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 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

  

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 startup 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.

 

   Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px

   

  

Getting your branding right, from the beginning, is particularly important when you consider it typically costs far more in the long run to rebrand again in the future, if you do it badly the first time, and that’s assuming you even get a second chance.

   

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 you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand — product or service — to market.

  

  

Top 10 Tips for Branding Success

  

1. Evaluate and Develop Your Brand Message

The strongest, most successful brands have a consistent message that encapsulates what the brand stands for, its promise and the expected customer experience. Your brand message should ‘show and tell’ your customers who you are through your brand story, and what defines your company—what you stand for and why you’re different, as well as what they can expect when they interact with your brand. They should be able to experience ‘what your brand stands for’ in a real tangible sense, as part of the brand experience.

  

Actions speak louder than words, so your brand will only be successful if you give your customers a compelling reason to buy through your brands mission, vision, values, promise and so forth. Your brand values and promise, the reasons ‘why’ you do what you do, must be a fully ‘livable experience’ within everything in your business both internally and externally from a customer perspective.

To use the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.’

 

Developing a strong foundation for your brand is vital to the planning and execution of your successful brand strategy.

Consider these important points:

  • What are the needs or problems of your customers?
  • How does your brand fulfill those needs or solve those problems?
  • What values and qualities are important to your brand and your primary customer?
  • What type of experience do you want associated with your brand?
  • How will your brand enhance your primary customer’s life
  • Does it make their lives easier?
  • How will your brand make your customers feel? What do you want them to feel?

  

Note: People buy with emotion (regardless of gender) and justify with rational so you need to tap into their emotional needs as much as their rational needs if you want your brand to be successful.

 

In evaluating these attributes, amongst others, you need to ensure your brand message is clear, authentic, relevant, and unique. We use the Personality Profile Performer™ system to identify, develop and articulate all the key factors mentioned, amongst others.

 

  

2. Define Your Brand Vision

How do you want your brand to be seen or perceived? Establishing the distinctive character attributes of your brand, together with how it sees the world and how the world perceives it, will help you launch with a strong consistent brand platform that captures the right audience.

 

Successful brands have a life of their own in the sense that they’re humanized entities through the personality and characteristics they portray. To be successful you’ll need to develop a clear mental image of what your brand is all about — it’s vision — together with its’ persona or character attributes before your launch.

  

Whether you’re going for adventurous, reliable, timeless, sophisticated, fun and youthful, or innovative and cutting-edge, create and develop your vision for your brand and incorporate it consistently into all your brand touch points or channels and brand collateral.

  

  

3. Get Your Employees Involved

Successful brands start from the inside out. As a well established business, entrepreneur or new startup, you have the opportunity to ensure your entire team is engaged and on board with your brand, prior to the revitalization and re-launch or new introduction to market.

  

This process is just as important if you are revitalizing an established brand or launching a new brand to market. Your team can provide invaluable insights and the more you involve them in the process the more likely they are to embrace it, take ownership and act as catalysts for change by being early adopters of new cultural behaviours throughout the business. Your brand promise is far more likely to be carried consistently across the customer experience if everyone believes in it and really lives it in everything they do.

  

 

4. Research and Develop an Intimate Knowledge of Your Customers

50% plus of marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that don’t influence the purchasing decisions of top customers (Source: McKinsey&Company). Find out what really matter to your customers.

 

It’s impossible to target a brand audience if you don’t know who that audience is or what they want. If you want to make your brand compelling you have to know what matters to your customers and the only way to really establish that is to conduct research.

 

This can include aspects of you customer such as demographics—the age group(s), gender(s), socioeconomics, geographic locations, what they have in common, what motivates them and so forth if preferences are not strictly age related and other relevant categorical factors that help define your ideal customer.

 

Do some test marketing or research into identifying your target demographics, and then find out what appeals to them—their needs and desires, and the problems your brand can help them solve.

