Know thy brand enemy

Reading Time: 7 minutes It’s healthy to adopt a brand enemy. Handled well, having such an adversary works for your customers and your culture. Brand enemies are a powerful source of motivation and focus. It’s human nature to be united by the things we have in common and those we want to see change. But choose your enemy carefully […]

Challenging a brand category

Reading Time: 5 minutes Sectors have conventions. In fact, a brand category is really a set of vertically-held behaviours and attitudes. That’s what you’re really confronting when you set about challenging a brand category. As Paige Lansing Valle of Emotive Brand identifies in a white paper on brand category creation, “People hold on tightly to their established understandings of […]

Turning your brand into the authority

Reading Time: 2 minutes In this article in Business Week, Howard Schultz talks about how the mighty Starbucks brand lost its way – mistaking aroma rather than coffee for the core of its business and embraking on a strategy that saw it shift seriously off-course. The problem, as Schultz explains, is that by the time the company realised that […]

Does efficiency jeopardise brand?

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the hunt for more streamlined businesses that are less resource intensive, how real is the risk that brands are actually putting people off dealing with them? When does an efficient process become so rationalised that it loses its humanity and therefore its appeal? On the face of it, brand and efficiency have similar objectives. […]

Will they or won’t they?

Reading Time: 2 minutes So often it seems to me brand owners hope to bring about change rather than planning to bring about change. They see persuasion as an awareness issue rather than as a behavioural issue – often because they regard their product as the obvious choice that somehow, miraculously will spark a “road to Damascus” moment as […]

Getting real value from your CSR

Reading Time: 3 minutes This thought-provoking article from McKinsey looks at what really drives value in corporate responsibility. As the authors point out, CSR continues to influence how companies and brands go about their business: carbon footprint, ethical and greener supply chains, volunteer programmes and philanthropy are now all par for the course. We all know that not being […]

Seen and not herd

Reading Time: 3 minutes What’s the real cost of the sales seasons on the high street?  That’s the question posed and answered by Laurence Green in this well-considered article in The Telegraph. Green quickly hones in on what he sees as two of the biggest enemies of effective branding today: the impulse to discount; and the compulsion to appeal […]

Transformation secrets: Please don’t try to change your brand

Reading Time: 3 minutes Change is on everyone’s mind at this time of year – or more particularly people are preoccupied with resolutions of change. Hopes of transformation fly high. But most of us will lapse from whatever pledges we make, not because we don’t really want to change necessarily but because the habit of what we have done […]

Participation versus differentiation

Reading Time: 2 minutes Right now, across the world, hundreds of different people are opening an office, a restaurant, a social media company … They’ve sunk everything they have into it. They’ve thrown their life at it. It’s what they’ve always wanted to do, and every one of them and the people who has supported them hopes and believes […]

Sense and Serotonin

Reading Time: 2 minutes Recently in response to a post by David Meerman Scott about the need to apply left and right brain thinking to content creation, I suggested in the comments that brands should apply that same approach to most aspects of marketing. As I pointed out at the time, blending right and left brain signals is critical […]

Great brands unearth

Reading Time: 3 minutes In his recent post on imputing, Tom Asacker used a single word that for me clinched the mystery and the power of great marketing, and explained why so much money is spent on communication that just inspires a change of channel. That word: unearth. Unearthing is about discovering. It’s about seeing for the first time […]