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How to write your annual Brand Plan so that everyone in your organization can follow

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Have you ever noticed that people who say, “We need to get everyone on the same page” rarely have anything written down on ONE page? People use the term “fewer bigger bets” all the time, yet these same people seem to be fans of those small little projects that deplete resources. People say they are good decision-makers, yet struggle when facing strategic choices, so they try to justify doing both options. A well-written Brand Plan should force your hand in how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to drive the highest return. We believe that a Brand Plan should be on one page!

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How to write your annual Brand Plan so that everyone in your organization can follow

  1. 1. THE BRAND LEADER How to write your annual Brand Plan so that everyone in your organization can follow Have you ever noticed that people who say, “We need to get everyone on the same page” rarely have anything written down on ONE page? People use the term “fewer bigger bets” all the time, yet these same people seem to be fans of those small little projects that deplete resources. People say they are good decision-makers, yet struggle when facing strategic choices, so they try to justify doing both options. A well-written Brand Plan should force your hand in how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to drive the highest return. We believe that a Brand Plan should be on one page! Beloved Brands 1 We make brand leaders smarter
  2. 2. The role of the Brand Plan The Brand Plan has to align, steer and inspire all functional areas of the organization including marketing, sales, finance, supply chain, product development, human resources and any outside agencies. The plan is a decision-making tool to gain approval from senior management on spending, strategies, tactics, goals and projects. It should even help the Brand Manager who wrote it, to stay focused during the year, on delivering on what they said they would deliver. To be effective, the plan has to answer five strategic questions: 1) Where could we be? 2) Where are we? 3) Why are we here? 4) How can we get there? 5) What do we need to do? If you answer these five strategic questions, you will see that you have a rough draft outline of your vision, analysis, key issues, strategies, execution and measurement. Just as you would start an essay with an outline or rough draft, we recommend that you start with the 5 Strategic Questions worksheet (see below) putting 3 bullet points for each of the 5 strategic questions. If a Brand Plan is like an orchestral arrangement for the organization, think of these answers as the lyrics to the song. Beloved Brands 2 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. 1. Where could we be? 2. Where are we? 3. Why are we here? 4. How can we get there? 5. What do we need to do? 5 simple strategic questions that frame your plan Vision/Purpose/Goals Situation Analysis Key Issues Strategies Execute & Measure Questions to ask Planning elements 1 2 3 4 5 6 We make brands stronger. 5 strategic questions worksheet 1. Where could we be? • To be the first ‘healthy cookie’ to generate the craving, popularity and sales of a mainstream cookie. • Make Gray’s a $100 Million brand by 2020. • Want double digit annual growth rates. 2. Where are we? • Successful launch into the mass market, but time to transition Gray’s from a product-led brand into an idea-led brand • Need to connect with consumers by owning idea of “guilt free” snacking, rather than just selling a great tasting cookie. • Begin to dominate and lead the “good for you” cookie segment 3. Why are we here? • We have not figured out the priority choice for growth: find new users or drive usage frequency among loyalists. • We need to drive our awareness and share needs for Gray’s. • There is a high risk of ‘healthy cookie’ launches from Pepperidge Farms and Nabisco? 4. How can we get there? • Continue to attract new users to Gray’s • Focus investment on driving awareness and trial with new consumers and building a presence at retail. • Build defense plan against new entrants that defends with consumers and at store level. 5. What do we need to do? • Use awareness to drive trial of the new Grays Cookies as “The Healthy Choice to Snacking” brand positioning. • Use in-store and event sampling to drive trial of the new Grays Cookies • Leverage key results, planogram recommendations and in-store specialty store merchandising team
  3. 3. The beauty of this process is we can see how you get from those 5 strategic questions to the overall brand plan. Yes, there is a lot of work to go deeper on each question, but once you do, you will end up with a Brand Plan on ONE PAGE.  Brand Vision When I see brand teams struggling, they usually a lack a brand vision. Without a vision, brands get so short term focused about next month, they meander and meander, creating more confusion than clarity. You need a brand vision. As Yogi Berra famously said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there”. The vision sets the tone for “Where could we be?” putting a stake in the ground to inspire and push the brand forward. An inspiring brand vision should scare you a little, but excite you a lot! It should be a balance between aspiration (stretch) and reality (achievement). To find the right brand vision, we ask brand leaders: “If you woke up 10 years from now and you were in a great mood because of what was happening on your business, list out the 3 things you would have achieved?” This gives you a rough draft of a vision statement, framed as a huge goal. Some will use the term BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). The idea is to stretch your brain beyond the day-to-day and provide a beacon in the future that everything must work towards. Beloved Brands 3 We make brand leaders smarter Analysis Issues and Strategies Executional Tactics P&L forecast • Sales $30,385 • Gross Margin $17,148 • GM % 56% • Marketing Budget $8,850 • Contribution Margin $6,949 • CM% 23% Drivers • Taste drives a high conversion of Trial to Purchase • Strong Listings in Food Channels • Exceptional brand health scores among Early Adopters. Highly Beloved Brand among niche. Inhibitors • Low familiar yet to turn our sales into loyalty • Awareness held back due to weak Advertising • Low distribution at specialty stores. Poor coverage. • Low Purchase Frequency even among most loyal. Risks • Launch of Mainstream cookie brands (Pepperidge Farms and Nabisco). • De-listing 2 weakest skus weaken in-store presence • Legal Challenge to tastes claims Opportunities • R&D has 5 new flavors in development. • Sales Broker to create gains at Specialty Stores • Explore social media to convert loyal following. Key Issues 1. What’s the priority choice for growth: find new users or drive usage frequency among loyalists? 