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THE BRAND LEADER
The 7 elements of smart strategic
thinking for Marketers
Everyone says they are a strategic thinker, but most Marketers in today's world are tacticians. They
are great at executing Marketing programs, yet they rarely take the time or have enough time in their
job to think through the strategy. In my first 10 years of marketing I likely was the same. I had such
get it done mentality and a fixation on creativity, that I never slowed down enough to think. How
many hours a week do you spend just thinking? How often do you actually sit down with your boss or
your direct reports and just talk about what it means to be strategic?
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What does it mean to be Strategic?
Strategic thinkers see the right questions before they look for answers. Intuitive thinkers see answers
before they even know the right question. Strategic thinkers see "what if" type questions before
seeing potential solutions. In their brains, they mapped out a range of decision trees that intersect
and connect by imagining how are events will play out in the future. They slow their brains down,
taking the time to reflect and plan before acting, moving in a focused and efficient way. Strategy is
the logical part of marketing. On the other hand, intuitive thinkers see answers before even knowing
the right question. Their brains move fast, using emotional instincts, gut feel and impulse. They want
to move fast, get frustrated by any delays. Brand leaders need to be a bit of both able to change their
speed of their brains, to move slowly with strategy and quickly with execution.
In the infographic on the next page, you can see that we have mapped out the 7 elements of smart
strategic thinking, as a way to guide and challenge you to think strategically. Challenge yourself to
take your brand strategy and see how it lines up to our 7 elements of smart strategic thinking. Do you
have a vision, are you focused enough, are you taking advantage of some opportunity? You can
have this on the brand overall, or any project that you are working on. We will show you how the
model works, then provide examples drawn out using Apple, Starbucks and Special K.
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Strategic thinkers see the right questions before
they look for answers. Intuitive thinkers see
answers before they even know the right question.
Brand Leaders need to be both, being able to change the
speed of their brains for the right situation and moment.
Move your brain slowly on strategy and quickly with execution.
Vision
A lot of times people will think that strategy and "big picture thinking” are the same. When I ask “What
makes someone strategic?”, the most common answer I get is “They think at 30,000 feet”. I have
seen both strategic and intuitive thinkers
be able to “think at 30,000 feet”. The
real difference is that a strategic thinker
thinks about things over time, to map
out a vision for 5 or 10 years from now,
while an intuitive thinker generally
thinks about now. Vision is an
aspirational stretch goal for the future,
linked to a well-defined end result or
purpose. The first element is to have a
vision of what you hope to achieve in
the future. Every brand needs to have
an overall vision that steers everyone
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7 elements of smart strategic thinking
Break through point where you see
a SHIFT IN MOMENTUM towards
your vision. Proof to everyone this
strategy will work and you need to
maintain your focus.
Aspirational STRETCH
GOAL for future, linked to a
well-defined goal purpose. It
should scare you a little,
but excite you a lot.  
Turn the early win into
TIPPING POINT where you
achieve more in return than
you put in.
Shift in POSITIONAL
POWER that allows you to
achieve your vision.
Seize opportunity
quickly BEFORE
OTHERS REACT
or it is closes.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
An OPENING IN THE
MARKET, based on a
potential change in the
market (consumer
needs, technology
change, new channels)
Leverage
Gateway
ALIGN YOUR LIMITED
RESOURCES to a distinct
point you can break
through getting you on a
path to your vision.
Opportunity
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Why every brand needs a vision statement
If you don't know where
you are going, you
might not get there.
Yogi Berra
working on the brand. But in the same notion, every project should also have a project vision that is
closely linked to the overall brand vision, helping to determine what success looks like on that
project. To really push people on their vision, I always say that a good vision should scare you a little,
but excite you a lot.
Focus
The second element of strategic thinking is focus. In today's marketing world, brand leaders are
losing their focus. There seems to be a fear, that if we focus too much, we will miss out on something
or someone. The idea of focus is that it allocates your brands limited resources to a distinct point that
you can breakthrough
and move forward
towards your vision.
Marketers always face
limited resources. They
never have enough
money, enough time or
enough people. Yet the
creative brain part of the
marketer can see an
unlimited list of choices,
they fear picking a
narrow target market,
they fear picking only one
brand positioning and
they fear picking too few strategies for tactics. They would rather target everyone, list out every
possible feature that they do and try to execute a little of each activity. But ladies and gentlemen, this
isn't strategic marketing. This is just doing stuff randomly in the hope that it works. The best
Marketers never divide and conquer out of fear. They force themselves to focus and conquer with the
confidence of having done the strategic thinking. If you come to a decision point, and you try to
rationalize in your own brain that it's okay to do a little of both, then you are not strategic. In fact, you
are not even a decision-maker at all. If we have limited resources, for the equation to work, we must
limit the possible solutions to those that will deliver the greatest return.
When you focus, 5 amazing things happen to your brand:
1. Better return on investment (ROI): By focusing your dollars on the distinct breakthrough point
that you know will work, you will see the most efficient and effective response in the market.
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Marketers always face
limited resources…
Target Market
Brand Positioning
Strategic Options
New Product Ideas
Execution Activities
Financial Time
People Partnerships
…as they deploy against an
unlimited list of choices
We need to make decisions to limit the choices to match the
limited resources we can deploy against those choices.
2. Better return on effort (ROE): You also want to make effective use of your people resource. We
suggest that you look at the ideas that have the greatest impact and are the easiest to execute. I
have always suggested that strategic thinkers are lazy, because they are always trying to think
about how to get away with doing less and getting more.
3. Stronger reputation: By limiting your audience and limiting your brand message, your brand will
start to get a focused reputation among a very motivated audience.
4. More competitive:
when you focus your
message to a focused
audience, you will
start to own that
message and own
that audience.
5. More investment
behind brand:
Believe it or not, when
you focus and deliver
the return, your
management team
will likely ask you to
do that again. They will give you more money and people. And when your resources go up I want
you to take the same focused approach that you just took. Just because someone gave you
money, doesn't mean you can now spend wildly.
Opportunity and Speed
The third and fourth elements of good strategic thinking go hand in hand. Brands must see an
opportunity, which is some opening in the marketplace that you can see based on some change in
the consumer needs, technology change or new channels. Once you see that opportunity, you must
use speed to seize the opportunity before others can react or else it will be closed to your brand.
The Early Win
He fifth element of good strategic thinking is gaining that early win, which is the breakthrough point
where you start to see some chef in momentum towards your vision. Even if this early when is small,
it can provide proof to everyone that the strategy will work and that it is important to stay focused on
this breakthrough point. In the Starbucks turnaround, they were able to turn the morning coffee
routine into a breakfast and lunch routine, expanding the consumers use of Starbucks as a life ritual,
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When Marketers come to a decision point that
requires focus, they try to justify a way to do both.
Strategic thinkers never DIVIDE and conquer out of fear.
They force themselves to make choices to FOCUS and conquer.
Don’t tell yourself that you are
good at making decisions if
you come to a decision point
and you always choose BOTH.
The best brand leaders force
themselves to focus by using
the word “or” more than they
use the word “and”
so that it’s now a broad-based meeting place. With Special K, once they focused on the idea of
helping women maintain their healthy weight, they have now been able to go beyond the cereal aisle
and built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes.
Leverage
The sixth element of good strategic thinking leverage, where you were able to turn the early win and
do a tipping point where you achieve more in return than you put in. The final element of strategic
thinking is the gateway, where you start to see a shift in the positional power of the brand, allowing
you to achieve your vision.
Gateway
The final element of good strategic thinking is the gateway, which closely resembles the brand vision
and opens up whole new opportunities for the brand to capitalize on.
