Thank you for joining us. We have a lively discussion planned for you this morning. As we go through this webinar, you can ask us questions by typing them into XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (where on screen)
In this discussion, we are going to talk about why companies MUST brand / how to identify the best brand direction / and ways to craft meaningful brands - plus some great examples of brands that are doing it well
Let’s talk a little about the value of branding
First a definition…or actually an illustration to get us thinking about the power of a brand. Is this just a statue – like countless other statues around the world. Why does this statue, peering out from the harbor, stand for something much more than other statures? Many people would say this statue stands for things like “freedom, democracy, and opportunity.” Just like a brand – the Statue of Liberty has meaning well beyond a description of its physical characteristics. When we create brands – we are creating. Brands are enduring symbols and expectations of every experience everyone has with a company/product/service/and its people. If a brand means all of that..then our job is to give it a powerful meaning
So why brand? Increased ROI is a pretty good reason. But do we know that GREAT branding is a good investment? (please note that we are talking about GREAT branding being a good investment – not just going through the motions).
These two brands are pretty well known and each of these companies has invested heavily in building their brands. But look at the difference between Microsoft and Apple. Look at how Apple understands its brand is more than just what it claims to do in its advertising. One of these brands makes every single touch point an extraordinary customer experience. It makes products that aren’t introduced unless they are nothing short of remarkable. Apple is not flawless, but it has undeniably built a brand that is quickly forgiven for its infrequent flaws. So is Apple just a feel-good story? The numbers tell is it’s much more.
Both Microsoft and Apple have equivalent sales these days.
But Apple’s market cap and stock performance suggest investors expect much more of Apple in the future than they do of Microsoft. As you can see, Apple’s market cap is $100 billion more than Microsoft. Results like these suggest great branding can produce very real – and very valuable – outcomes. So yes, branding done right is an investment that will produce a bigger return. That is one reason to brand. Here is another…
Let’s move past the numbers and talk about how all of us – no matter who we are – think about the world around us. And why branding is something we may not be able to avoid.
Branding wasn’t invented by marketers. Branding is primal. It goes back a few thousand years before their were such things as logos and taglines.
Branding is necessary. Through experience, ancient humans learned to recognize this object as something that was good for them when they were hungry. They did not have to fear it would harm them each time they picked a new one to take a bite. They categorized it as something that delivered the same results every time.
Branding is how we select. One of these lions might want to eat me. The other lion isn’t all that threatening. I better recognize the difference because my life may depend on it.
This poor guy – and the company he symbolizes – was branded by his chief rival. An unfortunate event that caused that company to spend millions trying to undo the damage. And the race they used to dominate is much different thanks to this brand defining campaign.
I wont even go there. Except to say that a brand that nobody tries to control is a brand that is utterly out of control.
So should you brand? This is not even in question. You will be branded. People who hear about you in the marketplace will immediately begin sorting you into a category. To survive the thousands of advertising messages they are greeted with every day, they have to somehow make sense of things around them – and your brand will be sorted, filed, and associated by them just so they can make it through their day.
The only questions are…. Who will brand your company – your customers, the media, bloggers, your competition, or you? What is the best approach to brand your organization? What will your brand be about?
Ultimately, branding is an excellent opportunity to define and declare who you are, what you stand for, and why the world is better because you are in it. This is “why companies brand.” It is a chance to align with powerful forces afoot in the world today. A chance to join in a cause or start a movement. Now we’ll share some best practices for finding your brand and shaping it into a meaningful strategy.
Before you can define your brand, you need to know a lot about the people who buy your brand. You need an insight that others have not discovered.
Let’s start with a definition of insight. And what insight is NOT. Insight is not… Facts / Data / Statistics Demographics /Psychographics Or even identified behavior Insight is the driver of the behavior A unique understanding of the motivations that influence what people do, how they think, and how they feel. This insight can be leveraged into a stronger connection with your audience. Insight is a powerful differentiation opportunity.
Here is a example of brilliant insight discovered by Dove. When every other bar of soap was talking about things like their enchanting fragrances, rejuvenating benefits for your skin, or how it kills more evil bacteria, Dove was doing what most college guys wish they were doing – Dove was talking to lots of women. They weren’t trying to pick them up – as far as we know anyway. They were looking for a way to stand out from all those other brands of soap. And they struck gold with an insight that would scare away many less-courageous marketers. What Dove discovered is that for most of their lives, women were told they should try to look more beautiful. They were shown images of models who represented the “ideal” body shape, perfectly sculpted facial features, and had that unspoken allure that made them immensely desirable to everyone they met. In one study. Dove learned that only 2% of women around the work thought of themselves at truly beautiful. This is stunning isn’t it. Dove decided to change the conversation about what beauty is – and it completely redefined the concept with the idea of REAL BEAUTY which comes on all shapes, colors and sizes.
