Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level Revisited


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Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level Revisited

  1. 1. Saepio Learning Series Exploding BrandValue at the Revisited Local Level
  2. 2. Why the Revisit? When we first published the Distributed Marketing Leadership Series guidebook“Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level,”we had no expectation that it would quickly move to be one of the all-time most downloaded content pieces from the Saepio library and sustain that position for the next three years. But we probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Exploding brand value at the local level is the objective of every distributed marketer. And it’s not an easy task. In this DMLS Guidebook series, we both revisit and expand on the concepts laid out in the first guidebook and the subsequent industry-specific versions of this popular paper. In this revisit, we find that much has changed since our first publication date. However, we are frustrated by how much remains the same. In particular, we are frustrated by the fact that while expansive, innovative distributed marketing platform solutions are now fully market-tested and proven, many corporate and local marketers are still struggling with basic relationships. Thus, we have chosen to provide an expanded take on the Five (now Six) C’s of the win-win brand marketing strategy. There’s nothing inherently profound about these six C’s. Yet, they so often remain overlooked or minimized and a less-than-optimal brand value results. We trust this expanded view will provide valuable insights that will help you build the effectives of your distributed marketing efforts and truly explode brand value for your organization at the local level. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited 1
  3. 3. Introduction Brand marketers invest billions of dollars every year to create an emotional connection between their brand and the prospective customers of their branded products and services. With media now fragmented and mobile connectivity, smart phone and tablet use now mainstream, customers increasingly engage with the brand in ways outside the direct control of the corporate marketer. Control of brand positioning, messaging and the building of emotional connections with consumers is more challenging than it was just three years ago. When a distributed marketing network is involved, even more challenges arise. But alongside those challenges is a huge opportunity. Unlike the marketer who has little or no help with brand messaging at the point of customer engagement, the marketer with a distributed network has an army of brand warriors ready, willing and able to help deliver and manage marketing messages. When trained, organized and mobilized, this army of local marketers can explode brand value at the local level, creating exponential value for the corporate investments in brand creation, positioning and messaging. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited 2
  4. 4. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited Chapter One Power of Brand in Local Buying Decisions Brand matters more at the local market level than at the national or international level but it is a symbiotic relationship. It’s at the local level that brand messages become actions taken by the customer or prospect. Actions in the form of product or service chosen. In money spent. In loyalty sustained or lost. Brand value must also often be shared at the local level. For some brands, such as a quick service restaurant, the brand message is consistently and singularly delivered throughout the interaction process. For many marketers, the environment is less controlled. Take an organization that sells through an authorized dealer network where the product or service brand must be shared with the name of the store or service provider. Instead of“York Heating & Air Conditioning” as the primary brand, it’s“Dave’s Heating & Cooling”– which sells the York brand as part of its business. Dave needs York and York needs Dave; the brands must synergistically support each other. Both brands matter because many local purchase decisions are made on trust and the relationship to the brand. Still others, such as a consumer packaged goods manufacturer, must share brand preference with a separate branded conduit such as a retail or grocery chain. In such cases, the consumer’s correct presumption that the manufacturer’s branded product is available or the ability to search for a local retail outlet is key. These same scenarios can be told a hundred different ways for a hundred different products or services. In any local buying decision, two things matter: 1) The brand of the product or service 2) The relationship to the branded provider of the product or service When these two entities work together, brand value can absolutely explode at the local level. Even when the brand of the product or service and the brand of the local provider is the same, the important interaction of the two elements still applies. 3