Case Studies to demonstrate smart strategic thinking
D-Day focuses the entire war effort on capturing a beach.
There’s a lot of evidence that business strategy has borrowed many of the concepts from military
strategy. Read up on Napoleon and you will easily see how his words can translate over to business.
He talks about pin-pointed attacks at the opponent’s weakness and the efficient use of resources.
One of the most famous military strategies was that of D-Day, June the 6th,
1944. At a crucial point of World War 2, while Germany was fighting a war on
two fronts (Russia and Britain), the Allied Forces planned D-Day for 2 years
and joined in full force (Great Britain, US, Canada, Australia) to focus all their
attention on one beach, on one day. Prior to the attack, there was debate, do
we attack in one place that could be penetrated or in multiple spots where the
Germans would have to fight many battles? The smart decision started with focus. If we look at D-
Day using the seven elements of good strategy, we can see how they won:
1. Vision: Win World War II, with a goal to re-claim Europe and stop Germany.
2. Focus: High risk focus, putting half of all the Allied forces of 156,000 soldiers, synchronized
landing on the beaches of Normandy on one morning of June 6th,1944.
3. Opportunity: They planned excessively, debated options, looked for unguarded beaches. Also,
they had Russia attacking from east, helping to weaken Germany.
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#1
4. Speed: Navy Seals quickly went in before the ships arrived, with the detonation of underwater
bombs, that enabled warships to get up on the beaches.
5. Early Win: Despite heavy casualties, the Allies captured the beaches and within 5 days of D-Day
they put 325,000 soldiers on mainland Europe.
6. Leverage: Re-claimed Paris, pushing back the German Army, turning the momentum to the Allied
Forces. They gained positional power, shifting Germany to defending their soil.
7. Gateway: A year later, the allies defeat Germany in Berlin. The US was now able to focus on the
Pacific war to defeat Japan.
If we were to write a Strategic Plan for D-Day, here’s what it would start to look like:  
• Vision: Win World War II, spread ideals of democracy.
• Goals: Re-claim Europe, maintain troops, return the borders in Europe.
• Key Issues: How do we turn the tide in the war effort in Europe? Where would the best attack
point be to get on continental Europe? What are the defense technology investments needed?
• Strategy: Pin-pointed attack to gain a positional power on continental Europe.
• Tactics: D-Day, taking all our troops and attack the Beaches of Normandy to get back on
mainland Europe so they could battle Germany on an equal footing. 
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Despite heavy casualties, the Allies
captured the beaches and within 5
days of D-Day they put 325,000
soldiers on mainland Europe
Win World War II,
with a goal to re-
claim Europe and
stop Germany.
Re-claimed Paris, pushing back the
German Army, turning the momentum
to the Allied Forces. They gained
positional power, shifting Germany to
defending their soil.
A year later, the allies defeat
Germany in Berlin. The US was
now able to focus and fight the
Pacific war and defeat Japan.
Navy Seals quickly went in
before the ships arrived,
with the detonation of
underwater bombs, that
enabled warships to get up
on the beaches.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
They planned excessively,
debated options, looked for
unguarded beaches. Also,
they had Russia attacking
from east, helping to
weaken Germany.
Leverage
Gateway
High risk focus, putting half of all
the Allied forces of 156,000
soldiers, synchronized landing
on the beaches of Normandy on
one morning of June 6th, 1944.
Opportunity
Strategic thinking behind D-Day
Apple brand turnaround based on the Big Idea of simplicity
In 1996, the Apple brand was bordering on bankruptcy. They were basically just another computer
company, without any real point of difference. Years of overlooked opportunities, flip-flop strategies,
and a mind-boggling disregard for market realities caught up with Apple,
Windows 95 has seriously eroded the Mac's technology edge. Apple was
rapidly becoming a minor player in the computer business with shrinking
market shares, price cuts and declining profits. This was the year before
even contemplating the return of Steve Jobs, really showcasing how badly
Apple was run through the 1990s. There were lots of bad decisions,
inconsistent strategies and most importantly and no big idea. Everything Jobs
did was built around the big idea of "making technology so simple that everyone can be part of the
future." He took a consumer first approach in a market that was all about the gadgets, bits and bytes.
1. Vision: Apple wants everyone to be part of technology in the future.  
2. Focus: They focused on building everything around simplicity and design. Took a consumer first
mentality to technology, transforming leading technology advancements into “consumer
accessible” technology, fueling the perception that Apple is an innovative leader.
3. Opportunity: Capitalize on the consumer frustration with technology, that was preventing the
mass consumers from experiencing everything technology can offer.
4. Speed: Fast follower on technology, easy to use, with consumer-friendly laptops, phones, tablets.
5. Early Win: With each new product, they used,high profile launch hype to generate excitement,
transforming early adopters into vocal Apple activists to spread the word.
6. Leverage: Apple created a consumer bond around the Big Idea of “making technology simple”
leveraging tight connection with their brand fans to enter new categories. 
7. Gateway: Apple is now the most beloved consumer-driven brand, with premium prices, stronger
market share, sales and profits.
If we were to write a Brand Plan for Apple, here’s what it would start to look like:  
• Vision: Apple wants everyone to be part of technology in the future.
• Goals: Continue 10% sales growth, Double market share in Asia, Launch 5 new technology
enhancements per year
• Key Issue: How do we battle Samsung/Google in smart phones? How do expand beyond our
saturated North American market? What technology platform will the next round of surprising
innovation come from? How do we leverage our bond with our most loyal Apple users?
• Strategy: Regain leadership in smart phone technology. Geographic focus into China. Build
community around cloud technology. Higher service to tighten Apple community
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• Tactics: Continue to improve technologies on current products. Launch into the wearables. New
retail space. Integrate retail purchasing. Increase courses for Apple U.  
Starbucks refocuses by building around the Coffee routine.
In 2003, Starbucks created their own recording company, winning 8 Grammy’s, then launched their
own movie and started partnership with William Morris to scout for music, books, films. Opens
“entertainment” office in LA. By 2008, Starbucks had lost all focus and the core
coffee brand was suffering. They cut 18k jobs, closed 977 stores, sales were
down 7% and the stock price falls to $7.83, down from $39.63 in 2008. The
brand was in a complete free fall. People wondered “Is it the next Benetton?”
Starbucks desperately needed to refocus. They rebuilt everything back around
the coffee routine. They closed their stores for an entire day to re-train every
barista, a symbol of what’s most important to the brand. They created
sandwiches, snacks and pastries around coffee to gain more share of requirements and stretch the
coffee routine to lunch. 
1. Vision: Become a cherished quick service food brand that is a favorite moment of the day. Be the
dominant coffee brand.  
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Apple’s strategic thinking
With each new product, they
used,high profile launch hype to
generate excitement, transforming
early adopters into vocal Apple
activists to spread the word.
Apple wants
everyone to be
part of technology
in the future.
Apple created a consumer bond
around the Big Idea of “making
technology simple” leveraging tight
connection with their brand fans to
enter new categories. 
Apple is now the most
beloved consumer driven
brand, with premium
prices, stronger market
share, sales and profits.
Fast follower on
technology, making
easy to use, with
consumer-friendly
laptops, phones,
tablets.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
Capitalize on the consumer
frustration with technology,
that was preventing the
mass consumers from
experiencing everything
technology can offer.
Leverage
Gateway
Focused on building everything around
simplicity and design. Took a consumer first
mentality to technology, transforming
leading technology into “consumer
accessible” technology, fueling perception
that Apple is an innovative leader.
