • How would you evaluate your company’s brand strategy and performance the last time it had to deal with something unexpected?

  

  

  • Has your brand had to disconnect from a harmful association, as the LIVESTRONG Foundation did?

  

  • Do you think nostalgia will be powerful enough to restore the Maggi Noodles brand?

 

 

You may also like:

 

• What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

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

   

• Brand Audits: Why You Need Them and How to Perform One

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

  

• Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding

  

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

  

• Luxury Branding: How to Establish or Re-Position Your High-End Brand

 

  

[1] http://www.sdl.com “Avoiding CX Failure Fallout,” May 2015.

[2] Wendy Bolhuis, http://www.vim-group.com/, “The Top 10 Reasons for Rebranding,” June 2014.

[3] Reuters in Harare, http://www.theguardian.com, “Cecil the Lion: Zimbabwe Will Not Charge U.S. Dentist Over Killing,” October 2015.

[4] Adam Rowan, http://www.prdily.com, “What a Marketing Firm Did When a Former Client Killed Cecil the Lion,” December 2015.

[5] Jonathan Bernstein, “The 10 Steps of Crisis Communications,” 2013.

[6] David Brier,  http://www.risingabovethenoise.com, “How to Rebrand: 19 Questions to Ask Before You Start”

[7] Marcus Osborne, http://www.brandinginasia,.com, “Malaysia Airlines Rebrand is Coming: How Big Will it Be?,” December 2015.

[8] Mark Ritson, http://www.marketingweek.com, “Malaysia Airlines: Fix, Don’t Nix the Brand,”July 2014.

[9] http://www.corporate-eye, “Livestrong Rebrands as Livestrong Foundation Without Lance Armstrong, March 2013.

[10] Rigsby Hull, http://www.aiga.org, Case Study: LIVESTRONG Branding, November 2013.

[11] Ratna Bhushan, http://articles.economictimes.india.com/, “Maggi Noodle Fiasco: Nestle Works On Alternative Snack to Reposition Brand,” June 2015.

[12] Jacob Schindler, http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com, “Nestlé Taps into Nostalgia in Bid to Re-Launch Maggi Brand in India.” September 2015.

 

Rebranding Strategy: Gems of Wisdom from 5 Successful Brand Revitalizations

Rebranding is a relatively broad term, as it encompasses both large and small-scale changes to an existing brand, which aim to resurrect a failing brand, reposition the brand and allow the company to reach out to a new target market, or simply help the brand keep up with the times.

  

While some brands adopt a “back to the drawing board” strategy and change everything from their logo and name to their brand values and product packaging design, a good brand revitalization strategy can sometimes be limited to a few low-key changes that enable the brand to stay relevant or differentiate itself from the competition.   

 

 

When Should a Company Invest in a Rebrand?

An impressive 61% of consumers stated that an exceptional customer experience was a major determining factor when choosing a brand, and 48% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs and assist them in finding the right product and services based on those needs.[1]

   

    

Digital Trends Target The Always On Consumer 600px 

Infographic via Cube.com [Digital Trends Target the Always-On Consumer]

  

  

Brands that have trouble understanding or catering to the customers’ needs are prime candidates for a brand relaunch, but a company can also have trouble with brand incongruence, a tarnished reputation or pressure from the competition.

 

However, the reasons for a rebrand can also be of a positive nature – a brand may experience rapid growth, as well as significant changes in the production process or the expansion of their product portfolio due technological innovations. Repositioning an economy brand as a high-end brand is another good reason for rebranding.

  

Since a successful rebrand involves performing a brand audit, market research, developing a detailed brand implementation strategy and effectively communicating the rebrand to customers and media, it is not recommended for young brands. You must have a well-established brand identity and a good level of brand awareness before you can embark on a brand revitalization journey.
 

 

Lessons Learned from 5 Successful Rebranding Strategies

1.   Harley-Davidson – Improve the Actual Product

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company initially had many advantages over their competition. For one, the brand had a purebred American provenance, a long history – their motorcycles were used by the US army in both World Wars – and were associated with an image of a powerful, fearless and rebellious man and an adventurous lifestyle that was alluring to a fairly large percentage of men in their mid-twenties and mid-thirties.

  

The brand had a good story tell, but the company still had numerous problems over the years, and faced bankruptcy on more than one occasion. The main issues that the company faced were:

  • Their products were objectively less reliable than what their competition had to offer
  • They faced very aggressive competition from a number of quality Japanese brands
  • The brand had become associated with biker gangs, notably the Hells Angels
  • They were seen as old-fashioned and outdated

 

In other words, Harley-Davidson had to address their reputation issues or face extinction. However, this was not something that could be fixed by merely changing the logo – their products didn’t meet the quality standards that the customers were accustomed to and they didn’t appeal to the younger generation. The brand actually adopted an incredibly smart strategy – spend less money on marketing and focus on making the product better.

