Seven Steps for Revitalizing Your Brand


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If the time has come to re-energize your brand, follow this proven framework to get your CEO and executive team behind you to mobiliize your initiative, and ensure your company's investment drives profitable long-term growth and asset valuation.

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Seven Steps for Revitalizing Your Brand

  1. 1. Seven Steps forRevitalizing Your BrandIncrease the Long-term Profitability and Asset Value of Your BusinessBy R. Jay OlsonSenior Brand & Marketing Strategist, Quad/Graphics Creative SolutionsCREATIVE SOLUTIONS
  2. 2. Seven Steps for Revitalizing Your BrandOur Quad/Graphics’ third annual Special Interest Publishers Survey revealed manykey insights about publishers’ pain points, needs and strategic priorities. Whilethe findings were unique to magazine publishing, they were consistent withrecent studies conducted with C-level executives in other industries, such as theretail trade, consumer packaged goods, insurance/financial/education/healthcareservices and associations/not-for-profits. They all center on a singular strategicimperative: to drive profitable long-term growth.Engage customers online and beyond.> Increase the Long-term Profitability and Asset Value of Your BusinessMarket and Customer InsightsMarket-driven InnovationTechnology EnablementDrive ProfitableLong-term GrowthMARKET SHAREBRAND EQUITY LIFETIME VALUEMARKETDEVELOPMENTBRANDBUILDING(The Foundation)CUSTOMERDEVELOPMENTDrive market growthand acquisition ofprofitable newcustomer targetsDevelop a uniquebrand position that ishighly relevant to theneeds of your targetcustomersRetain and maximizethe value of yourcustomer base, whilereducing marketinginvestmentThree Pillars of MarketingInnovative People Redefining PrintSMCREATIVE SOLUTIONSBy R. Jay OlsonSenior Brand MarketingStrategist, Quad/GraphicsCreative Solutions
  3. 3. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 3At the end of the day, the ability to successfully carry out this mission is largelydependent on an organization’s performance in three critical areas referred to hereat Quad/Graphics Creative Solutions as the “Three Pillars of Marketing”:•  Brand Development – driving profitable growth through a brand positioningthat is unique from market alternatives and relevant to customer needs;•  Market Development – driving new innovations and acquisition of profitablenew customer targets to grow market share and expand into new markets; and•  Customer Development – retaining and maximizing the value of existingcustomers while reducing marketing investment and costs to serve them.Developing a differentiated brand positioning is the first step. This is thefoundation that drives everything that happens in the remaining two pillars.Without it, organizations face commoditization, and it becomes exceedinglychallenging to win new customers except when competing on price.Unfortunately, when growth stalls branding is often overlooked in favor of short-term tactics, such as price-cutting or promotions designed to boost sales. But thereal issues – lack of differentiation and relevance as customers’ needs change –often fail to be acknowledged and appropriately addressed.One reason busy executives tend to overlook branding as a strategic businesstool is that the concept of brand is misunderstood. They think of a brand simplyas a logo, tagline or ad campaign. They fail to understand its deeper meaningand that branding is a multistep journey: the one tool in their tool chest that canhave the greatest impact on growing the long-term profitability and asset valueof their business.So, if the time has come to revitalize your brand and you need to get your CEOand executive team all on the same page, here is a seven-step brand developmentframework that can help you make your case for this important investment andmobilize your company’s efforts to improve the long-term health of your business.Innovative People Redefining PrintSM
