Reality Check: How to build a real brand

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Slides from my keynote address at the 2013 Insight One20 event in Los Angeles. This material supplements my voice over about the most impactful ways to build a lasting brand that inspires customers. At its foundation is the insight that a real brand is more than a name or a logo, it's a promise. That promise sets an expectation which the brand must meet or exceed in every brand experience. Drawing on material published in my book Brand Real, I illustrate:

1/ The importance of developing trade-offs in your brand platform. You can't be everything to everyone. The best brands pick the value they can deliver exceptionally well in every experience, often at the expense of other features and benefits.

2/ The six core themes that tend to underly every brand promise and how to differentiate between them. Your brand should revolve around one of these themes.

3/ Why credibility is an important gateway for deeper levels of brand attachment and preference. I also touch on what credibility really means -- it's a combination of trustworthiness and demonstrable expertise.

4/ How identity and creative should be tied to real, noticeable benefits in the core brand experience. I show the difference between changing a logo for the sake of being nice to look at, and changing a logo to signal a change in the core experience.

5/ Defining what brand experience really is -- how it relates to what we think, feel and do when a brand is present.

6/ How narrative and story are the language of brand experience, and how important it is to make the story come alive in the consumer's imagination. We are born with the capacity to understand everything through the lens of narrative. Your job with your brand is to activate the right narrative in the audience's head.

7/ How the experiences and stories that tap the consumer's important values create strong attachment to brands, and why attachment is the best way to measure the strength of your brand's power with your target audience.

8/ And, ultimately, how important it is to engage your employees and make them attached if you want to have a consistently strong brand experience with your customers.

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Reality Check: How to build a real brand