  

 

Harley Davidson Free Wheeler 600px

Image via www.harley-davidson.com

 

 

Once they worked out all the little problems that had plagued their motorcycles, the company experienced impressive growth – Harley-Davidson, a brand that was on the verge of bankruptcy twice before, is now worth around $1 billion.  

 

The company still faces a big problem, their average customer is a white American male pushing fifty, but they have shown that they are ready to reach out to a more ethnically diverse and younger target audience. The brand plans to shift its focus towards marketing in 2016. [2]

 

 

2. Massey Bros. – Leverage Your Premium Service, Tell Your Brand Story and Ensure Your Brand Identity Creates Distinction

Massey Bros. Funeral Directors is a successful family owned and managed business established in Dublin in the 1930s. They operate in a sector which is traditionally very conservative yet they’re industry leaders in terms of developing innovative solutions. They also have the added complication of having more than six competitors also operating legitimately under the ‘Massey’ name. In addition to this, they themselves also operated under two names before their rebrand!

  

  

Massey Bros Logo 2012 72dpi

 

 

Massey Bros. have always offered a very premium service but this five star, tailor made, message, their industry leadership coupled with their multiple first to market new innovative services solutions just wasn’t been properly represented in their brand profile, tone-of-voice or brand communications strategy. They also lacked a strong brand identity or consistency across their brand collateral.

  

  

Massey Bros Brand Guidelines Cover

 

 

We conducted research and a brand audit health check, re-evaluated their whole brand proposition and purpose, their positioning, signage, uniforms, brand collateral and brand strategy. The outputs and findings from this initial body of work then provided the direction for a complete brand overhaul resulting in absolute clarity over their brand proposition, a much stronger brand identity, a higher profile with distinction in the marketplace, consistency across all the brand collateral and most importantly strong staff brand custodians throughout the business that continue to pro-actively manage their brand in the marketplace. And of course, increased market share. You can read the full details of this rebranding case study here.

 

 

3. Target – Know Your Audience and Keep Things Simple

Target was initially envisioned as a brand that catered to a somewhat more sophisticated shopper, a person looking for a more sophisticated shopping experience than one would normally find in extremely low-priced stores like Walmart, but who also wanted that stay within a reasonable budget. The problem was that, over the years, the “deal-hunting” aspect became more prominent, which essentially lead to Target being equated with the very same economy shopping experience that they originally strived to distance themselves from.

 

This caused brand incongruence, with fashionable clothes on one end and cheap food items on the other, and they simply could not compete with well-established economy brands that ruled this segment of the market.

 

Target performed a brand audit health check, and found that they were neglecting a very important demographic. In the words of Brian Cornell, Target chief executive: “Our guest is going to be increasingly a Hispanic shopper.” [3] The brand, realizing that over 50% of Hispanic Millennials identified Target as their preferred shopping destination, even created several Spanish-language adverts, with a unique hashtag – #SinTraducción (without translation).

  

   

  

  

 

Another big step towards engaging their primary audience was the decision to unite their smaller “mini urban stores” under the Target brand logo. The company previously distinguished these smaller outlets as TargetExpress and CityTarget.

 

 

 Target Express Store 600px

Image via Target.com [Target express store]

 

  

The logo design for the mini urban stores proved confusing, the words “express” and “city” were simply placed next to the classic bull’s-eye Target logo, and will only feature the Target logo going forward. With these changes, the brand has revitalized its image. However they still apparently have a bit further to go according to USA Today as things like the infamous 2013 security breach, and their latest OCD sweater has reportedly put their customers’ loyalty somewhat to the test.   

 

 

Target Ocd Sweater

 

  

  

4. Hybrid Technology Partners – Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself with a Poorly Thought Out Brand Identity 

 

Formerly known as HybridIT, this Limerick-based company offer a wide range of services, including IT, software development and customer support. They even offer a product – a unique business management ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. However, anyone who saw the “IT” in their brand name immediately thought of them as just another IT company. [4]

 

This prevented the company from accessing a larger market share, and the fact that their logo didn’t communicate their core brand message effectively threatened to keep HybridIT in the shadows. Luckily, this “more than just an IT” company caught on and decided to revitalize their brand.

 

   Hybrid Technology Partners

 

 

When working on creating appropriate brand identities for our clients, we focus on ensuring all the brand foundations have been fully developed using our Personality Profile Performer™ system before we even look at the aesthetics or design. The outputs from this system provide the roadmap for ensuring the brand identity outputs together with brand messaging and tone of voice are market and target audience appropriate, unique and in keeping a brand’s core values.

 

At first glance the change was subtle, they became HybridTP, but that one little letter was a monumental step in the right direction. The new brand identity, Hybrid Technology Partners made two things very clear:

  • The brand offers diverse technological solutions for streamlining a business
  • The company views its clients as partners, and works with them to find the best solutions

The new brand identity, coupled with some light modifications to their website, allowed HybridTP to convey their brand values – honesty, cooperation and trust – and connect with a much larger audience more effectively.

  

 

5. Narragansett Beer – Learn How to Appeal to Millennial Consumers

 

Pabst Blue Light used to be the beer of choice for blue-collar workers and hipster Millennials, but in recent years an old New England beer has stolen their title as the number one “cheap and cool” US beer.