Opportunity
Case
Study
#3
2. Focus: Focused everything around the coffee ritual, look to shift coffee routine to lunch. Broaden
portfolio around coffee–deserts, snacks, sandwiches.
3. Opportunity: With under-utilized retail locations, relatively unused past 11am, the broader
portfolio helps gain lunch/dinner sales giving them a higher share of requirements.
4. Speed: Starbucks closed every store for a day to re-focus on coffee, then built out broader
portfolio around coffee.
5. Early Win: New products improved perception that they were innovative, successfully connecting
with most loyal Starbucks fans, giving them higher same store sales
6. Leverage: Able to turn the morning coffee routine into a breakfast/lunch routine, allowing
Starbucks to focus on becoming a broad-based meeting place. 
7. Gateway: No longer seen as just for morning coffee, but rather an escape at any point in the day,
experiencing double-digit growth for 5 straight years following the turn around.  
If you were to write the Starbucks Brand Plan, here’s how it might look:
• Vision: Cherished meeting place for all your quick service food needs
• Goals: Increase same store sales, greater share of requirements from Starbucks loyalists
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New products improved perception that
they were innovative, successfully
connecting with most loyal Starbucks
fans, giving them higher same store sales
Become a cherished
quick service food brand
that is a favorite moment
of the day. Be the
dominant coffee brand
Able to turn the morning coffee
routine into a breakfast/lunch
routine, allowing Starbucks to
focus on becoming a broad-
based meeting place. 
No longer seen as just for
morning coffee, but rather an
escape at any point in the day.
Double-digit growth for 5 straight
years following the turn around.
Starbucks closed every
store for a day to re-
focus on coffee, then
built out broader
portfolio around coffee.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
With under-utilized retail
locations, relatively unused
past 11am, the broader
portfolio helps gain lunch/
dinner sales giving them a
higher share of requirements.
Leverage
Gateway
Focus everything around the
coffee ritual, look to shift coffee
routine to lunch. Broaden
portfolio around coffee–
deserts, snacks, sandwiches.
Opportunity
Starbuck’s strategic thinking
• Key Issue: How do we reconnect with our loyal brand fans to get back on track? How do we
drive significant growth of same store sales? How do we build smartly around the coffee routine?
• Strategy: Build everything around the coffee routine and move Starbucks loyalists to lunch with
an expanded lunch/snacks menu.
• Tactics: Re-train all baristas. Focus staff on creating experiences. Launch exotic refreshing coffee
choices, light lunch menu, increase desert offerings.
Special K moves from Indifferent to Beloved
In the 1990s Special K just sat there with a very small and dying cereal share. Basically, it was just
the one flavor of cereal. Zero innovation. It was just Rice Krispies crushed differently. Special K was
clearly an Indifferent Brand, with very little consumer opinion, and for those
who did buy Special K, they weren’t exactly the most ardent fans of the
brand. Not only was the original flavor fairly bland, but everything about the
brand was bland. Special K needed to stand for something. It needed an
idea. Special K built everything around the Big Idea of “Empowering
Women to take control of their weight”. To separate themselves in the mind
of consumers, they launched the special K challenge with a very simple
message: “With Special K, just twice a day for 2 weeks, you can lose 6 pounds or better yet, drop a
jean size.” Special K then built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks,
water and shakes—each bulldog around the big idea.They have gained share in the cereal category
and taken the loyal consumers into all the new categories, and they are now 5x the sales and a
beloved brand.
1. Vision: Empower women to take control of their weight and live healthier happy lives. Own the
healthy food segments in the grocery store.
2. Focus: Shift from a product driven strategy to idea-led helping women maintain their weight,
providing low-calorie alternatives across the toughest food moments of the day.
3. Opportunity: Women were frustrated by “lose and gain” diet fads. Tired of failing, they wanted
easy alternatives they could execute within their normal lives.
4. Speed: Shifted brand story to “lose a jean size in two weeks” and built the Special K challenge to
help women “take control of their weight”.
5. Early Win: Launch of amazing taking Special K Red Berries transformed the brand helped gained
permission to enter new food categories.
6. Leverage: Rather than being stuck in the cereal aisle, Special K built a series of tasty new
products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes. 
7. Gateway: Gained market share of the cereal category. Took loyal consumers into all the new
categories, and they are now 5x the sales and a beloved brand.  
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If you were to write the Special K Brand Plan, here’s how it might look:
• Vision: Become a beloved brand in every grocery aisle, that can help women take control and
maintain their healthy body.
• Goals: Become a top 3 cereal brand. Expand into new adjacent categories in the grocery store.
Launch 5 new innovations per year.
• Key Issue: How do we build a big idea that is own-able and motivating to our consumer base?
How do we build an innovation pipeline that can stretch beyond cereal? How do we build
consumer insights we can use in every part of the brand?
• Strategy: Build everything—innovation, advertising and consumer experience—around the
brand’s big idea to help create a bond with our consumers.
• Tactics: Gain share through new cereal innovations. Master brand advertising that motivates
consumers. Special K weight loss challenge. Enter new categories.
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Launch of amazing taking
Special K Red Berries
transformed the brand
helped gained permission to
enter new food categories.
The healthy food
brand that empowers
women to take control
of their weight and live
healthier happy lives.
Rather than being stuck in the cereal
aisle, Special K built a series of tasty
new products across categories of
cereal, snacks, water and shakes
Gained market share of the cereal
category. Took loyal consumers
into all the new categories, and
they are now 5x the sales and a
beloved brand.
Shifted brand story to
“lose a jean size in two
weeks” and built the
Special K challenge to
help women “take
control of their weight”
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
Women were frustrated by
“lose and gain” diet fads. Tired
of failing, they wanted easy
alternatives they could execute
within their normal lives.
LeverageGateway
Shift	from	a	product	driven	strategy	to	
idea-led	helping women maintain
their weight, providing low-calorie
alternatives across the toughest
food moments of the day.
Opportunity
Special K’s strategic thinking
Avril connects with her core audience through free mall concerts.
You can even use the tool to evaluate specific exception to ensure it stays on strategy. One program
that we use is pop singer Avril Lavigne’s free mall concerts from back in 2005.
At that point, Avril’s career had flattened out after some early success, which
is a fairly normal path for young musicians. To kick off her album, her
Marketing team launched a series of free mall concerts. She was initially
criticized as desperate, but not everyone understood the logic. Let’s use the
seven elements of smart strategic thinking to assess the Avril re-launch:
1. Vision: Make Avril a pop superstar,with a #1 album and sold out concerts.
2. Focus: Focus everything on 11-17 year old female target, focused on shopping malls where they
hang out. Position free concerts as good will gesture to her most passionate fans. 
3. Opportunity: Avril was the first credible music star ever to give free concerts. She had a new
album coming out. There were still record stores in malls—an opening for the fans to go buy her
new CD.
4. Speed: Execution timing lined up to album release. Gained PR and early album sales.
5. Early Win: Concerts attracted 5k screaming 13-year-olds per mall, creating a new momentum
and perceived success. Local news gave added exposure. Everyone (mom/kids) happy with “free”
gesture.
6. Leverage: Leveraged goodwill and energy to get loyal fans to go buy her album in the mall record
stores which helped her album debut at #1 on the charts.
7. Gateway: Getting to #1 on the charts led to bigger mass audiences–more radio play, iTunes
downloads and more talk value, playing to sold-out concert series charging $150 per ticket.
Avril’s strategy holds up very well. What looks like a promotion is highly strategic. Madonna used this
same strategy for years, except with London night clubs for 20-somethings where she would drop
her songs, with random appearances. And now, Taylor Swift uses her 80 million Twitter followers.
