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Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Buying Personas Target Customer Target Market

Your Brand – what is it? Fluffy nonsense or something fundamental to your business?

Your Brand – what is it?  Fluffy nonsense or something fundamental to your business?

There are so many articles and papers written on what a brand is or should be.   I’ll add my thoughts to these and touch on a recent example where getting your branding wrong can make a huge difference to your share price!

So then, what is branding?

Firstly, what it isn’t:   It’s not just about your logo!
It’s about meaning. It’s about what you and your business actually mean in people’s heads and hearts.” (Simon Middleton).  You must connect with customers and audiences emotionally, authentically and inspiringly, making sure what you say and believe you are, really is how you are perceived.  And it’s really important to understand this;  if not you may be portraying a brand image to your prospects and customers that is not necessarily the key value that is associated with you by your customers.   It could be something quite different…..   So you need a survey, a questionnaire to your users to ask them, and then a process to consider the results, educating your team about the findings to develop a clear positioning statement, a list of brand values/traits, the brand promise and the brand story

Your brand personality can help your brand by

  • helping to suggest the kind of relationship that a customer has with your brand
    Brand Loyalty
    Brand Loyalty
  • brand loyalty – think John Lewis
  • giving a vehicle for differentiation which is difficult to copy

Successful Branding: Five key elements

Think of it as a set of human characteristics associated with your business.
Brand Position: this describes what you do and for whom; what makes you unique, special and different from your competition and why should your customers buy from you.   Back to target customer, of course, thinking also about gender, age, socioeconomic position and also emotional characteristics.  Once you’ve defined this, make it available in 25/50/100 words – which can then be developed into your Elevator Pitch.
Brand Promise: this is what you promise to deliver to your customers EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU CONNECT WITH THEM.  To come up with your promise, consider what customers, employees and partners should expect from every interaction with you and ensure your brand promise reflects this.
Brand Personality: How does your brand ‘behave’?   Brand Traits illustrate what you want to be known for – think about specific personality traits you want prospects, clients, employees and partners to use to describe your organization.   Work towards 4-6 traits – single adjectives.  For example, this could include sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and strength
Brand Story:  Your brand story illustrates your history showing how your history has added value and credibility to your brand.  It also usually includes a summary of your products or services.
Brand Associations:  This is the bit people often mistake for being ‘brand’ in itself.  So the specific physical ‘stuff’ that make up your brand – name, logo, colours, taglines, fonts, imagery.  All of this must reflect your brand promise, your brand traits and support your brand positioning statement.
One Vital Mantra from this:  Consistency.    It’s no good spending time and energy in creating all the above if you then don’t ensure its CONSISTENT execution.  There’s no excuse to falter ‘ even once’.  Without consistency, brand awareness becomes impossible to achieve, no matter how much money you spend on marketing.
So you’d think in a large company all of this would be understood and these basic steps followed.  How then can it all go so wrong?

“Fashion retailers, Mulberry, based not a million miles from here, faces a painful fight to recover past glory as profits dive”

(Times June 13th 2014)

What did they do wrong?

They tried to get into the ultra-expensive bags for millionaires at £15,000 a pop (how much?) instead of their more modest selling price of between £500 and £800 a bag. A completely different target market which clearly wasn’t ready to embrace Mulberry.   Their pre-tax profits dived from £26M to £14M.  They had appointed a new Chief Exec,(now no longer) –  a former Hermes Executive who wanted to take Mulberry into the top echelon of European designer labels as he had been used to with Hermes….   Mulberry accepted that their CE’s approach had been fundamentally “flawed”.  “You need to build up a reputation over decades in leather goods to charge those prices”.  I imagine they didn’t do their basic Brand Positioning exercise, customer research, target customers etc.  What a fiasco…
So even if Fearne Cotton and Katherine Jenkins choose to spend £15K on a handbag (or maybe they were freebies to promote them??) suddenly changing your Brand Position without doing your homework first may not be the right way to go.
Update November 2014:
I’ve just spotted in the local Bath Business News that they have slumped into the red with a half-year loss of £1.1m after the disastrous attempt to go upmarket backfired. It has suffered a 9% fall in sales while wholesale revenues tumbled 31%.
Update Summer 2015
And another update reports that profits have plunged again – a mere 86% drop in profits from £14M to £1.9M in the year to March – a legacy of the group’s disastrous attempt to move into the ultra-luxury end of the market.   But they are confident that their ‘turnaround strategy is well on track after ‘upping the creativity button’ and designing more ‘desirable’ handbags.  And they have appointed Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s former girlfriend, as its ambassador.
Hmmm… watch this space!
Update June 2017
“Luxury brand Mulberry has fashioned a jump in sales and profits for the last year as shoppers were won over by new creative designer Johnny Coca’s handbags.  Pre-tax profits have increased 21 percent to £75 million which is good news.  A new range of more affordable bags, designed by Johnny Coca, has hit the right note with shoppers.  One of the best sellers is the revamped lighter-weight zipped Bayswater, which is his take on Mulberry’s best-known product, with its signature postman’s lock”.
So the moral of the Mulberry story is?  If you need help in creating a buying persona for your target market, please call on 07789 778 335.  A really important exercise.

Categories
Brand Lead generation LinkedIn

LinkedIn Recent Activity & LinkedIn Top Updates

LinkedIn Recent Activity & LinkedIn Top Updates

It is hard to keep up to date with all the changes going on at LinkedIn…… Here’s a useful article by Mark Stonham.   “””Two changes made by LinkedIn Recent Activity and Top Updates deserve clarification because they have not been clearly explained by LinkedIn.