Using viral video and advertising that honored women for who they are, Dove found a way to start a dynamic conversation among women. Dove created a powerful, meaningful brand using an Insight others did not recognize or chose to ignore. Dove used an overlooked insight to make a radical breakthrough in the way women think about themselves and the Dove brand.
We wont rivet you with – or bombard you with – a research lecture in this webinar. But we do want to share some best-practice principles for identifying your ideal brand strategy. For starters…here are the major categories to consider in your research plan. We will talk about some of these in a little more detail in a moment. Internal discovery Auditing your existing position and messaging Internal discovery to gather information from internal leadership and experts Secondary research Competitive assessment to see how others are positioning and messaging their brands Identify industry trends Explore the relevant macro environment trends Efficient and effective primary research is also an excellent source in highly competitive markets Most importantly – the keys to success in the insight phase are c uriosity, awareness, smart questions There are no cookie-cutter approaches to research so these characteristics will shape the research plan to help you discover those rich insights that help you make a breakthrough
As we said a moment ago, it is critical to look inward and conduct what Burns Marketing calls a “soul search” to take a deep look into what your company/product/service are all about. Start with your company’s mission, values, and core beliefs. Of course, you’ll need to have an accurate understanding of how your products or services may be different and better than their competition. We like to bring our clients leadership together and facilitate an open, honest discussion about their company. In this discussion, we work to strip away the politics, posturing, and wishful thinking about what their brands are. In the soul search, our clients have overdue conversations about the true impact of their brands. As an added bonus, this process helps align leadership and reenergize their teams around important new directions.
The internally facing research mines for a deep understanding of the company from many perspectives. We ask a lot of questions and get a lot of fascinating answers. (read a few from the wordcloud)
A favorite question we ask of internal stakeholders is “ what is everyone else saying ?” This question helps leadership and their teams quickly realize they can’t build a unique brand identity on the same attributes as everyone else in the category. Our product may be fast, high-quality, and backed by great service – but those characteristics are what is REQUIRED from any brand in the market. So let’s discover what makes is really different from everyone else in an a way that is essential to customers.
For brand development, we have a bias toward qualitative research because – done well – it can provide candid, thoughtful, in-depth conversations with people who know your brand, your competition, and your category. Small focus groups – such as triad groups of three – and one-on-one sessions are especially productive for exploring topics in-depth. At this phase, we are not collecting data. We are searching for ideas. On a similar note, the research goal in this phase is exploration – NOT evaluation. The quantity of respondents is less important than their quality.
One helpful idea is to start your consumer research with people who LOVE your company/product/service – then work to understand what it is they love. To understand what a brand means to people, another favorite question for brand discovery is – “what would be lost for you if Brand X no longer existed? This helps them put a finer point on the specific benefits the brand is providing for them.
Everyone has competition. Again, it’s a natural part of how the world works. And you want to be the fittest to survive. Look at your competition and evaluate what they’re saying to their audiences – their company description, brand position, tone, key messages, personality, etc. – and how they present their brand visually. You want to make sure your brand stands out from the crowd.
And don’t forget to hold up the mirror to your own brand. What image are you portraying in the marketplace? Is it consistent? Accurate? Meaningful? Current? Outdated? You’d better be honest with yourself. False flattery won’t give you the advantage…
All the discovery work that you’ve done and the time spent gazing in the mirror are the foundation. Now you have to figure out what it all really means. You’re looking for patterns, connections – the best part of the company and what customers desire most. You want to find that window – an open opportunity to define your company, stake a claim in the marketplace, and out-brand the competition.
Once you’ve collected all the pieces to the puzzle – it’s time to ask: What is absolutely great about what you do? How are you changing the world in some small (or large) way? What cause is driving what you do? also ask What matters to customers that you could align with? It may be rational or emotional. Experiential or cultural. What matters to us is that it matters to them. If you can find a way to marry your greatness with a customer desire – you have the making of a great brand idea. That’s how you get to an insight that is shaping customers behaviors and attitudes – and undiscovered by your competition.
You can tell we are pretty passionate about the power of research to identify awesome brand opportunities. Now we will talk about shaping a brand strategy that gives your brand meaning. We will start by looking at 3 types of brands – then showing some examples of each in action.