If you were to write the Avril Brand Plan, here’s what it might look like:
• Vision: Recording Super Star
• Goals: New Album Sales, increase popularity, new recording contract
• Key Issue: How do we drive album sales for a slumping Avril? 
• Strategy: Reconnect with core teen fans to create momentum to trigger album sales
• Tactics: Free Mall tour to get most loyal fans to reconnect and buy the new album.
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Checklist to ensure smart strategy
For any type of strategy, whether it is your overall brand, an execution strategy around advertising,
innovation, experience or purchase moment, here’s a checklist to see if your strategy is fully mapped
out and you have not left the success to some vague chance.
• Do you have an end-in-mind vision, with big goals for the brand or even the specific project you
are working on?
• How focused is your plan to allocate your limited resources of money, time, people and
partnerships?
• Have you limited the target audience, the brand message, the potential strategy and related
executional activities on those that will pay back faster?
• Is there an opportunity that you see in the marketplace, that creates an opening for your brand to
quickly take advantage of?
• How fast are you able to move before others see the same opportunity?
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We make brands stronger.
We make brand leaders smarter.
Concerts attracted 5k screaming 13-year-
olds per mall, creating a new momentum
and perceived success. Local news gave
added exposure. Everyone (mom/kids)
happy with “free” gesture.
Make Avril a pop
superstar,with a
#1 album and
sold out concerts.
Leveraged goodwill and energy
to get loyal fans to go buy her
album in the mall record stores
which helped her album debut
at #1 on the charts.
Getting to #1 on the charts led to
bigger mass audiences–more radio
play, iTunes downloads and more
talk value, playing to sold-out
concert series charging $150 per
ticket. The comeback complete.
Execution timing
lined up to album
release. Good PR,
early album sales.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Vision
Early
Win
Speed
Avril was the first credible
music star ever to give free
concerts. She had a new
album coming out. There
were still record stores in
malls. —an opening for the
fans to go buy her new CD.
Leverage
Gateway
Focus everything on 11-17 year old
female target, focused on shopping
malls where they hang out. Position
free concerts as good will gesture
to her most passionate fans. 
Opportunity
Avril Lavigne’s strategic thinking
• Is there a leverage point, where you can achieve a change in positional power that you will be
able to turn a small win into something bigger than the finances or the effort that you put in?
• Do you see a gateway or end result that you can build on, whether it makes your brand healthier,
wealthier or drives more power for the brand in the future?
Beloved Brands 15 We make brand leaders smarter
Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead
workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning
Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric
and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize
your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on
Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure
your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program,
so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and
exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand
planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

Beloved Brands Training program
At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full
potential of your Marketing team

1. How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help
Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach brand leaders
to think strategically. We show them how to ask the right questions before seeing solutions, how
to map out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play
out. We take them through the 7 elements of good strategy: vision, opportunity, focus, speed,
early win, leverage and gateway. We use forced choice in each model to help the Marketers
make focused decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive
questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s
core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces. 

2. Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the
organization to follow: Sales, R&D, Agencies and future Marketers on the brand. We demonstrate
how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals,
key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide definitions and examples to inspire Marketers on
how to write each component. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to
use on your own brand. We offer a workshop that allows Marketers to try out the concept on
their own brand with hands on coaching with feedback to challenge them. At each step, we
provide the ideal format presentation to management. We offer unique formats for a Plan on a
Page and long-range Strategic Road Maps. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as
part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store
plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization.

3. Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: A winning brand positioning statement sets up
the brand’s external communication and internally with employees who deliver that promise. We
show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market,
competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We introduce the Consumer Benefit
ladder, that starts with the consumer target, with insights and enemies. We layer in the brand
features. Then get in the consumers shoes and ask “what do I get” to find the functional benefits
Beloved Brands 16 We make brand leaders smarter
and ask “how does this make me feel” to find the emotional benefits. We introduce a unique tool
that provide the top 50 potential functional and top 40 emotional benefits to help Marketers stretch
their minds yet narrow in on those that are most motivating and own-able for the brand. We then
show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including
promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience.
4. Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your
Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. Marketing Execution
must impact the brand’s consumers in a way that puts your brand in a stronger business
position. The Creative Brief is the bridge between the brand strategy and the execution. Through
our Brand Positioning workshop, you will have all the homework on the brand needed to set up
the transformation into a succinct 1-page Creative Brief that will focus, inspire and challenge a
creative team to make great work. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class
methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message
stimulus and the desired consumer response. Brand Leaders walk away from the session with a
ready-to-execute Creative Brief.

5. Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the
brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the
smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by
telling analytical stories through data. We teach you the steps to complete a deep-dive Business
Review that will help assess the health and wealth of the brand, looking at the category,
consumer, competitors, channels and brand. We show key formulas you need to know for
financial analysis. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management,
showing the ideal presentation slide format. We provide a full mock business review, with a
framework and examples of every type of analysis, for you to use on your own brand. We show
you how to turn your analytical thinking into making projections by extrapolating data into the
future.

6. Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders to judge and decide on execution options that
break through to consumers and motivates them to take action. We provide Brand Leaders with
tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as
processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We talk about the crucial role
of the brand leader in getting amazing marketing execution for your brand. We teach how to
make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads
looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We
teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great
execution. We also talk about how to be a better client to motivate and inspire your agency. 

7. How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy,
exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We provide Brand Leaders with
new ways to think about media to be able to drive long term growth and profits for your brand.
We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your
consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. Media must change the
consumer’s behavior so they think, feel or act in a way that tightens the brand’s bond with
consumers and gives the brand to have more power and profit. We show where media fits into
creative process. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with
Beloved Brands 17 We make brand leaders smarter
advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and
Modern media options such as digital, social and search.

8. Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the
path to purchase, helping consumers to test, decide and then experience the brand so that they
try, repeat and become loyal brand fans. We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and
decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase.
Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior,
competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer
marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and
project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing,
promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution.

Beloved Brands 18 We make brand leaders smarter
We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help
Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions.
• We teach brand leaders to think strategically. We show them how to ask the right
questions before seeing solutions, how to map out a range of decision trees that
intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out. We take them through
the 7 elements of good strategy: vision, opportunity, focus, speed, early win,
leverage and gateway. We use forced choice in each model to help the Marketers
make focused decisions.
• We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to
help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s
core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your
brand faces.
• We show how to build strategic statements that set up a smart strategic brand plan.
How to turn strategic
focus into bigger gains
for your business
Training Workshop
Strategic Thinking

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Smart strategic thinking for Marketers

  • 1. THE BRAND LEADER The 7 elements of smart strategic thinking for Marketers Everyone says they are a strategic thinker, but most Marketers in today's world are tacticians. They are great at executing Marketing programs, yet they rarely take the time or have enough time in their job to think through the strategy. In my first 10 years of marketing I likely was the same. I had such get it done mentality and a fixation on creativity, that I never slowed down enough to think. How many hours a week do you spend just thinking? How often do you actually sit down with your boss or your direct reports and just talk about what it means to be strategic? Beloved Brands 1 We make brand leaders smarter
  • 2. What does it mean to be Strategic? Strategic thinkers see the right questions before they look for answers. Intuitive thinkers see answers before they even know the right question. Strategic thinkers see "what if" type questions before seeing potential solutions. In their brains, they mapped out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how are events will play out in the future. They slow their brains down, taking the time to reflect and plan before acting, moving in a focused and efficient way. Strategy is the logical part of marketing. On the other hand, intuitive thinkers see answers before even knowing the right question. Their brains move fast, using emotional instincts, gut feel and impulse. They want to move fast, get frustrated by any delays. Brand leaders need to be a bit of both able to change their speed of their brains, to move slowly with strategy and quickly with execution. In the infographic on the next page, you can see that we have mapped out the 7 elements of smart strategic thinking, as a way to guide and challenge you to think strategically. Challenge yourself to take your brand strategy and see how it lines up to our 7 elements of smart strategic thinking. Do you have a vision, are you focused enough, are you taking advantage of some opportunity? You can have this on the brand overall, or any project that you are working on. We will show you how the model works, then provide examples drawn out using Apple, Starbucks and Special K. Beloved Brands 2 We make brand leaders smarter Strategic thinkers see the right questions before they look for answers. Intuitive thinkers see answers before they even know the right question. Brand Leaders need to be both, being able to change the speed of their brains for the right situation and moment. Move your brain slowly on strategy and quickly with execution.