  

It’s also important to consider developing Buyer Personas or Pen Portraits of your ideal customer to help you shape your branding strategy. The combination of both Buyer Personas and market research or limited test run service or production run (if you’re selling a physical product) can provide you with invaluable insights. These can then help you develop and plan your branding strategy specifically tailored to meet your customers real needs, particularly when you incorporate these customer motivations into your brand collateral and various branding platforms and brand experience.

  

  

5. Evaluate, Benchmark and Rate Your Competition

A brand audit or market research prior to re-launching or launching a new brand is critical not just for your target audience, but also for your competitors. You need to know what type of competition you’re facing in your intended market, and find out what they do well and where they may be lacking. Their weaknesses are your opportunities, potentially providing you with gaps in the market that you can leverage to your advantage.

 

Once you’ve identified your competitors’ weak points or areas of poor customer satisfaction, you may be able to build a brand niche on fulfilling those unmet needs for your customers. The ability to differentiate from the competition, be that perceived or actual, is key to a thriving and successful brand. By carrying out a comprehensive competitive analysis and brand audit of your market sector, you can build differentiation into your brand from the start.

  

  

 

 

  

6. Review Your Brand Concept for Usefulness

Some new companies make the mistake of launching a brand based on hype, touting their products as “new and different” or relying on surface factors (such as beautiful packaging or a stunning logo) in order to capitalize on the brand. However, if the actual products or services are not high quality and really enhancing the lives of their customers in a way that tangibly matters to them, the brand will fail.

 

The best brands fulfill a customer need or desire, or solve problems that other brands don’t. There are many forms this fulfillment can take, whether it’s true innovation, a new twist on an existing line, or even perceived value that is higher than the competition—but the core quality must be there for any of these strategies to succeed. This is where audience targeting can be crucial, as it can take some time to identify the right demographics for your brand to serve.

 

 

7. Design a Distinctive Brand Identity

Truthfully, obtaining perfection is an impossible goal—but your brand logo should be as close to perfect as you can get when you launch a new brand. Your brand logo design is the central identifier or visual component of any brand, and a great logo can be a powerful tool for success. Think of iconic brand logos that are instantly recognizable: the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, the Olympic rings, the Mercedes-Benz three-point star or Virgin. All of these logos help convey the values and qualities of the brands they stand for, and foster brand visibility and loyalty.

  

   Virgin Logo 600px

Image via www.virgin.com 

  

 

Take the time to create a brand logo that is unique, clean and strong, and succinctly expresses your brand, and what it stands for, at a glance. When used consistently, a compelling and recognizable brand logo will support the drive for brand success.

  

  

8. Let Your Passions Shine

Whether you’re a long established business launching a new brand, a seasoned entrepreneur or an uninitiated start-up you are uniquely positioned to infuse your new brand with the passion that led to the launch of your business.

 

All of the enthusiasm and excitement that went into creating your company should be poured into your brand development and messaging with the same passion. This will enable you to build an authentic brand that connects with your customers and evokes emotion—which in turn fosters loyalty, repeat purchase and referral for brand success.

 

 

9. Develop and Commit to Your Brand Promise—and Never Break it

Every successful brand comes with a promise to its customers. For example, Johnson & Johnson baby products makes a promise to parents that the brand will care for their baby’s sensitive skin like no other. Domino’s Pizza promises that its customers will have their orders delivered in 30 minutes or less—and reinforces that promise with a money-back guarantee.

 

What will your brand promise your customers? It is essential to not only define your brand promise, but to keep it every time, with every customer interaction. Brands that break their promises quickly fall out of favour and struggle to stay afloat in the market.

  

  

  

  

10. Maintain Your Brand Consistency

Finally, successful brands are unfailingly consistent—across every customer channel, every brand touch point, and every piece of brand collateral. Brand consistency means infusing every aspect of your brand, from packaging to marketing to in-store, customer facing staff or online experiences, with the values and promise your brand stands for.

 

It’s about far more than maintaining your corporate colours in your marketing material (although that aspect is also absolutely essential too and the reason Brand Style Guides are created). Being consistent should extend throughout your brand presentation, communication, and customer service. Creating a single impression for your brand from the beginning enables you to quickly increase visibility and recognition, and develop a loyal customer base who will spread your brand message for you.

