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

According to a Nielsen poll of consumers in 60 countries, 55 percent of purchasers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that do their part to encourage positive social and environmental impacts.[1]

 

Clearly, corporate social responsibility influences buying preferences, but how else is it important? We’ll examine the answer to that question below.

 

  Corporate Social Responsibility 600px

Image via www.huffpost.com

 

 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

 

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, occurs when companies take into account the sociological, financial and environmental impacts its actions have in the world and decides to ensure its actions make a positive impact. [2].

  

Some business experts have simplified the definition of CSR even further to suggest it encompasses everything a company actively does to have a positive impact on society.

 

There are numerous types of CSR, such as:

 

  • Philanthropy
  • Production Improvements
  • Better Conditions for Workers
  • Sustainability
  • Community Enrichment
  • Diversity in Hiring Practices
  • Supporting Companies with Similar Values

 

Typically, the manner in which a company engages in CSR is closely aligned with its brand strategy, brand values, positioning, primary audience and industry sector. For example, a clothing manufacturer might iron out a CSR plan that improves working conditions in factories located in developing countries, while an establishment that makes paper products might commit to CSR that ensures the world’s most at-risk forests are protected and regenerated.

 

 

Why is CSR Good for Business?

 

Although many corporate leaders are encouraged by the aforementioned statistic that shows a company’s involvement in CSR may mean a customer is willing to pay more for its services, they usually require stronger beneficial commercial evidence before taking further action.

 

However, they don’t need to look very far before uncovering some of the numerous other benefits linked to CSR, including: [3]

 

 

  • Happier Staff: Employees take pride in working for a company that supports the greater good through worthy actions and happier staff are more productive and better brand ambassadors

 

  • More Informed Customers: If your company announces a CSR strategy, the associated plans could potentially result in a more transparent organization which in turn typically results in more loyal customers.

 

Research shows customers want to know more about the things they buy, product or service, than ever before. For example, a study published by IBM noted 59 percent of American consumers and 57 percent of consumers from the United Kingdom have become more informed about the foods they buy and eat over the two years prior to the study’s publication.[4] 

 

In other words, customers’ predisposition to buy, product or service, is becoming increasingly influenced by an organization’s authenticity, openness and commitment to the greater good.

 

  • Reduced Costs: CSR can cut costs by helping companies become aware of and minimize risks, plus improve the efficiency of their supply chains.

 

  • Improved Competitiveness: In a challenging marketplace, a worthwhile CSR plan could carve out a more solid place with a unique positioning for a company to thrive.

 

  • Better Public Relations and Reputation Management: A CSR plan gives a company a platform through which to promote good things like community involvement, donations to charities and other big-hearted gestures.

 

 

 

Developing an Effective Corporate Responsibility Plan for Your Brand

 

In order to launch a CSR plan that’s good for business and engages genuinely with your stakeholders, it must be carefully crafted. The key is to strike a balance between benefiting society at large, and benefitting the business. [5] Doing that means:

 

  Business Idea Action Plan 600px

 

 

  • Evaluating how and where the business can have the greatest societal impact without taxing the company’s leadership and resources. This frequently involves scrutinizing the company’s existing competencies. Those strengths can provide clues to possible CSR strategies that are revealed after tapping into existing skillsets.

  

  • Cultivating a deep understanding of how certain actions could help the business while simultaneously supporting the chosen causes. This often also necessitates having an open heart and mind while listening to feedback from stakeholders.

  

  • Aligning with partners can propel your desired efforts and help bring goals to fruition. Ideally, adopting a long-term mindset when forming collaborative CSR relationships is best for all concerned.

  

  • Ensure business objectives and CSR goals match up. If there is a disconnect between these two components, your CSR activities risk being time-consuming and lacking the power needed to make lasting changes.

  

  

Examples of Brand CSR Strategies That Have Worked Well, and Why

 

Now you have a deeper understanding of what corporate social responsibility is and how to start formulating your own plan, let’s look at the characteristics of some successful CSR programs with companies that are excelling in their CSR endeavors [6]. You can then use these actionable tips to drive your own brand CSR inspiration.

 

CSR experts agree all successful CSR programmes typically have:

  • clear objectives
  • measurable outcomes
  • well-developed theories for how to achieve the desired goals
  • sufficient information for stakeholders about why causes are worth pursuing
  • dedicated and highly focused efforts from the entire company
  • a willingness to partner with credible experts.

 

 

Let’s look at a few case studies that detail some stellar CSR successes.

 

APS Group

This UK-based SME spent years ironing out its CSR strategy. Lacking the resources to hire a dedicated CSR team, the company found employees who were willing to champion the company’s CSR causes, which include education and supplier sustainability.