2. Where should the investment/resources focus and deployment be to drive our awareness and share needs for Gray’s? 3. How will we defend Gray’s against the proposed Q1 2014 ‘healthy cookie’ launches from Pepperidge Farms and Nabisco? Strategies 1. Continue to attract new users to Gray’s 2. Focus investment on driving awareness and trial with new consumers and building a presence at retail. 3. Build defense plan against new entrants that defends with consumers and at store level. Goals • Increase penetration from 10% to 12%, specifically up from 15% to 20% with the core target. Monitor usage frequency among the most loyal to ensure it stays steady. • Increase awareness from 33% to 42%, specifically up from 45% to 50% within the core target. Drive trial from 15% to 20%. Focus for sales is to close distribution gaps going from 62% to 72%. • Hold dollar share during competitive launches and continue to grow 11% post launch gaining up to 1.2% share. Target zero losses at shelf. Advertising • Use awareness to drive trial of the new Grays. Target “Proactive Preventers”. Suburban working women, 35-40.Main Message of “great tasting cookie without the guilt, so you can stay in control of your health”. Media includes 15 second TV, specialty health magazines, event signage, digital and social media Sampling • Drive trial with In-store sampling at grocery, Costco, health food stores and event sampling at fitness, yoga, women’s networking, new moms. Distribution • Support Q4 retail blitz with message focused on holding shelf space during the competitive launches. Q2 specialty blitz to grow distribution at key specialty stores. Innovation • Launch two new flavours in Q4/15 & Q4/16. Explore new diet claims, motivating and own- able. Competitive Defense Plan • Pre Launch sales blitz to shore up all distribution gaps. At launch, heavy merchandising, locking up key ad dates and BOGO. TV, Magazine, couponing and in-store sampling. • Use sales story that any new “healthy” cookies should displace under-performing and declining unhealthy cookies. Brand Vision: To be the first ‘healthy cookie’ to generate the craving, popularity and sales of a mainstream cookie. Make Gray’s a $100 Million brand by 2020. Forecast P&L Situation Analysis Brand Vision Strategic Initiatives Executional Tactics Key Issues Goals Brand Plan On a Page 2 3 1 4 5 6 6
  4. 4. A well-written brand vision is the ultimate end-in-mind achievement. A brand vision should last 5-10 years or more, helping to paint a picture of where could we be. Make it emotional and motivating for all employees and partners to rally around. Put it into plain words so it is easy to follow. Use a common phrase, already used within the company. Not everyone will tell you this, but I think you should attach or embed a financial or share position element, as long as it’s important for framing the vision. After all, you are running a business. A couple of watch outs for vision statements. It is not the “how” so make sure your vision is a destination not a strategy for getting to the destination. Try to be single minded and avoid one of those long-winded statement that includes everything to every possible stakeholder. Those might make good reading in your annual report, but they all sound the same after a while. As part of your brand vision, for brands that are very closely connected to the culture of the organization, it can be very motivating to the entire team to have a well-defined brand purpose that explains “why you do what you do”. Apple is a brand that is closely linked to their culture and used a purpose of, “We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. We want to make a dent in the universe.” For brands where the culture delivers the brand experience, having the brand values clearly stated, not only inspires the staff but holds them accountable to certain key standards. The core beliefs of the brand shape the organization as to the standards, behaviors, expectations. The brand has to be able to stand up to and consistently deliver each value. Situation Analysis Before we plan where to go next, we need to understand “Where are we?” today. We recommend a deep-dive business review that looks at everything connected to the business including the category, consumer, competitors, channels and the brand. • Category: Start by looking at the overall category performance to gain a macro view of all major issues. Dig in on the factors impacting category growth, including economic indicators, consumer behavior, technology changes, shopper trends, political regulations or what is happening in other related categories that could impact your own category. • Consumer: Define your consumer target, digging deep on the consumer’s underlying beliefs, buying habits, growth trends, consumer enemies and key insights. Use a consumer buying system analysis and leaky bucket analysis to uncover how they shop the category and your brand. Uncover consumer perceptions through tracking data or market research. • Channels: Look at the performance of all potential distribution channels and every major customer in the category. Understand your channel customer’s strategies, as well as the Beloved Brands 4 We make brand leaders smarter
  5. 5. available tools and programs your customers have, so your brand can align your brand with each customer and find a pathway to success within each channel. • Competitors: Dissect your closest competitors by looking at their performance indicators, brand positioning, innovation pipeline, pricing strategies, distribution and the perceptions of the brand through the eyes of their consumers. Map out a strategic Brand Plan for all major competitors to help predict what they might do next, and know how you might counter in your own brand plan. • Brand: Understand the reputation of your brand through the lens of consumers, customers and employees. Use brand funnel data, market research, marketing program tracking results, pricing analysis, distribution gaps and financial analysis. Look at the internal health and wealth (inside the company) as well as the external health and wealth of the brand (in the market place). To draw conclusions from the deep- dive review, you need to summarize the factors driving the brand, the factors holding the brand back and then lay out the risks and untapped opportunities. Above, you will see summary tool that lays out the top 3-4 points for each box. The simplicity of the deep dive analysis is that it provides a starting point for the issues, as you will want to find ways to continue or enhance the drivers, to minimize or reverse the inhibitors, to avoid or manage the risks and to take advantage of the new opportunities.
