Leadership brands by design


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Leadership brands by design

  1. 1. DMI DESIGN MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE ARTICLE REPRINT Design Management ReviewBuilding Leadership Brandsby Design Jerry Kathman, President and Chief Executive Officer, LPK Reprint #05162KAT10 This article was first published in Design Management Review Vol. 16 No. 2 Innovation in Cunsumer Goods and Brand Copyright © Spring 2005 by the Design Management Institute . All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be SM reproduced in any form without written permission. To place an order or receive photocopy permission, contact DMI via phone at (617) 338-6380, Fax (617) 338-6570, or E-mail: dmistaff@dmi.org. The Design Management Institute, DMI, and the design mark are service marks of the Design Management Institute. www.dmi.org
  2. 2. KEYNOTE Building Leadership Brands by Design by Jerry Kathman istilling 30 years of experience, D Jerry Kathman articulates four timeless principles companies can embrace to establish powerful and enduring brands. Richly amplified with examples, these tenets speak to the content and characteristics of effective brands, the ways in which they are communicated and nurtured, design issues, the necessity to innovate, and the types of relationships compelling brands have with consumers. Why are some brands more successful After 30 years of partnering with than others? How is it that some brands various clients, such as Procter & can extend themselves around the world, Gamble, Hershey, Valvoline, and IBM, as well as into other product categories, in their global branding efforts, I have while others fail? Are brand lifecycles observed commonalities among leader- inevitable, or do brand builders make ship brands—attributes I believe have choices that determine their destiny? made these brands the best in their Jerry Kathman, These questions are posed at an class. To that end, I have identified four President and Chief unsettled time for businesses. The principles that brands need to embrace process of brand building continues to to achieve and maintain global leader- Executive Officer, LPK undergo dramatic change. Conventions ship status. that seemed timeless only yesterday are being retooled or abandoned altogether. Principle 1: Articulate and Inculcate New ideas and process models are the Brand Strategy entering the discourse. For practitioners, Leadership brands have self-knowledge separating the verities from the vagaries and an uncanny ability to anticipate. isn’t easy. This ability, however, is not a result of10 Design Management Review Spring 2005
  3. 3. Building Leadership Brands by Designgood fortune; rather, it is the result of passionate ate consumer pull, but the benefits as well, thecommitments to understanding the strategic more leadership they will attain within their cat-framework of the brand, as well as to planning egories. Leadership brands build a foundationahead. Further, when the framework is under- that leverages this deep consumer insight.stood and the plan is articulated, it is under-stood and embraced throughout the enterprise. The Differentiated Brand PromiseThe successful transference of knowledge is as Establishing core covenants of brand meaningcritical to leadership brands as the creation of that serve to differentiate a brand on boththe knowledge itself. No brand-builder is an rational and emotional grounds is also critical toisland. creating and maintaining a Developing brand strategy involves under- leadership position. The processstanding the meaning of the brand. The mean- of building leadership brands Four principlesing includes dimensions of brand insight, brand includes the assignment ofdifferentiation, and brand elasticity. strategic equity components that brands need that serve to separate the brandFoundation Built on Insight from competitive offers, while to embraceWhether developing a new brand, evolving an leveraging key motivationalexisting brand, or extending a brand into new insights. to achieve andopportunities, the foundation must be based on In the case of Pantene, thedeep consumer insight. The process of creating world’s leading hair-care brand, maintain globaland managing the brand foundation defines the brand has created an identi- leadership status.strategic equities and creates desire by under- ty presenting it as the authoritystanding this insight. on healthy hair. Its leadership Leadership brands are deliberate in identify- position has been achieved by delivering a bene-ing and articulating aspects of insight that are fit tied to beauty through health. This approachexpected, yet compelling, within their category. leverages not only the established category man-Points of category parity, such as “great taste” date based on promising beautiful hair, but haswithin a food category, serve to establish critical stretched beyond this meaning to include amust-haves in order to be credible within a par- strategic health benefit, which is a much moreticular competitive set. Consumers tend to pur- powerful and proprietary position in this high-chase confectionary products, for example, as a involvement category.treat within a hectic lifestyle. Consumer insight The formalization of both features and bene-reveals that a Reese’s Cup or Hershey’s Kiss