  • 3. Vision A lot of times people will think that strategy and "big picture thinking” are the same. When I ask “What makes someone strategic?”, the most common answer I get is “They think at 30,000 feet”. I have seen both strategic and intuitive thinkers be able to “think at 30,000 feet”. The real difference is that a strategic thinker thinks about things over time, to map out a vision for 5 or 10 years from now, while an intuitive thinker generally thinks about now. Vision is an aspirational stretch goal for the future, linked to a well-defined end result or purpose. The first element is to have a vision of what you hope to achieve in the future. Every brand needs to have an overall vision that steers everyone Beloved Brands 3 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. 7 elements of smart strategic thinking Break through point where you see a SHIFT IN MOMENTUM towards your vision. Proof to everyone this strategy will work and you need to maintain your focus. Aspirational STRETCH GOAL for future, linked to a well-defined goal purpose. It should scare you a little, but excite you a lot.   Turn the early win into TIPPING POINT where you achieve more in return than you put in. Shift in POSITIONAL POWER that allows you to achieve your vision. Seize opportunity quickly BEFORE OTHERS REACT or it is closes. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed An OPENING IN THE MARKET, based on a potential change in the market (consumer needs, technology change, new channels) Leverage Gateway ALIGN YOUR LIMITED RESOURCES to a distinct point you can break through getting you on a path to your vision. Opportunity We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Why every brand needs a vision statement If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there. Yogi Berra
  • 4. working on the brand. But in the same notion, every project should also have a project vision that is closely linked to the overall brand vision, helping to determine what success looks like on that project. To really push people on their vision, I always say that a good vision should scare you a little, but excite you a lot. Focus The second element of strategic thinking is focus. In today's marketing world, brand leaders are losing their focus. There seems to be a fear, that if we focus too much, we will miss out on something or someone. The idea of focus is that it allocates your brands limited resources to a distinct point that you can breakthrough and move forward towards your vision. Marketers always face limited resources. They never have enough money, enough time or enough people. Yet the creative brain part of the marketer can see an unlimited list of choices, they fear picking a narrow target market, they fear picking only one brand positioning and they fear picking too few strategies for tactics. They would rather target everyone, list out every possible feature that they do and try to execute a little of each activity. But ladies and gentlemen, this isn't strategic marketing. This is just doing stuff randomly in the hope that it works. The best Marketers never divide and conquer out of fear. They force themselves to focus and conquer with the confidence of having done the strategic thinking. If you come to a decision point, and you try to rationalize in your own brain that it's okay to do a little of both, then you are not strategic. In fact, you are not even a decision-maker at all. If we have limited resources, for the equation to work, we must limit the possible solutions to those that will deliver the greatest return. When you focus, 5 amazing things happen to your brand: 1. Better return on investment (ROI): By focusing your dollars on the distinct breakthrough point that you know will work, you will see the most efficient and effective response in the market. Beloved Brands 4 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Marketers always face limited resources… Target Market Brand Positioning Strategic Options New Product Ideas Execution Activities Financial Time People Partnerships …as they deploy against an unlimited list of choices We need to make decisions to limit the choices to match the limited resources we can deploy against those choices.
  • 5. 2. Better return on effort (ROE): You also want to make effective use of your people resource. We suggest that you look at the ideas that have the greatest impact and are the easiest to execute. I have always suggested that strategic thinkers are lazy, because they are always trying to think about how to get away with doing less and getting more. 3. Stronger reputation: By limiting your audience and limiting your brand message, your brand will start to get a focused reputation among a very motivated audience. 4. More competitive: when you focus your message to a focused audience, you will start to own that message and own that audience. 5. More investment behind brand: Believe it or not, when you focus and deliver the return, your management team will likely ask you to do that again. They will give you more money and people. And when your resources go up I want you to take the same focused approach that you just took. Just because someone gave you money, doesn't mean you can now spend wildly. Opportunity and Speed The third and fourth elements of good strategic thinking go hand in hand. Brands must see an opportunity, which is some opening in the marketplace that you can see based on some change in the consumer needs, technology change or new channels. Once you see that opportunity, you must use speed to seize the opportunity before others can react or else it will be closed to your brand. The Early Win He fifth element of good strategic thinking is gaining that early win, which is the breakthrough point where you start to see some chef in momentum towards your vision. Even if this early when is small, it can provide proof to everyone that the strategy will work and that it is important to stay focused on this breakthrough point. In the Starbucks turnaround, they were able to turn the morning coffee routine into a breakfast and lunch routine, expanding the consumers use of Starbucks as a life ritual, Beloved Brands 5 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. When Marketers come to a decision point that requires focus, they try to justify a way to do both. Strategic thinkers never DIVIDE and conquer out of fear. They force themselves to make choices to FOCUS and conquer. Don’t tell yourself that you are good at making decisions if you come to a decision point and you always choose BOTH. The best brand leaders force themselves to focus by using the word “or” more than they use the word “and”
  • 6. so that it’s now a broad-based meeting place. With Special K, once they focused on the idea of helping women maintain their healthy weight, they have now been able to go beyond the cereal aisle and built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes. Leverage The sixth element of good strategic thinking leverage, where you were able to turn the early win and do a tipping point where you achieve more in return than you put in. The final element of strategic thinking is the gateway, where you start to see a shift in the positional power of the brand, allowing you to achieve your vision. Gateway The final element of good strategic thinking is the gateway, which closely resembles the brand vision and opens up whole new opportunities for the brand to capitalize on. Case Studies to demonstrate smart strategic thinking D-Day focuses the entire war effort on capturing a beach. There’s a lot of evidence that business strategy has borrowed many of the concepts from military strategy. Read up on Napoleon and you will easily see how his words can translate over to business. He talks about pin-pointed attacks at the opponent’s weakness and the efficient use of resources. One of the most famous military strategies was that of D-Day, June the 6th, 1944. At a crucial point of World War 2, while Germany was fighting a war on two fronts (Russia and Britain), the Allied Forces planned D-Day for 2 years and joined in full force (Great Britain, US, Canada, Australia) to focus all their attention on one beach, on one day. Prior to the attack, there was debate, do we attack in one place that could be penetrated or in multiple spots where the Germans would have to fight many battles? The smart decision started with focus. If we look at D- Day using the seven elements of good strategy, we can see how they won: 1. Vision: Win World War II, with a goal to re-claim Europe and stop Germany. 2. Focus: High risk focus, putting half of all the Allied forces of 156,000 soldiers, synchronized landing on the beaches of Normandy on one morning of June 6th,1944. 3. Opportunity: They planned excessively, debated options, looked for unguarded beaches. Also, they had Russia attacking from east, helping to weaken Germany. Beloved Brands 6 We make brand leaders smarter Case Study #1