 

  

  

  

  

Media clips from the company place a strong emphasis on making things possible for clients that they would not be able to achieve alone, as does the company’s published document about its CSR initiatives. Through CSR efforts, it can also be strongly argued the company is living out its “Make More Possible” slogan by enabling the people and organizations affected by the causes it supports. APS Group is a great example of how even if a company thinks creating a CSR plan is a daunting task, success is still within reach. [8]

 

 

Method

This brand of cleaning products uses natural ingredients such as coconut oil and soy. Furthermore, the products’ packaging is environmentally responsible and biodegradable. Since the company boasts over $100 million in revenue annually, that is proof “green” products can be commercially viable.

  

   Method Cleaning 600px

Image via www.methodhome.com

 

 

Furthermore, Method demonstrates CSR focuses do not have to be separate from the products you make. Some media clips from the company that details its CSR focuses specifically highlight input from industry experts to make a bigger impact.

 

  

 

  

  

LUSH Cosmetics

This company sells bathing and beauty products filled with natural ‘Fair Trade’ ingredients. The brand’s Charity Pot is sold to benefit a rotating assortment of non-profit organizations. All proceeds from the Charity Pot go directly to the chosen groups, resulting in millions of dollars raised. [10]

 

The packaging is just one indicator of how easy it is for people to support good causes by purchasing these black, lotion-filled containers. LUSH uses the labels on the top of pots to inform consumers who the recipients are by clearly stating the designated charity concerned.

  

   Lush Pot Lids 600px

Image via www.lush.co.uk

  

  

The brand also has a fund that supports communities which produce fairly traded goods. It was launched in 2010 and borne from a desire the company had to do something more than just use fair-trade ingredients in their products whenever possible. [11]

   

 

  

   

 

Charting the Results of Your CSR Strategy

 

It can sometimes appear somewhat difficult to determine with certainty whether your CSR strategies have achieved the desired outcomes. One of the more effective ways you can answer that question is by engaging an independent research firm, with specialist expertise, to rank certain aspects of a company’s CSR performance, from human rights to the environment and community. [12]

 

Additionally, you can check effectiveness through various metrics [13] such as:

 

  • Environmental indices for pollution or air/water/soil quality
  • Quality and quantity of mentions in media outlets
  • Measurements for the quality of life within a society, such as literacy rates, life expectancy and incidences of disease, plus mental, physical and emotional heath. The latter could be gauged through feedback surveys given to workers
  • Indicators of the company’s economic health by way of profits, growth, and stability, before and after a CSR campaign launches

 

 

Statistics 600px

 

 

In conclusion, customers are becoming increasingly hyper-conscious of how and where they spend their money. Recent research also indicates this trend is strongest among Millennials, the largest consumer segment in terms of buying power. [14] Specifically, 91 percent of Millennials actively switch to brands that support a worthy cause, and abandon the brands that aren’t perceived to have an authentic contribution policy.

 

In addition to boosting your customer base and potential profits, a well-developed CSR plan could strengthen your relationship with suppliers, increase competitiveness in the marketplace and help you cut costs by becoming more aware of risks. Therefore, many business leaders have come to realize it’s short sighted to not be involved in corporate social responsibility.

    

Key Takeaways

 

  • Customers are typically willing to pay more for products from companies associated with strong CSR brand strategies
  • CSR goals vary depending on a company’s values and the composition of their stakeholders
  • A good CSR plan should both benefit the business and help society
  • The CSR plan must align with a company’s business objectives
  • Expert individuals or notable groups can help improve CSR strategy success
  • Metrics and independent research groups can evaluate whether a CSR plan is working well

 

Have you integrated a CSR strategy into your organization? If not, it might be a good idea to take a look at how CSR could benefit all concerned.

  

Questions to Consider

  

  • Does your company have well-defined core competencies that could translate into areas of CSR focus?

  

  • How motivated are your stakeholders to pursue a CSR plan?

 

  • Are there obstacles that might delay CSR-related brand strategy plans?

  

  • Have you thought about how to tackle negative responses from stakeholders that CSR is not currently worthwhile?

 

  • Which measurement methods will you consider using to verify your CSR brand strategy effectiveness?

 

 

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

  

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

 

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

  

• Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers 

 

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

 

Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

     

[1] http://www.nielsen.com, “Global Consumers Are Willing to Put Their Money Where Their Heart Is When it Comes to Goods and Services from Companies Committed to Social Responsibility”, June 2014

[2] http://toolkit.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au, “What is Corporate Social Responsibility?”

[3] http://www.csrinpractice.com, “What is Corporate Social Responsibility?”

[4] George Pohle and Jeff Hittner, https://www-935.ibm.com, “Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Responsibility.”, 2008

[5] Tracey Keys, Thomas W. Malnight, and Kees van der Graaf, http://www.mckinsey.com, “Making the Most of Corporate Social Responsibility” June 2009

[6] Frederick E. Allen, http://www.forbes.com, “The Five Elements of the Best CSR Programs.” April 2011.