rep- fits within a distinct personality is the corner-resents time saved for oneself, a small indulgence stone of successful strategy and serves as thethat is satisfying not just on the intrinsic dimen- compass for all marketing activities for leader-sion of taste, but also on a deeper dimension of ship brands. While the fundamental foundationpersonal reward. The more brands understand of a brand is consistent even across diverse worldthat it is not just the features of a brand that cre- markets, it is through regional tailoring that trueIn-depth consumer research reveals that Reese’s success is based on Pantene’s promise of transformation is based on a strategic health bene-dimensions of personal reward, not just taste. fit—a differentiated promise in a crowded category. The global Pantene plan is infused with regional cultural knowledge. Design Management Review Spring 2005 11
  4. 4. Innovation in Consumer Goods and Branding global leadership may be attained. Insight and trust is established with consumers, it becomes differentiation, with an infusion of regional and very easy to expand into all sorts of baby needs, cultural knowledge, build leadership. including wipes, lotions, diaper bags, apparel, and other items never before imagined for a Elasticity of Leadership Brands brand that stood only for diapers. The ability of a brand to capitalize on emerging This philosophy drives the brand-building business opportunities by extending a relevant process for leadership brands and gives the fran- strategy in areas beyond the original product is chise far more elasticity than any concept based the hallmark of elastic brand architecture. solely on a set of rational attributes. Leadership brands stretch their influence in a way that is believable to the consumer based on Principle 2: Leverage the Design Franchise a framework of consumer bene- Once you understand the meaning of the brand, fits that deliver a fundamental you can create compelling brand expressions. Leadership brands human value. Brand expression for a leadership brand is the In the case of Pampers, the visual manifestation of the desired brand experi- stretch their world’s leading diaper brand, ence. A self-evident design strategy that is what began as a product focused expressed across time, media, and geography influence in a on absorbency and containment builds leadership. has now emerged as a global Design is a new frontier for many companies. way that is mega-brand with a portfolio that Manufacturers are beginning to understand the believable to the extends beyond the product. By role of design in the image-based global culture creating a strategic meaning that that has emerged in the last decade. Leadership consumer based is focused on the experiential brands leverage the design franchise because they relationship between mom and understand that design not only expresses the on a framework baby, the brand’s equity umbrella desired brand experience, but also creates a visual is now much broader and rele- repository of the goodwill the brand has earned of consumer ben- vant beyond narrow product over time. Design triggers stored memory. features. The link between memory and design is a efits that deliver Although (as any parent particularly active area of current research. Late quickly learns) the amount of liq- last year, a study was released at Baylor College a fundamental uid a diaper can hold is impor- of Medicine in Waco, Texas, that suggests the human value. tant, that rational, feature-based role of design and memory in the famous Coca- argument isn’t likely to enable a Cola debacle—the launch of New Coke. Though brand to extend itself. But if a Pepsi was preferred to New Coke in blind taste diaper brand is positioned based on the joy of tests, when the logo was shown three out of four parenting and the needs of parents and their participants preferred Coke. At the Brown babies, a case for the brand based on “we under- Foundation Human Neuroimaging Laboratory stand babies” may be made. Once this level of at Baylor, researchers scanned the brains of the participants during the test. The Coke label trig- gered physical reactions in the part of the brain associated with memory and self-image. Pepsi did not trigger the same activity. P. Reed Montague, the director of the laboratory, noted when the research was released last October, “There is a huge effect of the Coke label on brain activity relating to the control of actions, the dredging up of memories, and self-image.” The concept of neuromarketing is already being discussed as a potential tool for business. I suggest that we may soon be entering the age of neurodesigning—measuring physical reaction to design stimulus. Even without the involvement of neuroimag- The Pampers brand foundation is far more elastic than a concept based on product features alone.12 Design Management Review Spring 2005