 

The Narragansett brand has a long history, it was established 125 years ago, but the company recently made a very wise business decision and revitalised the brand, targeting Millennials. They didn’t stray away from their roots, their New England provenance, and long history being the key elements that distinguished the brand from the competition, but they did make some notable changes to the product packaging and re-evaluated their branding strategy.  

  

  

 

  

The old slogan, “Made on Honor, Sold on Merit”, remained unchanged, but with fun and colourful commercials, local girls photographed in the traditional pinup style for their calendar and increased social media activity, Narragansett has successfully made a transition into the digital age.

  

   

Narragansett Beer 2015 

Image via www.narragansettbeer.com

  

  

We know from personal experience that the Millennial demographic can be a powerful driving force that launches a struggling brand to new levels of success. Understanding both what makes their brand unique and what appeals to a Millennial audience, has allowed this low-priced craft beer to secure its position on the market. Saying that the rebrand was a success would be an understatement – the brand brought in $12 million in revenue last year, 120 times more than in 2005.[5]

   

These five successful rebrand stories all carry an important lesson for any struggling brand. A brand audit can help you reveal your weaknesses be it a problem with the quality of the product itself like in Harley Davidson’s case, an issue of brand incongruence, a dissonance between the brand logo and core brand values and the services offered by the company or a lack of awareness of your primary audience’s needs and preferences.

  

A brand relaunch is not something to be taken lightly or done for the pure sake of change, but if a brand has fallen on tough times, lacks relevance or isn’t leveraging its full potential with its target market, implementing a carefully planned brand revitalisation strategy is a big move in the right direction.     

     

You might also like:

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

   

• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability 

 

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

  

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

 

• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can It Be Improved?

 

• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation    

 

• Humanizing Your Brand: Why It is Key to Commercial Success

 

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

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable  

 

 

So, what do you think?

  

• Does your brand have trouble staying relevant?

  

• Did you perform a brand health check to determine if there are any weak points you could improve upon?

  

• Are you targeting the right audience, and do you really understand the needs of your primary audience in terms of their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations?

  

• Are your products and services up to standards, or are you having problems keeping up with the competition?

  

• Is your brand identity consistent with your core values, and the type of products and services you offer, or is it unnecessarily pigeonholing you into a single niche?

   

[1] Steve, Cubemc.com, Digital Trends: Understanding and Targeting the ‘Always-On’ Consumer, April 2015

[2] Mark Ritson, Branding Strategy Insider, “Can The Harley Davidson Brand Age Gracefully?”, October 2015

[3] Sarah Halzack, WashingtonPost.com, “Target’s new strategy: We need more than just minivan moms”, March 2015

[4] IrishExaminer.com, Small Business Q&A: Paul Brown, September 2014

[5] Kristina Monllos, Adweek.com, “How Narragansett Beer Rebuilt Its Brand With a Meager $100,000 Media Budget, Deep roots and word of mouth”, June 2015

  

Baby Boomer Branding: How and Why to Market to this Lucrative Demographic

Although there’s a lot of talk about millennials and their desire to engage in consumerism, it’s important not to overlook the baby boomer generation, born from the end of World War 2 up to the early 1960s (roughly between 1946-1964). After all, Baby Boomers hold 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States.

 

Also, government data indicates that the baby boomers outspend other generational groups’ spending on consumer products and services by an average of $400 million.

 

  

 

Branding Strategies for Baby Boomers: A Unique Process

 

If those statistics have stimulated your curiosity and made it clear that to overlook the baby boomer demographic is potentially a very costly mistake, keep in mind that you can’t just retool most of your brand concepts currently used to reach out to older target markets.

 

For starters, baby boomers are usually very loyal to brands—and as shown by the opening statistics, they have disposable income. Also, don’t assume that this demographic will settle for less as they get older, or even that they’ll settle down.

 

When looking at the specifics associated with marketing to baby boomers, experts have found that this group prefers living in comfortable homes surrounded by the latest amenities. Also, they generally want to maintain very active lifestyles. Those findings align with what we’ve discovered when developing brands to meet the needs of affinity groups within this demographic.

 

 

 

Misconceptions about Baby Boomers are Common

 

Even marketers who are guided by solid research and good intentions sometimes miss the mark as they attempt to resonate with the baby boomer generation. Often, that’s due in large part to some pervasive misconceptions.

 

Earlier, we mentioned how baby boomers tend to be faithful to the brands they love. That’s true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that baby boomers are set in their ways. According to Nielsen research from 2012, only five percent of advertising budgets were geared toward baby boomers, but some experts believe baby boomers are not as brand loyal as millennials.

 

There’s another prevailing assumption about baby boomers, which some of our clients have expressed: the belief that baby boomers are not tech-savvy.

 

Although baby boomers were not early adopters of technology, they tend to use tech devices more frequently than you might expect. However, they do so differently than their younger counterparts.