  5. 5. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited ChapterTwo How Connected Community Changes the Brand at the Local Level In the first version of“Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level,”we titled this chapter“How Community Changes the Brand at the Local Level.” Today, we see it as being more about connectivity than community. Why? First, social“community”is now a real-time term. And second, local search has become much more prevalent. Certainly, community remains highly impactful. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, blogs and other online communities continue to connect people in more unique ways than ever before. On top of those, one-and-done communications such as SnapChat and Instagram keep people connected. These“communities”provide the environment for outstanding brand endorsement. Most marketers intuitively know this, but the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) validates that 72 percent of consumers note that family members and friends provide a great deal or fair amount of influence on a decision to use a company, brand or product. Plus, 92 percent note they trust friends and family members more than any form of advertising. In the first release of this paper, we shared what was then an innovative story about how a Facebook thread influenced a product purchase decision. Such stories obviously still exist, but they are now the norm, not innovative. A social community that is always connected through smart phones and other mobile devices simply provides a non-stop venue for word-of-mouth brand messaging. That’s why community alone is too limiting of a term to describe the explosive impact Concurrently, community is no longer as pure as it once was. In-line advertising, corporate social accounts, contextual advertising and local search, all create a blend paid content into the word of mouth community stream. Wary consumers are adapting, and as with other mediums before, are learning to tune ad messages out. It is within this environment that successful branding must learn to thrive. And, both corporate and local roles are key. For years brand marketers have sought to create cults of dedicated followers who connect their personal identity with a sense of belonging to a brand. As an example, look at motor- cycle brands. Harley Davidson has absolutely created a persona, as has BMW an entirely different one. Ever try to get a Harley guy to ride a Honda Gold Wing? Or a BMW guy to switch to a Harley? Good luck with that. It’s not just the product. It’s the identity they want. Some brands have also been able to develop an identity community around their brand at a national or global level. Starbucks is an excellent example. Everyone knows someone who will drive five miles past 15 coffee shops to get to a Starbucks. Part of the reason may be the coffee, but most of it is the desire to be part of the Starbucks’identity and community. 4
  6. 6. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited In a third scenario, a corporate brand plays a credibility role and seeks an endorsement in return. Take York, for example. It is unlikely that York could gain a mass following of brand converts. On the other hand, as an authorized York dealer, Dave’s Heating & Cooling could. The consumer can relate to Dave as the person who rushes over for an emergency and shows up on time to service heating and cooling systems. Maybe Dave even provides value- added advice on how to lower costs. York, however, does not surrender full control to Dave. York must work through Dave so that his customers know that the unit that is keeping them warm or cool with absolutely no problems at all is a York system. The social conversation sought when a friend expresses HVAC issues of Facebook is“we use Dave’s and he put in a York system that just runs and runs and runs with no problems at all.” Local is also critical in each of these scenarios: • A local dealership provides the bikes, introduces the riders and provides the resources for a customer to sustain the personal cult identity. • Without Starbucks locations that present the aura and aroma of a“superior level of coffee consumption,”everyone returns to brewing at home. • Without“Dave’s”, no one can buy, appreciate or promote York. Finally, customers see and discuss just one brand. While their primary affiliations may be different – with Dave’s over York, with Starbucks over the coffee shop location, and with the personal identity of riding a Harley over any dealership – local or corporate ownership of the consumer is primarily a concept in the marketers’minds. Messaging in any manner other than a joint voice only serves to confuse the customer, who just may be the most important marketer of all. In a connected world, anyone who has a brand preference is part of a brand community. Whether the relationship is active or passive, positive or negative, if it’s constant, then the individual is part of the brand community. And by becoming part of the brand community in today’s environment, the person becomes part of the brand identity; like it or not, the corporate marketer just added a team member. With always-on connectivity, in the three short years since we first wrote“Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level”,“social”has ceased to be a novel marketing opportunity and has become part of everyday marketing life. As we stated earlier, it’s just old-fashioned word- of-mouth marketing on steroids. But now the corporate manager of a distributed market- ing network can work in tandem with local marketers to enable and grow brand identity communities in ways never before imagined by simply creating brand identity communities where they naturally exist – among users. This has really raised the stakes for all parties. 5
  7. 7. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited 1. For the corporate marketer whose business model results in control of the brand experience from start to finish, brand community should primarily be at the national brand level with limited support at the local level. Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are a good example of this. Most customers likely don’t care which Sonic location they visit, as long as they can get the cherry limeade they are craving. It would be frustrating if the only connection to that limeade was through the closest Sonic. 2. For the corporate marketer who shares brand identity, like the York dealer example, how the brand identity community should be engaged depends on a couple of key factors: • First, the stronger the emotional connection with the brand, the more direct involvement the corporate marketer should have. Harley Davidson wants to engage the consumer directly because of the consumer’s strong connection to the brand. • Second, corporate marketers need to recognize when the local dealer has the stronger emotional connection. The York dealer is an example of this. In these instances, York will be most successful in their efforts if they focus on making it easy for Dave’s Heating & Cooling to become a community resource. Support from the corporate level makes it easier for Dave to succeed. 