 Beloved Brands 5 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Drivers Inhibitors Factors of strength or inertia that accelerate your brand’s growth. The driving factors could be related to brand assets, successful programs working, favorable market trends. New products, advertising, channels. Keep fueling Factors of weaknesses or friction that slows your brand down, or a leak that needs fixing. Achilles heal, competitive pressure, unfavorable market forces, channels, specific segments. Minimize going forward. Opportunities Threats Areas you could take advantage that would accelerate growth. They are real, or exploratory areas. No pipe dreams. Unfulfilled needs, new technologies, regulation changes, new channels, any removal of trade barriers. They are real, but have not yet happened. If they did, they would be an inhibitor. No laundry lists. Changing consumer needs, threat of substitutes, barriers to trade, customer preference, potential channel actions. Force field analysis summarizes the drivers, inhibitors, opportunities and threats Helps set up the Key Issues for brand plan. Happening now Could happen We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Knowing “where you are” helps to set up what you need to do next, to get where you want to go Continue/Enhance • Stay focused on things going right, accelerate against them. Continuous improvement. Minimize/Reverse • Close the leaks, develop turnaround plans or re-focus the team against the trend. Take Advantage of • Build plans to mobilize the brand to see if the opportunity is a winning space for the brand. Avoid/Contingency • Identify and measure the risk, explore plans to avoid. Fill the gap before a competitor. What’s driving the growth? What are the threats? What are the untapped opportunities? What’s inhibiting the growth?
  6. 6. Key Issues The Key Issues answers “Why are we here?” by taking the findings of the deep-dive analysis and drawing conclusions as to the major issues that are in the way of the brand achieving their stated vision. A tool we recommend to help uncover many of the key issues and set the scene for “Why are we here?” is to ask 4 strategic questions: 1. What is your current competitive position? 2. What is the core strength your brand can win on? 3. How tightly connected is your consumer to your brand? 4. What is the current business situation your brand faces? We have set up this model so that there are 4 possible answers for each question, helping to frame the competitive, brand, consumer and situational issues. One exercise we recommend for teams is to run a brainstorm that gets all the possible issues on the table. Start off with the brand vision, and then ask “What are all the things getting in the way of achieving the vision?” Let group to list out every possible issue, up to 30-40 issues. Make it a venting Beloved Brands 6 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. What is your current COMPETITIVE position? Product Promise Experience Price Continue Momentum Turn Around Re- Focus Start Up How tightly CONNECTED is your consumer to your brand? What is the CORE STRENGTH your brand can win on? What is the current business SITUATION your brand faces? 4 Strategic Questions guides your strategic thinking Strategic Thinking Power Player Challenger Island Brand Rebel Brand 1 2 4 3Indifferent Like It Love It Beloved
  7. 7. session. Then narrow down the list to the top 3-5 major themes. Once you have narrowed it down, write the top issues as questions, that sets up options for the strategy as the possible answers. Almost think of key issues, written in terms of a “rhetorical strategic question” that should be a bit leading, and have a proposed strategy almost embedded as the solution. Spend the time on these questions with deep thinking, because the better the strategic question you ask, the better the strategic answer you will get. Strategies The strategic choices start to answer “How can we get there” by providing options for solving the Key Issues. As my business school professor used to say 15 times per class, “It’s all about choices, it’s all about choices”. Too many Marketers come to a decision point that requires focus, and instead of making a firm decision, they try to justify a way to do both. You have to decide. Every decision point should force a choice. Marketers always face limited resources in terms of dollars, time, people and partnerships. Yet, they have to apply those limited resources against unlimited choices from a broad array of options for the potential target market, brand positioning, strategic options and executional activities. The best Marketers use smart decision-making to limit the options to focus their limited resources that they are deploying.They never divide and conquer. They make the choices to focus and conquer. The more focus, the higher the potential to drive a stronger return on investment (ROI) and a more efficient return on effort (ROE). Focused brands can build and own a stronger reputation and be more competitive, by standing for what they are really good at. And once you can demonstrate solid returns, efficient deployment of resources and a more competitive market position, then you will get even more investment behind your brand. The right question in your Key Issues, sets up the smartest potential strategy as the answer. Looking at the example below, you will see a layered elements of focus: A narrow target market (most loyal consumers), specific expectation of movement for the consumer (turn usage into a ritual), stated marketing program (VIP experience) and a focused end result (tighten bond). With this type of strategic statement, the execution team has very clearly stated marching orders. Smart Marketers control the strategy, never leaving any room for confusion or hesitation. One tool we use to help guide strategic choices is our hypothetical “Brand Love Curve” which is used to assess how tightly connected your brand is with your consumers. We believe that brands Beloved Brands 7 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. How do we drive usage among most loyal consumers? Turn our most loyal consumers’ regular usage into a ritual by creating an elevated, VIP experience to tighten their bond with our brand. Key issue Strategy Asking the best questions with key issues leads to the best strategic answers What’s the priority choice for growth: find new users or drive usage frequency among loyalists? Advertise Gray’s “guilt free” promise to proactive preventers, driving trial and strengthening Gray’s market share 3 Issues Key