Rational brands can work well when features and tangible benefits easily set your brand apart from the competition. B2B and technical categories often gravitate to these functional ways to position and promise brands for audiences who simply want to know the ways products and services are different from each other. Emotional brands connect on a level beyond rational attributes and get to emotional benefits for the customers. They appeal to human needs and emotions like achievement, respect, release, empowerment, etc. These brands help audiences relate to the emotions they will experience upon using a product or service. Now let’s look at a few examples of these strategies in action… Evangelical brands are altogether different – and somewhat rare creatures. Not every brand can or even should pursue an evangelism strategy. These brands do connect with customers on an emotional level, and they also go beyond to actually connect people to one another with shared experiences and inspiring ideas. They become part of consumer conversations – through channels like word-of-mouth or social media – and achieve a higher standing with their often fanatical followers. These brands are the ones that often change industries, activate movements, and create true brand evangelists.
There are some supermarkets that exist at a purely functional level – where food is fuel. For example the Food 4 Less brand gets to the point quickly and appeals to consumers’ rational side that they can pay less for the items they need. Contrast this to a brand like Whole Foods, where they provide an entire experience around grocery shopping and are highly involved in foodie culture.
As you know, Zune is Microsoft’s MP3 player – their iPod. After several millions of dollars spent creating, launching, and supporting it – Zune seems to be headed out to pasture. But why didn’t this brand reach the cache of Apple’s version? The Zune could even have some better technology, but they stuck to their features and lost the battle when iPods connected with people on an emotional level. This print ad shows all the fabulous features ZUNE has and tells people why it’s better than an iPod. But it’s like Zune forgot that people listen to music because it’s fun!
So take a look at how Apple advertised the iPod. Even in the silhouette, you can feel the emotions this person is experiencing thanks to her iPod. And you connect with that feeling and want to experience it yourself. It’s a simple, yet powerful message that gave Apple 70-percent of the U.S. MP3 player market over Zune’s 2-percent (according to research firm NPD) even though Zune has upped the ante on design and features
Peanut butter could easily get stuck in the realm of the rational. You can differentiate on various qualities like crunchy, cream, salt, no-salt, stir, no-stir, natural vs. sugary, etc. But Jif has taken a different route to stand out on the shelf. Their “choosy moms choose Jif” campaign appeals to the emotional aspect of the love and pride mothers take in feeding their children. They even have a whole section of their website devoted to moms giving advice on how to bond and teach your kids with time together in the kitchen, recipes, contests, social media channels, etc.
And then there are brands like Harley-Davidson. Harley recognized years ago that they offered far more than transportation or recreation. Harley riders have something to prove to others and themselves. By day, many of them are white color professionals pressured to conform and follow the rules. Then Harley comes along and gives them a way to break out of the ordinary – be rebellious - to let their freak flags fly. Harley is much more than an emotional brand, though. It brings people together for group rides and social gatherings. Harley put its brand at the center of a movement – a community – and made it’s brand iconic in the process.
Southwest has done something miraculous in the airline industry – they’ve managed to maintain the experience of fun while flying. In an time when traveling and choosing an airline seems like picking the least of a bunch of evils, Southwest has enhanced its focus on the customer and thereby built legions of adoring, loyal fans. Just look at the social media statistics: most large carriers like Delta, American Airlines, United, Continental, and AirTran have between 50,000 and 250,000 Facebook fans; Southwest has more than 1.3 million. People want to interact with the brand and interact with one another in the context of the brand.
CONCLUSION: A powerful, meaningful brand is critical to the success of your product, service, or overall company. Without a brand, whether rational, emotional, or evangelical, you risk being branded by someone else, or being irrelevant, lost in the crowd, and losing the battle of the survival of the fittest. On the other hand, by discovering and developing a meaningful brand, you can make a powerful connection with the right audience in a way they will never forget.
Branding is Primal: Webinar
BRANDING IS PRIMAL CREATING A MORE POWERFUL BRAND | April 19, 2011 Prepared and submitted by: BURNS MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS www.burnsmarketing.com 970.203.9656
ABOUT US <ul><li>Edward Smithwick </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Account strategy director </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emory University, M.B.A. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GlaxoSmithKline, Waterpik, Georgia-Pacific </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alanna McLeod </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand strategist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carleton College, B.A. in cognitive science </li></ul></ul>
WHAT WE WILL COVER <ul><li>Why brand? </li></ul><ul><li>How to find your brand? </li></ul><ul><li>Ways to craft meaningful brand strategies? </li></ul>
WHAT IS INSIGHT? <ul><li>Not… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facts, data, statistics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics, psychographics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or even behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Insight is the driver of the behavior. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A unique understanding of the motivations that influence what people do, how they think, and how they feel. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This insight can be leveraged into a stronger connection with your audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insight is a powerful differentiation opportunity. </li></ul></ul>