 

Whereas a younger person might primarily use social media to connect with friends, baby boomers may feel more compelled to do so because that’s the way their kids and grandkids share updates and photos. The shift over to technology, in many cases, probably wasn’t primarily out of desire, but because boomers realized social media was the quickest way to keep in touch with younger generations.

 

Additionally, apps that are related to health services frequently get built for cross-generational appeal. Some boomers have shown interest in using an app that might help them check in faster for a hospital appointment or enjoy easier access to medical records, for example.

 

Finally, some marketers seem to forget that the baby boomer generation encompasses anyone between the ages of 51 and 69. It’s not sufficient to believe that certain branding strategies will universally connect with everyone. A younger baby boomer might prefer very active vacations, while one who’s nearing 70 or older may want to go on a cruise instead.

 

Of course, that’s a very broad example. The point is, marketers should try to focus their brand strategy on reaching baby boomers of certain ages, through developing affinity groups as a tool for profiling them or at least recognizing that older baby boomers have different needs and desires than younger ones.

 

 

 

Examples of When Multi-Generational Branding Strategies Can Work

 

Even though you’ve now learned how there’s a fine art to baby boomer branding, don’t get discouraged and think it’s necessary to do away with every tactic you use to appeal to younger generations. In fact, research has shown there are some valuable commonalities. In fact, some of our clients achieved the best results with cross-generational approaches.

 

Specifically, both boomers and millennials love bargains, and a high percentage of them (more than 80 percent for either group) are very comfortable shopping online. Also, 75 percent of boomers and millennials are more likely to purchase something if it’s associated with a perk, such as a loyal discount or a coupon.

 

Now, let’s take a look at some actionable strategies, and case studies of companies that have used them well.

 

 

 

Case Study: J. Jill and the Uncomplicate Clothing Line

 

As discussed above, baby boomers don’t want to settle for less when they get older. The clothing brand J. Jill took that into consideration with its Uncomplicate collection, which is marketed toward baby boomers.

 

 

 J Jill Site 600px

Image via www.jjill.com

 

 

The goal is to show that like younger generations of females, older women also deserve wardrobe upgrades. With this clothing line, they can look forward to clothes that are equal parts fashionable and comfortable.

  

Focus groups held before the new line kicked off found that women prefer attire they can easily dress up or down. When analyzing details of the Uncomplicate line, marketers realized that baby boomers wanted to look their best, without wasting time that could be used for more important pursuits. J. Jill also embraces a mix-and-match style with its Wearever line. These proactive steps reflect the brand’s realization that baby boomers have just as many reasons to enjoy new clothes as younger generations.

  

  

 

 

 

No matter how you market to boomers, we’ve found that customers respond best when you make it easy for them to meet their identified needs.

 

 

 

Case Study: Harley Davidson’s Tricycles

 

Baby boomers don’t like to be given the hard sell. They want to see the benefits of a product, but not in an intrusive way. Sometimes, brands have enough of a built-in following that people of all ages understand there are inherent advantages to choosing them, so there’s no need for a massive marketing campaign.

 

 

 Harley Davidson Free Wheeler 600px

Image via www.harley-davidson.com

 

 

 

Harley-Davidson has released a three-wheel motorcycle called the Freewheeler that’s made for great stability, but still reaches impressive speeds. The Freewheeler is an improvement on a previous model of a three-wheel model, which was called the Tri Glide. In comparison, the Freewheeler is less bulky and features a lighter weight than its predecessor. Reviews of the Freewheeler trike are generally favorable, and the brand’s press release boasts, “Riding on three wheels has never been cooler.”

  

   

 

  

   

Going back to what you’ve read about baby boomers wanting to stay active, this trike is a perfect example of that principle. Sometimes it’s not necessary to reinvent a product so it caters to baby boomers, but to just tweak the details while preserving the familiar aspects that attracted consumers in the first place.

 

 

  

Case Study: Spirit 50

 

Across the world, there have been concerns that as baby boomers get older and require more medical attention, there will be an increased demand on the healthcare system. One forward-thinking Canadian entrepreneur named Erin Billowits is trying to keep baby boomers healthier as they age by marketing a fitness program that lets her demographic work out at home. The program, Spirit 50, combines instructional videos with step-by-step instructions. Users can even purchase consultations that take place over Skype.

 

  Spirit50 600px

Image via  www.spirit50.com

 

 

In her research, Billowits found that a majority of baby boomers want to improve their health, and many are willing to make small, proactive changes without being prodded.

 

When designing her fitness program, Billowits looked at possible technological barriers. As you can see from the format of this YouTube clip, the exercises are explained in a straightforward way that’s not patronizing. Also, because the videos aren’t lengthy, most browsers should start playing them right away.

 

  


 

 

 

If you plan to market something to baby boomers that’s technological in nature, it’s important to do the legwork beforehand and make sure your concept doesn’t come across as overwhelming. Billowits identified that a need was there, but she recognized that some of her clientele may not be willing to embrace her exercise concept if it took them too far out of their comfort zones. 