  8. 8. move along the curve through five phases, moving from Unknown to Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved brand. The reason brands need to move along the Brand Love Curve is to leverage their increased connectivity with consumers, to become more powerful against all stakeholders in the market. With that added power, brands gain more profit through higher prices, efficient costs, share gains and a bigger market size. Where you sit on the Brand Love Curve should guide your next major strategic move. At the Unknown stage, the strategy is about getting noticed in the market. For a brand at the Indifferent stage, where consumers have no opinion of your brand, brands should focus on establishing your brand in the consumers mind. Build an opinion about your brand, by taking a stand. At the Like It stage, where consumers see the brand as a rational choice, there needs to be strategic work to separate your brand from the pack and generate a following with a core group of consumers. At the Love It stage, focus on tugging at the heart-strings of consumers to drive a deeper connection with those consumers who love the brand. At the Beloved stage, continue the magical feeling of the brand and get loyalists to scream to their network on the brand’s behalf. Beloved Brands 8 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Indifferent Like It Love It Beloved Consumer No opinion It will do Outspoken brand fan Crave Brand Strategically, you want to move consumers move along the Brand Love Curve, to tighten the bond, drive power and profits We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Where you are on the Brand Love Curve focuses your brand strategy to guide your next move Like It Beloved Love It Establish your brand in the consumer’s mind Separate your brand from the pack to move consumers to create a following Create outspoken loyal fans to speak on your behalf Tug at heartstrings to tighten bond with your most loyal Stand out so consumers see the brand in a crowded market place Unknown Indifferent
  9. 9. The unknown brand At the unknown brand stage, the brand might be a completely new innovation, re-launch, hidden gem, small niche looking to expand, or entering into a new region or channel. Many new brands struggle to break through to reach consumers or build distribution with doubting retailers. Leadership team conflicts result in confusion around the value proposition, inconsistent messaging to consumers and everyone in the organization moving in different directions. Like any new launch, there is a risk of being seen as a product, not yet a brand idea. Too many times, companies at this stage fixate more on selling than marketing. There is a desperation for sales, no matter who buys or why they buy. This stage is where the heavy investment is needed to establish both brand awareness and distribution. Being seen as a commodity product, with no real separation from competitors, makes it hard to command a price premium. It is hard to generate efficiencies in selling and marketing. The 3-point game plan for unknown brands: 1) Create a Big Idea to build everything around, both internally and externally. 2) Stay focused to maximize your limited resources: focused target, tight positioning, tight strategies, and limited activities—always focused on driving a return. 3) Find ways to passionately express your brand purpose as a rallying point, both internally and externally. The four brand strategies that unknown brands should focus on are: 1. Brand Set up: Establish distribution, brand experience, purchase moment. 2. Launch: Enter market, building awareness with consumers, sales levels with channels. 3. Build core message: Establish niche benefit and a big idea that will establish a reputation. 4. Find early lovers: Build a small base of early adopters, who become fans to build upon. The Indifferent brand For Indifferent brands, these brands are likely too product-focused, not yet able to find way to separate the brand from competitors. The brands act like commodities. They suffer from very skinny brand funnels, with low awareness at the top of the funnel, with soft purchase, repeat and loyalty scores. These brands suffer from poor tracking scores on any marketing support programs. Without a big idea or unique positioning, it is difficult to break through with advertising or innovation. To keep selling, these brands becomes reliant on price promotions to drive volume, resulting in a profit margin squeeze. Lower volumes prevent these brands from reaching the needed economies of scale to drive down variable cost of goods. These brands are unable to gain new users or drive frequency. They have no power with retailers, unable to get their fair share of shelf space, display or price promotions. These brands are at risk of being delisted, if they fall below volume thresholds. Private label brands threaten their sales levels. These brands have lower payback on Marketing activities, making the marketing investment (advertising, innovation, in-store) difficult to justify. Beloved Brands 9 We make brand leaders smarter
  10. 10. The 3-point game plan for Indifferent brands: 1) Create a Big Idea to establish the brand’s uniqueness and build a reputation to stand behind. 2) Focus the brand’s limited resources on establishing a point of difference in the consumer’s mind. 3) More passion and risk into your work. The four brand strategies that unknown brands should focus on are: 1. Mind Shift: Drive a new brand position or re-enforce current positioning 2. Mind Share: Draw more attention than competitors by being better or different. 