 

Strong, engaging, and consistent branding is the critical foundation that supports all of your marketing activities, and drives the success for your company. Use a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ to get a great started with a well-defined brand that meets the needs of your target audience and outshines your competition, and you’ll enjoy a long and successful branding experience.

  

You may also like:

 

Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

  

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

  

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

  

 

So, what do you think?

 

• What excites you about launching a new brand? What are the challenges you believe you’ll face for your new brand?

  

• How well do you understand the requirements of your new brand messaging?

 

• Who is your ideal customer? What are the specific demographics of your target audience?

  

• How will your new brand differentiate from the competition?

  

• Does your brand offer the right quality and value to your customers for its positioning? How can you tie that offering to your target audience?

  

• Have you expressed your brands’ passions through your brand strategy? How will you capitalize on this?

  

• What is your brand promise, and how will you maintain it consistently across all of your brand touch points?

 

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

 

 

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

Your brand is much more than merely product or service related features and benefits, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers. In the words of Simon Sinek “people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.” In other words people buy what your brand stands for, something that has meaning – which is both personal and important to them. And in order to create an exceptional customer experience, underpinned with strong meaning, your brand must have an irresistible personality.

 

Typically, customers choose one brand over another because they’ve made an emotional connection with that particular brand because it means something important to them and they trust that brand. While that connection may sometimes be the brand with the lowest price, more often than not it’s due to the distinctive personality, characteristics, values and behaviours of a brand – the emotional experience and meaning that association with that brand gives them.

 

Martyn Newman, PhD, consulting leadership and emotional intelligence psychologist and best selling author of ‘Emotional Capitalist – The Ultimate Guide to Developing Emotional Intelligence for Leaders’ is one of the leading speakers at Europe’s largest EQ Summit in London in March 2015. Newman talks about emotional capital; the asset on the balance sheet you can’t afford to ignore. In short without sounding cynical, “there’s money in emotion”, “trust is fundamentally built on an emotional experience and emotions are involved with everything a company does. Emotions determine whether or not people will work well with you, buy from you, hire you, or enter into business with you. For this reason, the value of these emotions eventually shows up in financial performance.”

  

“In the new economy it is no longer sufficient to view a company or a brand simply as a commercial entity and its assets cannot be fully accounted for by inventories of financial capital and not even human capital.” “Ultimately, the only way to create real profit is to attract the emotional rather than the rational customer by appealing to their feelings and imagination.”

  

  

Martyn Newman Brands And Emotion 

 Image via www.eqsummit.com

  

“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.”

   

Brands that compete on price alone fight in a commodity driven arena where only those with the deepest pockets win. Brands with strong, compelling personalities are able to rise above this lowest price, dog fight and command premium pricing, greater market share, and an expanded base of loyal customers.

 

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. It gives you a clear understanding and expression of what your band offers and what that means for your customers, partners, and key audiences.

   

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.

  

1. Know Your Market

Market research is crucial for any successful brand. You need to be absolutely clear on who your target market is in terms of things like their needs, wants, loves, dislikes and aspirations. Where they live, their life stage, what they do in their leisure time and work life, what matters to them, their interests, education, holiday preferences, what other brands they like, buy or aspire to owning etc.

 

  Brand Personalities

  

  

Essentially you need to develop a ‘pen portrait’ or ‘buyer persona’ of who your ideal customer is so that you can create a compelling brand that meets their needs emotionally and rationally. And you need all this information as the basis on which to develop your brands’ profile or personality.

 

As part of your knowing your market you also need to research your competition. Where are they most successful and why, where do the untapped opportunities lie and what simply doesn’t or hasn’t worked in your market sector and so forth. You also need to find out and evaluate what your existing or potential new customers think about your competitors together with their perceptions. Remember 60% of branding is about perception and only 40% about the product or service.