  5. 5. Building Leadership Brands by Designing science, however, the business case for design establishes valuable brand equity throughstrategy is clearly in its ascendancy. Leadership design, helping to shape consumer behavior andbrands have discovered the value of managing delivering maximum business impact for thetheir design franchises. brand. Procter & Gamble took an important step ingiving design a voice when the CEO, A.G. Lafley, Design and the Brand Experienceappointed Claudia Kotchka the company’s first Valvoline is an example of a global brand forchief design officer at the beginning of the new which design has played a major role in deliver-millennium. In the 1990s, P&G had seen some ing the desired impression across multiplebrands losing share to competitors. These com- touch-points. Through a robust visual designpetitors were not always offering superior prod- language, design assets such as color, shape, sym-ucts; arguably, they were out-designing and out- bol, and imagery have been developed and man-emoting P&G brands. Aesthetics, rather than aged to create an atmosphere of power and per-utility, were being rewarded. P&G has been able formance established through the brand’s associ-to regain its share in critical businesses by lever- ation with global racing circuits.aging design in all aspects of the brand develop- As is evident in the industry saying, “Race onment. Although product innovation remains Sunday, sell on Monday,” the deployment ofessential, design strategy is now part of its inno- these design assets in this context represent thevation strategy. Design is brought in at the tangible artifacts that consumers experience on“fuzzy” front end, when conceptualization and their path toward embracing the brand.planning are taking place, as well as at the point Leadership brands leverage design choices,when a go-to-market plan is conceived. bring the strategic visual equities of the brandAlthough scents and sounds can play an impor- meaning to life, and establish valuable brand-tant role in the brand experience, behavioral building and experiential equity over time.research shows that most of what we retainabout a brand is experienced through our visual Design for Self-Selectionsense. Therefore, brand builders must attend A critical aspect that leadership brands have incarefully to design equity to ensure it is consis- common is the understanding of the role oftent with the desired brand experience. design in the self-select selling environment. The Leadership brands understand that every designers of leadership brands are keenly awareexpression leads to an impression, and that that selection is a critical moment in a brand’sbrand identity franchises are created and strate- journey. Although design must first breakgically managed to deliver desired impressions through the static of a cluttered selling environ-and thereby capitalize on market opportunities. ment, it must also deliver an image that isLeadership brands create and deploy assets with- engaging, compelling, and proprietary.in integrated systems of expression in order to With an understanding of the role of designreflect their overall meaning and positioning. in self-selection, leadership brands manage theThis holistic approach to brand communication design franchise at the purchase event to enableThe Valvoline design franchise leverages color, shape, and imagery to The in-store experience for Herbal Essence goes beyond facilitatingcreate an atmosphere of power and performance. The benefit of the the purchase to deliver an image that is engaging, compelling, andbrand’s association with global racing circuits is enhanced by the strate- proprietary.gic management of the design franchise. Design Management Review Spring 2005 13
  6. 6. Innovation in Consumer Goods and Branding shoppers to locate and navigate the brand effec- Starbuck’s reinvention of coffee as a vivid exam- tively. Disseminating information in an appro- ple of a category that was void of innovation for priate hierarchy to facilitate the purchase is decades, and then suddenly shifted into a new essential to the brand-building process in the direction because of a new brand concept. store. Innovation is, therefore, the lifeblood of lead- ership brands today. The Olay brand, competing Fully-Leveraged Brand Identity in another category that seemed staid and Leadership brands reinforce their position in the mature, shows the commercial value of innova- marketplace by fully leveraging all aspects of tion. Innovative thinking and technological brand communication. The product, packaging, advances have allowed Olay to evolve into prod- print communications, and digital interface all uct categories far beyond the product once collaborate to deliver a total brand experience, known as Grandma’s pink beauty fluid. reinforcing strategic and experiential equities Olay’s introduction of a new formula under through every exposure. With disci- the name Total Effects repositioned Olay as a pline and constancy of purpose, brand that promises a lifetime of beautiful skin. Innovation is equity-building opportunities are The benefits of Total Effects went far beyond identified and design strategies are moisturizing and into the realm of repair. With the lifeblood articulated and managed through its recent introduction of Regenerist, Olay ven- technical and logistical excellence. tured into yet another area of skin care, improv- of leadership Leadership brands leverage this ing skin through a serum that regenerates the holistic approach to equity steward- skin’s production of collagen and elastin. brands today. ship, creating sustainable momen- As technological advances offer the possibility tum through repetition and con- of new product innovation and as attitudes text, integrating verbal and visual elements