  4. 4. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 4#1 – MAKE THE CASE FOR CHANGEThe first step is to make your case for change andsecure commitment by your CEO and executiveteam. If you are the head of marketing, you shouldtake the lead role for this important step althoughinformation gathering and creation of the actualbusiness case can be delegated tasks. Your primarygoal is to prepare a compelling business case thatilluminates the needs and financial benefits. Thisshould also communicate the scope and impact oncorporate resources, as well as the downside of notpursuing this important investment. It can be difficultto get busy executives to step back from the morassof daily challenges that face them and look at thefuture of their business with a critical eye. But at theend of the day, companies must pursue both short-term and long-term strategies to survive and ensurelong-term profitable growth.Timing is everything. Critical moments when yourCEO, CFO and other members of your corporateexecutive team will likely be most receptive toinvesting in rebranding initiatives include: stalledgrowth (covered earlier); changes in leadership; anoutdated brand image that is no longer consistentwith your company’s new direction; recent orpending acquisitions/mergers; new product orservice introductions; new market or channelexpansion; and when companies are preparing to gopublic, spin off or be sold.#2 – VISION AND LEADERSHIPThe next step is vision and leadership. YourCEO’s vision for where he/she wants to lead thecompany during the next 2-5 years should bethe catalyst for change. Clearly articulating thatvision is critical, so it is easily understood andembraced by your employees. And your employeesmust be empowered to deliver compellingcustomer experiences that are consistent with thebrand promise that you will be making to yourcustomers. This is especially important for B2Bcompanies because brands are built from withinthe organization first… from the shop floor to theexecutive suite.But the roadblocks in creating and sharing aninspiring vision that rallies the troops are many.Resistance to change can be even greater. Youwill want to carefully plan your communicationstrategy to overcome these obstacles, andestablish understanding/buy-in at all levels of yourorganization. And your CEO must be highly visiblethroughout your rebranding journey.A Harvard Business School research team recentlyconducted a study of the top B2B global brandsand found that they shared the followingcommon characteristics:• The CEO is a highly visible brand cheerleaderand storyteller;• The CEO understands the benefits of buildinga great brand;• The organization’s efforts are focused on buildinga single, global corporate brand rather thanindividual product brands;• The payback on marketing investment is rigorouslymeasured; and• Company websites are seamlessly integratedto present a consistent face to stakeholders andto control the look and feel, tone and manner oftheir brands.#3 – ANALYZE THE GAPNext, you’ll want to analyze the gap that existsbetween your strategic vision and how yourcompany is currently perceived. Your marketing teamcan take the lead role for this activity, but externalexpertise from your marketing services agency or abranding consultant can provide an objective marketBRAND AUDITCustomer analysis Competitive analysis Self-analysisMotivation Messaging Existing brand imageUsage Positioning Brand heritageUnmet needs Strengths Strengths/capabilitiesDecision priorities StrategiesOrganizational valuesBrand associations VulnerabilitiesAnalyzing the GapCOMMIT VISUALIZE ANALYZE POSITION CREATE EXECUTE MEASURESeven Steps OverviewInnovative People Redefining PrintSM
  5. 5. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 5perspective to help avoid the pitfalls created byinternal sacred cows and silo thinking. This is a criticalstep because perceptions are reality. So, you’ll wantto conduct a brand audit to better understand:• Your customers’ perceptions – What are theemotional and functional drivers that motivateyour customers to choose your brand? In whatsituations is your brand the best alternative? Whenare other brands preferred over yours? What areyour customers’ needs and decision priorities?Which brand associations are most important toyour customers?• Your competitors’ messaging –How do theyposition their brands? What are your competitors’strengths and vulnerabilities? What opportunitiesexist to differentiate your brand and increasemarket relevance?• Internal perceptions – What are your employees’perceptions about your company’s brand image,strengths and capabilities, and organizationalvalues? What things do they like best/least aboutworking for your company? How do these viewsdiffer from your company’s administrative staff vs.its production employees?Much of this discovery process can occur anecdotallythrough customer feedback to sales and othersources. But, more formalized marketing researchmay also be needed to better understand the voiceof your customer. And this investment can payhuge dividendsdown the road foryour business inadditional areas thatextend well beyondyour brandinginitiative.