3. New News: Launch something new or re-launch to appear new. 4. Turnaround: Focus energy on gaps, leaks in the brand’s execution. Like It brands Brands at the Like It stage doing a pretty good job in establishing itself on a rational level. However, without an emotional connection, these brands suffer from a lower than desired conversion to purchase. These brand looks healthy in terms of driving awareness and tracking scores, however the brand keeps losing to competitors as the consumer moves to the purchase stage. These brands usually require a higher trade spend to close that sale. This cuts into profit margins. An important tracking score to watch is “the brand seem different” helping to separate the brand from the pack. Without any emotional connection these brand get to a certain level and then face stagnant market shares. They make gains during Marketing support periods but face declines during the non-support periods. These brands appear content to hold onto their share and grow at the same rate as the category. In categories with high private label shares, if you focus too much on product ingredients and rational features, the consumer will start to figure out they can get the same thing with the private label at a significantly lower price. Here is a 3-point game plan for Like It brands: 1) Leverage the brand’s big idea to connect emotionally. 2) Focus your resources on building a bigger following by converting awareness to purchases. 3) Build a culture of passion, where everyone loves the work they produce. The four brand strategies that Like It stage brands should focus on are: 1. Drive Penetration: Bring in new consumers. 2. Drive Usage: Get consumers to use more/differently by building the brand into a routine. 3. Consolidation: Induce consumers to use the brand for more usage occasions. 4. Cross Sell: Persuade current consumer base to try other products within the brand. Love It brands Brands at the Love It stage start to see a higher emotional connection and a resulting power in the marketplace. Indicators include a strong conversion from purchase to loyalty. These brands are able Beloved Brands 10 We make brand leaders smarter
  11. 11. to drive strong repeat and loyalty scores, as the brand becomes a routine or ritual. The brand is now seen as different and motivating. These brands see a strong overall brand funnel with an expanding user base and a strengthening usage frequency as the brand becomes part of the consumer’s routine. Highly responsive Marketing programs and tracking results means the brand can shift to more efficient spending with lower GRPs. The brand sees high adoption of new innovation, which allows the brand to continue to stretch the consumer towards the ideal brand positioning. High net promoter scores leads to high word of mouth recommendations, social media recommendations or positive on-line brand reviews (e.g.Yelp or Trip Advisor). These brands should be able to leverage their power with retailers and influencers. Even in a competitive market, a brand at the Love It stage should be able to gain share and widening their leadership stance. The 3-point game plan for Love It brands: 1) Tug at the heart of those consumers who love the brand, helping build a community of Brand fans. 2) Shift to creating a brand experience that turns purchases into routines. 3) Turn the love for your work into a bit of magic for the consumer. The four brand strategies that Love It stage brands should focus on are: 1. Experience: Shift from a product focus towards creating brand experiences. 2. Maintain: Re-enforce the brand strengths with your core base of brand fans. 3. Deeper love: Match the passion of your consumers, treating them extra special. 4. New Reasons to Love: Re-enforce messages to your most loyal users. Beloved Brands Brand at the beloved stage are the iconic leaders in their category. These brands have an extremely healthy and robust brand funnel with likely a near perfect brand awareness (over 95%), high conversion to purchase, with strong repeat and loyalty scores. These brands have good penetration and purchase frequency scores. Tracking results show immediate reaction to new marketing programs—high brand link on advertising and high trial rates on innovation. They usually have a dominant share position, at least in a specific segment. They have the power to take a dominant stance in the marketplace, squeezing out smaller brands and reducing the influence of key competitors. These brands have strong net promoter scores and have cultivated a community of outspoken brand fans. Even competitive-users respect these brands, expressing a potential desire to switch in the future. These brands use their power with retailers, who provide preferential shelf space and use the beloved brand to drive traffic to their stores. Suppliers are willing to cut their costs in order to sign up the beloved brand as a customer. Even governments might offer special benefits. The beloved brand becomes an employer of choice for new talent who want to be part of the brand. The brand even has a power over the earned and influential media gaining efficient and impactful media and positive reviews. The brand becomes an asset, with high profitability. It becomes a good stock to invest in. Beloved Brands 11 We make brand leaders smarter
  12. 12. The 3-point game plan for beloved brands: 1) Focus on maintaining the magic and love the brand has created with the core brand fans. 2) Challenge and perfect the experience. 3) Broaden the offering and selectively broaden the audience. The four brand strategies that Love It stage brands should focus on are: 1. Magic: Continue to surprise and delight loyalists. 2. Leverage Power: Drive financial value from the brand’s sources of power. 3. Attack yourself: Continue to assess and improve every aspect of the brand. 4. Use loyalists: Leverage brand fans to influence their network. While you will come up with your own uniquely written strategies, where you stand on the Brand Love Curve can help guide you as to the strategic choices you can make.   One strategic flaw I see in many brand plans is trying to drive penetration and usage frequency at the same time. This is a classic case of trying to get away with doing two things, instead of forcing yourself to pick just one. Consider how different these two options really are and you will see the drain on your resources from trying to do both. A penetration strategy gets someone with very little experience with your brand to likely consider dropping their current brand to try you once and see if they will like your brand. A usage frequency strategy tries to get someone who knows your brand already, to change their behavior in relationship to your brand, either changing their current life Beloved Brands 12 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Stand out and be seen in a crowd market place Establish your brand in the consumer’s mind Separate your brand from the pack to create a following Tug at heartstrings to tighten bond with your most loyal Create outspoken loyal fans to speak on your behalf 1. Set up: distribution, brand experience, purchase moment, distribution 2. Launch: Entry into the market, with consumers, trade. 