 

It’s only then when you have all this groundwork covered that you can create and actively shape your brand the way you ideally want customers to perceive it. Make no mistake, customers are very intelligent and perceptive so whatever you do, or whatever approach you take, you must do it with good intent, authenticity and integrity if you want to be successful. Brands that ‘mislead’ or behave ‘dishonorably’ are always ‘found out’ and invariable suffer the consequences, particularly via social media.

 

You can gather this market research information through a variety of ways e.g. desk research, surveys, one-to-one interviews etc. Your choice of methodologies is often driven by what is most appropriate to your sector, market size, business or organization size and resources, but usually involves a combination of some of the approaches mentioned.

 

Customer surveys are a great strategy for gaining some of this important information and insights. You can design longer, more formal surveys for use in email marketing or on your business website, or use your social media channels to post quick, informal surveys. Some helpful survey types may include:

  • Give customers a list of personality adjectives, and ask them to rate your brand or multiple brands on each one, using a scale (1 to 5 or 1 to 10)
  • Display photographs of individual people and ask customers which brand(s) in your product category they believe each person would use, and why
  • Ask customers to perform free association with your brand name or slogan—list the first words or phrases that come to mind when they envision your brand
  • Provide a list of brands (including your own) and ask customers to relate them to other types of items such as cars, animals, movies, or books—for example: “If this brand was a movie, which one would it be?”

By using these direct-to-customer types of research methods, you’ll not only generate large amounts of information that will help you define the parameter of your brand personality—you’ll also increase customer engagement and interest in your brand.

 

 

2. Define Your Brand Personality

In addition to evaluating your market, you must also develop the parameters of your brand in the context of what is relevant to your primary target audience. This means determining a brand personality that will be authentic and believable for the customer, accurately reflect your brand values and brand promise, and is consistently represented across your entire brand platform, and throughout all your brand collateral.

 

Remember, your brand personality is a set of emotions and characteristics, rather like a real person, it’s a humanized entity that’s underpins your total brand experience. Brand personalities are often reflective of the target market—for example, brands aimed at Millennials may be fresh, energetic, innovative, or “fast,” while brands focusing on an older demographic base may embrace characteristics like tradition, nostalgia, and reliability.

 

As a basic start to determining your brand personality, consider which of the Big Five Personality Traits your brand falls under. Originally categorized as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, in relation to brands they are: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.

 

These Big Five traits are traditionally used in personality tests, and virtually any brand can be related to one of them. Choosing a broad brand personality category can help you to refine this choice further in your brand profiling.

 

 

3. Create Distinction for Your Brand Profile

Once you have an overview of your brands’ personality, you need to refine your brand profile in order to differentiate from the competition. Take certain aspects of your brands’ character traits and amplify them to create increased distinction and memorability. There are many ways to accomplish brand differentiation, ranging from subtle yet continually reinforced messaging to truly stand-out separation. Regardless of the level of your brand differentiation strategy, it all begins with the essentials of your brand profile.

 

As an example of subtle distinction, major U.S. based department store brands Walmart, K-Mart, and Target share very similar operations and strategies. Yet the Target brand distinguishes itself by focusing on different elements of the brand experience compared to its competitors. Where Walmart and K-Mart typically focus on more affordable pricing, Target infuses its brand collateral and customer-facing content with style, design, and lifestyle choices. The fact that they are competitively priced and offering ‘value’ (which is not just price related) is assumed.

 

Some brands achieve distinctive personalities through a massive departure from convention. One example we’ve previously discussed is FMGC brand PooPouri, a bathroom odour control product that inverts the traditional discretion and euphemistic elegance of the industry by embracing the idea that poo stinks—and their product stops the stink.

  

  

 

  

4. Develop or Refine Your Brand Story

Brand storytelling is another powerful strategy and important part of your brand profile. A great brand story should fully incorporate and reflect your brand’s personality with compelling, memorable elements that help reaffirm, explain and exemplify what it stands for, its brand values and brand promise, how it sees the world, its humour type, tone of voice, what it likes and doesn’t like and so forth.