3. Finally, there are many cases where both corporate and local marketers will want engage the consumer. Starbucks provides a good example of this scenario. While Starbucks wants customers to stay connected to ensure repeat purchases, the local Starbucks wants to be sure that purchase happens within their community. Simply stated, developing and sustaining these local communities is critical to exploding brand value at the local level. Now, a word about local search marketing… In the early days of social communities (meaning three years ago!), fostering a strong social presence and becoming part of the word of mouth community was a fairly singular goal. With an always on, always connected customer community, however, proactive marketing messaging must also be part of the mix. Nowhere is this more important than with local search. While this is discussed in more detail in a later piece in this series, always-on connectivity has doubled the proverbial“first moments of truth”and“second moments of truth”to include a“zero moment of truth”and a“local moment of truth.”As a preview, there is little room for marketing error today when a consumer is looking to make a purchase. With always on connectivity, the window of time and the location at which a decision is made or influenced is minutely small. 6
  8. 8. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited When a consumer searches for a product or service, a corporate brand and a local represen- tative of that brand MUST be instantly visible. This is the Moment of Truth for that purchase decision and making a brand decision easy and a local ability to act on the brand preference is an opportunity not to be missed. Content to guide the individual to a purchase and a map to guide them to the purchase location are essential. Additionally, through fostering a strong brand preference, corporate and local marketers must do everything in their power to ensure that a customer NEVER engages search when seeking their product or service. Too much is at stake and too many competitors are looking for such opportunities. Again, creating a brand community that messages your brand is more important than ever. So to is being visible when an always-connected community takes action. 7
  9. 9. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited ChapterThree Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? A long-standing challenge for any manager of a distributed marketing network is who is in the driver’s seat. The brand may own the consumer’s mind, but the local marketer owns the customer. In reality, both have a pretty firm grip on the steering wheel. Yet to maximize the brand impact in the local market, it’s important that both parties have a good understanding of the roles they should play to optimize effectiveness. Often, the term“local marketing”has been used to group a lot of activities into a single collection. On closer examination, though, consumer interactions vary widely at different local marketing organizations and shouldn’t all be considered the same. At Saepio, we’ve observed that similar characteristics exist between organizations, which are not necessarily based on the industry they are in, whether they sell a service or product or other traditional classifications. Rather, the similarities between organizations are based on how they engage customers. Take food service as an example. Two Saepio clients within this industry vertical are McDonald’s and Great Harvest Bread Company. Both seek to gain a share of their customers’ dining or food budgets but each approaches marketing very differently. A local McDonald’s leans heavily on national branding and advertising as well as location to drive business. Great Harvest, on the other hand, seeks to create a loyal local customer community without the benefit of heavy corporate brand advertising. While one could no doubt slice segmentations even further, thorough review of client-use patterns confirm that seven unique market segments exist within local or distributed marketing scenarios. • Loyalty Frequent – where frequent purchases occur and loyalty is key • Loyalty Infrequent – where infrequent but high dollar purchases occur • Convenient Location – where the brand experience is the same at all locations • Retail Assist – where the corporate brand lives inside another entity’s brand location • Community Development – where mobilizing consistent communication is the key need • Sales Assist – where sales professionals primarily control the conversation • Controlled Communications – where regulatory control of communication is paramount As a result, very different interactions between corporate and local marketers are needed. For brand value to explode at the local level, understanding and building a blended corpo- rate and local marketing strategy through the perspective of the correct role is important. 8