3. Build core message: Establish Niche benefit and big idea 4. Find early lovers: Small base of fans to build upon. 5. Mind Shift: drive new position or re- enforce current 6. Mind Share: more attention than competitors 7. New News: launch something new. 8. Turnaround: focus energy on gaps, leaks 9. Drive Penetration: new consumers 10.Drive Usage: get consumers to use more/ differently 11.Consolidation: get consumers to use for everything 12.Cross Sell: get current customers to try other products 13. Experience: shift from product to experience 14. Maintain: re- enforce Brand equities. 15. Deeper love: consolidation or broader usage 16. New Reasons to Love: target most loyal user. 17. Magic: continue surprising and delighting loyalists. 18. Leverage Power: drive value from source of power. 19. Attack yourself: continue to improve 20. Use loyalists: to influence others. Indifferent Like It Love it Beloved The Brand Love Curve helps to focus your strategy Unknown
  13. 13. routine or substituting your brand into a higher share of occasions. By doing both, you will be targeting two types of consumers at the same time, you will have two main brand messages and you will divide your resources against two groups of activities that have very little synergy. If you decide that you are going to pick both to do at the same time, you have to stop telling people you are a strategic thinker. It is crazy to try to do both. Marketing Execution “What do we need to do?” matches up the Marketing execution activity to the brand strategy. Marketing Execution must impact consumers in a way that puts your brand in a stronger business position. The execution has to work to establish your brand’s long-term reputation, based on a simple, unique, own-able and motivating brand positioning while engaging and influencing consumers to see, think, feel, act or scream about your brand, leading to higher sales, share and profit. Focus the communication of the brand story, move consumers towards the purchase moment, launch new product innovation and deliver the brand experience, all lined up to the big idea. Strategically, focus your brand’s marketing activities by prioritizing what will have the biggest return on investment and effort. We don’t always have access to enough data to find the ROI before launching. One tool we recommend is to assess your activities on the “Big Easy” grid. Following a brainstorm, start by putting all your ideas on to post-it-notes, then map each idea onto the grid as to whether the idea will have a BIG versus SMALL impact on the Beloved Brands 13 We make brand leaders smarter We m Brainstorm to drive return on investment and effort (ROI and ROE) JUST DO IT Brainstorm ways to make these ideas even bigger THE BIG EASY Big Wins, Easy to do AVOID Bad ROE, drain on resources MAKE EASIER Brainstorm easier ways to get it done Easy Difficult Small Win Big Win Implementation Business Impact Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea
  14. 14. business, and whether the idea will be EASY to execute versus DIFFICULT. The top ideas rise to the BIG EASY top right corner. The goal of this tool is to narrow down your focus to the best 3 activities, while eliminating ideas that are potential resource drains. Build all the Marketing execution around a Consumer Buying System that matches up where your consumer is with the brand. For Indifferent brands, focus on awareness to consideration and search, helping to drive purchases. For Like It brands, focus on closing the deal at the purchase stage and managing their satisfaction levels. For Love It brands, start to emphasize loyalty and brand experience. For beloved brands, try to turn loyalty into brand fans that can become an outspoken army that will drive awareness and influence in their networks. We recommend that a brand plan provide focus to the execution teams whether that is part of the execution of the brand promise, communications, innovation, purchase moment or the brand experience. Once you choose the tactical areas that are part of the plan, do up a one-page mini-plan that will fit the overall plan and guide the executional teams. Beloved Brands 14 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Consider Aware Fan Loyal Repeat Satisfied Buy Search Awareness Ads Invest in mass media to establish position in consumer’s mind PR/Content/SEO Use information to teach those seeking to learn more pre decisions Retail/Home Page Close the deal during purchase moment, separate brand from competition. Post Purchase Help Create experience to re-enforce promise, after sales help for new users to get the most from the brand. Indifferent Like ItLove It Beloved Love those who love you most Surprise & delight rewards to drive ritual among your most loyal users Use emotions to build frequency Using reasons for usage to turn into routine. Leverage emotional bond Drive repeat Turn trial into an experience, reward happy customers, emotionally re-enforce reasons purchase makes sense Outspoken Army Create club, leverage loyalists to influence friends, especially through social media Build your Marketing execution around consumer buying system Consumer