  

Oxo Family Brand Story 300x180

 Image via www.hootmarketing.co.uk

  

There are several methods for approaching brand story creation – ranging from actual brand origin stories that are emotional, compelling, interesting or engaging, to brand stories that restate your brand values in creative ways, to brand stories that revolve around a symbol such as a brand mascot—think the Keebler Elves, the Pillsbury Doughboy, or Tony the Tiger.

  

   

  

     

FMCG brand OXO created a powerful brand story through their series of commercials aired through the 1980s and 1990s, starring the “OXO Family.” These adverts showed the family growing up and progressively evolving through various stages of life, held together during each stage by a mum who cooked meals using OXO stock cubes. The brand story proved so effective that when the lead actress, Lynda Bellingham, passed away in 2014, more than 150,000 people joined a Facebook campaign to resurrect the advert series.

 

 

  

  

  

5. Develop a Strategic Direction

In order to use brand profiling effectively in your brand communications plans, you must have a well-planned strategic direction for infusing the personality and characteristics of your brand into your all brand collateral and various touch points. It’s essential to find creative and engaging ways to communicate your brands’ personality congruently to your customers across multiple platforms, including physical presentation in retail stores, online media and marketing channels, and internal branding with your employees and leadership team.

 

Online channels like your company website and social media channels can provide excellent opportunities to reinforce your brand personality. Use things like your company’s “About Us” page to creatively reflect the main characteristics of your brand profile—replace stiff images and droning corporate copy with carefully selected content and brand image collateral that conveys the personality you want to communicate. Engage your customers on social medial with posts that reflect your brand’s chosen qualities and characteristics.

 

 John Schnatter Papa Johns Pizza

Image via www.papajohns.com

 

Pizza chain Papa John’s employed a smart strategy when expanding their U.S. based market into the UK—translating larger-than-life chain owner John “Papa” Schnatter’s sports enthusiasm into an association with the UK’s Football League and weaving this association heavily into their social media channels. As a result, Papa John’s market share in the UK has risen dramatically over the last 12 months.

 

  

  

 

6. Maintain Brand Consistency

Consistency is critically important in every aspect of your brand strategy, and this applies to your brand’s personality as well. The more consistently your brand’s personality is reflected across every platform, every customer touch point, and every piece of brand collateral, the stronger and more established your brand becomes.

 

Brand consistency must apply to both the tangible and intangible aspects of your brand—everything from your logo and corporate colors, to your packaging, to your employees’ attitudes and customer experiences and engagement strategies.

 

With a compelling brand personality, applied consistently, you can establish a strong brand profile that increases your market share—and ultimately your profits.

 

So, what do you think?

• How well do you understand your brand personality as it’s perceived by your customers?

 

• Do your brand’s current market perceptions reflect the embodiment of the brand personality you’d like to achieve for your brand?

 

• What distinction or distinctions separate your brand’s personality from your competition?

 

• How does your brand story tie into your brand profile? Could it be better aligned?

 

• What is your strategic direction for reinforcing your desired brand personality?

 

• Is your brand profile reflected consistently across all touch points and brand collateral? How could you be more consistent and more congruent?

 

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

Olympics Ambush Marketing Winner Goes to… Dr Dre. Beats

World records, sporting heroes, and brand-wars. The Olympic games may be over for another four years but, sports and athletes aside, the legacy of the London 2012 brand police is likely to live on.

 

Long before the first athletes arrived in the London the global coverage of the stringent branding laws enforced by the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) had already spread worldwide.

 

With corporate sponsorship of the games essential to cover the £15 billion cost of hosting the games, it is of course understandable that LOGOC would do its utmost to protect the branding rights of official brand sponsors; each paying up to £100 million over 4 years for the privilege.

 

That said, laws including the possible forfeiting of medals by winning athletes if they promoted any brand or product via twitter, or banning people and businesses from decorating their own private property brought the 2012 brand protection laws to a new level.

 

 

With Rules Come Rule Breakers

Naturally, the Olympic Games are an attractive association for any brand looking to capitalize on the attention and popularity of the international spectacle. For many brands who lack the budgets to enter into a sponsorship agreement, (and some who can), the temptation exists to try and stretch LOGOC’s branding laws, despite the legal risks.