that toward skin care continue to evolve, it becomes serve to establish a brand’s image and personali- possible to consider additional areas of growth. ty over time—by design. Asian women and many women in the American and European markets believe that Principle 3: Innovate beautiful skin is primarily a byproduct of proper There is no longer a thing known as a mature diet and a healthy lifestyle. By repositioning Olay business. Therefore, the first two leadership as a brand that fights aging, it is possible to con- principles are not enough. Leadership brands are sider offering dietary supplements such as vita- committed to innovation as a fundamental com- mins and other products that support a healthy ponent of their culture. They are moving targets. lifestyle under the Olay name. At one time or another, coffee, disposable The design franchise reflects this combination diapers, skin care, and many other consumer- of technological enhancements, while establishing goods categories were deemed mature. Today’s a beauty aesthetic that is inspirational. Structure dynamic marketplace is different. Either the and graphics combine to deliver an authoritative leading brand innovates or an upstart joins the yet elegant presence. Successfully communicating competition and reinvents the category. Witness on dimensions of both science and beauty, the Innovation has allowed Olay to evolve into many product categories. Successfully communicating both science and beauty, the design franchise supports the brand’s culture of innovation.14 Design Management Review Spring 2005
  7. 7. Building Leadership Brands by Designdesign franchise supports the brand culture of munication cues can be leveraged instead toinnovation. deliver a unique sense of personal style. A culture of innovation has allowed Olay to Functionality is no longer enough. Consumersextend the brand into many new areas. From a now have many choices, and leadership brandshumble beginning, the Olay business is approach- understand how to leverage emotion to facilitateing two billion dollars in annual revenue. consumer choice.Bringing new ideas to a brand builds leadership. Samsung successfully achieved this by establishingPrinciple 4: Connect Emotionally Leadership brands have empathy. They con- an image that spoke directly to intuitive navigation and Emotion isnect with their consumers not simply by meet- innovation. By establishing aing their rational needs, but by addressing the provocative aesthetic that cel- the single mostemotional context of the need, as well. ebrated the handset as a influential Emotion is the single most influential aspect statement of personal style,common to all leadership brands today. Indeed, the overall impression of the aspect commonit’s a component of all the principles mentioned brand was one of leadingabove. Whether it relates to developing brand technology and an accessory to all leadershipstrategies that are meaningful, design expres- to one’s personal taste.sions that are inspiring, or innovation strategies Brands have the ability to brands.that deliver enhanced value, emotion is a power- influence and enhance peo-ful component leveraged by leadership brands ple’s lives. They provide aacross a spectrum of business categories. means of personal association—of internal Although highly emotive and sensorial cate- reflection, as well as of outward projection, ofgories, such as beauty care and confection, have self-image. Emotional brands not only supporttraditionally relied on emotion to motivate, cate- who we are, but also provide a tangible means ofgories such as technology have increasingly rec- transformation into what we aspire to be.ognized the power of emotional pull. There is a By leveraging emotional power, leadershipplace for emotion in all brand-building practices brands build enduring relationships among con-today. sumers and their products. By identifying and Telecommunications is a prime example of a delivering on the most compelling aspects ofcategory that is faced with the challenges of dif- consumer needs and wants, these brands pro-ferentiation. Faced with today’s convergent fea- vide maximum emotional relevance to con-ture sets, all mobile phones struggle to break sumers, fostering a context of empathy, personalthrough this increasingly homogenous category. trust, and loyalty. Leadership brands connectWhat the industry calls “feature creep” does not best through the heart, and are supported withdrive meaningful differentiation; in fact, it the mind.annoys consumers who find technical complexi-ty tedious. By tapping into the emotional power Leadership Principlesof branding and design, visual and verbal com- Over decades, these principles have served a spectrum of brands in my caseload. I observe the same characteristics in other leadership brands I study. Leadership brands work against a well-articulated and inculcated brand strategy. That strategy fully leverages the power of design. Further, a leadership brand establishes a culture of innovation and, most important, it connects emotionally with consumers. The result for a leadership brand is a winning proposition the market readily understands, embraces, and rewards. Reprint #05162KAT10The Samsung design franchise establishes an image consistent with intu-itive navigation and personal style. Design Management Review Spring 2005 15