  1. 1. 16 March 2013 Reality Check presented at Insight One20 @lvincent #BrandReal THE BRAND STUDIO
  2. 2. 2 @lvincent
  3. 3. “The most negative brand in America.” Representative George Miller (D) California 3@lvincent
  4. 4. “The most negative brand in America.” 4@lvincent
  5. 5. “The law … became closely associated with President George W. Bush, and as his popularity slid, the law, and its name, came under attack and ridicule.” 5@lvincent
  6. 6. Law of Contagion “…a folk belief which suggests that once two people and/or objects have been in contact, a magical link persists between them until a formal exorcism or other act of banishing breaks the bond.” @lvincent
  7. 7. @lvincent
  8. 8. “Let’s Rebrand” MARPMental Asset Recovery Program REDOResourcing Educational Development Outcomes AACAAAAll American Children Are Above Average NEW TESTNot Even We Think Educational Standards Teach GOODERGeneral Oversight Of Domestic Education Reforms 8@lvincent
  9. 9. Why I wrote Brand Real 9@lvincent
  10. 10. Why I wrote Brand Real Too much emphasis on brand identity; Not enough emphasis on brand behavior. 9@lvincent
  11. 11. Beyond Petroleum Woo hoo! Award-winning brand identities 10@lvincent
  12. 12. @lvincent
  13. 13. What we value when we have to choose… 12 92%Consistently exceeds expectations 87%Brand does what it claims 39% Consistently great customer service Feel a relationship with the brand The brand has a good reputation The brand shares my values The brand has a good image 78% 78% 77% 71% 67% @lvincent
  14. 14. What we value when we have to choose… 12 92%Consistently exceeds expectations 87%Brand does what it claims 39% Consistently great customer service Feel a relationship with the brand The brand has a good reputation The brand shares my values The brand has a good image 78% 78% 77% 71% 67% 11% 17% 23% 23% 25% 26% 27% Always has the best price Everybody uses it It isn’t for everybody Brand has the best logo People I admire use the brand Brand is willing to be controversial I like the brand’s design @lvincent
  15. 15. What brand really means BEHAVIOR IDENTITY+ 13@lvincent
  16. 16. What brand really means BEHAVIOR IDENTITY+ Actions Trade-Offs 13@lvincent
  17. 17. Choosing why you matter Ease-of-Use Brand is simple and easy to use 1 Price Brand is the lowest price 2 Cust. Service Brand has great, friendly customer service 3 Design Brand has the best design 4 Availability Brand is available in the most places 5 14 Competitor A 1 2 3 4 5 Available everywhere with a lot of customer service Competitor B The service brand 1 2 3 4 5 Competitor C The brand everyone talks about because it is consistently the coolest 1 2 3 4 5 Competitor D 1 2 3 4 5 The cheapest option and one of the easiest to get @lvincent
  18. 18. Trade-offs matter 3.1 3.0 2.9 3.03.1 15 Competitor A 1 2 3 4 5 Available everywhere with a lot of customer service Competitor B The service brand 1 2 3 4 5 Competitor C The brand everyone talks about because it is consistently the coolest 1 2 3 4 5 Competitor D 1 2 3 4 5 The cheapest option and one of the easiest to get Ease-of-Use Brand is simple and easy to use 1 Price Brand is the lowest price 2 Cust. Service Brand has great, friendly customer service 3 Design Brand has the best design 4 Availability Brand is available in the most places 5 @lvincent
  19. 19. 16
  20. 20. Expectations Experiences Brand Value = 17@lvincent
  21. 21. A BRAND IS A PROMISE 18 @lvincent
  22. 22. 19 What is a brand promise? An effective promise… • Distinguishes a brand from competition • Sets an expectation in the audience’s mind • Guides decisions the brand team must make @lvincent
  23. 23. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS @lvincent
  24. 24. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS FEATURES @lvincent
  25. 25. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS FEATURES APPROACH @lvincent
  26. 26. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS FEATURES APPROACH PERSONALITY @lvincent
  27. 27. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS FEATURES APPROACH PERSONALITY CAUSE @lvincent
  28. 28. Six types of brand promises 20 ACCESS FEATURES APPROACH PERSONALITY LIFESTYLECAUSE @lvincent
  29. 29. 21@lvincent
  30. 30. “Contrary to the nature of our brand.” 21@lvincent
  31. 31. 22 Brands that stick to a promise make tough choices that earn our trust @lvincent
  32. 32. The trade-offs lead to credibility 23 Awareness Familiarity Credibility Favorability Attachment • Recognition • Recall • Knowledge • Understanding • Differentiation • Trustworthiness • Expertise • Popularity • Positive attitudes & opinions • Likeability • ID Affiliation • Love • Loyalty • Evangelism High frequency High leverage @lvincent
  33. 33. The trade-offs lead to credibility 23 Awareness Familiarity Credibility Favorability Attachment • Recognition • Recall • Knowledge • Understanding • Differentiation • Trustworthiness • Expertise • Popularity • Positive attitudes & opinions • Likeability • ID Affiliation • Love • Loyalty • Evangelism High frequency High leverage @lvincent
  34. 34. Brand Credibility 24 Structural relationships between brand credibility, perceived quality, perceived risk, and information costs saved Brand Credibility Trust- worthiness Expertise Perceived quality Perceived risk Information costs saved @lvincent
  35. 35. Skeptical Audiences 25@lvincent
  36. 36. 26 Persuasion knowledge PERSUASION KNOWLEDGE TOPIC KNOWLEDGE How much the consumer knows about what they’re being sold. SELLER KNOWLEDGE What the consumer knows about the seller—what kind of relationship. What the consumer senses about the seller’s motives and sales tactics. @lvincent
  37. 37. 26 Persuasion knowledge PERSUASION KNOWLEDGE TOPIC KNOWLEDGE How much the consumer knows about what they’re being sold. SELLER KNOWLEDGE What the consumer knows about the seller—what kind of relationship. What the consumer senses about the seller’s motives and sales tactics. @lvincent
  38. 38. What brand really means BEHAVIOR IDENTITY+ 27@lvincent
  39. 39. What brand really means BEHAVIOR IDENTITY+ Internal Character External Presentation 27@lvincent