 

Furthermore, to sign up for a fitness plan, users only have to submit usernames, passwords, and e-mails. That’s simple enough even for baby boomers who aren’t accustomed to filling out a lot of online forms.

 

  

 

 

Case Study: Japanese Convenience Stores

 

In Japan, convenience stores are doing whatever they can to appeal to an older demographic. Executives have realized that a growing number of people from the baby boomer generation are stopping into Japanese convenience stores to get what they need without delay. A few major brands are branching out by offering a home delivery service of nutritious and easy-to-make meals, including bento boxes. This strategy appeals to boomers who aren’t willing to sustain themselves on sodium-riddled frozen dinners of low nutritional value.

 

Some stores stock attire that’s marketed toward an older demographic, but others focus on more practical things, such as healthcare items that baby boomers might need. Others have thrown their hats into the ring and aimed to meet needs that are a little more obscure, but still have merit. Two examples are health advice counters, and karaoke equipment that turns convenience stores into social gathering places for baby boomers who want to have fun among their peers.

 

These kinds of purpose-based approaches make sense. If baby boomers feel alienated due to a perception that most of what’s available to consumers isn’t relevant to their lives, they’re less likely engage with a particular brand or shop at a particular establishment, no matter how convenient it claims to be.

  

 

 

 

Case Study: Ford Motors

 

As Ford Motors has discovered, successfully marketing to baby boomers starts during the engineering process. The company makes some of its auto engineers wear “aging suits” that mimic what it’s like to be an older driver. Dubbed the Third Age Suit, the device is designed to make a person physically feel approximately 30 years older. Using a corset and orthotic devices, the suit causes stiffness in the hip region, knees, shoulders, and feet. Earplugs simulate being hard of hearing, and special goggles mimic vision-related disorders that are common in older adults.

  

   

  

  

 

Although this case study doesn’t represent an example of direct marketing to baby boomers, it demonstrates an effort made by engineers in the early phases to understand how aging affects driver capabilities and comfort. This could eventually influence baby boomers to choose certain makes and models of vehicles over others.

 

 

 

 

A Worthy Venture

 

Clearly, the baby boomer generation is not to be overlooked when it comes to ensuring that your brand gets noticed by those with a great deal of purchasing power.

 

Although it’s necessary to tailor your branding strategies using some of the methodologies discussed above, the ultimate payoff could be a major factor in helping your business stay competitive and indeed become more profitable in a crowded marketplace. 

 

 

You make also like:

 

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

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

• Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable

 

• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can It Be Improved?

    

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

 

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

 

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

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

 

 

So what do you think?

 

• Have you used brand profiling and positioning is when marketing to baby boomers?

 

• Do you think a brand name that alludes to the baby boomer market, such as ‘Spirit 50’ is an important part of the brand strategy for connecting with a target audience?

 

Rebranding strategy was crucial for J.Jill when realizing, during a brand audit and through market research studies, that the fashion needs of baby boomers weren’t being met. Have you had a similar moment that has made you discover that baby boomers may be an untapped market?

 

• In Japan, several convenience stores have incorporated the needs of an older generation into the brand identity design. Do you think that will eventually mean that the majority of convenience store shoppers will be much older than in preceding generations?

 

Brand positioning was a crucial aspect for marketing the Harley-Davidson trikes to a market that was already likely cued into what makes the brand worth following. Do you think that the brand strategy was comprehensive enough, or should it have been more extensive?

 

 

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

 

 

Brand Expansion: Give Your Customers What They Want!

If we learn nothing else from the fast food and drink industry it is that complacency has no place in the business world, even among global brand leaders. A trend has emerged whereby large fast food and coffee retailers are expanding their brand model into new areas in order to capture new market opportunities and extend their customer offering.

 

Listen To What Your Customers Are Saying

Often, an expansion of an original brand offering is the result of a brand trying to remain relevant to the customer and their ever evolving tastes. 

 

Starbucks, arguably the largest and strongest coffee retail chain in the world recently began rolling out a new concept for the brand: Starbucks Evenings. This expansion of their original strategy sees the coffee giant expand their offering to alcoholic beverages along with small plates of artisanal food.

 

 Starbucks Evenings

 

The concept is a response to customer feedback calling for more options to relax in store in the evenings. Starbucks’s expansion of their food and beverage options aims to create a new occasion for customers to visit their stores. By engaging with the customer, Starbucks captured valuable insight into the changing needs and behavioral trends of their customers and expanded their brand offering accordingly.

 

 

Increasing Loyalty and Increasing Revenue

The success of McCafe demonstrates McDonalds ability to listen to customers and a willingness to make them happy. The brand identified that their customer’s were coffee drinkers but went elsewhere for their coffee purchases, as McDonalds coffee was deemed lesser in quality. McDonalds responded in steps; first by introducing 100% Arabica beans for their coffee to produce a better quality coffee and provide credibility as a quality coffee provider. Then introducing Iced coffee to the menu before launching the McCafe brand expansion.