[7] http://www.theapsgroup.com/who-we-are/corporate-social-responsibility/

[8] Lisa Henshaw, http://www.theguardian.com, “How SMEs Can Engage in Social Responsibility Programmes,” December 2011.

[9] http://www.inc.com, “How Two Friends Built a $100 Million Company”

[10] Helaina Hovitz, http://www.forbes.com, “Following the Millions in LUSH’s ‘Charity Pot’. December 2014

[11] https://www.lush.co.uk/.  “Introducing the SLush Fund”

[12] Tima Bansal, Natalie Slawinski, Cara Maurer, Natalie Slawinski, Cara Maurer. http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com, “Beyond Good Intentions: Strategies for Managing Your CSR Performance” January/February 2008.

[13] Katherine N. Lemon, John H. Roberts, Priya Raghubir and Russell S. Winter, http://www.philoma.org. “A Stakeholder-Based Approach: Measuring the Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility”, 2011.

[14] www.conecomm.com, “New Cone Communications Research Confirms Millennials as America’s Most Ardent CSR Supporters,” September 2015.

  

Top 10 Packaging Trends for 2016

According to a 2013 publication by EY, the global consumer packaging market is valued at approximately $400 billion. That figure balloons to $500 billion when industrial end markets are included. [1]

 

Packaging is clearly a big business, but it’s not just about the materials that cover a product or protect it prior to purchase. First and foremost packaging must grab the attention of its primary audience, stand out from the competition and create a compelling reason to buy.

 

Packaging must sell the brand proposition and how it can enhance the purchaser’s life, present the product or contents to best effect, fulfill statutory and mandatory requirements, protect contents, help the purchaser use and store the contents appropriately.[2] People buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender or cultural background, so your packaging must touch the heart if you want to move the mind.

 

Below, we’ll look at combination of 10 emerging and continuing packaging trends for 2016.

 

1. Packaging with Hand-Drawn Labels

 

Last month I wrote about ‘What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends for 2016’ and in that article I touched on key trends in the brand arena for the year ahead; personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, transparency, engaging, and mobile. Packaging is in effect at the sharp edge of these trends too.

 

Shoppers are gravitating towards brands that convey authenticity and that’s often very effectively conveyed with ‘hand done’ or ‘hand finished’ details. With that in mind, some companies have redesigned their brand packaging to feature carefully hand-drawn labels. The High Weald Brewery is one example. Made in Sussex, England, these artisan brews feature packaging that commands attention [3] and complements the upscale beverages inside, plus conveys warmth that implies the distinctive labels weren’t just hastily made or mass produced as an afterthought.

    

   High Weald Brewery 600px

Image via www.highwealdbrewery.co.uk

  

 

2. Personalized Packaging

 

Although this trend emerged in 2014, it shows no signs of slowing down. Coca-Cola led the way with bottles that read, “Share a Coke with…” and featured a person’s name. As the trend gained popularity, the labels became more generic and featured names such as “Mom” and “a Friend”. Now, Coca-Cola has a designated website where people can buy personalized Coke bottles.

 

Nutella, a brand of popular hazelnut spread, has also followed suit by creating packaging with names.  As of October 2015, customers in the UK can request free personalized labels after purchasing Nutella. 

 

 

3. Metal Packaging You Can Microwave

 

Dutch students helped create premium packaging for Emmi, a Swiss dairy brand. Available as part of a ready-to-use fondue kit, the package consists of a metal bowl that can be microwaved or placed in a traditional oven, thanks to a special food-safe lacquer. [4]

 

 

 Emmi Fondu Tulip Karton 400g Usa 600px

Image via www.packworld.com

 

 

Emmi wanted to keep its brand strong with packaging that encouraged differentiation, and has received critical acclaim for this innovation. It may encourage other companies to develop similarly forward-thinking packages in 2016.

 

 

4. Packaging Gets Increasingly Convenient for Customers and Consuming Food

 

Since consumers increasingly lack free time, many large companies have endeavoured to help them cook dinner as easily as possible. Some smaller establishments are also meeting that growing need.  One such venture is The Black Farmer, also based in the UK.

 

Case Study: The Black Farmer

 

Run by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, The Black Farmer offers premium meats, including gluten-free options — another growing food trend. It recently announced a pork loin roast that cooks in the package and includes a special blend of spices. [5]

 

 

 The Black Farmer Pork Loin Roast In The Bag 600px

Image via www.theblackfarmer.com

 

 

Jones says research has shown consumers are not confident enough cooking pork at home because they’re not sure how to do it well. The roast-in-the-bag design cooks the pork in less than an hour, and most importantly does not require preparation.

  

 

 

 

This convenience is commonly offered for chicken, but The Black Farmer is the first brand to enter the pork market with such packaging. Translucent material makes it easy to see the contents, while this concept appeals to people who want quick dinners but won’t sacrifice high quality for convenience.