  40. 40. “It’s just a faster-looking steed” George Saridakis Design Manager, 2010 Mustang @lvincent
  41. 41. Before After 29@lvincent
  42. 42. “ We wanted to give the Mustang pony a more realistic feel. We lifted the head to make the pony more proud, tipped the neck into the wind to give it a feeling of greater speed and better balance.” Douglas Gaffika Chief Designer, 2010 Mustang @lvincent
  43. 43. Source: brandnew.com @lvincent
  44. 44. @lvincent
  45. 45. @lvincent
  46. 46. Expectations Experiences Brand Value = 34@lvincent
  47. 47. 35 Good brand experiences… • Reduce skepticism • Appeal to objectivity • Make us consider all reasons we should like a brand • Convert us into defenders and evangelists @lvincent
  48. 48. @lvincent
  49. 49. @lvincent
  50. 50. Brand experience guides what we… 38 THINK FEEL DO @lvincent
  51. 51. Think different 39@lvincent
  52. 52. Brand experience adheres to the laws of storytelling @lvincent
  53. 53. The logic of storytelling 41 CAUSE EFFECT @lvincent
  54. 54. The logic of storytelling 41 CAUSE EFFECT Situation Ordinary Life Complication Disruption that raises a question the story must answer Climax Opposing forces in the story come to a head Resolution Everything is resolved; no loose ends (unless you want a sequel) @lvincent
  55. 55. Anticipation vs. expectations 42 “I can’t wait to see what happens next!” @lvincent
  56. 56. Anticipation vs. expectations 42 “I can’t wait to see what happens next!” “I knew that was going to happen!” @lvincent
  57. 57. Wheel of slogan 43@lvincent
  58. 58. Wheel of slogan 44 J S O I @lvincent
  59. 59. Wheel of slogan 45 J S O IU T D T @lvincent
  60. 60. 46 ( ? ) M I N E T H E G A P @lvincent
  61. 61. UNNECESSARILY CENSORED @lvincent
  62. 62. @lvincent
  63. 63. Three stories every brand should address Self Identity The literal, observable, historic and reported story of the brand— the one most concretely linked to the brand’s reputation. 49@lvincent
  64. 64. Three stories every brand should address Self Identity The literal, observable, historic and reported story of the brand— the one most concretely linked to the brand’s reputation. Category Identity The story implied by association with the enclosing category. Categories are the first cognitive anchor for understanding what a brand is about. 49@lvincent
  65. 65. 50 @lvincent
  66. 66. Three stories every brand should address Self Identity Category Identity Stakeholder Identity The story associated with stakeholder identities (customers, employees, etc.). 51 The literal, observable, historic and reported story of the brand— the one most concretely linked to the brand’s reputation. The story implied by association with the enclosing category. Categories are the first cognitive anchor for understanding what a brand is about. @lvincent
  67. 67. 52@lvincent
  68. 68. @lvincent
  69. 69. 54 BRAND ATTACHMENT ATTACHED BRAND Ignored Brand Respected Brand FavorableUnfavorable HighRelevanceLowRelevance The opposite of me I never think about it Nice, but not for me A lot like me Averse Brand @lvincent
  70. 70. 54 BRAND ATTACHMENT WHEN BRAND MEANS SOMETHING A LOT LIKE ME SEPARATION ANXIETY Consumer willing to do without something else to keep the brand in their life MUST-CARRY Consumer is happiest when brand is close BRAND-SELF DISPLAY Consumer badges and evangelizes the brand ATTACHED BRAND Ignored Brand Respected Brand FavorableUnfavorable HighRelevanceLowRelevance The opposite of me I never think about it Nice, but not for me A lot like me Averse Brand @lvincent
  71. 71. 55@lvincent
  72. 72. 56@lvincent
  73. 73. “I make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to my own.” — Young & Rubicam, 2010 71% of US consumers agree: @lvincent
  74. 74. @lvincent
  75. 75. Brand Aversion Brand Attachment
  76. 76. Customers must recognize that you stand for something. Howard Shultz, CEO Starbucks 60@lvincent
  77. 77. THINK INSIDE OUT PROMISE Brand starts here for employees PROMISES GUIDE BEHAVIOR The values associated with your brand promise influence the behavior that customers experience
  78. 78. VALUES EXPERIENCE Brand starts here for customers Creative expression of the brand Rules that guide behavior THINK INSIDE OUT PROMISE Brand starts here for employees PROMISES GUIDE BEHAVIOR The values associated with your brand promise influence the behavior that customers experience
  79. 79. WHOLE FOODS Read a Disgruntled Whole Foods Employee’s Epic Resignation Letter Late Friday afternoon, an employee of the Whole Foods Market in Toronto sent this epic resignation letter to the entire company. It's an alternatingly amusing, enlightening, and occasionally infuriating read—but a good read, nonetheless. The letter begins with a point-by-point evisceration of the grocery chain's carefully calibrated image as an earth-and-body- friendly, organic foods paradise. Likening the chain to "a faux hippy Wal-Mart," our disgruntled bulk foods buyer accuses the JUL 24, 2011 10:29 PMBY SETH ABRAMOVITCH 695,507 480Share GET OUR TOP STORIES TOP STORIES Like 16k Enlarge This Image Victor Kerlow Related Times Topic: Goldman Sachs OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs By GREG SMITH Published: March 14, 2012 372 Comments TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for. It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the WORLD U.S. N.Y. / REGION BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE HEALTH SPORTS OPINION ARTS RECOMMEND TWITTER LINKEDIN COMMENTS (372) E-MAIL PRINT REPRINTS SHARE 62
  80. 80. 4 reasons why brand experiences fail: The team inside… 63@lvincent
  81. 81. 4 reasons why brand experiences fail: The team inside… •Don’t know 63@lvincent
  82. 82. 4 reasons why brand experiences fail: The team inside… •Don’t know •Don’t believe 63@lvincent
  83. 83. 4 reasons why brand experiences fail: The team inside… •Don’t know •Don’t believe •Don’t care 63@lvincent
  84. 84. 4 reasons why brand experiences fail: The team inside… •Don’t know •Don’t believe •Don’t care •Don’t have tools/resources to execute 63@lvincent
  85. 85. @lvincent
  86. 86. @lvincent #BrandReal

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