  15. 15. Measurement A good Brand Plan should lay out the key measurements and controls for the brand budget, strategic and executional goals, a complete calendar of activity and project work plans that assigns people to lead and contribute to all the key projects. We recommend that you build a brand dashboard that helps you measure every potential goal, linked to the brand’s financial performance (sales, share, profit), brand health measures (awareness, trial repeat) as well as the executional performance (advertising, innovation, in-store). We do not believe that a Brand Plan is complete without project plans that include the project owner, project budget, goals, milestones and hurdles. This is a great way for the leader to manage and control every part of the plan’s execution. The last thing you want to do is have your plan sit in a binder the entire year. Bringing the Plan together We believe in “The power of 3’s”. As we said earlier, the plan is about making decisions where to focus and allocate your limited resources. As a rough guideline, we recommend focusing on the top 3 strategies and then 3 tactics for each strategy. That means 9 major projects for each brand to focus their resources on during the year. Beloved Brands 15 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. S.M.A.R.T. Brand Dashboard Goal 2015 2016 Comment Sales $25MM $30MM Continue 20% growth rate Share 0.8% 1.2% New triple chocolate 0.5% share Distribution 62% 72% Increase coming mainly from fixing specialty. Awareness 33% 42% Below norm, 80% among niche, < 20% overall Trial 34% 37% New flavors have helped drive trial Repeat 4% 5% High quality Taste converts high repeat Gross Margin % 55% 57% Launching new premium line up. Profit % 19% 15% Increased marketing spend in year 1 of launch Ad Brand Link 62% 70% Building on current brand equity in TV ad Purchase Intent 70% 70% Should hold strong as we trade up. Customer Satisfaction 58% 60% Halo impact from new premium line up. Freshness Index 12% 20% Increasing % sales from new launches. Making decisions to build a focused, powerful Brand Plan Vision Strategy B Strategy Strategy Vision Strategy Strategy StrategyStrategy Strategy Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic Tactic A 3 strategies x 3 tactics = 9 projects 5 strategies x 5 tactics = 25 projects
  16. 16. Compare the subtle difference that 5 strategies with 5 tactics for each strategy explodes into 25 projects that might cripple your brand’s resources. By doing less projects, you will be focusing your limited resources on making each project has a big impact. When your team lacks time to do everything with full passion, they run the risk of turning out OK work that fails to connect with your consumers. A good Brand Plan should have a consistent flow in the writing as you move from the vision all the way down to the execution. Think of your plan like an orchestra playing in perfect harmony with everyone playing the same song. When you write something that doesn’t fit, it tends to stand out like a “Tuba” player, trying to play his own song. This is what I call a misfit to the plan. Go through your Brand Plan and see if you can spot the misfit “Tubas”. If your strategy to drive trial and you aren’t sampling? If you want to be the “category leader in innovation” then why are we not launching any new products till 2023? If your vision is “to become #1” why do we not have a growth or share goal? Why are you not investing? The worst “Tubas” are those elements of the plan that seem to “die a quick death” in the document or they “come from out of no where” with no analytical set up. Senior Managers are skilled at finding Tubas—it can de-rail a plan when they find “Tubas” before you do. Beloved Brands 16 We make brand leaders smarter Gray’s Cookies Plan on a Page Analysis Issues and Strategies Executional Tactics P&L forecast • Sales $30,385 • Gross Margin $17,148 • GM % 56% • Marketing Budget $8,850 • Contribution Margin $6,949 • CM% 23% Drivers • Taste drives a high conversion of Trial to Purchase • Strong Listings in Food Channels • Exceptional brand health scores among Early Adopters. Highly Beloved Brand among niche. Inhibitors • Low familiar yet to turn our sales into loyalty • Awareness held back due to weak Advertising • Low distribution at specialty stores. Poor coverage. • Low Purchase Frequency even among most loyal. Risks • Launch of Mainstream cookie brands (Pepperidge Farms and Nabisco). • De-listing 2 weakest skus weaken in-store presence • Legal Challenge to tastes claims Opportunities • R&D has 5 new flavors in development. • Sales Broker to create gains at Specialty Stores • Explore social media to convert loyal following. Key Issues 1.What’s the priority choice for growth: find new users or drive usage frequency among loyalists? 2.Where should the investment/resources focus and deployment be to drive our awareness and share needs for Gray’s? 3.How will we defend Gray’s against the proposed Q1 2014 ‘healthy cookie’ launches from Pepperidge Farms and Nabisco? Strategies 1.Continue to attract new users to Gray’s 2.Focus investment on driving awareness and trial with new consumers and building a presence at retail. 3.Build defense plan against new entrants that defends with consumers and at store level. Goals • Increase penetration from 10% to 12%, specifically up from 15% to 20% with the core target. Monitor usage frequency among the most loyal to ensure it stays steady. • Increase awareness from 33% to 42%, specifically up from 45% to 50% within the core target. Drive trial from 15% to 20%. Focus for sales is to close distribution gaps going from 62% to 72%. • Hold dollar share during competitive launches and continue to grow 11% post launch gaining up to 1.2% share. Target zero losses at shelf. Advertising • Use awareness to drive trial of the new Grays. Target “Proactive Preventers”. Suburban working women, 35-40.Main Message of “great tasting cookie without the guilt, so you can stay in control of your health”. Media includes 15 second TV, specialty health magazines, event signage, digital and social media Sampling • Drive trial with In-store sampling at grocery, Costco, health food stores and event sampling at fitness, yoga, women’s networking, new moms. Distribution • Support Q4 retail blitz with message focused on holding shelf space during the competitive launches. Q2 specialty blitz to grow distribution at key specialty stores. Innovation • Launch two new flavours in Q4/15 & Q4/16. Explore new diet claims, motivating and own-able. Competitive Defense Plan • Pre Launch sales blitz to shore up all distribution gaps. At launch, heavy merchandising, locking up key ad dates and BOGO. TV, Magazine, couponing and in- store sampling. • Use sales story that any new “healthy” cookies should displace under-performing and declining unhealthy cookies. Brand Vision: To be the first ‘healthy cookie’ to generate the craving, popularity and sales of a mainstream cookie. Make Gray’s a $100 Million brand by 2020.