 

 

5. Materials and Structure Are More Than What They Seem

 

Global Closure Systems has engineered a new type of plastic material that mimics the look and feel of glass. These shatterproof containers have two layers and are more efficient to produce than previous kinds of containers made by GCS.[6] Not only is the packaging more pleasing to the eye compared to plastic, but it’s also safer for consumers since it’s less vulnerable to breakage.

  

  

 Global Closure Systems1112

Image via www.packagingeurope.com

 

 

Additionally, Sonoco has developed a package with a metal top and an easy-to-open pull tab, plus clear plastic sides so consumers can see inside.  Called the TrueVue Can, the BPA-free product has a customizable height and wall thickness, so manufacturers can request packaging that shows off their products effectively.

 

 

Tru Vue Plastic Can 600px 

Image via www.sonoco.com

 

  

 

6. Snack Packaging On-The-Go Becomes Handier

 

Last summer, the Hormel Foods Corporation expanded its brand of Skippy peanut butter by offering peanut butter-inspired snacks featuring a crunchy center with a soft peanut butter coating. They’re sold in clear plastic containers that not only make the snacks easy to consumer on the go, but enable customers to view them before purchasing.  However, it’s not the only product appealing to snack lovers who crave convenience.

 

Case Study: Walgreens

 

Walgreens followed Hormel Food Corporation’s lead by upgrading its private-label packages of premium nuts. Specifically, a section of the container is removable to allow consumers to use it as a single-serving bowl. The portability and versatility of the new packaging saw sales grow by 23 percent, and helped it earn a gold medal at the National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) Packaging Awards last year. [7]

  

  

 Walgreensnuts 500px

Image via www.chiefpackagingofficer.com

 

  

7. Increasing Prevalence of Recyclable – Coffee Pods

 

Last spring, Keurig began making recyclable coffee pods, much to the delight of eco-friendly consumers. [8]  In November, news broke that Wolfgang Puck would do the same. [9]  

 

 

  

 

 

These more sustainable forms of packaging follow a growing trend, not only amongst consumer preferences but are also at a statutory and industry level in response to the even more pressing environmental issues associated with excessive packaging, pollution and landfill. By introducing this Earth-conscious functionality, brands are signaling consumers can still enjoy preferred products without being wasteful.

 

 

 Wolfgang Puck 500px

Image via www.packagingdigest.com

 

 

It also potentially becomes a more transparent and honest part of their CSR brand strategy, a factor which has a huge impact on Millennials’ decisions to purchase a brand. In fact it’s worth noting that six out of ten Millennials feel personally responsible for making a difference — all of which impacts their brand choices. 90 percent of Millennials actively purchase brands associated with a cause and half of Millennial consumers will abandon a brand if they disagree with the company’s ethics.

  

 

8. Packaging That Makes It Clear How Consumers Can Give Back – CSR

 

Expect to see a larger amount of packaging that spells out how consumers can make a difference by buying a particular product. Piggy Bank Wines, for example, gives 25 cents from every bottle sold to one of three charities.

  

   Piggy Bank Wines Home Pg 600px

Image via www.piggybankwine.com

 

  

The packaging features a QR code consumers can scan so they can vote for their favorite of the three organizations. Once the charitable fund reaches $5,000, voting ceases and the money is distributed accordingly.

 

 

Case Study: SoapBox

 

In a similar CSR-related vein, the SoapBox company features a “Hope Code” on its packaging that users can use to find out where the profits from that product are going. [10] Every code is unique, meaning people can theoretically support a different charitable cause with each purchase.

 

   Soap Box Soaps 600px

Image via www.soapboxsoaps.com

 

  

Fittingly, all the company’s charitable efforts focus on sanitation needs and clean water. This outreach matches the brand’s focus and is an inherent part of it’s brand values, all of which helps encourage its primary customers to embrace the cause and the brand.

  

  

  

  

  

9. Packaging That Makes Product Dispensing Simpler

 

The makers of Daisy Sour Cream have released a new package for its product that allows consumers to dispense the ingredient without a spoon. Fitted with a flexible valve, the package makes it easy to dispense the right portion size. Also, the foil package fits in a refrigerator door, ensuring it maintains front of sight visibility for consumer and encouraging consumption before the expiration date.  [11]

 

 

 Daisy Sour Cream

Image via www.daisybrand.com

 

 

In 2016, it’s more likely brand owners will increasingly use packaging more imaginatively and in new ways to give them a more competitive edge to ultimately increase profitability.

 

  

10. More Beer Packaging May Include Nutrition Facts

 

In the United States, it’s voluntary for beer manufacturers to include nutrition facts on packaging. As you may expect, nutritional content is most often highlighted on brews touted as low calorie.

 

The concern with calories has also attracted attention in the United Kingdom. [12] The Local Government Association (LGA) is a lobbying group representing more than 350 councils. It argues alcohol is contributing to the obesity crisis, and consumers generally don’t realize how many calories alcohol contains. It remains to be seen what’ll happen with alcohol packaging in the UK.