In a way, from a user perspective, these are inter-related.

  • For those of us who want to keep our contact network informed and develop our personal brand (content publishers) we gain from the introduction of “Recent Activity”, as we now have a bigger digital footprint and can use LinkedIn more like a personal website and blog.
  • For those of us who want to gain insight (content consumers) we can see a bigger picture by choosing to see recent updates made by people when we visit their profile and click on the ‘Recent Updates’ option.
  • However people have noticed that fewer people are seeing their status updates.

Outlined below are the two changes, with more explanation and insight into the implications.

Check out the article here

Categories
Brand Customer Engagement Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty – What A Goldfish Can Teach You

Customer Loyalty – What A Goldfish Can Teach You

I loved this article about customer loyalty written by David Edelman, McKinsey partner leading Digital Marketing Strategy Practice.

Not only is it great for customer loyalty,  but it’s also a great example of customer engagement.  The whole sales process has turned on its head and once you have that contract signed and delivered the goods or service, then it’s really only the start of your customer engagement journey.
You then want to have given your client/customer such an amazing customer journey and experience that he/she tells all his/her friends about it.  This idea of a goldfish, if wanted, in your hotel bedroom, is neat on many counts – original,  simple and authentic.  It’s unexpected and will naturally encourage people to write about in on their various social media blogs/posts. It won’t break the bank.  Great ROI I imagine too.
So what does it take to get to this?  A great team, brainstorming, lateral thinking, perhaps an outside influence and sounding board?  What do you think?

Customer Loyalty
Customer Loyalty
Categories
Brand

Brand Happiness

Brand Happiness

A great article in Marketing Week of 5th March from Maeve Hosea discussing brand happiness.  
Cadbury is regarded as the  leader in brand happiness in the UK followed by Andrex , Google, Fairy and Nivea.
The brands were measured  using five characteristics: 
  • playful
  • happy
  • trustworthy
  • generous
  • optimistic
The study suggests that brands with both emotional and rational attributes  are most popular with consumers.
According to the research, the way to jump up the happy rankings is through employing good old-fashioned charm: using a carefully tailored tone of voice and showing that the brand owner is ‘human’.

Andrex, which ranks second happiest, has been using the happiness-evoking puppy icon for 40 years

How happy is your brand?  Check out this excellent article here.

andrex-birthday-puppy-2014-460
 

 
 

Categories
Advertising Brand Copywriting Marketing

Psychology of colour – why marketers choose certain colours

Psychology of colour – why marketers choose certain colours

An interesting article by Kevin Allen on The Psychology of Colour:
“It’s no secret that different colours evoke different emotions in us, and that marketers have been taking advantage of this for years.
But which colours spur which emotions?
Perhaps most notably, it is said that red stimulates the appetite. That’s why the colour is so prevalent with national food chains like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, Popeye’s and Chipotle.
Blue, meanwhile, is the colour most preferred by men, and corporations often use it because it is thought to be productive and not invasive.
These and other colour-related insights can be found in this Infographic from CertaPro Painters”
For the rest of Kevin Allen’s article, please click here
 
 
 
 

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Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Communications Marketing

Is the Marketing Campaign Dead?

Challenging article by Hubspot’s Mike Volpe…
… “My blood curdles every time I hear someone talk about doing a ‘social media campaign’ or ‘blog campaign.’ Blogs and social media behave like compound interest, so if you treat them like ‘campaigns,’ you lose all the benefits. Marketers should be permanently creating, optimizing, promoting, converting, and analyzing.”   ……
“Stop the madness of coming up with an entirely new theme and creative concept every three months. Start having a long-term view of your brand, message, and voice — and what value your company can add to your industry. Stop blasting and interrupting people with advertisements about  you. Start being helpful . Start listening. Start communicating. Start publishing. Stop advertising. Start marketing”
Read the article here
Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Marketing Website

What makes you unique special and different?

1. Understand what makes you unique special and different..

Brainstorm with your team; undertake a SWOT with your Senior Management Team; arrange meetings with your whole teams – you’ll be surprised at the input and feedback you can obtain.   What process do you have for acting on feedback given from your customers to your staff?  Do you have a process to obtain testimonials? What do you do with the results?  Your customers will tell you how it is.  If you get it wrong, take them out to lunch and learn what happened and then ensure your process is sound so that those errors aren’t repeated.  

Categories
Advertising and Design Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Marketing

The Basics of Branding

The Basics of Branding

Learn what this critical business term means and what you can do to establish one for your company.

By John Williams

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

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Advertising Armstrong Beech Marketing Brand Music Olympic & Jubilee Random

London 2012 Limited Edition Mini's unique tribute to Team GB

Fresh from recording all 205 National Anthems to be played at this summer’s games, the London Philharmonic Orchestra has teamed up with MINI for one more performance. All stand please for conductor Gareth Newman and the London 2012 Limited Edition MINI’s unique tribute to Team GB.

Click here

Categories
Advertising Brand Directories

Yell renames

Hmm, not sure. Hibu doesn’t mean anything, apparently. What do you think?

“Despite its £2.2bn-worth of debt, directory service Yell has gone ahead with a change of name which has cost it thousands of pounds. WPP’s Landor agency was asked to consider over 60 different names and decided on ‘hibu’. Chief executive Michael Pocock, defending the decision to choose a new name, said it was because the company was “viewed as a dinosaur”. Yell has struggled to maintain advertisers in the face of competition from the internet. The Yellow Pages name is to be maintained for print directories”.
The Daily Telegraph & FT 23 May 2012