  10. 10. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited Chapter Four The Six C’s of aWin-Win Brand Strategy Managers of distributed marketing networks have long been challenged with keeping corporate and local marketing messages aligned and working together. At the root of the challenge is the fact that there are often legitimate reasons for a disconnect. Corporate marketers are very brand focused. Local marketers are all about driving traffic and making sales. These two perspectives can easily collide, with the result being less-than- effective marketing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Employing six“C’s”to the distributed marketing process can go a long way towards making a brand explode at the local level. Common Objectives While it may seem logical that one would begin any marketing effort with common objec- tives already established, Saepio client service managers too often observe the opposite. Corporate marketers and local marketers simply think differently, each protecting their own turf. They do so for a good reason. The corporate marketer who manages the distributed marketing network is the keeper of the brand and brand messages for that network. S/he must constantly focus on corporate brand objectives and deliver those to – and then through – the local marketer. The local marketer is often not on that same page. Store traffic and a ringing register is paramount and, if the marketing message isn’t perceived as focused solely on generating sales, the local individual likely isn’t interested. They like the support but insist that it be relevant to their operation. These different perspectives, however, in no way preclude the formation of common objec- tives. They just require the corporate marketer to, as Stephen Covey would say in his best- selling book,“seek first to understand and then to be understood.”Listening to the needs of the local marketer and gleaning knowledge from the school of practical application via those on the front lines, enables the corporate marketer to identify common objectives and create campaigns that truly support them. Consistent Messages Understanding the importance of delivering consistent messages across the entire distributed marketing network is easy for many marketers. Doing so is more challenging. Consistent messaging to consumers begins with effective resources for local marketers. While a local marketer will often want to localize a national message, s/he also frequently wants to leverage the power of the national brand for local benefit by somehow altering 9
  11. 11. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited the corporate message to make it more applicable for his or her local environment. It is key for the corporate marketer to provide resources that ensure consistent messaging but allow some local flexibility. Distributed marketing management systems that include marketing asset management technology are an excellent starting point. These solutions provide all of the marketing resources the local marketer needs in one, easy-to-access location. As long as the corporate marketer is diligent in keeping the library of resources current, messages across the distributed marketing network will stay consistent. Tip: When evaluating such systems, make sure to consider systems that allow for auto updating of marketing messages that are contained in materials previously created by local marketers. Coordinated Message Delivery Just as consistent messaging is important, coordinated timing of delivery is also critical. When a local marketer’s messages are timed to coordinate with national messages, investments in marketing can be optimized. At the heart of successful coordination is successful communication. And that means two-way communication. Often coordinated message delivery is dependent upon one way communication and a great deal of hope. In this scenario, corporate develops a merchandis- ing kit containing marketing materials and sends it to the local market with the hope that it will be used properly, if at all. Local marketers want to be successful and want the benefits of the resources the corporate marketer provides, but their worlds don’t revolve around what corporate marketing is doing. They are focused on what they can do to drive traffic and view their corporate partners as a helpful ingredient of that plan. When the marketing kit arrives for a coordinated campaign, it may or may not receive the priority the corporate marketer seeks. What happens is depen- dent upon how effective communication has been up to that point. While it takes more work, engaging communication between corporate and local market- ers is vital to coordinated message delivery. When local marketers know which message is recommended and why; what’s in it for them; and what is expected as part of a campaign, coordinated messaging naturally follows. 10
  12. 12. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited Cooperative Customer Management Brands only hum when customers hum in harmony with them. The brand exists to create an emotional connection with the customer, to establish and to grow a relationship. That doesn’t happen without a corporate role and can’t be sustained without a local one. For a brand to hum, the experience a customer or prospect has through national brand messages – coupled with the experience they have upon entering a local retail outlet or interacting with a branded product or service – must be completely harmonious. The local marketer is critical to this process. Store décor, in-store promotions, digital signage, mer- chandise bags and many other physical items all contribute to the brand experience. So, too, do the personal interactions that happen in the store. While corporate marketers can’t always control customer management, they should always consider it when creating local options for national brand messaging. One cannot assume that a local marketer or a local sales associate will be able to provide a continuous brand experience for the customer without being coached on how to do so. Often, adding this “last mile”of instruction adds very little time to campaign development but can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of that campaign. Engaging the Competition We’ve added Competition to the list of“C’s”this time. Every corporate marketer faces a bar- rage of competition for the attention and focus of the local marketer. This comes from local newspapers, radio and television stations, agencies, direct marketers and more. There are so many channels for communicating a brand or selling a product today and so many individuals suggesting solutions to the local business person. Rather than fighting these entities, engage them. Find creative ways to guide local market- ers to make quality decisions about which resources to use and when to use them. Further, when a local resource is used, put systems and resources in place to ensure that the brand message is properly and strongly represented. Often, local marketing that is outside brand compliance is not ill intended. Rather, the local marketers are ill-equipped in both knowledge and access to brand assets. With guidance, they can keep local“competitors”on track. Communication, Communication, Communication You simply can’t over communicate WITH a local marketer yet you most assuredly can over communicate TO one. Remember, effective communication is a dialogue. Any successful relationship starts with listening, including that between the corporate and the local marketer. 11