#4 – POSITIONYOUR BRANDNow you are readyto develop orrefine your brandpositioning. Again,your marketingteam can take thelead role for thisimportant activity,but you may alsowant to consider using a marketing services agencyor branding consultant who has deep experiencein brand positioning development. Here is whereall of the insights learned during the brand auditare synthesized and used to define your brand.Your brand positioning is driven by three maincomponents, including your brand identity, brandarchetype and value proposition. Let’s briefly look ateach of these building blocks.Brand Identity: Brand identity includes the uniqueset of brand associations that represent what yourbrand stands for. Think of it as the DNA of yourbrand. Your brand identity is typically somewhataspirational because it is based more so on yourbrand vision than on the present state of your brand.The dimensions of your brand identity can includethe attributes of your products and services, yourorganization’s core values, your brand personality,your brand heritage and other brand associations.Of these attributes, your brand values are arguablymost important. But, using them purely as amarketing communications tactic has low resonancewith customers today. The key is to bring yourbrand values to life organizationally by inculcatingthem into your company’s culture. They must, infact, guide your organization’s day-to-day actions,and they must be infused consistently throughoutall customer touchpoints. These moments of truthspeak volumes by signifying what your brand standsfor and why it is different from other alternatives.Your brand values should represent the cornerstoneof your internal branding strategy.But getting there is not easy. It takes leadership, focusand continual reinforcement. For an organization’sculture to truly be fueled by its values, its employeesmust believe in them and embrace them as a “way oflife.” A new Quad/Graphics client recently summedup the importance of a company’s values as follows:Over thirty-five years as an analyst for five Wall Streetfirms, I’ve met hundreds of companies. Dozens of themclaim a “unique corporate culture,” say they stand forquality, are customer centric or ... well, you’ve heard it allbefore – and so have I – so many times that I almost takeit for granted that it just ain’t so. The fact is that mostcompanies think that they are unique, but they’re reallypretty much alike.But when some of these platitudes turn out to be true,when it does seem that everybody in a company isBrandArchetypeBrand ValuePropositionBrandIdentityBrandPositioningPositioning Your BrandInnovative People Redefining PrintSM
  6. 6. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 6singing from the same songbook, when you can seemutual respect among employees at all levels andeven the physical facilities reflect a kind of corporateself-respect – rather than an overblown sense of self-importance – and you can guess how such things gotogether ... and it all seems to work ... well ... it’s veryrefreshing, almost a tonic.Predominant Brand Archetype: At the heart of everygreat brand is a compelling story built around anemotive character or personality, whether it is achocolate bar, a magazine, a retail store or a foundrythat provides component parts for OEMs. While itis important to have a good product or service anda competitive price, it is this story that providessustainable differentiation.In their book, The Hero and the Outlaw, MargaretMark and Carol S. Pearson identify 12 brandarchetypes that are hardwired in our brains at thecollective unconscious level. Research has proventhat brands closely aligned to only one of these 12brand archetypes has a significantly higher marketvaluation than those that are less focused. Leadingarchetype examples, to mention a few, include:the hero (Nike and FedEx); the outlaw (Apple andHarley-Davidson); the magician (DuPont and LucentTechnologies); the caregiver (GE, Nordstrom andMarriott); the ruler (IBM and Microsoft); and thecreator (Martha Stewart and Kinko’s).Brand Value Proposition: Your brand’s valueproposition is a statement of the functional andemotional benefits that provide value to yourcustomers and drive purchase decisions. It is veryimportant to support your value propositionwith actual case studies, objective third-partyendorsements and other forms of substantiation.Proof of concept is critical.Brand Positioning Statement: Bringing these buildingblocks together culminates in the developmentof your brand positioning statement. This is ahighly disciplined endeavor that forces you to makestrategic decisions by carefully selecting your primarybrand archetype and those specific elements of yourbrand identity and value proposition that are mostrelevant and differentiating to your target audience.Your brand positioning statement should alsoembody your primary target audience as well as yourkey points of superiority and parity. Remember, if youtry to make your brand positioning too broad, it willstand for nothing so you need to be highly selectiveand focused.