Getting your brand to awesome: a short guide to brand strategy in the digital age


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As the effects of digital technologies ripple through our culture,the impact can be felt almost everywhere. The implications of these technologies go far beyond the technologies themselves. Unrestricted access to a growing mountain of data is changing attitudes, culture and the rules of success in business and in branding. In the future, the most successful brands will be those that can capture their customers' imaginations, not just with what they say, but with how they behave, and the experiences they provide.

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Getting your brand to awesome: a short guide to brand strategy in the digital age

  1. 1. Getting your brandto awesomeA short guide to brandstrategy in the digital ageCreated by @simonpearcelive, Founder of
  2. 2. A strategy is simply a set of actionsand outcomes that have yet to happen
  3. 3. The more clearly a strategy tells you Whatyou need To do Next, the more useful it becomes
  4. 4. two common Approaches to brand strategy*: Claims-Driven approach purpose-Driven approach The goal is to create a set of The goal is to create a sense of beliefs and expectations in shared identity with customers. customers’ minds. “Brand x is the “You should identify with brand x best y because z”. This approach is becuase of what we are trying to all about making promises and then accomplish”. In this approach the looking to provide compelling “evidence” tends to be how the rational and emotional evidence to brand behaves, through product back them up. Claims are stated design and experiences. and emotional outcomes implied.* In reality, these two concepts are not mutually exclusive: it can often be a question of emphasis
  5. 5. Claims are important but they are simply toolimiting to be the focus of your entire brand So why is a purpose-driven approach superior?
  6. 6. You see, it’s not aquestion of oneapproach being right& another being wrong It’s a question of utility So brand strategy based on purpose is more useful? tell me how!
  7. 7. There are several reasons why thinking interms of claims can limit your brand We can do better! Photo: David Fowler,
  8. 8. people tune out when brands spend toomuch time talking about themselves 80% of all display ads reviewed in a recent survey were rated as “not relevant to me” by customers, despite ever-more sophisticated targeting being employed. (Only 14% could remember who made the last ad they saw). Source: Mediapost, March 18th 2013
  9. 9. To “break through”, actual and implied claims getstretched, and advertising credibility decreasesAccording to a 2011 study by Nielsen, just 47% of people trustTV and Print advertising, a decline of over 20% from 2009 levels Photo: CLaffra, Source: Nielsen “Global trust in advertising” study, 2011. n=58,000, 56 countries
  10. 10. Claims (literal or implied) are vulnerable to being judgedas false or insincere in the court of public opinion Can that stuff really melt fat from your thighs? *In this case, an unsubstantiated claim was punished by a fine; in reality, even an implied exaggeration can cause consumers to get turned off
  11. 11. the desire to “push” your claim can lead to faux PasClaims Focus = Talking about yourself = #socialmediafail “Hijacking” news stories with inappropriate or irrelevant content Overtly asking customers to talk about how awesome you are and then seeing the opposite happen Securing people’s attention under false pretences only to reveal a celebrity product endorsement (that backfires)Katie Price “Twitter Hacking Scandal”revealed to be Snickers PR stunt *Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he gets out in the end!
  12. 12. Three reasons why a brand strategygrounded in purpose can workharder for your business
  13. 13. Firstly, it’s more human. Brands with a broader purpose comeacross as more authentic (because they are more authentic) Apple’s brand image is an outgrowth of a design-centric culture, itself grounded in a strong sense of purpose at the company. With such a strong base to build from, a minimalist approach to advertising can work - the marketing department does not have to shout in order to be heard.
  14. 14. Secondly, it’s more actionableA clear statement of purpose givesemployees something to do. It inspiresmeaningful and creative contributions. Itallows brands to continue to reinventthemselves without losing focus.
  15. 15. Thirdly, it can guide your whole business.A purpose is not limited to guiding what a company says, it can guide what that company does:R&D, customer service, product design, digital experiences and employee training.
  16. 16. Three reasons Why thismatters now more than ever
  17. 17. #1. In a connected world, what customers say aboutyour brand matters more than what you say about it 92% 74% Of people trust word of mouth above all other sources of information (that’s up from 74 percent in 2007) Source: Nielsen “Global trust in advertising” study, 2011. n=58,000, 56 countries
  18. 18. #2. When people talk aboutbrands, it’s usually based onpersonal experiences 83% Of brand mentions involve a direct experience Source: Keller Fay Group’s TalkTrack®, JulyPhoto: Jessica Grenier 2008 through June 2009, N=159,182
  19. 19. #3. The world is becoming transparentCompanies can no longer afford to havea disconnect between what they sayand what they do. The best wayto ensure that your organization’swords and deeds match isto better align brand andbusiness strategy.
  20. 20. What next?A few thoughts to consider:1. Claims are still useful, but the best brandsuse them tactically, to sell products, not as thebasis for the entire brand strategy2. Purpose-driven branding requirescommitment. It requires leaders’ involvementacross the business3. Your purpose does not have to be worldchanging, but it does need to be an idea worth Warning: Do not enter intocaring about, at a minimum a brand purpose exercise with the intention of treating it as4. Every organization must find balance just another PR stunt orbetween what’s realistic, what’s aspirational, marketing campaign. Effects ofand what’s meaningful to customers such an approach include consumer backlash, social media flamers or, worse, absolutely no change atall.
  21. 21. We help our clients find their purpose, articulate it internally andexternally and create the management tools and creative assetsthey need to bring it to life. It’s exciting work and we feel privilegedto be able to do it. We are cross-disciplinary brand designers. Wedesign physical and digital experiences, objects and spaces. simon Pearce, Founder Fabric Branding @simonpearcelive