 

 Mccafe Selection

 

By listening and responding to customer feedback the brand succeeded not only in enhancing the brand experience for their customers, but through the expansion of their brand offering, McDonalds succeeding in capturing a valuable share of the coffee market.

 

 

Expanding Your Brand To Strengthen Its Positioning

Progression is important for any brand and Starbucks Evenings aims to evolve and enhance the brand experience based on what the customer are telling them.

 

 Starbucks Evenings Twitter

 

While this expansion of the brand is being communicated as being a customer-centric strategy, the move serves a dual purpose. Not only are Starbucks aiming to satisfy the evolving needs of their loyal customer base, the expansion of the brand experience leaves them less dependent on the increasingly competitive coffee chain market. If the expansion is successful, the brand will enjoy a stronger position in the minds of their target customers and be less susceptible to the effects of direct competition from other coffee chains.

 

 

Expanding Customer Perceptions

The Starbucks move might look like the brand is deviating from its core business, but the strategy is not unlike that undertaken by McDonalds when they first introduced breakfasts to their menu. The brand identified an untapped market in the breakfast sector and then worked to change customer’s perceptions of the brand as a plausible breakfast provider. Years later, and McDonalds has redefined the market as a profitable route for fast food brands.

 

 

 

McDonalds are a great example of a brand that constantly looks for fresh ways to expand the brand to increase growth and market reach. Without deviating from their core brand values, McDonalds has expanded the brand into unlikely avenues and succeeded in exploiting previously untapped markets in the fast food industry.

   

 Mcdonald 2010 Weekday Breakfast Special

    

The brands latest move McDonalds “Nocturnivore” is a response to changing customer habits and potentially lucrative unexploited dining times. Just as Starbucks is trying to open up a low-traffic daypart with alcohol sales, McDonald’s is testing a “Breakfast After Midnight” menu for the relatively untapped “fourth daypart” — between 2 and 5 a.m. The “Nocturnivore” menu and campaign is promoting late-night dining of not only dinner but also breakfast items. Less than 1 percent of total fast-food traffic comes in during those hours, but 1 percent is still 1 percent.

 

 Mcdonalds Nocturnivore2

 

Sometimes the market share we need can be created rather than earned. Listening to our customers or redefining markets can open up huge possibilities for new revenue channels, new market relevancy or market repositioning.

• What could you do with your present brand offering to expand your current reach beyond the obvious status quo and grow your market share?

 

 

 

15 Reasons Why You Need a Brand Audit to Increase Your Revenue

Fact: Strong brands make more money, are more profitable and increase company value. They enable you to command a premium, ensure customer preference in buying decisions and build customer loyalty which reduces cost of sales and fends off competition

 

If your profits are falling and sales are not performing a “Brand Audit” will help give you insights into your brand’s impact and performance in the marketplace and, most importantly, why it’s not delivering.  

 

Fact: All brands, global or national or regional, need a health check. Brands are like living entities with life cycles. They start with much excitement and promise, grow and then eventually plateau. 

 

It’s at this mature stage of evolvement, when they potentially start to loose relevance as the market evolves and customers move on to the latest hot new thing, that you need to conduct a Brand Audit. 

 

A Brand Audit helps you monitor this cycle so you keep your brand fresh and relevant and know when to reinvigorate or revitalise before sales start to slip.

 

Brand Audit Team

 

Need some more reasons to use a Brand Audit to increase your bottom line ? Here’s 15 more to chew on . . .

 

1. Use it to grow your bottom line, your money’s in your brand. 

    N.B.: Products can be copied, brands can’t.

2. Get clarity with your marketing activities and step up a gear.

3. Know what your core customers think of your brand NOW and re-evaluate.

4. Create sharp focus in your bullseye customers mind.

5. Revitalise with multi-channel emotional connections with your customers.

6. Re-energise what your brand stands for and make it hit home.

7. Leverage it to be seen as an innovative trail blazer and increase your visability.

8. Get distinct and memorable competitive advantage.

9. Attract and develop more effective raving brand advocates.

10. Enhance your brand credibility and generate more buzz.

11. Differentiate your brand more strongly to become a money making magnet.

12. Enhance your internal sense of proud brand ownership with both the board and employees. It massively impacts on how everybody engages and interacts with the brand and your customers.

13. Leverage growth by using external professional validation

14. Discover new ideas, insights, tactics and strategies for your brand.

15. Get an outside experts point of view. You are too close to your brand and invariably can’t see your own brand shortcomings to address the problems objectively.

 

Brand Audit Girl

 

These are just some reasons to engage in a Brand Audit. Do you really know how your brand is performing and where it could be improved ?

 

Is it coasting along but in need of re-evaluation before the competition catches up ? Or is it disconnected, out of touch, caught up in price discounting and endless promotions with a shrinking market and failing sales that will ultimately put you out of business ?


Now is the time for an audit to reinvigorate your brand to stay on top or, more critically, provide a life saver to identify and address the problem areas so you can turn things around and grow your bottom line

 

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To find out more about what’s involved in our proprietary brand audit process, and how you can use our Persona Brand Audit to greatly increase your performance, drop us a line or give us call today. 