 

Irish brand Paddy Power was one such brand who successfully skirted LOGOC’s brand laws, although narrowly, with their ambush marketing poster campaign.

 

 Paddy Power Ambush

 

Paddy Power’s ad proclaims that the Irish bookmaker is the “Official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year! There you go, we said it”. They then go on to reveal that the sponsorship is of an egg and spoon race to be held in the town of London in France. LOGOC’s threatened legal proceedings against the brand Paddy Power, but was unsuccessful.

 

Nike has a history of ambush marketing at the Olympic games that dates back to the 1970s. This years games were no different. As a non-sponsor Nike was forbidden from mentioning the games in their advertisements, despite the brand sponsoring many star athletes and several countries’ team kit.

 

Nike reacted by posting a 60-second ad on YouTube that marked the worldwide unveiling of a campaign called “Find Your Greatness.” The ad cheekily takes on the strict restrictions of the Olympic branding laws. Instead of showing Olympic athletes in action in London, England, viewers will see unknown athletes in towns and villages called London around the world.

 

“There are no grand celebrations here, no speeches, no bright lights,” a narrator with an English accent explains. “But there are great athletes. Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is reserved for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for all of us.” With 5,108,976 views to date and counting, Nike got their message out there!

  

 

While both Paddy Power and Nike playfully take on the rules governing brand association of the games, you have to question, is doing so in keeping with their brand image? And how well does it fit with the rest of their brand strategy?

 

Both brands benefited in terms of press coverage for their marketing stunts. Nike in particular sets a tone that suggests to LOGOC “if you can’t beat them, diminish them”. As a sponsor of sporting legends does this advertisement by Nike aim to support them during their biggest career challenge?

 

 

Brand Ambush Champion 2012

If there was a gold medal for Olympic ambush marketing it would go to the undisputed 2012 brand winner Dr. Dre Beats. Watching the games, particularly the aquatic or athletic events, you more than likely saw a significant proportion of athletes supporting headphones with the trademark B of Dr. Dre Beats.

  

Cullen Jones Wears Beats

 

Olympic heroes such as Britain’s Tom Daley and the great Michael Phelps were seen by audiences of millions wearing their Beats as they entered the Olympic Arena. The brand that paid nothing in sponsorship fees was arguably the most visible brand for several of the most viewed events in the games.

 

  

Why This Was Ambush Marketing At Its Best

Beats’ brand visibility during the games was a carefully orchestrated strategic move by the company. The brand invited athletes to pick up their free pair of Beats from a collection point set up in the trendy private members club in London. As athletes were not being paid to promote the brand they managed to avoid breaking LOGOC’s rules.

 

Olympian Beats By Dre

 

Their campaign was subtle yet effective. There was no official press launch, no global PR campaign. Panasonic, official sponsor of the games paid £64 million for the association. The cost to Dr. Dre Beats? A few hundred pairs of their headphones.

 

While their ambush campaign paid off in terms of visibility their success is more significant than that. Through their ambush campaign Beats aligned its brand with inspirational globally recognized athletes; role models for audiences the world over.

 

Amy Cure Beats By Dre

 

The campaign worked not only because it fit within Beats traditional strategy of celebrity endorsement, but was further reinforced by the brands natural fit within the context of the games where athletes have used headphones and earphones before their event since the days of the Walkman in the 70s.

 

According to John Lewis sales for the Dr. Dre Beats headphones have increased by 116% in their stores. The number of sports headphones sold is said to have gone up by 42%, with general headphone sales at a steady 19% increase during the games.

 

Like any strategy ‘ambush marketing’ needs careful planning, a clear goal and it must support the existing brand strategy. Dr. Dre Beats deserve to reap the rewards of their winning campaign.

 

• Does your marketing activity support the core values, positioning, profile, story and overall vision for your brand?

 

• Could you use ambush marketing activities strategically planned to fit within your core brand positioning and target audiences needs?

 

What do you think of the various ‘ambush marketing’ campaigns mentioned?

Do you have any stories of your own you like to share?

Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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: brand@personadesign.ie

 

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