   

It’s clear from the trends above that packaging does much more than just protect merchandise before it’s sold, or inform people about the products inside. It assists customers in making the right choice, it makes it easier for consumers to use the product, which may inspire greater loyalty, helps buyers do good by giving back and even make us admire how far science has come through new, high-tech packaging solutions.

  

Key Takeaways

 

  • Ideally, successful packaging must be visually pleasing, communicate the brand’s key message effectively and be user friendly — done well, it’s multi-purpose in its design both functionally and aesthetically

 

  • Appealing to consumers’ desire for convenience is a worthwhile strategy, if that packaging intent doesn’t undermine the perceived value of the brand

 

  • Societal trends, such as increased giving with active CSR brand strategies or recycling, will increasingly influence packaging trends

 

  • Simplicity, both in the way a package looks and functions in terms of ease of use, is a growing trend with consumers looking for brands with a sense of the more authentic, transparent and ‘responsible’ commitments to society

 

   

Questions to Consider

 

  • What are the technical and operational needs required for your brand’s future packaging? Have you adequately invested in those areas or conducted a brand audit to evaluate your changing market requirements?

  

  • Have you sought feedback from your primary customer to find out about the kind of improvements they’d like to see in your brand and its packaging, and how they feel about those planned changes if your considering rebranding?

 

  • Recyclable coffee pods are examples of how well-known brands adapted to societal trends. Have you considered how your brand could do the same?

 

  • SoapBox judiciously combines its CSR strategy with innovative packaging design. How might your brand follow suit?

 

  • Personalization is an increasingly important brand trend but for packaging it can be prohibitively expensive. Are there ways you could tap into this growing trend and leverage it in a way that’s more cost effective?

 

 

You may also like:

  

• What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

  

• Packaging Design: Top 16 Tips for Great Eye-Catching Packaging Design

    

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

  

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

   

• Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

  

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

    

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

  

• 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?

 

[1] http://www.ey.com, “Unwrapping the Packing Industry: Seven Factors for Success”, 2013.

[2] Simon Preece, http://www.forbes.com, “The Five Things Product Packaging Must Do”, July 2014.

[3] http://www.thedieline.com, “High Weald Brewery”, November 2015.

[4] Anne Marie Mohan, http://www.packworld.com, “Microwavable Metal Bowl Developed for Ready to (H)eat Fondue”, December 2015.

[5]  http://www.foodbev.com, “The Black Farmer Launches Roast-in-the-Bag Pork Loin Joints”, December 2015.

[6] http://www.packagingeurope.com, “Global Closure Systems Provides ‘Glass-Like’ Plastic Jar,” November 2015.

[7] http://www.chiefpackagingofficer.com, “New Nut Container Upgrades Walgreens Private Label Snack Packaging,” December 2015.

[8]  http://www.businesswire.com, Keurig Makes Coffee-To-Go Easier with Launch of K-Mug Pods,” March 2015.

[9] Kate Bertrand Connolly, http://www.packagingdigest.com, Wolfgang Puck Switches to Recyclable Pods,” November 2015.

[10] Kate Bertrand Connolly, http://www.packagingdigest.com “SoapBox’s HopeCode Shows Consumers How Their Purchases Are Helping,” June 2015.

[11] Dave Johnson, http://www.packagingstrategies.com, “Daisy Turns Sour Cream Upside Down with New Flexible Package,” December 2015.

[12] Seb Joseph, http://www.thedrum.com, “Alcohol Packaging Should Sport Calorie Labels, Warn LGA”, January 2016.

  

  

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

  

Top 10 Branding Articles in 2015

Are you curious which Persona Branding and Design articles have been the most popular over the past year?

 

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

 

Here you’ll find an insider’s peek into our top ten most popular branding articles of 2015, some of which you might have missed.

 

I’m sure you’ll find at least one that will be very useful to your business in the year ahead.

Wishing you growing success in 2016!

   

  

Top 10 Branding Articles In 2015 600px

  

   

1. Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

The differences between a tired, old, has-been of a brand and a fresh, lithe and provocative one can be boiled down to a singular concept: storytelling. The art of telling a story, and telling it well, is integral to grabbing every potential customer’s attention, and a key part of your brand strategy.

 

The secret to success in the elegant art of storytelling lies in understanding its fundamental components. Though by no means comprehensive, what follows is a breakdown of some major elements that any good story should include. These are in fact some of the key ingredients we incorporate in our Story Selling System™ used when developing our clients’ brand stories:

 

The Top 5 Components of a Great Brand Story are as follows…

    

  

 Open Book 600px

   

  

2. Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

 

Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new start-up company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.

  

Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand.

  

It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.

 

The question here is, do you know the key ingredients required for building a new brand?

 

To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market.

 

These are actionable points which you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand, product or service, to market.