We’re here to help you address your brand challenges and support you in growing your business/brand.

T: +353 1 8322724

E: [email protected]

 

Brand Audit Magnifyer

Top 10 Reasons For Rebranding To Grow Your Business

Brands are constantly evolving to ensure they keep abreast of changing needs in the market place. Even some of the greatest brands in the world need rejuvenation.

Brands like Guinness, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Kellogg’s are iconic, global in their status. Yet when you look at their market leadership over the decades, they have all changed even if it has been in a more evolutionary sense over time, rather then radical overhauls. However some branding does require an extensive change in order for the business to achieve the required regeneration for growth and profitable returns.

 

Guinness Word Device

 

Guinness Logo

 

Revitalisation maintains and celebrates the history and heritage of the brand but shows its target audience (current and future) that you are adaptive to change. Change is necessary to stay relevant to the times in which a brand exists and to ensure its future success.

 

Starbucks Logo Evolution

 

Some of the reasons for rebranding, relaunching and revitalising a brand include the following: 

 

1. Relevance:

Brands need to stay relevant to their target market, to keep up with the times and keep pace with changing customer needs (e.g. services, accessibility, convenience, choice, changing trends, technology). A brand that has become old-fashioned in the eyes of its audience is in danger of stagnation if not already in a state of erosion and loss of market share.

 

2. Competition:

In a fast moving environment with aggressive competition, rebranding may be required to change the offering to the market in order to create a more compelling reason to buy, in the minds of the target audience. Rebranding can be used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.

 

3. Globalisation:

Sometimes rebranding is required because of globalisation where the same product sold across multiple markets is inconsistent or different e.g. Marathon’s change to Snickers, Opal Fruits change to Starburst, Jif’s change to Cif. 

 

Starburst Opalfruits Rebrand

 

4. Mergers & Acquisitions:

When two entities combine there are typically two unique audiences left to communicate with. Sometimes this can require a rebrand or relaunch in a way that will appeal to both. In other cases one of the brands may be more dominant requiring more of a revitalisation or refresh with it becoming the sole dominant player. 

 

5. Innovation:

Technology is constantly evolving and the rate of change often exponential. If a brand is technology related e.g. internet, software, hardware and the product offering constantly innovating then a rebrand frequently follows the natural and fast rate of change. Rebranding or revitalisation becomes an outward expression of the companies evolution and ensures the brand’s change hungry customers keep coming back to see “what’s new”.

 

Apple Logo Old And New

 

6. Repositioning:

Taking a brand to a new position is an involved process e.g. from an economy price fighter to a premium position, and invariably requires a rebrand to signal a change in direction, focus, attitude or strategy to its target market. Also again used as a means of blocking or outmanoeuvring competitors or a way of handling increased price competitiveness.

 

7. Rationalisation:

Rebranding can be used to decrease business development and operational costs, or a way of countering declining profitability or consumer confidence. It can also be used where there are complex and sometimes confusing mixes of product portfolios which frequently undermine the brands impact, (along with considerable advertising, branding clutter and media proliferation) all of which causes brand incongruence and audience fragmentation and consequently badly needs consolidation through rebranding to achieve brand impact and strong growth again

 

Mcconnells Old And New Logo

 

8. Outgrowth:

When small companies grow into bigger entities they and/or their products frequently require a rebrand or revitalisation to meet the needs of the bigger business. Typically smaller companies start with more modest brand offering, due to budget restrictions, which are inadequate to meet the needs of a bigger more sophisticated business and a rebrand is required.

 

9. Legal Requirements:

Occasionally legal issues may arise that require a company to make changes to their branding such as copyright issues or bankruptcy e.g. similarities between naming and designs e.g. The Jelly Bean Factory became The Jelly Bean Planet in Ireland to ensure differentiation from the USA brand Jelly Belly.

 

10. Morale & Reputation:

If a company brand has demoralised employees or confused customers then a rebrand may required. A thorough rebrand process will work to unearth the issues that need addressing and could be solved through key changes, including a completely new look and feel to the organisation. A rebrand in this instance can improve a brand’s competitiveness by creating a common sense of purpose and unified identity, building staff morale and pride, as well as a way of attracting new customers, enhancing relationships with existing customers and attracting the best talent to the business.

 

In the case of compromised or damaged reputations rebranding becomes a more pressing requirement. Obvious examples in the current market include certain aspects of the financial sector and banking institutions with damaged reputations which in time will need rebranding. BP is another example and its handling of the Gulf spill which may also require a rebrand in the US the help rebuild its reputation.

 

If you’re considering a rebrand to grow your business and would like to know more, give us a call. We’d love to talk T: +353 1 8322724

16 Tips to Writing a Hot Design Brief to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Over the years I have seen a lot of different brand design briefs of all shapes and sizes from the brilliant to simply dreadful, with too many in-between lacking sufficient substance to really get the best potential return for the resources invested. 