  17. 17. Key Terms • Vision: Where could we be in the next 5-10 years? The vision gives everyone on the brand a clear direction, it should be measurable (quantitative) and motivating (qualitative). It should push you so much that it scares you a little, but excites you a lot. • Purpose: Why does your brand exist? Keep asking yourself why you do this, to find the personal motivation hidden in the brand. Articulating your purpose can be a very powerful way to connect with both employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul. • Values: core beliefs of the brand that shape the organization as to the standards, behaviors, expectations. The brand has to be able to stand up to and consistently deliver each value. • Goals: What do you need to achieve? Specific measures of brand health and wealth, related to consumer/customer behavioral changes, metrics of key programs, performance targets or milestones on the pathway to the vision. It’s the brand scoreboard. • Key Issues: What is getting the way from achieving your vision/goals? Deep analysis highlights what’s driving and holding brand back, as well as future risks and untapped opportunities. Issues are asked as a question to provide the problem to which strategies become the solution. • Strategies: How can we get there? Strategies are the “How” you will win the market. Choices based on market opportunities, using consumers, competitors or situational. Strategies should have a pin-pointed focus providing a breakthrough on the pathway to the brand vision. • Tactics: What do we need to do to execute the strategy? Framed completely by strategy, tactical choices deploy your limited resources against brand projects, the most efficient way to drive a high ROI. 
 Beloved Brands 17 We make brand leaders smarter
  18. 18. Beloved Brands: Who are we? At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your brand’s Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.  Beloved Brands Training program At Beloved Brands, we promise to make your team of BRAND LEADERS smarter, so they produce smarter work that drives stronger brand results. 1. How to think strategically: Strategic thinkers see “what if” questions before seeing solutions, mapping out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out. 2. Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the organization to follow: sales, R&D, agencies, senior leaders, even the Brand Leader who writes the plan. 3. Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: The brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s promise to the consumer, impacting both external communication (advertising, PR or in- store) as well as internally with employees who deliver that promise. 4. Write smarter Creative Briefs: The brief helps focus the strategy so that all agencies can take key elements of the brand plan positioning to and express the brand promise through communication. 5. Be smarter at Brand Analytics: Before you dive into strategy, you have to dive into the brand’s performance metrics and look at every part of the business—category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. 6. Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders rely on agencies to execute. They need to know how to judge the work effectively to ensure they are making the best decisions on how to tell the story of the brand and express the brand’s promise. 7. How to build Media Plans: Workshop for brand leaders to help them make strategic decisions on media. We look at media as an investment, media as a strategy and the various media options—both traditional and on-line. 8. Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the path to purchase, by gaining entry into their consumers mind, help them test and decide and then experience so they buy again and become a brand fan. Beloved Brands 18 We make brand leaders smarter
  19. 19. Graham Robertson at Beloved Brands A NEW WAY to look at Brand Management. Graham is one of the voices of the modern Brand Leader. He started Beloved Brands knowing he could make brands stronger and brand leaders smarter. Beloved Brands will challenge you to think strategically so you can create a Brand Positioning, a Brand Concept and a Big Idea for your brand. Graham will help write Brand Plans that focus everyone who work on the brand and make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce better work that drives stronger brand results. Graham spent 20 years in Brand Management leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, General Mills and Coke, rising up to VP Marketing. Graham played a major role in helping Pfizer win Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year. His public speaking appearances inspire brand leaders to love what they do. Over 4 million marketers have visited his website,beloved-brands.com with the desire to become smarter. Graham has served as a contributing author to Advertising Age in the US and Marketing Magazine in Canada. To contact Beloved Brands, email graham@beloved-brands.com or call 416-885-3911. You can also follow us on Twitter @belovedbrands. Beloved Brands 19 We make brand leaders smarter

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