   

   

 Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px 


  

3. What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

 

More than a half century ago, the customer-centric branding pioneer Walter Landor said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” [1] In 2016, the path to that consumer experience is a two-way street, and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? Brands with strong personality are the winners, because consumers equate experiences with brands.

  

Branding keywords for 2016 include: personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, engaging, and mobile.

 

We take a closer look at some outstanding examples from brands that illustrate key 2016 on-trend pointers to successfully target today’s customers.

  

 

  Edelman Slide1 600px

Image via www.edelman.com

 

 

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

 

Your brand is much more than merely a product or service, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers—and to create an exceptional customer experience, your brand must have an irresistible personality.

 

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

 

Brand profiling is the systematic process of creating, developing and implementing your brand character and personality through shaping its brand promise, values, the do’s and don’ts of its behaviours, story, emotional benefits, its culture and what it stands for and so forth.

 

It’s this humanized entity that gets your brand message out into the market, cuts through the noise and gets the attention of your primary customers in a way that matters to them.

 

When creating and developing the profiles for our clients’ brands we use our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™, a systematic approach which underpins the commercial, rational, and holistic aspects of successful brand profile building.

 

The following six key elements are representative of some of the core ingredients included within this branding process, used to create and deploy a compelling personality for your brand.

  

  

 Martyn Newman Brands And Emotion

Image via www.eqsummit.com

 

 

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

 

Co-branding is defined as a partnership between brands. It typically works best when Brand A partners with Brand B, each with a different set of customers and brand associations of their own.

 

As in the expression, “the whole is bigger than the parts,” co-branding can add value when synergy exists between the brands; it creates an emotional energy, starts conversations and creates buzz around both partners and can delivery significantly increased financial returns for all involved when done right.

  

In addition to brand revitalization, co-branding objectives may include getting more bang for your buck, growing market share, building audience reach and altering perceived positioning. Co-branding is primarily used an alliance of two brand partners, although there’s no rule against bringing three or more to the party.

 

Checkout here:

• The Top 7 Benefits of Co-Branding

• 5 Co-Branding Risk Management Guidelines

• The Top 6 Tips for Co-Branding Success

with case studies and examples of who’s done it really well.

  

 

 Co Branding Multiple Examples 600px

Infographic via www.missvinc.om

 

 

6. Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding

 

Colour increases brand recognition by 80%. 93% of shoppers consider visual appearance over all other factors while shopping. It adds huge power to communications, opinions, recall and emotive influence. In fact when used correctly, colour is a pivotal tool to substantially influence purchasing decisions, service or product.

  

Since colour choices impact every aspect of a commercial enterprise, brand owners should aggressively re-evaluate that choice throughout their brand strategy.

  

The question is, has your brand’s colour palette been selected with the right intent and applied to best possible effect throughout all your brand communications and touch points to ensure your brand grow and increased profitability?

  

Find out more about why colour matters and how you can use it more effectively within your business.

 

  

 Colour Infographic Cropped 600px

Infographic via Blueberry Labs

  

 

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

 

The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.

 

When presented with an assortment of packaging options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.

 

The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?

 

Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.

 

Here’s how…  

 

 

 Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

 

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

  

The combined value of the various luxury goods markets in 2014 was an estimated 865 billion euros, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods and luxury hospitality taking the top three places, with values of 351 billion, 223 billion and 150 billion respectively.

 

You might think those statistics make luxury branding a very interesting sector, however if you want to reposition or establish your brand targeted at a high-end customer then there are six keys factors you need to consider within your brand strategy.

 

Firstly there are four main characteristics by which the luxury customer defines a luxury brand. However the way in which someone perceives luxury will depend on factors ranging from their socio-economic status to their geographical location.

 

Here are the four main characteristics by which luxury brands are defined together with the six key brand strategies for building a winning luxury brand. 

  

  

Super Rich Shopping Habits Infographic 600px 

Infographic via Raconteur.net

 

 

9. Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers

 

Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.

 

While these statistics sounds like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.

 

Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However once you really understand this discerning consumer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.

 

Here are our top 6 key brand attributes you need to consider when developing your brand strategy to attract your Millennial customer.

   

   

 Millennial Entrepreneur 600px

 

 

10. Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

 

The average consumer spends 88% more time on content with video and video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined. A landing page with video gets 800% more conversion than the same page without video.

   

If you ever thought using video to promote your brand was too difficult or beyond your reach these statistics might make you think again.

 

Find out exactly how you can use video to grow your brand here.

 

You can even find out how one small start up brand used video to achieve worldwide distribution and now has more online viewers than its competing massive global brands combined!

  

  

 You Tube 360 600px

Image via Google / YouTube

 

 

Did your favourite post feature in one these top 10 branding articles of 2015? If there was an alternative that was your first preference, drop us a line and let us know. 

 

Meantime I’d love to keep you up to date with what’s happening in the world of branding and make this blog really useful to you. If there’s anything branding related you would like to read about in this blog or if you have any questions or comments, suggestions for a blog post, feedback or even just to say Hi, just send me a short note, I’m here to help!