 

Why is the brand design brief so important ? This might sound obvious, but you need to know what you’re aiming for to hit the goal ! In short it’s a critical factor in ensuring your brand design project is successful and you get a real return on your investment. 

 

Think who, what, where, when, why and how ? Your brief should be, to some extent, an extension of your business strategy. It should reflect the desired commercial endeavours of your business and provide all the detailed information necessary to understand your business dynamics in depth and should clearly define the results you want to achieve i.e. the commercial objectives of the project. 

 

In many cases over the years we’ve had to write the client brief, following in-depth discussions, questioning and probing, to ensure project clarity on all fronts, which the client has then endorsed and signed off before the project commences.

 

The following are some tips on how, and what to include, to write a great brand design brief so you can get the best return for your money. The questions posed should give you roughly 80% of your brief content with the remainder resulting from and thorough an in-depth discussion with your chosen brand design agency.

 

Upside Down Man

 

1. What does your business/organisation do ?

Be clear and concise, providing as much detail as possible. Avoid industry jargon and don’t assume your chosen brand design company knows your company or market intimately.

 

2. What are your business/organisation goals and why ?

How do these goals relate to the brand design project ?

 

3. What are your primary communication objectives and why ?

Are your trying to create greater brand/product awareness or sell more product ?

 

4. How do you differ from your competitors ? 

Be objective and tangible in the description of your differences.

What are their advantages and disadvantages compared to your business/product/organisation ?

 

5. Do you have industry, market or category insights ? 

Are they up-to-date ? It is essential to share this information with your brand design partners so they can develop an in-depth understanding of your needs. Have you completed formal/informal market research into to your market, product etc. ?

 

6. Do you need brand profiling and positioning work ? 

This will provide the strategic direction for your marketing activities, distinction within your business’s market and drive the inspiration for the creative delivery of your marketing messages.

 

Upside Down Bald Man

 

7. Are you revamping, relaunching your business/product/organisation or launching a completely new product/venture to market ?

If revamping or relaunching, how does your old offering compare with the new ? Does your brand/business/product/organsiation have an existing brand style guide ?

 

8. Who is your primary target market ?

What are their demographics and psychographics ? Describe them in detail.

If you have a secondary market or multiple audiences ? List them in terms of priority.

 

9. Have you considered the text content required for your project ? 

Do you need professional copywriting input ? How many languages do you need and do you need professional translation services ? A printed brochure or website will have an entirely different requirement and writing style to a brand packaging design project. Compile some raw copy where possible, even in short bullet form, to give some indication of your text content requirements.

 

10. Does your business, industry, market or organization have legal mandatory information which must be included in all your communications ?

Does your product or market have mandatory information such as colour coding which must be used in specific ways, on or in, your communications e.g. European egg packaging has EU colour coding for designated egg sizes ? If so, it is essential you provide all this information fully proofed, up front with clear guidelines on usage.

 

11. Do you need commissioned professional photography or illustration ? 

Does your project have specific visual content which should be included ? If so why and what is it ? 

 

12. What is the full remit of your brand design requirements ? 

Does it have a printed requirement (product design, stationery, brochures, display or exhibition stands, vehicle livery, direct mail, packaging, point of sale etc. all of which is your brand collateral) ? Does it have an online marketing requirement (website, ezine newsletter, Facebook presence, LinkedIn presence, Twitter etc.) ? Do you need a branded digital showreel, video or sales presentation using, for example, Power Point or Keynote ?

 

Upside Down Girl

 

13. Do you have industry or market category benchmarks ?

If so what are they ? Are these industry, cultural or category standards ? Your brand design team needs to know as much as possible to understand what is mandatory, what has worked/not worked to date and where they can aim to exceed and excel, to be distinctly different for long term competitive advantage

 

14. Do you need market research or focus group activity to test your new brand design outputs ? 

Don’t proceed with your launch on a hunch or worse still, your own personal preferences. Your personal preferences are not relevant if they don’t mirror those of your target market and even if they do you should still test and measure !

 

15. What is your budget ? 

Your chosen brand design experts need to know what your limitations and budget boundaries are to avoid a valuable waste of time and resources. They need to understand where and how they can achieve the best return for your money. 

 

16. What is your lead time or deadline for launch to market ?

Develop a detailed schedule with key milestones indicated e.g. consultation, concept development, market research, testing, photography, production, delivery and launch to market etc. Be realistic in your expectations. Unnecessary mistakes can be made if a complex project is rushed to market prematurely. Alternatively if the project must hit the market by a critical date then be upfront and honest. Some elements may need to be dropped or postponed to another occasion and a simpler solution offered to meet the deadline.

 

If you need a new name for a product, business or organization most of this information is just as essential for a brand name origination brief too.

 

Tip:

Try not to be too prescriptive on the aesthetic aspects of the brand design brief. You want to get the best out of your chosen brand design team so you need to give them room to manoeuvre creatively.

 

 

Do you have anything else you’d like to add to these tips ?

 

Drop us a line, we’d love to hear your thoughts.