  13. 13. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited • Communicate what’s important to your brand by first listening to how it’s important to your local marketer. • Communicate what you need them to do by first listening to what they need you to do. • Communicate what resources you’ve made available to them by listening to what they need those resources to be. There they are. The Six C’s for Making Your Brand Explode at the Local Level. There’s nothing magical about them, but they are so important; so much so that Saepio has dedicated a booklet to each of them as we’ve revisited“Exploding Brand Value at the Local Level.” We’d love to call them profound, but they’re simply applications of common sense. Yet too few apply them well, and as a result, too few see their brand really explode at the local level. 12
  14. 14. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited Taking Action - Synergy that Explodes BrandValue A lot of factors combine to create an organization where brand value explodes at the local level. Many programs have been tried through the years. Carrots to entice compliance. Sticks to enforce it. These approaches seldom work. The programs that do work are those developed by individuals who truly understand and foster a meaningful partnership between corporate and local marketers. A partnership where goals and messages align, where programs are logical and where each side fully participates in design and execution. Distributed Marketing Management systems that enable these processes are the corner- stone to success. Often called Marketing Asset Management or Local Marketing Manage- ment technology, these platforms help organize and execute every aspect of a local market- ing program. While it is possible to run a program that maximizes brand value without such a system, it is highly unlikely, exponentially more difficult and normally much more expensive. Look for a system that delivers much more than just ad builder functionality. Seek instead a comprehensive platform such as Saepio’s MarketPort platform that helps create a strong, logical synergy between you and your local marketers. 13
  15. 15. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited EquallyYoked Perhaps the best illustration for the optimal relationship for corporate and local marketers comes from the world of pre-machinery agriculture. When oxen were used to plow the soil or pull a wagon, it was important to choose two beasts of similar strength. Too much pull from one versus the other and keeping a straight plow line was close to impossible. Saepio encourages corporate and local marketers to seek a similar relationship to ensure peak performance. Too much corporate and the local marketer tunes out. Too much local and the corporate brand message is diluted. Don’t give up until you find the perfect balance for your organization. Exploding brand value at the local level isn’t necessarily easy but it is absolutely possible. Saepio hopes this document series will provide insight to help your organization join those whose local marketing programs are humming along. 14
  16. 16. Exploding BrandValue at the Local Level Revisited About Saepio Saepio makes it easy for corporate and local marketers to build and run effective and engaging all-channel marketing campaigns. Saepio’s powerful MarketPort marketing platform starts with easy … • Easy to Build and Run Cross-Channel Campaigns because everything – email, landing pages, social, mobile, digital banner ads, signage, print ads, direct mail, and much more – are all managed in a single, integrated digital marketing platform. • Easy to Maximize Brand Value at the Local Level because local and corporate marketers share a single platform but experience the same platform differently based on their roles. Brand control, speed to market, and content localization is all easily accomplished whether messages are for local, national or global audiences and corporate marketers can easily assign campaign tasks to local marketers. • Easy to Engage Customers with personalized, relevant messages because corporate intelligence gleaned from CRM data, customer analytics, consumer actions and more can determine what content is served when, where and how. • Easy to Automate Marketing Fulfillment because robust workflow enables every cross channel customer touch point to happen automatically whether launched by corporate marketing, initiated by a local marketer or triggered by a customer’s action. This robust yet simplified approach to today’s complex marketing challenges is in use at hundreds of leading companies and organizations, including many of the world’s most powerful brands. It is transforming the way corporations focus and manage their marketing efforts in a world that introduces new channels, new competitors, new regulations and new opportunities at every turn. Visit Saepio.com, email sales@saepio.com or call 877-468-7613 to learn more. For More Information Contact Us Saepio Technologies 600 Broadway Suite 400 Kansas City, MO 64105 Email info@saepio.com CallToll Free 877-468-7613 to learn more ShareThis Document with your Network Follow Us: 15