  • 7. 4. Speed: Navy Seals quickly went in before the ships arrived, with the detonation of underwater bombs, that enabled warships to get up on the beaches. 5. Early Win: Despite heavy casualties, the Allies captured the beaches and within 5 days of D-Day they put 325,000 soldiers on mainland Europe. 6. Leverage: Re-claimed Paris, pushing back the German Army, turning the momentum to the Allied Forces. They gained positional power, shifting Germany to defending their soil. 7. Gateway: A year later, the allies defeat Germany in Berlin. The US was now able to focus on the Pacific war to defeat Japan. If we were to write a Strategic Plan for D-Day, here’s what it would start to look like:   • Vision: Win World War II, spread ideals of democracy. • Goals: Re-claim Europe, maintain troops, return the borders in Europe. • Key Issues: How do we turn the tide in the war effort in Europe? Where would the best attack point be to get on continental Europe? What are the defense technology investments needed? • Strategy: Pin-pointed attack to gain a positional power on continental Europe. • Tactics: D-Day, taking all our troops and attack the Beaches of Normandy to get back on mainland Europe so they could battle Germany on an equal footing.  Beloved Brands 7 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Despite heavy casualties, the Allies captured the beaches and within 5 days of D-Day they put 325,000 soldiers on mainland Europe Win World War II, with a goal to re- claim Europe and stop Germany. Re-claimed Paris, pushing back the German Army, turning the momentum to the Allied Forces. They gained positional power, shifting Germany to defending their soil. A year later, the allies defeat Germany in Berlin. The US was now able to focus and fight the Pacific war and defeat Japan. Navy Seals quickly went in before the ships arrived, with the detonation of underwater bombs, that enabled warships to get up on the beaches. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed They planned excessively, debated options, looked for unguarded beaches. Also, they had Russia attacking from east, helping to weaken Germany. Leverage Gateway High risk focus, putting half of all the Allied forces of 156,000 soldiers, synchronized landing on the beaches of Normandy on one morning of June 6th, 1944. Opportunity Strategic thinking behind D-Day
  • 8. Apple brand turnaround based on the Big Idea of simplicity In 1996, the Apple brand was bordering on bankruptcy. They were basically just another computer company, without any real point of difference. Years of overlooked opportunities, flip-flop strategies, and a mind-boggling disregard for market realities caught up with Apple, Windows 95 has seriously eroded the Mac's technology edge. Apple was rapidly becoming a minor player in the computer business with shrinking market shares, price cuts and declining profits. This was the year before even contemplating the return of Steve Jobs, really showcasing how badly Apple was run through the 1990s. There were lots of bad decisions, inconsistent strategies and most importantly and no big idea. Everything Jobs did was built around the big idea of "making technology so simple that everyone can be part of the future." He took a consumer first approach in a market that was all about the gadgets, bits and bytes. 1. Vision: Apple wants everyone to be part of technology in the future.   2. Focus: They focused on building everything around simplicity and design. Took a consumer first mentality to technology, transforming leading technology advancements into “consumer accessible” technology, fueling the perception that Apple is an innovative leader. 3. Opportunity: Capitalize on the consumer frustration with technology, that was preventing the mass consumers from experiencing everything technology can offer. 4. Speed: Fast follower on technology, easy to use, with consumer-friendly laptops, phones, tablets. 5. Early Win: With each new product, they used,high profile launch hype to generate excitement, transforming early adopters into vocal Apple activists to spread the word. 6. Leverage: Apple created a consumer bond around the Big Idea of “making technology simple” leveraging tight connection with their brand fans to enter new categories.  7. Gateway: Apple is now the most beloved consumer-driven brand, with premium prices, stronger market share, sales and profits. If we were to write a Brand Plan for Apple, here’s what it would start to look like:   • Vision: Apple wants everyone to be part of technology in the future. • Goals: Continue 10% sales growth, Double market share in Asia, Launch 5 new technology enhancements per year • Key Issue: How do we battle Samsung/Google in smart phones? How do expand beyond our saturated North American market? What technology platform will the next round of surprising innovation come from? How do we leverage our bond with our most loyal Apple users? • Strategy: Regain leadership in smart phone technology. Geographic focus into China. Build community around cloud technology. Higher service to tighten Apple community Beloved Brands 8 We make brand leaders smarter Case Study #2
  • 9. • Tactics: Continue to improve technologies on current products. Launch into the wearables. New retail space. Integrate retail purchasing. Increase courses for Apple U.   Starbucks refocuses by building around the Coffee routine. In 2003, Starbucks created their own recording company, winning 8 Grammy’s, then launched their own movie and started partnership with William Morris to scout for music, books, films. Opens “entertainment” office in LA. By 2008, Starbucks had lost all focus and the core coffee brand was suffering. They cut 18k jobs, closed 977 stores, sales were down 7% and the stock price falls to $7.83, down from $39.63 in 2008. The brand was in a complete free fall. People wondered “Is it the next Benetton?” Starbucks desperately needed to refocus. They rebuilt everything back around the coffee routine. They closed their stores for an entire day to re-train every barista, a symbol of what’s most important to the brand. They created sandwiches, snacks and pastries around coffee to gain more share of requirements and stretch the coffee routine to lunch.  1. Vision: Become a cherished quick service food brand that is a favorite moment of the day. Be the dominant coffee brand.   Beloved Brands 9 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Apple’s strategic thinking With each new product, they used,high profile launch hype to generate excitement, transforming early adopters into vocal Apple activists to spread the word. Apple wants everyone to be part of technology in the future. Apple created a consumer bond around the Big Idea of “making technology simple” leveraging tight connection with their brand fans to enter new categories.  Apple is now the most beloved consumer driven brand, with premium prices, stronger market share, sales and profits. Fast follower on technology, making easy to use, with consumer-friendly laptops, phones, tablets. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed Capitalize on the consumer frustration with technology, that was preventing the mass consumers from experiencing everything technology can offer. Leverage Gateway Focused on building everything around simplicity and design. Took a consumer first mentality to technology, transforming leading technology into “consumer accessible” technology, fueling perception that Apple is an innovative leader. Opportunity Case Study #3
  • 10. 2. Focus: Focused everything around the coffee ritual, look to shift coffee routine to lunch. Broaden portfolio around coffee–deserts, snacks, sandwiches. 3. Opportunity: With under-utilized retail locations, relatively unused past 11am, the broader portfolio helps gain lunch/dinner sales giving them a higher share of requirements. 4. Speed: Starbucks closed every store for a day to re-focus on coffee, then built out broader portfolio around coffee. 5. Early Win: New products improved perception that they were innovative, successfully connecting with most loyal Starbucks fans, giving them higher same store sales 6. Leverage: Able to turn the morning coffee routine into a breakfast/lunch routine, allowing Starbucks to focus on becoming a broad-based meeting place.  7. Gateway: No longer seen as just for morning coffee, but rather an escape at any point in the day, experiencing double-digit growth for 5 straight years following the turn around.   If you were to write the Starbucks Brand Plan, here’s how it might look: • Vision: Cherished meeting place for all your quick service food needs • Goals: Increase same store sales, greater share of requirements from Starbucks loyalists Beloved Brands 10 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. New products improved perception that they were innovative, successfully connecting with most loyal Starbucks fans, giving them higher same store sales Become a cherished quick service food brand that is a favorite moment of the day. Be the dominant coffee brand Able to turn the morning coffee routine into a breakfast/lunch routine, allowing Starbucks to focus on becoming a broad- based meeting place.  No longer seen as just for morning coffee, but rather an escape at any point in the day. Double-digit growth for 5 straight years following the turn around. Starbucks closed every store for a day to re- focus on coffee, then built out broader portfolio around coffee. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed With under-utilized retail locations, relatively unused past 11am, the broader portfolio helps gain lunch/ dinner sales giving them a higher share of requirements. Leverage Gateway Focus everything around the coffee ritual, look to shift coffee routine to lunch. Broaden portfolio around coffee– deserts, snacks, sandwiches. Opportunity Starbuck’s strategic thinking