#5 – CREATE THE MAGICIt takes both the left and right sides of the brain tobuild a leading brand. So, this is the step where thecreative expression of your brand comes into play.Whether you use your own in-house creative staffor outsource to a creative services agency, it will beimportant to involve the creative team early andfrequently throughout the process. Unfortunately,a chasm often exists between strategy and creativeexecution. Silo or throw-it-over-the-wall thinkingis counterproductive. Branding needs to be ahighly collaborative and seamless process. Andfor best results, concept testing is advised. Youdon’t have to boil the ocean with a lot of research,but it is important to get “live feedback” on yourpreliminary concepts from your target audienceto gauge customer relevance and resonance, andmake refinements as needed before you launchyour new brand revitalization strategy.MAGICIANTransformation,Self-ImprovementOUTLAWRebel,Flaunt ConventionHEROCourage,DeterminationJESTERFun,SpontaneityREGULARGUY/GALLoyalty,DependabilityLOVERAttraction,SensualityINNOCENTPurity,RenewalSAGE/MENTORIntellectual,CuriosityEXPLORERAdventure,ExplorationCREATORInnovative,CreativeRULERPower,AuthorityCAREGIVERNurturing,CaringCHANGESTABILITYINDIVIDUALITYCOMMUNITYMotivationsSelf-EsteemSafetySocialSelf-ActualizationChange, Results,Mastery,AchievementSafety, Control,Structure, Stability,SecurityIndependence,Individuation,Learning,Freedom,Happiness,FulfilmentCommunity,Interdependence,People,Belonging,EnjoymentSource: JSki BrandingInnovative People Redefining PrintSM
  7. 7. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 7#6 – BUILD WITH FLAWLESS EXECUTIONBuilding your brand with flawless execution iswhere the tread on your new tires meets thepavement. To do this, you need to develop a plan forcommunicating and executing your brand messageinternally and externally. The real challenge ingetting your message heard externally is winningthe battle for the attention of your audience. That’sbecause you’re competing with thousands ofmessages that bombard your customers every day.So, before you can compete for your customers’budgets, you must first compete for their attention– something that is much more precious, scarceand fiercely defended. To win this battle, yourcommunications must provide a compelling reasonthat answers an important question that we all askourselves thousands of times daily: “What’s in it forme?” This is no easy task in today’s distracted andovercrowded world.You have about 6-12 seconds to convince youraudience that your message will be useful to them.This phenomenon is called the six-second factor.To do this you must master four elements of yourmessage: Your title (Does it stop your busy targetreader dead in his/her tracks?); your subtitle (Does itpromise something of interest to your audience?); thedesign of your email or direct mail piece (Is it featureladen and includes lengthy copy or is it a quick read?);and your landing page (Does it cut to the chase bydelivering a resonating value proposition that iseasy to understand and memorable?). Each of theseelements must work together synergistically to breakthrough the noise clutter.Additionally, the dynamics of brand developmenthave changed dramatically today due to theemerging complex ecosystem of new digitalplatforms, networks, devices and communicationmodes. This profoundly impacts the way peopleconnect, engage, influence and are influenced. So, itis also important to augment your traditional areasof marketing competency with new skills in thefollowing areas:Customer Experience Strategy: Expertise in definingthe intended customer experience and aligningit with your core values and brand promise to beembodied in your revitalized brand positioning.Customer Experience Design: Expertise in the useof experience design tools, such as personas andjourney mapping, and voice-of-the-customer data tobring the intended customer experience to life.Customer Experience Optimization – Subject matterexperts who understand the unique nuances andadvantages of each channel and can help youoptimize the customer experience and increasebrand engagement across all customer touchpoints.