E: [email protected]

or give me a call at Tel: +353 1 8322724

 

Wishing you increasing success in the year ahead!

  

  

   

Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers

Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.

 

While these statistics might sound like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.

 

Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However don’t be too daunted, once you really understand this discerning customer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.

 

 

 

Defining the Millennial Customer

 

A Millennial is generally defined as someone who was born between the years of 1980 and 2000, according to multiple online sources, including an article, “Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers,” by Hilary Stout for The New York Times.

 

Millennials, on average, have around seven electronic devices that have the ability to access social networking, the internet and even television. While there are exceptions to this statistic, as there are in any demographic, 55 percent of these Millennials are using their devices to connect to videos several times a day, where a large majority of brand engagement takes place. Six out of ten Millennials feel losing their car would have a less negative impact on their lives than losing their phone or computer.

  

  

  

     

Due to the fact that almost half (45 percent) of Millennials admit that brands are a key part to their lives, recognized brand names are very important to this specific consumer when deciding to purchase something. They are a multi-device connected group and consequently research their brands thoroughly on multiple fronts before deciding to make a purchase. Their decision-making processes are influenced by some very sophisticated criteria coupled with social proof from the opinions of their peers online.

 

Goldman Sachs clearly explains what a Millennial consumer is and how this demographic can potentially change the economy, in a video published on YouTube in May of 2015: “Macroeconomic Insights—Millennials: Changing Consumer Behaviour.”

    

    

  

  

  

6 Key Brand Attributes Important to the Millennial Customer

 

1. High Quality Products and Services

The number one, most important characteristic that a Millennial looks for in a product is quality. If a product or service does not seem worth the time or the money to the Millennial, they’re unlikely to invest in it. This consumer will buy high quality premium brands but only once they’ve thoroughly validated its credentials.

 

 

2. The Power of Recommendation

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools on or offline. If a Millennial is happy with a product or service they’ve used, and the brand has consistently delivered a great customer experience, they’ll share this positively on a global scale. Fifty three percent interact with brands online they care about and tell others.

 

Conversely if a brand has let them down or failed to meet its brand promise they’ll also articulate their discontent verbosely. Thanks to social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Millennials are constantly sharing their latest purchase with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of followers. This is especially the case if a Millennial owns something that is trending. These posts do not go to waste, either.

  

Dan Schawbel in his Forbes article states: “33 percent of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase… [they] look to social media for an authentic look at what’s going on… especially content written by their peers whom they trust.”

 

 

3. Personalization, Partnerships and Co-Creators

Millennial consumers are vocal and speak their minds freely about products or services online. If brand owners monitor and track this online traffic it can provide them with invaluable insights and data enabling them to quickly address any issues and use the information garnered to inform new product development solutions specifically tailored to meet the needs of this very influential group.

 

Individuality matters to Millennials and they like to express themselves through personal style clothing. In fact 40% have gone beyond clothing to express their individuality with tattoos.

 

Brands offering customization and bespoke individualization are ahead of the game already. This will become an increasingly important trend for this audience, as evidenced by the success of Chipotle.

 

Millennials want to be treated like partners, not just purchasers, that’s why brands like Pinterest and Etsy have been so successful. 60% believe organizations should offer more ways for customers to share opinions and 40% want to co-create with brands. This provides brands, products of services, with incredible opportunities to engage this willing group and tap into them for their creativity.

 

  

4. Social Responsibility

Even with high quality products, great customer experience, good ratings and convenience, brands still need to offer more to their Millennial buyer. For this particular type of consumer, it is very important that they feel like they are making a difference and they will actively purchase brands which are seen to be ‘giving back to the community’ for the greater good in some way.

 

Six out of ten millennials feel personally responsible for making a difference, and because of this, an incredible 90 percent of these consumers actively purchase brands associated with a cause. More than half of the Millennial consumers will abandon a brand if they disagree with the company’s ethics.

 

By having the full-history of any brand available at their fingertips, Millennials collectively care about how even the smallest of their purchases can affect those across the globe. They are frustrated with statutory entities and Government and want to solve social problems through entrepreneurial solutions.

 

 

5. Life is an Adventure

Many Millennials feel that it is important to experience new things on a regular basis, as 70 percent want to travel to all seven continents, 75 percent enjoy food from cultures that are not their own and Millennials are two and a half times more likely to adapt to new technologies than older generations.

 

Often, this wanderlust spirit inspires Millennials to look for excitement in their everyday lives, which is why 60 percent of this generation considers themselves entrepreneurs and optimistic, creative thinkers.

 

This attitude is what pushes Millennials to have the desire to be not only a patron, but also a part of the brand that they are supporting. Affinity groups form within the Millennial culture, as it is a large, broad generation. Those with similar interests, tastes, achievements and circumstances often come together in order to work towards a common goal, which is what the Millennial consumer likes to see in their brand, as well.