  • 11. • Key Issue: How do we reconnect with our loyal brand fans to get back on track? How do we drive significant growth of same store sales? How do we build smartly around the coffee routine? • Strategy: Build everything around the coffee routine and move Starbucks loyalists to lunch with an expanded lunch/snacks menu. • Tactics: Re-train all baristas. Focus staff on creating experiences. Launch exotic refreshing coffee choices, light lunch menu, increase desert offerings. Special K moves from Indifferent to Beloved In the 1990s Special K just sat there with a very small and dying cereal share. Basically, it was just the one flavor of cereal. Zero innovation. It was just Rice Krispies crushed differently. Special K was clearly an Indifferent Brand, with very little consumer opinion, and for those who did buy Special K, they weren’t exactly the most ardent fans of the brand. Not only was the original flavor fairly bland, but everything about the brand was bland. Special K needed to stand for something. It needed an idea. Special K built everything around the Big Idea of “Empowering Women to take control of their weight”. To separate themselves in the mind of consumers, they launched the special K challenge with a very simple message: “With Special K, just twice a day for 2 weeks, you can lose 6 pounds or better yet, drop a jean size.” Special K then built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes—each bulldog around the big idea.They have gained share in the cereal category and taken the loyal consumers into all the new categories, and they are now 5x the sales and a beloved brand. 1. Vision: Empower women to take control of their weight and live healthier happy lives. Own the healthy food segments in the grocery store. 2. Focus: Shift from a product driven strategy to idea-led helping women maintain their weight, providing low-calorie alternatives across the toughest food moments of the day. 3. Opportunity: Women were frustrated by “lose and gain” diet fads. Tired of failing, they wanted easy alternatives they could execute within their normal lives. 4. Speed: Shifted brand story to “lose a jean size in two weeks” and built the Special K challenge to help women “take control of their weight”. 5. Early Win: Launch of amazing taking Special K Red Berries transformed the brand helped gained permission to enter new food categories. 6. Leverage: Rather than being stuck in the cereal aisle, Special K built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes.  7. Gateway: Gained market share of the cereal category. Took loyal consumers into all the new categories, and they are now 5x the sales and a beloved brand.   Beloved Brands 11 We make brand leaders smarter Case Study #4
  • 12. If you were to write the Special K Brand Plan, here’s how it might look: • Vision: Become a beloved brand in every grocery aisle, that can help women take control and maintain their healthy body. • Goals: Become a top 3 cereal brand. Expand into new adjacent categories in the grocery store. Launch 5 new innovations per year. • Key Issue: How do we build a big idea that is own-able and motivating to our consumer base? How do we build an innovation pipeline that can stretch beyond cereal? How do we build consumer insights we can use in every part of the brand? • Strategy: Build everything—innovation, advertising and consumer experience—around the brand’s big idea to help create a bond with our consumers. • Tactics: Gain share through new cereal innovations. Master brand advertising that motivates consumers. Special K weight loss challenge. Enter new categories. Beloved Brands 12 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Launch of amazing taking Special K Red Berries transformed the brand helped gained permission to enter new food categories. The healthy food brand that empowers women to take control of their weight and live healthier happy lives. Rather than being stuck in the cereal aisle, Special K built a series of tasty new products across categories of cereal, snacks, water and shakes Gained market share of the cereal category. Took loyal consumers into all the new categories, and they are now 5x the sales and a beloved brand. Shifted brand story to “lose a jean size in two weeks” and built the Special K challenge to help women “take control of their weight” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed Women were frustrated by “lose and gain” diet fads. Tired of failing, they wanted easy alternatives they could execute within their normal lives. LeverageGateway Shift from a product driven strategy to idea-led helping women maintain their weight, providing low-calorie alternatives across the toughest food moments of the day. Opportunity Special K’s strategic thinking
  • 13. Avril connects with her core audience through free mall concerts. You can even use the tool to evaluate specific exception to ensure it stays on strategy. One program that we use is pop singer Avril Lavigne’s free mall concerts from back in 2005. At that point, Avril’s career had flattened out after some early success, which is a fairly normal path for young musicians. To kick off her album, her Marketing team launched a series of free mall concerts. She was initially criticized as desperate, but not everyone understood the logic. Let’s use the seven elements of smart strategic thinking to assess the Avril re-launch: 1. Vision: Make Avril a pop superstar,with a #1 album and sold out concerts. 2. Focus: Focus everything on 11-17 year old female target, focused on shopping malls where they hang out. Position free concerts as good will gesture to her most passionate fans.  3. Opportunity: Avril was the first credible music star ever to give free concerts. She had a new album coming out. There were still record stores in malls—an opening for the fans to go buy her new CD. 4. Speed: Execution timing lined up to album release. Gained PR and early album sales. 5. Early Win: Concerts attracted 5k screaming 13-year-olds per mall, creating a new momentum and perceived success. Local news gave added exposure. Everyone (mom/kids) happy with “free” gesture. 6. Leverage: Leveraged goodwill and energy to get loyal fans to go buy her album in the mall record stores which helped her album debut at #1 on the charts. 7. Gateway: Getting to #1 on the charts led to bigger mass audiences–more radio play, iTunes downloads and more talk value, playing to sold-out concert series charging $150 per ticket. Avril’s strategy holds up very well. What looks like a promotion is highly strategic. Madonna used this same strategy for years, except with London night clubs for 20-somethings where she would drop her songs, with random appearances. And now, Taylor Swift uses her 80 million Twitter followers. If you were to write the Avril Brand Plan, here’s what it might look like: • Vision: Recording Super Star • Goals: New Album Sales, increase popularity, new recording contract • Key Issue: How do we drive album sales for a slumping Avril?  • Strategy: Reconnect with core teen fans to create momentum to trigger album sales • Tactics: Free Mall tour to get most loyal fans to reconnect and buy the new album. Beloved Brands 13 We make brand leaders smarter Case Study #5
  • 14. Checklist to ensure smart strategy For any type of strategy, whether it is your overall brand, an execution strategy around advertising, innovation, experience or purchase moment, here’s a checklist to see if your strategy is fully mapped out and you have not left the success to some vague chance. • Do you have an end-in-mind vision, with big goals for the brand or even the specific project you are working on? • How focused is your plan to allocate your limited resources of money, time, people and partnerships? • Have you limited the target audience, the brand message, the potential strategy and related executional activities on those that will pay back faster? • Is there an opportunity that you see in the marketplace, that creates an opening for your brand to quickly take advantage of? • How fast are you able to move before others see the same opportunity? Beloved Brands 14 We make brand leaders smarter We make brands stronger. We make brand leaders smarter. Concerts attracted 5k screaming 13-year- olds per mall, creating a new momentum and perceived success. Local news gave added exposure. Everyone (mom/kids) happy with “free” gesture. Make Avril a pop superstar,with a #1 album and sold out concerts. Leveraged goodwill and energy to get loyal fans to go buy her album in the mall record stores which helped her album debut at #1 on the charts. Getting to #1 on the charts led to bigger mass audiences–more radio play, iTunes downloads and more talk value, playing to sold-out concert series charging $150 per ticket. The comeback complete. Execution timing lined up to album release. Good PR, early album sales. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vision Early Win Speed Avril was the first credible music star ever to give free concerts. She had a new album coming out. There were still record stores in malls. —an opening for the fans to go buy her new CD. Leverage Gateway Focus everything on 11-17 year old female target, focused on shopping malls where they hang out. Position free concerts as good will gesture to her most passionate fans.  Opportunity Avril Lavigne’s strategic thinking