#7 – MEASURE YOUR SUCCESSLastly, you’ll want to measure your success. As statedearlier, branding increases the long-term value ofyour business, but it takes time and you’ll want toset checkpoints along the way to measure howyou are progressing. You don’t have the time andresources to measure everything, so here are four keyperformance indicators (or KPIs) that are arguablyamong the most important to measure. They include:Premium price; customer franchise (which measuresthe aggregate value of the purchases from customerswho buy from your company repetitively); rate ofnew product acceptance; and net-advocate score(which measures the percentage of customers whoare advocates or promoters of your brand minus thepercentage who are detractors).Define the metrics and KPIs that you plan tomeasure early in the process and lay the groundworkinternally for this to happen. The importance ofdoing this cannot be stressed enough because itcloses the loop by validating that you are onthe right track toward accomplishing yourlonger-term objectives.To summarize, mastering the best practices outlinedin our seven-step brand development frameworkcan help you turn your next brand revitalizationinitiative into a strategic business tool for improvingthe long-term profitability and asset value of yourcompany. For many organizations, brand equity isthe most valuable asset that appears on the balancesheet. Strategic branding also lays the foundation forincreasing the return on your overall marketing dollarinvestment. Other closely related benefits include:category leadership; reduced vulnerabilityto competition; the ability to charge premiumprices; and quicker acceptance of new productsand services.What customers are really looking for is to avoiddoing business with another Enron. They want to dobusiness with people they trust and they want to buyUncover the deepermeaning that is hiddenat the core of your brand,so you can unleashthose powerful emotivedrivers that cannot beeasily duplicated by yourcompetitors.Innovative People Redefining PrintSM
  8. 8. SEVEN STEPS FOR REVITALIZING YOUR BRAND 8from a leader. Our seven-step brand developmentframework can help you uncover the deepermeaning that is hidden at the core of your brand, soyou can unleash those powerful emotive drivers thatcannot be easily duplicated by your competitors andare instrumental in creating abiding brand loyalty.ABOUT QUAD/GRAPHICSCREATIVE SOLUTIONSQuad/Graphics Creative Solutions is a full-servicemarketing communication firm that helpsorganizations build strong brands and deliverrelevant communication across multiple channels,including traditional print (i.e., catalog, publication,direct mail and collateral) and digital media (i.e.,web, mobile and tablet devices, video, searchmarketing and social media). We provide solutionsthat are equal parts strategy, award-winning creativeand process-driven production. Those solutionscome to life through our team of over 50 creativeswho have the knowledge and skills to help you growboth your brand and your business. As part of Quad/Graphics Media Solutions, we can put a broad rangeof talent and technologies to work for you giving youcreative, workflow and digital media solutions thatresonate with your audience and directly impact yourbottom line. We’re good for your brand. We’re goodfor your business.For information about how we can help you revitalizeyour brand, visit our website at or call us at 800.230.7802.ABOUT THE AUTHORR. Jay Olson is a senior brand marketing strategist atQuad/Graphics CreativeSolutions. Jay’s areas ofspecialization include:brand positioning, valueproposition development,integrated message strategy,channel integration strategy,brand portfolio strategy,marketing research andmarketing performancemeasurement. He formerly served as: principal/vice president of marketing research and strategicmarketing services for Phoenix Marketing Group; vicepresident of marketing for Marcus Restaurants; anddirector of marketing for Ralston Purina Company’scasual-theme dinnerhouse restaurant division.Jay is a graduate of San Jose State University andis an honorary faculty member at Michigan StateUniversity School of Hospitality Business.Jay has been a guest presenter at leadingorganizations, including the American MarketingAssociation-Milwaukee Chapter, the WisconsinDirect Marketing Association, AFS 2010 Marketing Selling of Castings Conference, Michigan StateUniversity School of Hospitality Business, and theNational Restaurant Association Annual MarketingConference. Recent speaking topics have included:“The Transformational Power of Branding,”“Transforming Your Website into a Powerful StrategicWeapon” and “Measure What Matters Most.”Innovative People Redefining PrintSM© 2012 Quad/Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved. | 07.12FOLLOW QUAD/GRAPHICS CREATIVE SOLUTIONS ON