 

 

6. Making an Important Statement

In this reenergized push for equality, inclusivity and diversity, Millennials appreciate a brand that is not afraid to make a statement against discrimination. Millennials will actively support brands that authentically make equality, inclusivity and diversity part of their brand culture.

 

This video, “Millennials On: What Cause Would You Dedicate Your Life To?” produced by 20 to 30 demonstrates the wide spectrum of causes that the millennial generation cares about, which coincides with social responsibility, sharing similar interests and making an important statement.

    

   

  

  

 

Brands Who Have Done It Right

 

There are many examples of brands, small and large, that have successfully made all these key Millennial attributes core to their brand culture. Starbucks is a great case in point. In this video, “Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Social Responsbility,” genConnect lets Schultz explain how Starbucks remains socially responsible through success.

   

   

  

   

Apple is brand that has earned the loyalty of their Millennial consumers not only for their great product quality but also for their support of (PRODUCT)RED, which supports the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and their corporate sociality responsibility programmes relating to the environment, education, accessibility and inclusion and diversity.

 

Other large corporations famous for their corporate social responsibility and high quality products include: TOMS, Coca Cola and Ford, all of which we’ve mentioned in previous articles.

  

   

  

   

A brand does not need to be a global Goliath either to be an attractive and successful brand targeting Millennials. Take the Lokai brand, for example. They sell one bracelet that contains water from Mt. Everest and soil from the Dead Sea to represent the extreme highs and lows in life, to remind the wearer to live a balanced life.

 

Millennials love the brand story, sentiment and authenticity of the bracelet as evidenced by the almost one million followers it has on Instagram alone. The brand’s website also demonstrates its CSR credentials too in that they donate ten percent of net profits to their charity partners, thus encouraging Millennial consumers to purchase their brand on multiple levels.

  

  

 Lokai Bracelet

Image via www.mylokai.com

 

  

  

Millennials Advocate for Their Favourite Brands

 

When a Millennial consumer loves a brand, their loyalty is clearly evident. They are great brand champions actively engaged on their multiple social platforms.

  

If you get a Millennial customer onside, consistently meet and exceed their needs, deliver on your promise with a great brand experience they will become some of your best sales ambassadors.

 

A good example of this is when both the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One were released at the same time. Millennial consumers who are also “gamers” had already decided, long before the release of the consoles, which one they would be purchasing because they were loyal to either Sony or Microsoft’s brand.

   

Debates broke out across the internet over the PS4 versus the Xbox One because the consumers were so loyal to their respective brands. The day the consoles were released, each company sold an outstanding number of units, thus causing Millennial gamers to flood social media with photos and posts about their latest purchase, proud to be a part of a group of people with similar interests.

    

  

Brand Loyalty with Millennials

 

I think once you’ve reflected on some of these key brand attributes mentioned you’ll agree Millennial consumers have such a formidable, and largely growing buying power, that it’s critical to integrate all the elements mentioned, amongst others, if your brand wants to harness the dollars/euros/pounds of this lucrative audience. Take the time to really research and understand your Millennial customers both in terms of their needs, challenges, loves, hates and aspirations.

 

 

 

3 Actionable Tips for Your Millennial Brand Strategy

 

Consider using some of these tips to integrate into your Millennial brand strategy:

 

1. Develop really strong buyer personas for each of your different Millennial customer types and their relevant affinity groups. You need to know your audience intimately if you want to tailor your brand for success.The outputs from this work will then provide the much-needed direction for developing your brand profile, using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™. Collectively the outputs from both of these will then provide the direction for the development of your brand strategy, brand collateral design briefs, integrated marketing strategy and so forth.

  
2. Tailor regular communications with your Millennial customers using the platforms most preferred by them for your brand. For example they like regular email provided it includes really high quality, useful information, which is individualized to their specific needs. Remember even if they don’t immediately buy from you their opinion counts amongst their peers, family and friends.

 

3. Develop opportunities for collaborative input from your Millennial customers. They want to be involved and a brand strategy developed to include their co-creator spirit provides brands with incredible opportunities to develop unique solutions, be they products or services, which their audience really wants. You might never find out or come up with these NPD ideas unless you include their early input. Make sure you test your prototypes, product or service, with Millennials too.

   

You might also like:

  

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

• Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

 

• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?

 

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

 

• Brand Audit: When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns

 

• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation   

 

• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand 

 

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

 

 

So what do you think?

  

• Does your brand personality and profile appeal to what is most important to the Millennial consumer?

  

• What aspects of your brand strategy can you improve on to attract more loyal Millennial customers?
   

• Having read these facts about Millennials, does your brand need a complete revitalization or rebranding strategy to ensure its long term success?

  

• Can you re-evaluate your brand using a brand audit and consider how best to contribute to the causes that are most important to the Millennial customers?

    

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