  • 15. • Is there a leverage point, where you can achieve a change in positional power that you will be able to turn a small win into something bigger than the finances or the effort that you put in? • Do you see a gateway or end result that you can build on, whether it makes your brand healthier, wealthier or drives more power for the brand in the future? Beloved Brands 15 We make brand leaders smarter
  • 16. Beloved Brands: Who are we? At Beloved Brands, we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We lead workshops to define your brand, helping you uncover a unique, own-able Brand Positioning Statement and an organizing Big Idea that transforms your brand’s DNA into a consumer-centric and winning brand reputation. We lead workshops to build a strategic Brand Plan that will optimize your resources and motivates everyone that touches the brand to follow the plan. We coach on Marketing execution, helping build programs that create a bond with your consumers, to ensure your investment drives growth on your brand. We will build a Brand Management Training Program, so you can unleash the full potential of your Marketing team, enabling them to contribute smart and exceptional Marketing work that drives brand growth. We cover strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, brand positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution.  Beloved Brands Training program At Beloved Brands, we can build a Brand Management Training Program, to unleash the full potential of your Marketing team 1. How to think strategically: We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. We teach brand leaders to think strategically. We show them how to ask the right questions before seeing solutions, how to map out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out. We take them through the 7 elements of good strategy: vision, opportunity, focus, speed, early win, leverage and gateway. We use forced choice in each model to help the Marketers make focused decisions. We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces. 2. Write smarter Brand Plans: A good Brand Plan provides a road map for everyone in the organization to follow: Sales, R&D, Agencies and future Marketers on the brand. We demonstrate how to write each component of the Brand Plan, looking at brand vision, purpose, values, goals, key Issues, strategies and tactics. We provide definitions and examples to inspire Marketers on how to write each component. We provide a full mock brand plan, with a framework for you to use on your own brand. We offer a workshop that allows Marketers to try out the concept on their own brand with hands on coaching with feedback to challenge them. At each step, we provide the ideal format presentation to management. We offer unique formats for a Plan on a Page and long-range Strategic Road Maps. We show how to build Marketing Execution plans as part of the overall brand plan, looking at a Brand Communications Plan, Innovation Plan, In-store plan and Experiential plan. This gives the strategic direction to everyone in the organization. 3. Create winning Brand Positioning Statements: A winning brand positioning statement sets up the brand’s external communication and internally with employees who deliver that promise. We show how to write a classic Brand Positioning statement with four key elements: target market, competitive set, main benefit and reason to believe (RTBs). We introduce the Consumer Benefit ladder, that starts with the consumer target, with insights and enemies. We layer in the brand features. Then get in the consumers shoes and ask “what do I get” to find the functional benefits Beloved Brands 16 We make brand leaders smarter
  • 17. and ask “how does this make me feel” to find the emotional benefits. We introduce a unique tool that provide the top 50 potential functional and top 40 emotional benefits to help Marketers stretch their minds yet narrow in on those that are most motivating and own-able for the brand. We then show how to build an Organizing Big Idea that leads every aspect of your brand, including promise, story, innovation, purchase moment and experience. 4. Write smarter Creative Briefs: The Creative Brief frames the strategy and positioning so your Agency can creatively express the brand promise through communication. Marketing Execution must impact the brand’s consumers in a way that puts your brand in a stronger business position. The Creative Brief is the bridge between the brand strategy and the execution. Through our Brand Positioning workshop, you will have all the homework on the brand needed to set up the transformation into a succinct 1-page Creative Brief that will focus, inspire and challenge a creative team to make great work. The hands-on Creative Brief workshop explores best in class methods for writing the brief’s objective, target market, consumer insights, main message stimulus and the desired consumer response. Brand Leaders walk away from the session with a ready-to-execute Creative Brief. 5. Be smarter at Brand Analytics: We show how to build a deep-dive business review on the brand, looking at the category, consumers, competitors, channels and brand. We start with the smart analytical principles that will challenge your thinking and help you gain more support by telling analytical stories through data. We teach you the steps to complete a deep-dive Business Review that will help assess the health and wealth of the brand, looking at the category, consumer, competitors, channels and brand. We show key formulas you need to know for financial analysis. We teach how to turn your analysis into a presentation for management, showing the ideal presentation slide format. We provide a full mock business review, with a framework and examples of every type of analysis, for you to use on your own brand. We show you how to turn your analytical thinking into making projections by extrapolating data into the future. 6. Get better Marketing Execution: Brand Leaders to judge and decide on execution options that break through to consumers and motivates them to take action. We provide Brand Leaders with tools and techniques for judging communication concepts from your agencies, as well as processes for making decisions and providing effective feedback. We talk about the crucial role of the brand leader in getting amazing marketing execution for your brand. We teach how to make marketing decisions with the ABC’S, so you can choose great ads and reject bad ads looking at tools such as Attention (A), Branding (B), Communication (C) and Stickiness (S). We teach how to provide copy direction that inspires and challenges the agency to deliver great execution. We also talk about how to be a better client to motivate and inspire your agency. 7. How to build Media Plans: We look at media as an investment and as a brand growth strategy, exploring various media options—both traditional and on-line. We provide Brand Leaders with new ways to think about media to be able to drive long term growth and profits for your brand. We bring a more consumer centric approach to media, aligning the media choices to where your consumer will be most likely to engage with your brand message. Media must change the consumer’s behavior so they think, feel or act in a way that tightens the brand’s bond with consumers and gives the brand to have more power and profit. We show where media fits into creative process. We look at all the types of Media through the lens of the Brand Leader, with Beloved Brands 17 We make brand leaders smarter
  • 18. advice on how to use traditional media options, such as TV, radio, newspaper, out-of-home and Modern media options such as digital, social and search. 8. Winning the Purchase Moment: Brand Leaders need to know how to move consumers on the path to purchase, helping consumers to test, decide and then experience the brand so that they try, repeat and become loyal brand fans. We provide brand leaders with analytics, planning and decision making tools to help their instincts and judgement for moving consumers to purchase. Complete in-store business review, looking at categories, consumer shopping behavior, competitors, customers and the overall brand performance. We teach the basics of customer marketing planning, identifying the target consumer, in-store messages, strategies, tactics and project management. We look at the available tools for customer marketing including pricing, promotions, retail shelf management, merchandising and operational execution. Beloved Brands 18 We make brand leaders smarter We believe that Strategic Thinking is an essential foundation, to help Marketers ask big questions that challenge and focus brand decisions. • We teach brand leaders to think strategically. We show them how to ask the right questions before seeing solutions, how to map out a range of decision trees that intersect and connect by imagining how events will play out. We take them through the 7 elements of good strategy: vision, opportunity, focus, speed, early win, leverage and gateway. We use forced choice in each model to help the Marketers make focused decisions. • We teach the value of asking good questions, using four interruptive questions to help frame your brand’s strategy, looking at your competitive position, your brand’s core strength, the connectivity with your consumer and the internal situation your brand faces. • We show how to build strategic statements that set up a smart strategic brand plan. How to turn strategic focus into bigger gains for your business Training Workshop Strategic Thinking